A few weeks ago I tried something I never thought I would. I used oil, yes oil, to clean my face! The most surprising part? My skin has never looked or felt better. Whether you already use essential oils to moisturize or not, whether your skin is dry or oily and whether or not you think putting oil on your face sounds absurd... you should really consider giving oil cleansing a try. Don’t believe me?
Keep reading to find out how oil cleansing has transformed my skin and how you can do the same.
How did my introduction to this method start? I was talking to my colleagues about the usual, life and all of its ups, downs, and hiccups. Our companies focus is on natural beauty so more often than not we end up talking about skin care. On this sunny Monday morning, it suddenly struck me that my colleagues were glowing. Their skin had never looked better. I couldn’t help but mention it. What did these ladies know that I didn’t?
The truth is I had heard about OCM (Oil Cleansing Method) multiple times before this, but as someone who suffered from teenage acne, the idea of putting oil anywhere near my face was blasphemy. This was the first time I had seen the real-life results of anyone in my age group with somewhat similar skin conditions. I was blown away.
What is my skin type?
I just hit the age where I’m starting to look into anti-aging skin care, I have combination skin which means an oily T-zone but patchy dryness here and there. I suffer from hyper pigmentation and large pores. I’m also really sensitive and obviously not a fan of chemicals or synthetics. Basically, the type of skin where it is difficult to cover up flaws because there is such a range of issues. That being said I love my skin and it is worlds apart from what it looked like when I was a teenager. But I am always looking for ways to boost the health of my skin.
After grilling my coworkers, googling like a mad woman and watching a bunch of YouTube tutorials on the Oil Cleansing Method, I decided to give it a try. I really didn’t think it would be for me (and from what I read it isn’t for everyone - most people, but not everyone). To be honest, the first time I tried it I was too scared to take the full plunge so I washed my face with my goat's milk based bar soap (which has been my go-to for years) first. Only then did I try to clean my face with oil.
The first shocking thing is that I noticed some makeup streaks on my face cloth after patting off the oil. This means my regular cleansing routine wasn’t getting all my makeup off!
After that initial shock, I tried to focus on the oil on my skin. Surprisingly, it felt really good. There was still a slightly oily feeling left after I finished which I was concerned about. But a few hours later I noticed the oil had been totally absorbed and my skin felt soft, not at all greasy. I chose not to moisturize as I had read most people don’t need to after using oil to cleanse.
When I woke up in the morning my pores were significantly smaller than they normally are. I didn’t feel greasy and there was no dry skin either. My skin felt clean, bright and healthy.
Why does it work?
It is based on the idea that “like dissolves like”. Your skin always has a natural oil layer on and under the surface, the oil cleansing method basically allows you to replace those oils with fresh, clean oils. To do it effectively you need to open the pores first so the new oils can get under the surface and cleanse properly.
There are quite a few different methods.
For me, this is the most effective...
What you will need:
A large bowl
A large face towel or two small face towels
Your chosen oil or oil blend
About 5 minutes of your time
Boil water and pour into a clean bowl
Wet a clean face towel with the hot water - You need hot, clean water but if it’s too hot to touch, don't! Wait till it’s a little cooler - this water is going on your face, if it is too hot for your hands it's definitely too hot for your face.
Place the hot/very warm towel on your face (tilt your neck back). And let sit for 10-20 seconds. This is to open up your pores.
With clean hands take about a tablespoon of your desired oil and rub onto your face for 1-2 minutes (some say 5-10 but let’s be real here, ain’t nobody got time for that). Always use upward motions when applying anything to your face.
Take another clean face towel (or use the other (clean, unused) side or your face towel) and gently pat away any excess oil. I have found I only need to pat a little as within a couple of hours most of the oils have absorbed into my skin.
The last step is super important for me. Splash some cold water on your face. This closes your pores right up and I see a real difference in results when I don’t follow this step.
Note: On days where I wear full eye makeup I will initially rub some oil into skin area over and around my eyes and dab my makeup off then use the hot water method. This isn’t essential (your makeup will definitely come off either way) but I prefer this.
Which Oil should you use?
This varies based on skin type and personal preference.
Some say Coconut Oil no matter what skin type you have and others say never Coconut Oil as it can be comedogenic (for some skin types it is and for others, it is not, crazy right?).
Many use Castor Oil as their base as it is particularly cleansing, though some find it dries their skin out too much.
I personally really enjoy seed-based oils, my favorite being Sesame. I’m not a fan of nut-based oils like Sweet Almond, Walnut etc.. One of my colleagues particularly likes Almond Oil though, so again this is a skin type/preference thing.
A really useful YouTube video for me can be found Here She explains her method and goes through a bunch of oil possibilities.
What’s really neat is you can add a few drops of a different oil to target specific skin concerns. If you choose a base oil suited to your skin type plus a few drops of a different oil to target any skin concerns, you are really getting a cleanser packed with benefits which is custom made for you. It’s also generally A LOT cheaper than using a high-end cleanser, toner and moisturizer system.
My favorite DIY combination is:
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil - my favorite base oil.
A couple of drops Rosehip Oil - great for hyper pigmentation
A drop of Lemon Essential Oil - Lemon is brightening and the oil has antibacterial properties great for targeting any unwanted spots.
The possibilities are really endless. One important thing to note is the quality of the oils you are using. You want them to be organic and cold pressed.
Organic ensures you are not putting pesticides on your face because who really wants to do that?
Buying Cold Pressed Oils means that the oil retains the majority of its nutrients during the production process. When Oils are expeller-pressed they are treated at high temperatures which generally kills a lot of the good stuff and you are left with a lower quality oil, especially when it is to be applied directly to your face.
Check out the selection of wonderful and cold pressed Oils at iHerb
Specific brands I like are Aura Cacia, their site also has some great recipes and Leven Rose which stocks beautiful high-quality oils.
For a full rundown on a page dedicated to the Oil Cleansing Method, click here
I was honestly surprised by the results of this cleansing method and I hope that you will be too.
Sometimes your skin goes through an adjustment period and will become super oily in your first week starting OCM, don’t worry,this is just your skin getting rid of a lot of gunk and getting used to being cleansed thoroughly.
It’s worth it to play around with different oils and see what works for you. Different oils have different textures and some may feel better for you than others.
If you feel you need to moisturize after cleansing, go for it.
Oil cleanse at night. Your face should be clean enough that water is all that is needed in the morning.
Give it some time, some people really hate the feeling of putting oil on their face. See if the results are worth it but don’t push it if you really don’t like it.
If you feel it’s not working for you, don’t continue. Everyone has different skin and oil cleansing isn’t for everyone.
Lastly don’t be scared to use oils that are produced as food (rather than specifically for face and body). If they are organic and safe for eating they should be perfect for your skin.