What is Oil Cleansing?
Oil Cleansing is a technique that has been growing in popularity recently. It offers a quick, easy and effective way to remove make-up, pollutants and excess sebum (the skins naturally produced oil) from the surface of your skin.
Sounds like the description on every bottle of store brought cleanser you’ve ever owned right?
Well, what differentiates this cleansing method and makes it such a stand-alone technique is the fact that it is entirely natural (so no nasty chemicals or fragrances), it’s suited to all skin types AND it helps your skin restore its natural pH and sebum production levels.
Now I know that the first thing you’re going to think is…
“But I have oily and acne prone skin, I can’t add MORE oil”
“My skin is so dry, if I cover it in oil it’s going to cause blemishes”
And those concerns are completely understandable; but they’re also wrong.
As a Beauty Therapist I’ve worked with many of the top skin care brands, and one thing they all have in common is that they understand how oil can improve a number of skin concerns and complaints, and that stripping the skin of it’s natural oils is never going to be beneficial.
In fact, if you strip the skin of it’s natural oils all that’ll happen is it’ll panic and produce even MORE oil… whereas if you treat it with oil it will calm down sebum production levels and gradually improve the condition of your skin.
Lets take it back to High School Chemistry Class when we’re taught that “Like Dissolves Like” – Meaning, substances with similar chemical characteristics will dissolve each other.
Oil Cleansing uses this exact concept!
Massaging natural oil onto the skin will dissolve hardened sebum that has grabbed hold of impurities and bacteria and become stuck to the pores. Removing that oil with a hot face cloth will then lift any dirt and impurities from the skin while also providing a very gentle physical exfoliation.
And in case it being gentle and natural isn’t great enough… this technique also allows you to entirely customise to your skins specific needs – because just like our souls, our skins are all unique!
Below are some good starting recipes depending on your skin type, but they can all be adjusted according to personal preference.
Oily / Acne Prone Skin:
1/3 Hazelnut Oil : 2/3 Jojoba Oil + 8 drops of Tea Tree or Lavender Essential Oil
Normal / Combination Skin:
¼ Hazelnut Oil : ¾ Apricot Kernel Oil + 8 drops of Sandalwood, Lavender or Rose Essential Oil
Dry / Mature / Aging Skin:
1/8 Hazelnut Oil : 7/8 Avocado Oil + 8 drops of Frankincense or Pomegranate Seed Oil
(You can leave the hazelnut oil out completely if you’d rather, but it has a slight astringent* effect that can be beneficial if you have dry skin but still suffer from the occasional breakout.)
* Astringent: this means its going to help ‘tighten’ open or enlarged pores.
But as I said; have a play with different ratios and oil combinations until you find your dream cleanser.
My one strong recommendation would be to steer clear of Coconut Oil as it is a proven comedogenic – this literally means it will cause blackheads, whiteheads and pore blockages, which is probably not what you’re after!
As with any new skin routine both you AND your skin will need time to adjust. Your skin will be used to certain chemicals including:
Parabens: preservatives that can cause irritation
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate: strips oil from the skin, causes dryness
Triclosan: antibacterial and antifungal agent
And removing these chemicals might initially cause your face to throw a tantrum and act up, so if you notice a few breakouts in the first couple of weeks Do. Not. Panic! Your skin is just re-learning how to function the way nature intended.
So this is probably the most important bit!
The Oil Cleansing Technique:
1/ Mix up your oils and buy some face cloths in advance – I suggest Liz Earle Muslin Cloths.
2/ Massage oil directly onto DRY skin – it’ll even remove all your makeup, including waterproof mascara!
3/ Put your cloth under very hot water and soak it through.
4/ Gently rub the hot cloth over your skin until you feel like all the oil has been removed.
(5/ OPTIONAL: Closely inspect the cloth and marvel at how freakin’ cool and gross it is to see all the dirt that’s come away!)
6/ Splash face with warm water and pat dry with a towel.
If you still want to use your toner / eye cream / moisturiser then go ahead, but over time you will probably find you no longer need it as the oil provides a protective layer and leaves your skin feeling super soft and hydrated.
As with every food or skin care recipe I post, I suggest using the highest quality ingredients available to you – for example these oils are all best if they’re cold pressed and organic.
If you don’t think you’re ready to go all out and mix up a DIY Facial Cleanser just yet that’s not a problem! Give yourself some time to adapt while trying out these great pre-made, natural alternatives that I have tried and tested and highly recommend:
LUSH: Ultrabland – £7.95 / 45g
(I no longer use this as it is not 100% Vegan Friendly as it contains Honey and Beeswax)
Liz Earle: Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – £15.50 / 100ml (including 2 muslin cloths)
(Again, this product does contain beeswax so is not 100% Vegan Friendly)
Living Naturally: Chamomile & Rose Beauty Balm Moisuriser – £8.50 / 60ml
(I found this at VegFest 2016: London; it’s called ‘Beauty Balm Moisturiser’ but I use it as a cleansing oil and it’s really effective and leaves skin feeling beautiful!)
For more Homemade, Natural & Vegan Friendly Skin Care tricks take a look at my posts:
Let me know your thoughts on Oil Cleansing and if you have any good tips or recipes!
And here are some more articles that I found super interesting on oil cleansing, chemicals in cleansers and natural skin care…