Friday, May 6, 2011

The oil cleansing method.

In my last post, I told you all how I now clean my face with oil and nothing else. I know, it sounds awful, right? These are some questions that might be zooming through your mind right about now:

1. Will I smell like fried chicken?
2. Will this cause me to have a major breakout?
3. Will my face turn into one giant pustule?

The answer to all the questions is the same: NO. So you can stop worrying about that.

Here's the first thing you need to know: Oil cleanses oil. Our skin naturally produces oil to care for and heal itself. Oil alone does not cause acne. Bacteria, hormones, dead skin cells and dirt DO cause acne. How? When the skin becomes irritated (such as through drying cleansers), dead skin cells, bacteria and dirt burrow their way into the pores, causing them to become very inflamed and even infected. That is what a pimple is -- a mini infection raging on your skin.

Go to the bathroom and take a look at the ingredients on your facial cleanser. What do you see? Things like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and fragrances, most likely. While these ingredients are good at removing bacteria from the surface of your skin and helping it smell fresh, they excel at drying and irritating the skin, too. A lot of people (myself included) have tried to remedy bad breakouts with excessive scrubbing and washing. This doesn't help -- it only worsens the problem in most cases.

So, the first step: STOP using your cleanser. I know, breaking up is hard to do. But this boyfriend is a particularly bad one and he's just going to string you along forever. Your heart can only break so many times. Say goodbye and good riddance. Eat some chocolate if you need to.

Now, head to the grocery store. Go to the laxative aisle and find a bottle of castor oil. It isn't expensive and you won't need a lot -- chances are, that little bottle will last you quite a while. Put that bottle in your cart. Note: If you've ever been pregnant, you might already own some castor oil (it's supposed to help induce labor, although all I've heard of it is it really only induces diarrhea and nausea. But to each their own!).

Next, go to the cooking oil section of the store. Locate a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Any brand will do. You can also use sunflower seed oil, which is allegedly better, but it's more expensive and harder to find. Add this to your cart.

Last, you will need a small empty bottle. I picked up 3 oz. one with a flip-top lid for just 99 cents at Wal-Mart, in the travel-sized products section. If you already have an empty one lying around at the house, feel free to use that if you want. This will be the container for your oil mixture.

You will want to do your cleansing routine at night, right before bed. And you don't need to do it again in the morning -- just a quick wipe with a warm washcloth will do. You definitely don't want to OVERcleanse, even with this method, as it can really dry your face out. Don't ask me how I know.

Now comes the mixing. The castor oil is what will cleanse your face; the olive or sunflower oil will moisturize and help lubricate and move the dirt and skin cells on the skin. Mix the two oils in the empty bottle as follows:
  • Oily Skin: 30% castor oil to 70% olive/sunflower seed oil
  • Balanced Skin: 20% castor oil to 80% olive/sunflower seed oil
  • Dry Skin: 10% castor oil to 90% olive/sunflower seed oil
You don't have to measure precisely -- just eyeball it. I have dry skin, so I did a small amount of castor oil and filled the rest of the bottle with olive oil.

For the cleansing part, you will need a clean washcloth and hot water. Keep the washcloth handy because it won't be fun to go searching for one with oily hands. Again, don't ask me how I know.

Start with clean, dry hands (don't want to add more bacteria to your face!). Begin by shaking the bottle to mix the oils well. Next, squeeze a small amount -- maybe the size of a quarter -- into your palm. Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your face. Don't worry about your make-up; the oil mixture will take it all right off (amazingly well, I might add). Really work it into the pores. One article I read says to "picture what your face would look like if it were completely clear and free from blemishes." So, you can do that. I like to talk to Dill while I cleanse. Maybe you'd like to hum your favorite song. It's up to you.

Massage the oil into your face for a minute or two, until it has sufficiently soaked into your skin. Then, take the washcloth and run it under hot water. Don't scald yourself, but you'll want the water hot enough to open your pores and let out the gunk. Thoroughly wet the cloth and then wring it out. Place the entire washcloth directly over your face and just ... relax. Allow the washcloth to sit there until it becomes cool. Then, GENTLY!! wipe your face to remove the oil and rinse the washcloth in hot water again. Place it over your face and allow it to cool a second time. Usually, after my second go-round I'm feeling fully cleansed, but some people might want to do it one last time. When you're done, rinse your face in COLD water to close your pores. Pat your skin dry and you're done.

Notice how smooth and soft your skin will feel. For me, the water seemed to evaporate all on its own. My face felt invigorated and supple right away. I noticed my pores look a lot smaller, too.

This method does take some adjustment time, especially if your skin is regularly washed with harsher soaps and cleansers. You might feel extra greasy for the first few days. This is a good sign; it means your pores are learning how to produce the correct amount of oil. Since I have such dry skin, I didn't have any greasy days, but the article I referenced before says it's common. So don't be surprised if that happens. Keep plugging along.

After about a week, I noticed a huge difference in the quality and feel of my skin. The dry spots were gone. No more red blotches near my nose and under my eyes. Flaking around my nose: gone. My forehead, which used to be perpetually covered in bumps, is now perfectly smooth. I also had some pretty deep worry wrinkles that are now a lot more shallow. My pores are way smaller, too. Dill told me last night that my face looks healthier. I agree! And this is after only two weeks, mind you.

So here are my do's and don'ts for the OCM:

-use a clean washcloth every time
-cleanse prior to bedtime
-relax and enjoy how nice your skin feels
-keep at it, even if you feel greasy at first

-reuse your washcloth from day to day
-scrub your face with the washcloth
-give up!

Are you ready for the best skin of your life? GO!

Here are some additional resources:

The Oil Cleansing Method The Oil Cleansing Method <-- this one talks about different oils you can use


  1. Oh I'm so going to try this!!! I actually have pretty nice skin but I'm all for ridding myself of harsh chemicals!

  2. I'm gonna do this. The ingredients are on my list for the next trip to super target :) Whew, I cannot wait to see how it goes. I've used Cetaphil for years and am happy with my skin but like anything else strive for perfection, lol.

    I recently discovered coconut oil for moisturizing and even got Kevin obsessed :)

  3. Thanks for this--seriously! I've been struggling with the worst acne since my baby was born and it's making me crazy. I've always had oily, acne-prone skin and lately nothing is helping at all. I've got nothing to lose, right? And it makes total sense to do it this way rather than to continue using all the chemicals that are just drying my face out and making things worse! :)

  4. I'm nervous, but I'm willing to investigate. How does it work with mascara? Do you rub the towel around your eyes? Do you rinse it beforehand? I recently wrote a post about how stopping altogether the night time face wash improved my skin. I'm still not quite where I want to be, yet. I may try this.

  5. This sounds great to me. I'm tired of my dry, tight skin on my cheeks and bumps on my forehead!

  6. I'm gonna try it! My face does well while I nurse but preggo it breaks out. and since I don't usually have any time not doing either, it will be good to get my skin balanced before the next pregnancy. I really want to try no-poo too, except I don't have a week where I won't see anybody so I can be super greasy...maybe I'll wear a hat?

  7. I tried this last summer. I liked it at first, but I started breaking out horribly after a few weeks. I found out that it was because of a hormonal imbalance. Once I fixed that my skin cleared right up. I did stop though and I am going to try it again.

    It's really relaxing too.

  8. Just wanted to say we miss you at BBC.

  9. What kind of bottle or container do you use to put the oil mix in?

    I've just been using my palm and it isn't working as well as it could. . .

  10. Valerie - I went to the travel-sized toiletries/hygiene products section at Wal-Mart. There they had these plastic 3 oz. bottles with flip top lids. That's what I use. I'm sure Target has them, too.

  11. Let's be honest: I'm a product junkie who longs to be a naturalist. All these ideas sounds so great, but I've been conditioned to rely on products for so long that I can't help but be skeptical. I've been reading about no-pooing and I need to get the courage up to try it. This oil cleansing method is now on the list too. But like someone posted earlier - I'm curious, how do you get your mascara off?

  12. Kim and ACW - the oil actually removes mascara VERY well. Better than any make-up remover I've ever used, and I've used a lot. You'll be surprised! Just close your eyes and gently massage the oil into your lashes. You can use a cotton ball or pad if you want.


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