If you’ve been hanging around these parts for while you know that one of my main passions for this blog, and my life, is living a more natural and simple life. Yep, that’s what I’m about here and that won’t change, so take it or leave it.
As it seems with most aspects of my natural, simple life I really do strive to bring you worthwhile, sometimes, life-changing information and tips but only after I’ve tried them myself. I could jump at every chance to share a tutorial or recipe with you just for the sake of doing it, but my conscious wouldn’t let me. All that to say, I’ve been using the Oil Cleansing Method for my face for over a year.
And I love it. And The Mister loves it. We will never buy another facial cleanser, moisturizer, toner, night cream again. The OCM covers them all–which is fantastic for me, Ms. Frugal Shopper and Ms. Resenter of Clutter over here. One bottle full of natural ingredients with multiple uses = A winner in my book!
But before I get into the how’s and why’s it would unfair of me to skip over the absolute most impactful lifestyle habit that’s effecting our skin: Our Diet.
Beautiful Skin: From the Inside Out
Just another soapbox of mine: how our eating habits are literally connected to every single aspect of our health. First I’ll share personal testimony: The only time I get a breakout, which is more and more rare as I continue my natural living journey, is A. during my monthly cycle (and even then it doesn’t happen nearly every month anymore) and B. when I’ve really indulged in some sugar. Sugar is an immune-suppressor and causes inflammation (which in turn is the cause of most illness-related issues).
Consider this: Our Skin is made up of connective tissues like collagen and elastin (both proteins) and cells that are comprised of water and fat (lipids). The very structure of our largest organ is made up of things we consume: proteins, fats, water. When you eat, you’re not just “feeding your hunger”, you’re literally giving nutrients (or toxins) to every part of your body.
Not only is our skin our largest organ, it’s also our organ of elimination. Inflammation caused by a poor diet, clogged pores as a result of not washing, inadequate levels of water to help push toxins through and out of the body, and a lack of sweat (ahem, not working out / working hard) all contribute to unhealthy skin.
Internal Remedies for Healthy Skin
Allow your body to properly detox by drinking ample amounts of water and getting a good sweat on a few times a week. A real, whole food diet plays a key role in detoxing as well. Adding a slice of lemon to your water is a great way to speed up the process of detoxification–and also makes slugging water all day long a little tastier.
Healthy fats (from pastured meats and wild caught seafood, real butter, avocados, nuts) and high-quality protein both help maintain healthy skin and its connective tissues.
Avoid foods that cause inflammation. If you have a known or suspected food allergy or intolerance these foods can contribute to unhealthy skin. And sugar, it’s an inflammatory for everyone. If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy, glowing skin that you’re comfortable in I challenge you to give up sugar and possibly wheat for at least a month (it takes 3 weeks for our body to completely eliminate foods).
Stress reduction and more sleep will also help hormones to level out–which can also play a role into our skin health (it’s not uncommon to experience breakouts, rashes, blemishes during our monthly or when we go through menopause. Why? Hormones, those lovely things).
How Does Oil-Cleansing Work?
It goes against everything we’ve been led to believe. Much like the lie that fats from real food sources are no-no’s in our diet, we’ve been led to believe that oil causes clogged pores and breakouts. So why in the world would I smear my face with the stuff?!
If you recall from earlier, I shared on how our skin is made up of water and fats/oils. Unlike the commercial facial cleansers out there that simply strip the oil from our face–which then causes our skin to produce more oil and results in oily skin and/or open pores that can become clogged with bacteria and result in pimples. So instead I use cleansing and nourishing oils that will draw out the impurities and toxins in the deeper layers of our skin and replace them with nice, clean oils.
We aren’t just rubbing any ‘ol oil on our faces, the oils used in OCM have medicinal properties–whether they’re astringent, soothing, or conditioning. One last note on oils NOT to use: olive oil as it seems to clog pores and coconut oil–again, it clogs pores and can be very drying.
What Oils to Use
Different skin types call for different oils and I’ll admit there is a bit of trial and error here. The oils and their ratios are not a hard and fast answer for everyone, so start by making small batches–maybe even single use until you find the combination that works for you.
Ratios for Skin Types
For Oily Skin — 1:3 parts astringent:conditioning oils
For “Normal”/Combination Skin — 1:4 parts astringent:conditioning oils
For Dry Skin — 1:10 parts astringent:conditioning oils
Astringent oils include castor and hazelnut and essential oils like lavender, melaleuca, frankincense and patchouli. Do some research on castor oil, I won’t spend time on it here but there is some controversy on its harvesting methods and it can also be very, very drying.
Conditioning oils by skin type
Dry Skin: avocado, sweet almond, hemp
Oily Skin: apricot, sunflower
All Skin Types: sweet almond, argan, jojoba, sunflower
For my combination skin: In a 4-ounce bottle I use 1 part hazelnut (plus 4-5 drops each of lavender, frankincense, and melaleuca for a 4 ounce bottle) and 4 parts sweet almond –OR– 2 parts almond and 2 parts jojoba to go along with the 1 part hazelnut+essential oils.
I use a 4-ounce glass bottle with a dropper like this one and it stays in the shower until it’s time to refill.
How to Oil Cleanse
Traditionally, OCM calls for you to wet your face, rub in the oils and apply a wet, hot washcloth over your face, then a thorough dry wipe. That method seems to work really great for most people. But I needed something a little more simple and sustainable so I’ll outline both in more detail below.
First, wet your face and then thoroughly rub in about a teaspoon (size of a quarter) of your blended oils. Take 1-2 minutes and slow, gentle circles to really get the oil into your skin. Next, wet a washcloth with very hot water and lay over your face for 1-2 minutes. Once the washcloth is cooled to room temperature, use it to wipe most of the oil off. Then, use a dry and clean hand towel to remove the rest of the oil. Some people find that really drying their faces actually leaves their skin dry. If this happens, consider using more conditioning oil in your blend or simply rub a few drops of the oil blend back into your face and leave it.
While in the shower, wet face and thoroughly rub oil blend into face. Allow to set for 1-2 minutes, then put face under water–this allows the water to drive the oil deeper into the skin. While running water over face, rub it well with hands (or use a washcloth here). Dry thoroughly with a towel after shower. Again, if your face feels dry then rub a few drops of the oil blend into your face. If you do use a washcloth be sure to wash it really well between each use.
How often your use OCM is up to you. I wash my face every other day, but if you’re wanting to use it as a make-up remover at the end of every day, then daily use is fine too. Again, don’t be discouraged if your first blend of oils doesn’t work. By simply adding a few drops of each into the palm of your hand, you can try a blend without making a big 4 ounce bottle.
Some people also find they have a “transition” period when first trying OCM. This could be from any number of reasons, including your skin adjusting to a less harsh cleansing regimen. With most things I feel people to push through at least 3 weeks before giving up.
Have you used the OCM before–how’d it work for you? Are you willing to smear oil all over your face for a more natural, economical way of cleansing?