Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Oil Cleansing Method

I know that it sounds wrong and like a complete contradiction to everything we know about beauty, but there are oils out there that can actually be used to cleanse your skin.

We are taught early on that oil is bad, and there are countless products on the shelves to help rid us of this problem - various facial cleansers, astringents etc. all designed to strip away excess oils that cause blemishes.

Our skin needs a certain amount of oils to be properly hydrated, though. That's why our bodies naturally produce oils. While it's true that some people do have some excessive oiliness for various reasons, a lot of us need more moisture to keep our skin soft and supple. An interesting thing to note here as well is that some of those who have oily skin and claim to need oil-stripping products should actually be doing the opposite and adding more moisture to their routine. Their skin has become dry, so the natural oil-making process has revved things up to try to balance things out, and the more drying/oil-stripping products being used, the more the body is naturally trying to counter the drying effects, thus perpetuating the problem of overly oily skin.

While the oil cleansing method might seem counter-intuitive, especially if you have oily skin, it can work wonders. Granted it's not for everyone - no one product or technique is. But it's something to consider and maybe worth a try if you've never tried it before.

My own skin has always been what would be considered "normal", though recently (in the past year or so) it's been becoming drier. Ah, the joys of getting older. I used to use the oil cleansing method regularly but got out of the habit. I'm planning to start using this method again though, as I was always pleased with the results from it. Note that this is for cleansing the face only and is not an "all over the body" method.

The process for using the oil cleansing method as I learned it (there may be other ways I am not familiar with) is simple: you begin by gathering your oils. You will need castor oil, which is cleansing  and has healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil is thick and potent, so you will also need at least one more oil to make it a thinner, more workable consistency. The secondary oil(s) will also add more moisturizing benefits to your oil blend. Coming up with a blend that will work for you will likely take some trial and error, so mix very small batches until you find the one that works for you and make sure you keep track of what blends you have tried and what your results were like from each one. Keeping good records will help you determine what does and doesn't work for your skin.

For your secondary oils, here are just some of your options: sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, argan oil, and coconut oil. Do some research on your own of any other oils that you think might work to see what their properties are like and if they might be a good choice for you.

Some suggestions in creating your blend of deep cleansing oil:

Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% Sunflower Seed Oil.
Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% Sunflower Seed Oil.
Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% Sunflower Seed Oil.

Once you have your oil blend ready to go, you will also need a wash cloth and hot, running water.

Pour a small amount of the oil into the palm of your hand. Approximately half a teaspoon should do. Rub your hands together to warm the oil, then begin smoothing the oil over your face. Next, massage the oil into your skin. Take your time with this step, as this is when the oil blend is going to break down dirt, makeup, and the unwanted oils on your skin that you want to get rid of. Think of this as giving yourself a facial, and consider it some pampering rather than a chore. Give a little extra concentration on any problem areas.

Once you're satisfied that you have massaged thoroughly, it's time to remove the oil - and along with it, all the impurities it's dissolved while massaging. Wet your wash cloth with hot water. You don't want the water to be too hot, you don't want it to be uncomfortable. But you do want it to be warm enough that it will steam and help open up your pores so the oils and dirt can effectively be removed from your skin. This step is basically steaming your face by using a wash cloth rather than a facial steamer. Wring the wash cloth out just a little - it should be saturated but not dripping. Now hold the wash cloth over your face and leave it in place until it cools. When the wash cloth is cool, gently wipe away the oil. Rinse the wash cloth thoroughly with hot running water. Repeat these steps 3-4 more times until you are satisfied that all the oil has been removed. Avoid scrubbing your face with the wash cloth when wiping away the oil - it is not necessary at this point and over-zealous scrubbing with a wash cloth will only irritate your skin.

Your skin should feel soft, smooth, and hydrated. If your skin does happen to feel a little tight, you can take a tiny drop of your oil blend and massage it in well to act as your moisturizer. You may want to make an adjustment to your blend to use a little less castor oil and/or a more moisturizing secondary oil.

If you try the oil cleansing method it is extremely important to understand that you need to give it at least a week or two before you pass judgment on how well it works for you. Often, after the first time doing this you will experience a period of a couple of days when your skin will be more oily than usual - this is because in the process of cleansing you have unblocked pores that had been plugged up, and now that they're clear they are sort of "purging" - things should balance out in a few days. You do not want to use the oil cleansing method daily, however it should be done on a regular basis. How often is going to depend on your skin's needs - some may find that once a week is plenty while others may need two or three times a week.

If you want to learn more about the oil cleansing method, there is more in-depth information available here: http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/ There are also several other web sites/forums linked from this page with further information and discussion regarding what secondary oils can be used, ratios of castor oil to the secondary oils for ideal blends etc.

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