Oil Cleansing Method
Holy shit, oil.
The oil cleansing method is a skin care regimen that asks you to discard water-based facial cleaning products. That’s a big request, considering how we’ve all been conditioned by the skin care industry to believe a splash of water and a scrub with oil-free products is best.
Here’s the idea: you have oil on your skin. That’s okay, it’s supposed to be there. In fact, that layer is called your acid mantle and it protects you from bacterial and fungal invaders. Oil and water don’t mix so in order to lift the excess oil you need soaps and cleansers. But soaps and cleansers don’t distinguish between good oil and bad oil so it strips it all away. This leaves you vulnerable to bacteria. Which manifests in the form of acne. Which is why sometimes washing more makes breakouts seem worse.
But there’s a different way to clean. Oil and water don’t mix. But oil and oil do. It’s a basic principle in chemistry: water soluble things dissolve in water. Oil soluble things dissolve in oil. So if you want to lift and remove the excess oil from your face, use oil.
Every ounce of my being screams, “NO!” at the idea of smearing oil on my face. I’m as much a product of marketing as anyone. I’m like Luke Skywalker and Darth Oil Cleansing Method is like, “You know this to be true.” In other words, I’ve struggled with this concept a bit, even though I understand the logic.
Last night I figured what the hey, let’s give it a shot. After a bunch of research I came to the realization that I already have my oil cleanser ready to go. The most widely recommended face cleansing oil is a blend of castor oil and olive oil. Guess what I’ve been using for my pre-shave oil on my legs? You got it, castor and olive oil blend. Realizing this coincidence is what pushed me over the edge.
Here’s how you do it. Put a small bit of oil in your hand and warm it between your palms. Work it into your your cheeks, moving in circles but not scrubbing the hell out of it. Work it all over, until your face is covered in a fine layer of oil. Next run hot water until it’s steaming. Wet a wash cloth and wring it out, then place it over your face. Let it sit until it comes down to room temperature. This opens your pores and softens and loosens the oil you want to remove. When the washcloth has cooled to room temperature, rinse it out and then wipe away the oil on your face. Don’t scrub or scrape, simply wipe away.
Now touch your face. Oh my. So soft and smooth and clean feeling, but without any tight dryness. For me, it was a revelation. How is this possible? What witchcraft is this??
It’s weird. I’ve been aware of the oil cleansing method for quite some time but never really believed it could work. Which is strange because I know all about soap from my soap-making experience and I know the benefit of soap over cleansers and detergents is that it leaves oil on your skin to protect it as your acid mantle regenerates. But the idea of cleaning with just oil made no sense.
Well it sure as hell makes sense now. And for the record, oil has been in use as a face cleansing product far longer than detergent based scrubs. Every wonder why Oil of Olay has the word “oil” in it? Do a bit of reading and you’ll see how long we depended on oil cleansing before the skin care industry started messaging that oil is the villain.
Try it. Do it. It’s wonderful.