I have decided to talk about uses of oils in beauty and specifically about oil cleansing method in my first blog post as this is a subject I have at heart and have been using such method for a few years now.
I am aware many people are weirded out by the idea of smearing oils on their faces and call it “cleansing” but this is based on the basic principle of chemistry “like dissolves like” and therefore “oil dissolves oil”. In this last scenario the second oil is the one present on your face mixed with impurities.
Oils also represent an excellent make up remover and offer a moisturizing action that leaves up to you the choice of following the cleansing with cream application.
Let´s go with order!
Oil cleansing – How to
What you will need:
- Mix of oils of your choice
- A tap or source of water of different temperatures
- A face cloth
- Take a small quantity of your preferred mix of oils (they can be mixed only when needed if preferred) and start massaging it onto your dry face. Take the time needed to massage your face allowing the oils to remove make up and impurities but also… enjoy the experience.
- Take a clean wash cloth and soak it into hot water (not too hot but the cloth needs to be steamy), remove excess water and place the cloth over your face.
- Leave the cloth until it cools then wipe your face gently with it.
- Repeat step 2 and 3 as needed.
- Dry your face with a clean cloth or towel.
If needed you can repeat step 1-5 a second time for second cleanse.
Which oils to use and ratios
The main oil to be used for oil cleansing is Castor oil (Ricinus communis). Castor oil is a very thick oil with several properties such as anti- inflammatory, healing and astringent. Castor oil is to be used in small amounts and mixed with another oil in order not to leave the skin too dry.
The choice of secondary oil (or oils as you can choose more than one to mix in) will depend on what your skin likes the most and your skin needs. Here is a brief list :
- Avocado oil – Very moisturizing, rich in fatty acids
- Jojoba oil – good for oily and/or sensitive skin
- Argan oil – very nourishing but more expensive
- Macadamia nut oil – good for dry and/or mature skin
- Extra virgin olive oil – all skin types
- Sunflower seeds oil – all skin types
- Sesame oil – all skin types
- Grapeseed oil – good for sensitive skin
- Rosehip oil – good for oily, acne prone skin
These are just some of the most common, others can be found in stores (or online), you can experiment to see what is best for your skin. The oils you purchase must be pure and possibly of organic origin, always check the ingredient list and make sure what you are buying is not a blend (especially mixed with mineral oils).
In regards to ratio the starting principle is very easy and it depends on your skin type:
- Oily skin : 30% Castor oil, 70% secondary oil(s)
- Normal skin: 20% Castor oil, 80% secondary oil(s)
- Dry skin: 10% Castor oil, 90% secondary oil(s)
With this said THERE ARE NO RULES, start from these ratios and find the mixture that is best for you and your skin.
In the beginning just prepare small quantities of mixes so that you do not have to waste them if that ratio does not work for you. If you feel that Castor oil is too much for your skin you can replace it with Hazelnut oil or just skip it and mix other oils together.
An important note I would like to add, when researching online for oil cleansing method you might find several sources telling you to feel free to add some essential oils to the mix, I would avoid that. Essential oils are very tricky and might generate a reaction when placed on the skin, especially if you are going to rub the mix on your eyes.
Also if you prepare your own mixes in larger quantities and store them please be aware of the storage conditions, a bathroom is very hot and humid, not an ideal place. If you notice any change in the color or smell do not take the risk.
My personal experience
As for my preferred mix I use the following (at the moment):
20% Castor oil + 80% Avocado oil
I prepare the mixture when I need it so the oils stay in their original package. I have specified “at the moment” because in the past I have used other secondary oils such as Argan oil, Sunflower seeds oil and Jojoba oil, the ratio has remained the same through time but I really try to use as little Castor oil as possible.
When I first tried out the oil cleansing (around 3 years ago) it did not take any time for me or my skin to adapt to it, but this is very subjective. From what I can see (and hear) it normally takes 1-2 weeks for your skin to adapt to it and some people have experienced increase in break outs in the first week, that disappeared few days later leaving skin in better conditions.
I would also like to state that this type of cleansing might not be for everybody, if you do not enjoy having oil on your face for example, do not force it, there are so many cleansers around! Also if you suffer from any particular skin condition, some oils might not be suitable for you so make sure to ask your dermatologist or specialist.
In my case ( I have pretty normal skin with tendency to break out in some specific areas), I find this method a very quick way to remove any make up (I do not use waterproof) and to cleanse my skin (normally I do a second cleanse with oils). My skin is left moisturized although I always apply a serum or a cream afterwards. I used this normally at night time.
The method is also relatively cheap considering how much certain cleansers cost. You just need a small amount of oil and considering you are mixing two or more, the bottles will last you a long time.
If you cannot be bothered to go buy all the ingredients and make the mix, you can find oil cleansers in many stores. I will dedicate a separate post to the “commercial ones”. Once again, I would avoid oil cleansers which ingredient lists starts with Petrolatum (or Paraffin oil etc) 😉
Coconut oil for cleansing
Coconut oil is one of the most known and loved oils, with many properties to be used in beauty and in the kitchen.
With this said in regards to specific oil cleansing I do not use coconut oil in my mixes. Many people swear by it, I know, but coconut oil is also proved to be comedogenic. This means that such substance might increase pores clogging and therefore presence of break outs and black heads.
Different skins reacts differently to comedogenic substances, not necessarily you will experience break outs!
The main reason why I do not use it for cleansing is that coconut oil even after wiping tends to leave an oily film on the skin. This is what most people love about it because you feel your skin so moisturized, unfortunately I pretty much hate that feeling and that is why I use other oils.
Another reason is the fact that coconut oil is solid below 25ºC so that makes it a pain to handle when mixed with other oils ( unless you leave in a nice and warm country which unfortunately I do not).
I do actually use coconut oil a lot for my face but only as a make up remover, meaning that I remove my make up with it, wipe it off and then go in with cleansing.
If anybody is interested (mainly if anybody will ever read this) I can write a short post on various uses of coconut oil.
Well, this concludes my long first post which I hope will be useful to somebody. Thank you to anyone that is reading 😉