When navigating the internet recently, you may have recently noticed beauty bloggers, natural skin care advocates and self-confessions from individuals raving about the “oil cleansing method” (also referenced as OCM) and how it has miraculously transformed their skin. It’s a bandwagon I decided to join and try eight months ago in a bid to minimize the exposure to chemicals and take the natural alternative. My cleanser was really the last roadblock to overcome this goal and I was truly skeptical. Washing your face with oil? It seemed counterintuitive, since most of my life I’ve been trying to avoid a shiny complexion.
The skeptic in me really started getting loud when the research for this method of cleansing was sparse. It is a bit of a mystery who really created this phenomenon with no real history or claim from anyone who might have invented this method. The only hint was a website I located, solely calledThe Oil Cleansing Method by Stephanie Strauss. The site doesn’t sell anything and just details the “how-to” of this method. According to Strauss, the theory is that oil dissolves oil therefore eliminating dirt without stripping skin of it’s natural balance oils oils. Okay, so the scientific facts haven’t been identified nor has anyone with a lab coat decided it’s worthy of researching. Although, after reading about several individuals positive personal experiences, I decided to took the plunge….besides I love a little mystery. Below are the details of my new found experimentation with cleansing oils.
First, settle on the oils (castor oil + 1):
Two oils are needed with castor oil being the main oil base. Castor oil is the cleansing agent in this method and can be drying, so it’s ideal for oily skin. However, for those with dry skin, you may want to minimize quantity and utilize more of the second oil, which are combined together. FYI – I use hexane free castor oil, it’s pure and cold-pressed. The carrier oil of choice is dependent on your skin type. For example, I have combination skin and opted to use jojoba oil, which is meant to be anti-inflammatory and gentle. Others may opt to use rich alternatives such as olive oil and coconut oil, which may be more suitable for dry skin types.
Second, it’s all in the ratio (1:1?):
This is where your skin type comes in. For my combination, I measure about 20% castor oil and 80% jojoba oil. For dry skin, you may want to aim for 10% castor and 90% carrier oil of your choice, and for those with more oily skin 30% castor oil and 70% carrier oil of your choice. It’s best to start with a smaller amount of castor oil and work your way up.
Third, get cleansing (wash cloth + running hot water):
-From what I’ve read most people don’t remove make-up prior to cleansing with this method and instead let the oils do the job. Personally, I remove my make-up beforehand with a little jojoba oil on a damp cotton round.
-Here comes the fun part. With the ratio of castor oil and your chosen oil blended, begin massaging the mixture into your face using slow circular motions. This relaxing method can be conducted within two minutes or as long as fifteen minutes.
-With running hot water (a temperature which you can tolerate without burning yourself), soak the wash cloth (I use a muslin face cloth). Next, cover your face with the cloth. Let the steam loosen the oil and when it’s cool, gently wipe. You may need to do this two to three times, however conduct these steps in a gentle manner.
-If your skin is tight following these steps, it’s recommended to apply a couple of drops of oil. Normally, I use a homemade apple cider vinegar toner and apply a couple of drops of tamanu oil which is said to be healing.
My skin became visibly better after two to three weeks of oil cleansing and after eight months, I don’t wear foundation anymore which has been liberating for me. Although the OCM has worked wonders with my skin and my willingness to experiment has paid off, this may not work for everyone. Before experimenting, always assess what is best for you, as skin types and conditions differ from person to person. Also, be sure you’re not allergic to any of the oils you wish to utilize. A little curiosity and patience in experimenting with this elusive technique might be a reawakening for your very own skin.