The Oil Cleansing Method [OCM] - Natural Skin Remedy
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you have at least one bottle of natural oil on your dresser at present. Am I right? :) If you are (or were, like me) a natural sista then you probably have at least 5 different oils sitting on your dresser! The good news is that these oils are so versatile! So lets tackle our face for a minute with the very simple Oil Cleansing Method.
What is Oil Cleansing?
Though it sounds somewhat crazy at first, the idea of using natural oils to cleanse the skin gently actually makes a lot of sense! The basic idea of oil cleansing is to use natural oils in specific combination to cleanse the skin and naturally balance the skin’s natural oils. This produces much more nourished and moisturized skin than traditional soap and detergent based facial cleaners. As the website dedicated to the oil cleansing method explains:
“The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.”
Even Acne.org explains the benefits of oil cleansing:
“Fact: Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: Other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”
What You Need:Want to try Oil Cleansing and see the results for yourself? All you need are a couple of natural oils and a clean wash cloth!
The most common oils used are Castor Oil and Olive Oil, though any natural oil can be used. Castor oil is naturally astringent, so it helps pull impurities from the skin, making it ideal for oily or combination skin (and even dry skin in lesser amounts). Castor oil should never be used undiluted on the skin.
My favorite other oil to use is Olive Oil, though sunflower, safflower, or even coconut oils work great.
Your Personal Oil Blend:
Some suggestions in creating your blend of deep cleansing oil:
- Oily Skin: Try a blend of 1/3 Castor Oil to 2/3 Olive Oil.
- Balanced/Combination Skin: Try a blend of 1/4 Castor Oil to 3/4 Olive Oil.
- Dry Skin: Try a blend of 1/5 Castor Oil to 4/5 Olive Oil.
To Wash Face With Oil Cleansing:First and foremost, this is typically done in the evening, prior to bed. There should be no need for deep cleansing in the morning if you're waking up with skin cleansed the night before. In the morning, a quick wipe with a warm washcloth should suffice. We don't want to overcleanse our skin as this will serve only to irritate and cause more oil production. The objective of using this method is to deep clean while balancing our skins oil production at the same time.
You'll need a soft washcloth, your oil blend, and hot, running water.
- Pour a generous puddle of oil into the palm of your hand. Roughly, the size of a quarter, but more is acceptable. Rub your hands together to warm the oil and smooth over your face.
- Begin massaging the oil into your face. This will remove makeup, dirt, and other impurities, so there is no need to use a makeup remover or wash your face prior to the massage.
- Using slow, firm motions across the skin, massage the oil deeply into your pores. Take your time and focus on your problem areas. You want the oil to work into your pores so that blackheads and the like can be dissolved and steamed away.
- As you're massaging, let your mind drift off to something calming and breathe deeply. Take this time to relax and release some of the stress that your body is harboring. Sit down, breathe deeply, and take your time. Give the oil enough time to work on dissolving the impurities in your pores and give yourself enough time to unwind. Picture what your face would look like if it were completely clear and free from blemishes. Focus on that image and know that it is attainable. Trust that it is attainable. Accept that it is attainable. You can have clear skin, free of blemishes and you will have clear skin, free of blemishes. Focus on perfect skin and breathe deeply.
- Once you're satisfied that your pores are saturated and you're feeling calm, pick up your washcloth and soak it in clean, steamy water. We want the water to be warm enough to open your pores and remove the oil. Cool water will not open your pores, nor will it remove the oil efficiently. We're not scalding our skin, we're steaming to coax our pores to release the oil carrying the impurities. We're essentially steaming our skin as an esthetician would, but without the luxury of a steam machine.
- Hold the washcloth to cover your face. Allow it to stay until it cools. You will feel your pores releasing the impurities. Wipe the oil gently away and rinse the washcloth well in hot, running water. Hold the washcloth to your face again, allowing it to cool. Wipe gently, rinse well, and repeat two or three more times. Avoid any temptation to scrub, as you'll find it's completely unnecessary and your skin will be soft, smooth, and free of flakes without the additional manual exfoliation and irritation that will result. Impurities, dead skin cells, and bacteria will be gently swept away.
- Have no fear of the oil, as the steamy washcloth will remove it. The Castor Oil, though it is an oil, will help with the removal of the other oils, as well. It is our main cleansing oil and is easily removed with warm water.
- If your skin feels tight, take a tiny drop of your oil blend, rub it between your clean, damp palms and pat it onto your damp skin. Gently massage any oil residue into your skin so there is no film of oil left sitting on the surface. Your skin should now glow!
How often should you Oil Cleanse?This deep cleansing method should be done regularly, but not too frequently. You'll know if you're deep cleansing too frequently by the dryness that your skin will exhibit. Don't be surprised if you find you've unblocked an oil flow for the first few days. Once you remove the plugs from your pores, they will begin functioning properly again. Perfect skin won't happen overnight and while it should take a few massages to achieve your goal, you should notice a huge difference in your skin after the first deep cleansing massage. Give your skin a few days to adjust and adapt to being clean and clear of blockages; understand that the new oil coming from your skin is actually a good sign and will balance out very shortly. You'll find redness and irritation subsiding. You'll find your skin losing that "congested," and thick feeling.
Notes on Oil Cleansing:
- It is normal for it to take a week or so for skin to adjust, and you may even see more oily skin or more breakouts during this time as impurities leave the skin. If you can, resist the urge to use harsh soaps or facial cleansers during this time, as it will make the adjustment period take longer.
- You will likely have to experiment some to find your perfect ratio.
- Every so often I like to boil a pot of water, pour it into a bowl and instead of just using a warm cloth to wipe my face, I steam my face. After applying my oil blend and massaging it in, I place my face over the bowl of hot water and cover my head with a towel (to keep steam focused). I find this more effective but only done when I have the patience to bowl a pot of water :)