Oil Cleansing: The Right Way

Oil cleansing? You are already getting sceptical, without me even saying anything, I know. I was that person too – I mean, oils on my skin? Clogged pores? No, nah, not for me. But, what if I told you, it really matters which oils you are using, and how you actually remove the oils from the skin. This method did wonders to my skin and since I can’t recommend it enough I decided to dedicate a whole post to this subject, because I obviously want everyone’s skin to be changed to a healthier one. First of all you might want to watch this short and helpful video by Mind Body Green with Brooklyn-based holistic aesthetician Britta Plug.

How to oil cleanse?

1. Use oil cleanser of your choice, quarter size amount is enough, warm it between your palms and then have a little spa moment for yourself and give your skin a little love – massage it thoroughly + you can even play relaxing music to help you finish the day positively (hint: I heard there is a great playlist here). Also, you can use deep pressure to massage areas with blackheads. Definitely massage your eyes area last.

2. Next thing is to do is to damp your washcloth (clean towel will do so as well) in a hot water (please pay attention to materials, you want to use natural ones – you can use cotton or linen) and press into the skin to heat the oil.  Try to inhale and exhale relaxingly while waiting for cloth to cool down.

3. I find the next step crucial – and that is to repeat the step 2 two or three more times. This will steam your face and it will act as a facial sauna.

4. After the steaming part, form your washcloth or towel into a mitt and now is the part when you want to remove your make up (and dirt). Massage from centre of face to hairline outside to remove the oil, preferably in gentle circular motion. My little tip here is to remove the eye make up last as you don’t want to spread the mascara residue all over your face.

5. If you love to practice double cleansing method (with a wash gel) – this is your time to do it and shine.

6. I love to finish off with cold water after this as it feels so good  and it is said that cold water actually closes your pores. This step is really helpful in people with folliculitis or comedones.

7. Continue skin care as usual, you can even skip the moisturizer here, sometimes you will see me just spraying my face with my Uriage thermal water and that would be it. But, most of the times – just continue with your toner, serum, moisturizer and so on.

Oil cleansing benefits:

Fact: Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition.

It is proven for oil to have the ability to breakdown even the most stubborn makeup, dirt and even sunblock (we all know how hard it is to find a non-clogging sunblock).

Fun fact: oil cleansing method can break down the stubborn blackheads over time.

The most important part is that is doesn’t mess up your microbiome (pH level talk). A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in much the same way a good gut microbiome does (anyone familiar with antibiotics mess up talk?), by crowding out overgrowth of pathogenic organisms. The skin microbiome prefers a relatively acidic environment (pH is around 5.0), which also inhibits growth of pathogens. The microbiome aids in wound healing, limits exposure to allergens and UV radiation, minimizes oxidative damage, and keeps the skin plump and moist.

Self-care: oil cleansing, if done right, can have a healing effect on your soul with the massage, and with the slow and conscious inhales and exhales.

Important things to keep in mind:

Fact: some of the oils (and ingredients) are extremely clogging for your skin and this is where you have to be aware of comedogenic ingredients and oils. I would definitely avoid using coconut oil, cocoa butter, olive oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, wheat germ oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel, and sweet almond oil. Alcohol and dyes are also very clogging but that is a whole another subject. My advice here is, always listen to your skin and pay attention how it changes (you can even write a diary) and that is how you will know if someting is clogging your beautiful skin.

Your washcloth should always be clean, no excuses here!

Always, always buy organic oil cleansing mixtures and cold pressed oils!

If you notice redness, itching, rash – this means you should stop with this method (or any other) as you might be having an allergic reaction to some of the ingredients.

Lucky for all of us, few pimples here doesn’t mean you are having a bad reaction. No, no – your skin is purging itself of the old toxins and it is getting used to a new, healthier routine. So, just take a deep inhale and relax.

Have you ever tried oil cleansing method? Would you like to do so? Share your thoughts with me in a comment section.

Photography: by Stella Mesic.