Before you call me a crunchy hippy, please just listen to what I have to say ;)
I used to use (& spend tons of money on) all sorts of OTC and designer cleansers, creams, & topical ointment, plus a prescription retinol cream that I used for acne outbreaks that would occur around my chin area.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had to stop using anything containing any chemicals on my skin, or else, as you other mamas know, they would be absorbed through my skin into my body and harm the developing baby. After years of using all these cleansers and creams I was nervous I would break out like never before, but what I found was the exact opposite - My skin improved. Dramatically.
After Landon's birth I nursed for 6 months, so I continued with the all natural face wash & moisturizers. (Some of the ones I used that I still highly recommend are Burt's Bees products here, here, & here).
This all brings me to the Oil Cleansing Method. I first heard about the OCM a few months ago. At first I thought it was totally counter-intuitive (who the heck would think washing your face with oil wouldn't cause you to break out?) But I did some more research on it read several articles and testimonials from women who used it and it started to totally make sense. Now, I have been using the OCM for about a month and absolutely love it. My skin feels and looks better than ever and it's all costing me next to nothing.
Basically the reason this all makes sense and works for every single skin type is because our skin is made up of oils -- really good oils that we don't want to dry out and add chemicals to. According to chemistry, like dissolves like. So, effectively what you’re doing is dissolving and wiping away all the dirty oil on your face and replenishing it with cleansing, nourishing oil. So cleansing your face with these essential cleansing oils gets dirt our of your pores and restores your skin's natural moisture balance. & all in a natural way, without chemicals or products that strip your skin of its natural oils. What happens when you strip your skin of its natural oil is that it goes into overdrive, trying to create more - which leads to clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, & irritation. (I'm sure many of you have heard the like before with the negative result of over-shampooing, right?)
Okay so now that we know how awesome this is for your skin, here's the low down on the oils.
- Castor Oil is the main one you need in any mixture. It is the base ingredient in all mixtures as it is the most cleansing & dissolving oil & also highly antibacterial in nature. It also tends to be drying so if you have oily skin, just increase its amount. & likewise if your skin is dry, take a little out.
- Sunflower Seed Oil (for all skin types and for dry skin)
- Jajoba Oil (for all skin types and for acne-prone skin)
- Sweet Almond Oil (For all skin types and for oily skin)
- Olive Oil (all skin types)
- Avacado Oil (dry and aging skin)
- Grapeseed Oil (All skin types, and for oily skin)
You may need to play around with these for a few trial runs to see which & what proportion of these feel best on your skin. (I currently use/love my mixture of Castor, Jajoba, & Sunflower).
I got all my oils @ Whole Foods (all in the same place - their natural skincare section), & I'm sure other natural food stores like Trader Joe's carry them as well. AND - if you want to buy a fragrance oil to add in a yummy, relaxing, or invigorating scent go ahead! I felt overwhelmed smelling all the scented oils so I just decided to nix it, but ones I liked were Lavender & Lemon. If you do a scented oil, you only need to add in a few drops.
- Mix your oils together in a little container. No need to make a lot, especially for your first time trying, you are bound to empty some out and add in more of a different kind until you find the combination & proportion of oils that is right for you. The travel sized empty tubes you can get at any drugstore (Target, Walmart, etc.) are perfect for this.
- Shake up your mixture and put about a quarter-sized amount of oil in your palms, and massage in circular motions onto your face. This is also a great make-up remover so you can start cleansing with a completely dirty, made-up face. Take your time, make sure the oils are deeply & completely massaged into your pores.
- Run a washcloth under steaming hot water and place over your face until it cools. This part is important because the hot steam is what works with the oils to open & cleanse your pores of all the impurities.
- Wipe the oil gently away and repeat step 3 once more. No need to scrub, just wipe.
If you want to also try an all-natural exfoliator:
Combine half of a cup of brown sugar, 2-3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2-3 tablespoons of Castor Oil, 2 tablespoons of sea salt, and just about a teaspoon of Jojoba Oil. (You don't need to measure everything out exactly, just eyeball it until all the brown sugar is nice a moistened by all the oils). Mix this all together & add water if needed. Use a few times a week or whenever you feel the need to exfoliate.
A Few Misc. Notes:
- Typically you should only need to do this once a day at night. No need to deep cleanse in the morning if you're waking up with skin cleansed the night before. You may not even do it every night. You don't want to over cleanse & cause more oil production & irritation...remember the objective of all this is to clean while balancing your skin's oil production at the same time. If you don't do it every night, on the nights off, please don't use a cleanser with chemicals & unknown ingredients...just stick to some other all-natural cleanser so your skin doesn't get totally confused & irritated.
- This takes time! Any major change in a skincare regimen will at first irritate your skin. When I first started this I broke out pretty bad around my chin, but I added in a little more Jojoba & after 1-2 weeks it will clear and work the way it is supposed to. If it doesn't seem to be working for you don't give up! Just alter your ingredients or amounts and you will find it was well worth the transition time and trial & error.
- You may find you don't need moisturize as much or as often as you used to.
- The only oil you really want to stay away from is Coconut Oil, it tends to cause blackheads by clogging pores.
- If you're not up for starting the Oil Cleansing Method just yet, or have tried it but just don't love it, I would still highly recommend using all-natural skincare products & make-up. WATCH THIS VIDEO!!!!