What is Oil Cleansing?
When people first hear of cleansing their face with oil they can be rather skeptical. “Wait, you mean putting more oil onto my skin won’t clog my pores and make me break out?” Nope, not if you’re using the right type of oils for your skin. The basic idea of oil cleansing is to use natural oils that are suited to your skin type, to gently cleanse the skin and help regulate the skin’s own oil production.
The idea is based on the chemistry principle that “like dissolves like”, or in this case, oil dissolves oil. When you massage oil into your skin, it dissolves the oil that has already hardened and found itself stuck inside your pores. When removing the oil, the steam from a warm washcloth will open your pores. This allows the oil, dirt & bacteria to be easily removed. Cleansing oils are also highly effective at removing oil-based makeup.
Traditional soap or foaming cleansers can irritate the skin, cause dryness or tightness after washing, worsen acne, and lead to the skin overproducing oil, hence oilier skin. Using a cleansing oil instead of these types of cleansers can actually help protect the natural lipid layer of the skin (the acid mantle), and support a skin PH balance that helps to heal acne and nourish your skin. Anyone with oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads, and mild to moderate acne can benefit from cleansing with oil.
So, What Do You Need To Start?
- A cleansing oil formulated with a blend of oils specifically suited to your skin type. This is very important as different oils work more efficiently with different skin types. Using the wrong types of oil for your skin can result in clogged pores and more breakouts.
- A soft washcloth + warm water to remove the oil/dirt/bacteria/makeup after cleansing. Microfiber washcloths work well.
How To Wash Your Face With A Cleansing Oil
- Put 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of cleansing oil into the palm of your hand and rub into DRY skin (don’t wet your skin first). Using smooth circular strokes, gently massage the oil into your skin for 1 minute. Massaging like this will help to break up sebum, blackheads, dirt, excess makeup, and any other impurities on the surface of the skin and within the pores.
(Note: if you wear a lot of make-up, I would recommend wiping most of your make-up off first using a cotton pad with a few drops of cleansing oil or facial tonic. You could also use a gentle, unscented make-up remover wipe).
- Hold a clean washcloth under warm water and squeeze out the excess. Open it and place over your face to create steam that will help dissolve the oils within your pores. Leave on for 10-15 seconds, pressing the cloth lightly into your face. Use the other side of the washcloth to gently wipe away and remove any remaining oil. (Make sure to remove oil from around the hairline and neckline too!).
- Liberally spritz your skin with a hydrating facial tonic to rehydrate the skin and to restore the skin PH (skin thrives at a PH of approx. 5.3).
- While your skin is still damp and dewy, apply 1-2 drops of face oil to your fingertips and gently pat into the skin. This helps to further nourish the skin and seal moisture in.
(Note: if you’re applying other serums/moisturizers do this before your face oil or mix them together and apply).
How Often Should You Use Your Cleansing Oil?
I recommend once a day, at night time in order to remove the day’s sweat, pollution, makeup, and other impurities from your skin. In the morning, you can simply splash your face with warm water or use a gentle cleanser.
If you’re experiencing an increase in breakouts (especially after 2-3 weeks of oil cleansing) you may need to switch to every second day, change the oils you are using, or stop oil cleansing altogether. Everyone’s skin is different!
If you’re experiencing consistent skin problems, there’s a chance it could be hormonal. To learn more about how hormones affect skin health, Dr. Bronwyn Stroschuck breaks it down here.