Today, I will be talking about the famous oil cleansing method. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll give you a description anyway: the method is the process of removing impurities trapped in your skin using oil. I’ll admit, this concept isn’t exactly easy to wrap one’s head around — it almost seems counterintuitive. But we’re going to go over the basics and see where we get.
How it works:
The main reason many people are switching to oil cleansing is one that I have mentioned before. The purpose of most facial cleansers is to remove impurities by stripping your skin of its oil, but evidently, the problem is that the skin no longer has its natural oil supply. The idea is that it then tries to compensate by producing a great deal more oil, which ironically can lead to a buildup of bacteria and dead skin cells in the pores of our skin.
The oil cleansing method actually draws its science from a common chemistry rule that a solvent will dissolve a solute of the same polarity — the “like dissolve like” property. This, of course, applies to oil, so that you get “oil dissolves oil”. That’s also why washing your skin with just water doesn’t really work, since water is polar and oil is nonpolar. By using oil as a cleanser, you can dissolve the impurities clogging your pores into the oil you’ve just applied and easily wipe them away. But instead of drying out your pores, you’re just replacing the dirty oil with clean oil.
What you will need:
Castor oil, which comes from the quirky-looking beans of the castor plant that grows in tropical regions, is the most common oil used in facial cleansing because it has intense antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also, however, considerably drying in large amounts, and is therefore usually combined in small amounts with other oils. You can do this with sunflower oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil… The types of oils you use will depend on your skin type.
I’m going to highlight moringa oil because it’s a great option if you’re not sure which oil is best for your skin. Moringa oil has many benefits, including its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great cleansing oil, especially because it fights acne and blackheads. It is renowned for its incredibly light and soothing texture, and it also can be used on most skin types in combination with other oils because it doesn’t have the drying effects that other cleansing oils sometimes have. The trick is to figure out through trial and error with which carrier oil to combine moringa oil in order to maximize the benefits of oil cleansing.
Here are the steps to oil cleansing:
- Coat your skin with a small amount of your tailored oil potion and massage into the face with clean hands.
- Soak a washcloth in warm water and then use it to wipe off all of the oil on your face
Yep, it’s that easy.
Does it work?
The shorter answer:
It depends on your skin.
The longer answer:
Many people do swear this method works. And while I haven’t had the chance to experiment long-term with oil cleansing, I recently switched to using coconut oil as a makeup remover and was surprised to find that my skin was noticeably cleaner once everything was wiped away.* But we’ve also heard that for some, it’s best to stick with soapy facial cleansers, as oil cleansing can be too intense. The only way to satisfy your curiosity is to try it out, but I wouldn’t recommend it for people with extremely sensitive skin. Personally, I think that if it works on your skin type, the hydrating benefits are completely worth a shot.
* Sidenote for the inquisitive: Coconut oil does a good job of removing makeup but it also gets into your eyes and kind of clouds your vision for a little bit. I usually mix it with a more watery solution because it feels nicer and doesn’t get in the eyes as much.
What are your thoughts on and experiences with the oil cleansing method? Let us know in the comments!