A few weeks ago, I noticed (okay, was obsessing over) how long it was taking my skin to recover from traveling and stress. My face was dry, irritated, spotty, and lacking luster. In the past, I’ve made many a promise to myself to begin or end a particular habit, such as “I will never pick at my face again!” (Still working on that one). This time around, I had the same impulse to make a mini-resolution. Thanks to a conversation I had with a lovely friend of mine, I got the idea to do an “experiment” instead.
Thus I began the experiment, The Effects of Super, Loving Gentleness on Weary Skin.
I had been using a fairly mild soap to wash my face, but I asked myself, what is the most gentle, nourishing product in my bathroom? Two things came to mind: my jar of coconut oil (i.e. my body lotion) and Intelligent Nutrients’ Pure Luxe Harmonic Conditioner, which promises “extreme nourishment to damaged and dry hair.” Enter my new facial cleanser alternatives!
Coconut oil. In the evenings, I now use coconut oil to remove makeup and wash my face. To my teenage-self who avoided oil on my skin at all costs, this would sound insane, but, as it turns out, organic, unrefined oil is your anti-blackhead friend. (Pick your potion here: olive, argan, jojoba, and sweet almond oils work great, as well. The only oil we want to stay away from is mineral oil—think baby oil). I’d read about using oil as a facial cleanser before, but I’d never managed to incorporate into my routine. I now understand why others love it so much. It balances my skin like nothing I’ve tried before: my skin feels dewier and less flaky, and I haven’t been experiencing as much T-zone oiliness lately. This method is called “Double Cleansing,” or simply, “the Oil Cleansing Method.”
How to: With a small dollop of oil, use your fingers to massage your face in downward circles. When I’m wearing eye makeup, I usually dab oil on my eyelashes and let it sit while I massage the rest of my face. This seems to help soften mascara, making it easier to gentle swipe off with a cotton round dipped in eye makeup remover. Finally, use a gentle cleanser or damp washcloth to rinse off the excess oil. Moisturize as necessary—usually I just pat on fresh oil.
PureLuxe Conditioner. I adore Intelligent Nutrients. This company is committed to providing safe, effective, environmentally friendly vegan products. These products have a “high-end” feel without synthetic fragrances, silicones, or sulfates that are found in most luxury (and non-luxury) products. PureLuxe Conditioner’s anti-oxidant rich formula contains pumpkin seed oil, raspberry seed oil, and grape seed oil.
To wash my face, I use a dime-size amount of conditioner and massage it onto my face just as you would any old soap. The conditioner does not foam, which is a good thing—soaps that foam tend to strip away too much of skin’s natural oils in my experience. I use this alone or with a damp washcloth. It leaves my skin feeling soft, and the scent of ylang-ylang and lemongrass is very comforting.
I love my new skin routine, but the following is probably my favorite finding of the experiment: while actively being gentler to my skin, my inner-dialogue took on a gentler tone as well. In particular, I was kinder to myself when I looked in the mirror, and I was more patient with my skin. We often hear the saying, thoughts lead to actions, but it’s also true that habitual actions can adjust our thought patterns. What experiments will you be trying?
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Photos: Sarah Nitt via Flickr; Muffet via Flickr, Nature’s Way, Intelligent Nutrients