Oil cleansing was one of those things that a few years ago would have made me say ‘pfffffft,’ along with menstrual cups, veganism and running a marathon. Firstly, I didn’t understand them and secondly, I thought they were things for other people to do, not me. Fast forward a few years and I’m in love with my menstrual cup, I’m a very happy and healthy vegan eating non-boring food, and a 2-time marathon runner.
Oil cleansing seemed absurd to me because I have combination skin, so super dry in parts and horribly greasy in others. I stumbled upon the oil cleansing method during my quest to reduce the amount of skincare and beauty products I owned. It was starting to bug me that I seemed to have a different product for each part of my body. Heck, I even had different skincare products for different seasons and different times of my menstrual cycle. It was breaking my bank account and taking over my bathroom cabinet. I started to read all these testimonials about coconut oil being amazing for ‘everything’ from makeup remover to fungal infections. It seemed like the perfect solution to my problem. But cleaning my face with it?? Really? Isn’t it just adding oil to my already oily face? The more I read, the more it seemed to be that…. oil dissolves oil??????? So a kind of ‘spread love and you’ll receive love’ attitude? I was positively unconvinced.
So how is it that I’m reading all these bloggers giving tried and tested advice, recipes and before and after photos of their skin since using the oil cleansing method, but also reading dermatologists…..skin experts, saying the total opposite? I struggled to accept the word of these random people over that of people who studied skin and made it their profession. On the other hand, it did solve my issue of wanting to use less skincare products…It also started to make sense to me. As I was reading more about it, I discovered that you essentially schlep out the impurities from your skin with the oil by steaming your pores open with a hot washcloth, massaging your skin and wipe iT all off afTer. Hmmm, ok.
At this point in my life, I was also on a slow but meaningful journey towards a life without plastic. And what were all my billions of skincare products packaged in? Plastic of course. Okay, so at the very least, this oil cleansing method would solve two out of the three issues I had with skincare: less products & less plastic. The third issue—my skin—would just have to deal with it for now. So I bought some nice organic coconut oil and figured if it doesn’t work, I can cook with it and use it for hair treatments. I read a lot of recipes along the way that combined the coconut oil with other oils, but as I was really trying to keep it simple, I stuck with coconut only. [Editor’s note: If you have a known sensitivity to coconut oil, which is a comedogenic oil, you may want to try one of these non-comedogenic oils to prevent breakouts.]
I had read a few people commenting that your skin will go through a transition period once you start oil cleansing and your skin adjusts. But they all seemed adamant that it was worth it in the end. Well, it turns out they were right on both counts. My skin most certainly went through a transition period that included awful breakouts that would appear out of what felt like nowhere. Thankfully, it only lasted a few days.
From everything that I have read and my journey of tweaking my oil cleansing method, this is now my regime and if I am not lazy and do this morning and night, I honestly have the best skin I’ve ever had in my life.
- Put a washcloth either under a running hot tap or in a sink full of hot water. It does need to be pretty hot to get the best results, but of course not so hot that it can burn the skin. Test the water temperature before you put it directly on your face!
- Massage an almond-size amount of coconut oil onto your face. And I mean really get in there.
- I like to lift up the washcloth so it hangs below my face and use the steam that rises from it to steam my face for about 10 seconds, or until I no longer see steam. At this point, you should feel your pores opening.
- Next, I lay the washcloth on my face, if it has cooled down a lot I will wet it again with hot water. Leave it on your face until the temperature cools and then start to gently scrub your face with the washcloth using small circular motions. I repeat gently! At this point I will usually rinse and repeat with the hot washcloth.
- Finally, I end with some full-face splashes of very cold water which is my sorry attempt at the Wim Hof Method!
I’ve been doing the oil cleansing method for a few years now but here are some things I noticed almost immediately:
- My skin stayed hydrated all day. This was a revelation for me! Before, I couldn’t go anywhere without having moisturizer in my bag. I frequently had that tight, “if I frown or smile my face is going to crack” feeling, while still having an immensely greasy t-zone.
- My complexion was brighter and my skin tone more even. I had always had a relatively average complexion, neither terrible nor glowing, but since doing oil cleansing, it just seemed brighter somehow and the dry patches I previously had, especially in winter, were a thing of the past.
- My skin was less sensitive and more consistently balanced. It wasn’t so susceptible to changes anymore, either external or internal. Previously, things like the weather (specifically cold or dry air), air conditioning and hormone changes would show on my face almost immediately.
So like menstrual cups, veganism, and marathon running, I’m officially a convert!