Oil, you say? I've heard of putting oil on my body, or even on my hair, but isn't putting oil on my face kind of gross?
And I already have oily skin as it is - won't this make it worse?
Cleansing with oil sounds messy and complicated!
Even if I do decide to do it, what type of oil should I use? I've heard that essential oils should be diluted and that you need to be careful with putting them on your face...
Time to debunk the myths, explain the method, choose your oil, and enjoy the effects.
It sounds counterproductive, but putting oil onto already oily skin will actually do some good. The skin overproduces oil when the body thinks (rightly or wrongly) that it is undernourished. By letting it know that actually, it has enough (thanks to the natural oils you are putting on your face!) the skin scales its production of your body's natural oils right back to ultimately create a more balanced complexion. Naturally, the oil cleansing method also helps to hydrate dry, mature and combination skin types too.
So what is the method itself? Sometimes when you read about it online, it can sound overly complicated, but in the end you only need two steps:
1. Put oil onto your face. The easiest way of doing this is by putting the oil into a pump-action bottle (just clean the tube regularly with hot water to stop it from getting clogged) and pushing the pump down once to get enough oil out. If you are using a pot or bottle, you can always scoop with a spatula or pour (carefully!) into your hands before massaging the oil onto your face. (Got more oil than you need? Doesn't matter! Massage into your hands, neck, decolleté and arms too - you should moisturise everywhere anyway for maximum anti-ageing benefits.) The massaging action itself has benefits in terms of, say, your circulation - but what you really want to happen is for the oil to break down dirt, grime and makeup.
2. Wipe the oil off your face using a tissue or cotton pad. I normally go round twice, wiping with both sides of the cotton pad. Don't worry about getting off every last trace - part of the advantage of cleansing with oil is that the oil also serves as a moisturiser once you've wiped off any dirt that's accumulated during the day.
If I've been wearing makeup, I usually do this twice - once to get rid of the makeup and once to cleanse my face properly.
So what type of oil should you use for all of this? It's true that essential oils are highly concentrated and you need to be careful with them - so don't do anything silly like putting neat tea tree oil all over your face. However, you can also mix oils - so do feel free to put a few drops of any essential oil that helps you (e.g. lavender for sleep, or eucalyptus for healing) into your base oil. But what should this base oil be? Some of the most commonly-used are listed below:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Jojoba oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Argan oil
- Rosehip oil
Of course the oil can also be used as a hair mask and body moisturiser, so no matter what oil you use, it's a great multi-purpose product.
Obviously some of these oils will cost more than others, some will be more easily available than others, and some will work better for you than others (so do tinker with the type and balance of oils, as well as the frequency of use, before abandoning the idea completely). So it's a trial and error process - and if all else fails, make sure you've chosen a food grade/organic oil so that you can at least cook with it.
If you don't fancy making your own bespoke mixture, lots of facial, hair and body oils already exist that you can buy straight off the shelf - ranging from the bargainous Miaroma (around £3 from Holland and Barrett) and Dove, to the luxurious MoroccanOil, Decléor and Jo Malone, via the midrange oils by Wella, Fushi, Weleda and the Body Shop.
Oil cleansing is a method I've only recently begun to try, and I'm seeing good results so far - so do give it a go if you're feeling at a loss! The starting point could be right there in your kitchen.