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Oil Cleansing: Why Would You Want to Do That?

Oil Cleansing: Why Would You Want to Do That?

For the most part, we are a culture obsessed with personal cleanliness; we have shelves brimming with soaps, shampoos, deodorants, cleansers, anti-bacterial wipes and a host of other products to keep us fresh and sparkling.

But what if we have it all wrong?

The last few years have seen more and more people stepping away from the soapy things; we’ve begun shunning shampoo and giving the cold shoulder to showers.

And now, even face soap – one of the most sacred weapons in the beauty routine arsenal – is being ditched by a legion of reformed women who have turned to cleaning their faces with oil.

Yes, oil.

Why would someone clean their face with the very thing they are trying to remove from their face? Well, there are plenty of reasons, and they make perfect sense, as crazy as it may sound. Consider the following:

It actually cleans your skin
Dr. Heather Rogers, a Seattle dermatologist, told that scientifically speaking, the oil cleansing method (OCM to those in the know) is logical.

“The concept is that like dissolves like,” she said. “If you put oil onto your skin, it will then combine with the oils that are layered on your skin. … It will also cut through some of the dirt, and the grease.”

Many OCM adherents use a mix of castor oil with another type of oil; and as it turns out, castor oil is close to a surfactant, an important substance in soaps. “Castor oil, it’s actually closer to a surfactant than the other oils,” Rogers said. In castor oil, she explains, “there’s a part that likes oil, so it connects to the oil on your skin, and there’s a part that likes water, so it allows the oils to be carried away by the water.”

It moisturizes
While soap strips away the natural oils in your skin and can lead to dryness, oil doesn’t, leaving skin quenched and potentially alleviating your need to apply moisturizer.

It can clear up acne
For many people, cleansing with oil works to clear acne. A post on notes that most commercial facial cleansers and toners use chemicals to strip the skin’s oil, an action that irritates the skin and causes it to produce more oil as a result. “When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne — while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized,” says the site.

It’s potentially better for your health
Do you need to be slathering your face with petroleum distillates, parabens, sodium laurel sulfates and synthetic fragrances? If you select cold-pressed or expeller-pressed organic oils, you will be treating your face to sumptuous natural products that are better for your body and, depending on the oils you use, easier on your wallet.

It’s better for the planet
Soaps with triclosan and other chemicals end up going down the drain … and then find their way to aquatic habitats. In rivers and streams, these chemicals are thought to affect how fish mate and spawn, scientists warn, even when the substances are not present at levels high enough to cause visible damage.

You’ll glow
Although it might take a few weeks for your skin to adjust, most OCM advocates testify to softer skin and a big boost in the radiance department.

It’s easy
No need to pre-clean your skin, just give it a quick rinse with warm water. Pour some oil in your hand and rub it gently all over your face. Massage for two minutes and then let sit for 30 seconds. Soak a washcloth in hot water and cover your face with it; leave it there for 15 seconds or so, then begin to wipe the oil away. Rinse the washcloth and repeat until the oil is gone.

You get to make custom blends
Because who doesn’t like to play scientist from time to time? Unlike pre-made commercial products, you can customize the oils you use. You can start with castor oil for its surfactant-like properties and its low cost, but it can be drying so other oils can be added. Crunchy Betty, the blog that has become the go-to place for all things OCM, recommends the addition of the following oils:

Jojoba: all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin
Sweet almond: all skin types, especially oily
Grapeseed: all skin types, especially oily
Avocado: dry and aging skin
Sunflower seed: all skin types
Apricot kernel: dry, aging and normal skin
Argan: all skin types, especially aging skin

Plus, you can add a few drops of pure essential oil for an extra kick. And note: while coconut oil is truly a wonder, it is a comedogenic and may block pores, so it may be best to skip this one for cleansing.

Photo: ORLIO/Shutterstock

For more from MNN on incorporating oils into your beauty practice:

5 ways to use healthy oils for skincare
5 simple, cost-saving ways I use coconut oil in my beauty routines
What is oil pulling?

Read more: General Health, Health, Oral Care, , , , , , ,

article by Melissa Breyer

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Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally – all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.


+ add your own
5:10AM PDT on Mar 28, 2014

Thank you

11:26PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

cool :)

7:26PM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

These do make a difference!

2:34PM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

So, the old Romans were on to something!

3:39AM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

For the good of the human and their environment

6:54PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

thanks I wonder how well it works with a beard?

8:38AM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

i buy my cleansing oil concoction from a stay at home mom making homemade products. I don't know exactly what combination she uses, but this is the best makeup remover/cleansing product ever! one difference i noted was that i use the oil on a dry face with dry hands. wish i knew this info back when i was in my teens and did the most damage to my complexion.

3:59AM PDT on Mar 20, 2014


7:36PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Thank you!

3:54PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Have used oily soaps before. They are wonderful for the complexion.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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