Also, what we put on our skin is only a part of what determines how healthy our skin is. What we put into our bodies contributes, too. For instance, as I mentioned when I kicked off this series, I had terrible, hormonal, cystic acne when I was a teenager. I'm still battling my hormones, but my skin is so much better. In addition to my skin care routine, I have learned that hormones are directly tied to insulin, which is directly tied to refined carbs and gluten. That's why I've had to go gluten free - to help balance my hormones. But, for the purpose of this series I'm simply sticking to skin care. I make no claims to know everything there is about this subject. I'm just a chick who has battled with acne, dry skin and a tight budget. Plus, I'd really like to not look like "Leather Head". :0) I am in a continual process of learning about health and skin care. I read about it. A lot. And, I use myself as a guinea pig. I simply want to share some things that I have personally found to be of virtue. So, with no further adieu, we are moving from toners on to cleansers. Ready? This one really sounds wacky...
THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD (OCM)
I know, we're taught not to put oil on our faces. It clogs our pores and causes break-outs. Right? Oh, so wrong! Here's why: Our bodies make oil, fact of life. It isn't some sinister scheme to cause 'pizza face' and load us with embarrassment and shame. Our skin makes oil for a much grander, benevolent purpose - it heals, protects and moisturizes the skin so it functions properly. Properly functioning skin is healthy, beautiful skin. When we strip away the natural oils with harsh cleansers and chemicals, the skin goes into red alert mode and begins producing MORE oil to make up for what it lost. It puts us into a cycle of having tight, dry skin then to something you could fry an egg on if the sun was high enough in the sky. That approach is really counter-intuitive. So, our goal is to learn to work with our skin and stop fighting it. "And, just how are we going to do this?", you might ask? Drum roll please...
By using the oil cleansing method. Oil actually dissolves oil. We are actually going to use 2 different oils for this. The first is Castor oil. Yes, the stuff your grandparents or parents have nightmares about ingesting. I have 2 different bottles (I forgot I had already bought a back-up.). One says it's for cosmetic use and flannel packs and the other says it's a stimulant laxative. But, really it's just different marketing 'cause they're exactly the same. Buy whatever you can get your mitts on.
Castor oil is anti-inflammatory (pimples anyone?) and has wonderful healing and cleansing properties. It travels deep into the pores to lift dirt, make-up and grime to the surface where it can be wiped away. Castor oil is a thicker oil and can be drying if too much is used. For both of these reasons we need to blend it with a carrier oil. A 4 oz. bottle of Castor oil should be under $5 and will last a long time.
I have used both extra virgin olive oil and grapeseed oil as my secondary oil. Other recommended choices include sunflower seed oil and coconut oil. I don't have experience with either of these oils and would personally stay away from coconut oil in this instance because it becomes solid at room temperature. To me it's easier to keep it in liquid form. Anyway...Not only does the carrier oil help to transport the Castor oil deep into your pores, it has essential fatty acids which is needed in cell membranes and helps to restore moisture and prevent dryness. You probably have one of these oils in your cabinet right now, so your out-of-pocket cost would be nada. Otherwise, go get yourself a bottle of EVOO from the dollar store. It won't cost much and I promise, we're going to use the snot out of it. :0)
The ratio of Castor oil to carrier oil depends on your skin type. If you tend to have dry skin like I do, use more of your carrier oil. If you have more oily skin, use more Castor oil. A good rule of thumb is as follows:
Dry Skin: 10% Castor oil to 90% carrier oil
Normal Skin: 20% Castor oil to 80% carrier oil
Oily Skin: 30% Castor oil to 70% carrier oil
I have even seen some recipes for a 50/50 blend of the two oils. This isn't rocket science. There's no need to get out the weights and measures. Just eye-ball it. If you think the mix isn't right after using it, add more of one of the oils.
I used to keep my cleansing oil blend in a small jar that I would just shake up and stick my fingers in to use. Now, I have it in this old Rosewater bottle with a flip lid. It really doesn't matter what you use so long as it's easy for you to use. If you make it difficult you won't do it. I saw the little sample bottles with these type of lids this weekend for $1 at the superstore and 2 for $1 at the dollar store. I just chose to use what I had on hand.
Now that you have your supplies bought and assembled, you need to know what to do with them. It's easy peasy. You can take off your eye make-up first if you like, but it's not necessary 'cause this stuff right here will do the job.
Pour about a quarter sized amount of your oil cleanser into your hand and massage into your dry face. Take a minute or two and massage it in really well, concentrating on your problem areas. You want to give it every opportunity to get deep down in those pores to dissolve the yuckies. :0) While you're doing this heat a wash cloth under hot running tap water.
Once you have sufficiently massaged the oil into your skin, wring out the hot wash cloth and lay over your face until it cools. I usually do this twice. This allows the steam from the wash cloth to open up your pores so the impurities can be wiped away.
After your cloth has cooled, you simply use it to wipe away the dirt and oil. That's it. You can now apply toner and moisturizer if you like.
A COUPLE OF NOTES:
I did this to my husband after he had just stepped out of the shower. He was blown away by the amount of dirt that came out of his pores even after just washing his face.
I usually do this in the mornings or as I'm stepping into the shower. I can rinse my hair and steam my face at the same time.
If you do this before bed, you shouldn't need to wash your face in the morning. A splash of cold water on the face will do the trick.
Don't feel like you have to do this every day. A few times a week when you think of it will wonders.
For more information on the OCM see www.theoilcleansingmethod.com.
Go here to view other posts in this series.
So, what do you think? Have you ever tried the OCM? Would you give it a shot for healthier, more balanced skin?
Join me tomorrow for another easy cleansing method!