Thursday, December 3, 2015


Turns out, there's quite a bit of talk on this topic lately. What to do, what not to do, it can be confusing. So let's just be honest here, it doesn't matter. And by that I mean there is no right way, there is no wrong way, but there are a few key pieces of information. There is also a way that works for me and that is why I decided to post on it. I seem to be in the vast minority on how I go about it.

This is one change I've made in my skincare that made a significant difference, so I want to tell you my story and what I've learned, that way if you choose to try it and it works for you as well, hurrah! And if it doesn't, well then you know it doesn't work for you.

What is Oil Cleansing?

Just that, cleansing your face with oil instead of soap and water. I know some of you think that's downright crazy. No, cleansing with oil will not add more oil production to your skin or make you greasy. Yes, you are putting oil on your face and some of it may remain, but it's not going to change the nature of your skin for the worse. And if you have significantly dry skin, it is not making your skin "oilier", but it can prevent the stripping of oils your skin needs to maintain. Acne prone skin? Yes, you can truly benefit from this method as well! One, you're no longer over drying or using harsh products, which can cause further irritation. Two, your skin is likely overdry to begin with, I know most people think it's that their skin is too oily, but either way, adding an oil can really loosen up any gunk in your pores, calm current flare ups and rid of bacteria.

Replacing soap and water with an appropriate cleansing oil simply keeps the oils essential to retaining proper pH and hydration in place while also dissolving and removing dirt and bacteria from your skin. Like attracts like. An oil filled with good stuff can dissolve oil with the bad stuff. And yes, oils will remove even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup on the market. 

Why Not Use Water?

Because then we're back at square one. So many cleansing oils (even the ones pictured here) and articles on oil cleansing methods will prompt you to use a hot water soaked wash cloth or to then rinse with water. I don't even turn on the water, this is thanks to a great article by Josh Rosebrook. Read it through if you want to the good details, but basically oil and water DON'T mix, this we know from childhood. Adding water to your face or a wash cloth won't pull the dirt and oil off the skin, it just dilutes the process, leaving the grimy oil where it was to begin with. As Josh states, "Water works to clean dirt and oil when combined with soap. Without soap, water doesn't clean from the skin. So why are we using water with our oil cleanse when it's not needed." The cleansing oil grabs the dirty oil (sebum and toxins) and is whisked away with a dry cloth very effectively. Some will suggest "double cleansing" which is washing your face with soap and water following. I don't do this either. While it would definitely cleanse your skin fully, I feel it removes the crucial oils from my skin and could affect my pH levels.

What Oil to Use?

There are certainly plenty of options. You can go with a straight carrier oil (almond, avocado, castor) or an oil cleanser which is usually a combination of a few. I don't say food grade oils like Olive and Coconut Oil, though they may work seamlessly for you, they also are among the few that cause breakouts and reactions. It could be because Coconut Oil is comedogenic, and I'm not sure what it is about Olive, but if you're venturing into this new territory, these wouldn't be my first choice.

As a rule of thumb:

  • Acne Prone: Hazelnut and Sunflower
  • Oily to Combination: Sunflower, Grapeseed, Sweet Almond
  • Normal to Dry: Jojoba, Grapeseed, Apricot Kernel
  • Dry: Avocado or Apricot Kernel

Where's the Castor Oil? Well you can certainly use it, but in combination or with a carrier oil because, boy, can it extract. It's very effective, but solo or in large amounts it can be VERY drying. 

As you see above I'm currently using Aster & Bay Cleansing Oil No. 1 which combines Macadamia, Hazlenut, Sesame, Castor and essential oils. The oils are 100% cold pressed. Now, why this blend? The Macadamia has great anti aging properties and also isn't thick. The Hazelnut detoxifies, cleanses pores and imparts glow. Sesame is an old Ayurvedic secret packed with Vitamin E, while also known to heal acne and eczema. Castor oil, as we said, is an anti-inflammatory while also being anti bacterial and really effective and kicking dirt to the curb. The essential oils of Mandarin, Grapefruit and Lemon are highly effective toners.

I've also used Josh Rosebrook's Herbal Infusion, Province Apothecary, and Balanced Guru. You can also use Aura Cacia carrier oils or any other brand. Just make sure your oils are Organic and Cold or Expeller Pressed. Don't sacrifice quality here.

What To Do

Massage a pump or two of oil into the skin, working all the way around the face, loosening anything that needs to be lifted. I really enjoy this as a mini facial massage in an upward direction, which can also help tone facial muscles. Then take a DRY cloth and press and gently twist away the oil. You can use muslin which is a great gentle exfoliator or I like to use organic bamboo baby wash cloths. You'll be amazed at the makeup, dirt and grime on the cloth. Your skin should be soft, but not with noticeable lingering oil, so be sure to thoroughly get all oil off your skin in order to get all of the dirt and bacteria off your skin. 

Do I moisturize after?

I should mention that I only oil cleanse at night, well, because I don't wash my face in the mornings, only tone. You certainly could oil cleanse in the AM, but just so I'm making sense here. 

You may feel fully moisturized, or even a bit over moisturized if you aren't used to the process, but I do like to press additional targeted beauty serums into my skin. Odacite's Pure Elements skin boosters are an awesome choice for very specific skin concerns, Josh Rosebrook Deep Hydrating Serum is a gorgeous moisturizing treatment, May Lindstrom's The Youth Dew will have you waking with a glow (and less fine lines) and for problematic skin Kypris' Beauty Elixir II is very accommodating. I'm currently fawning over Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum, which is coming shortly in a new post. You could also use your current night cream or regimen product, but I find the beauty serums and oils meld really well after oil cleansing and leave me with the most gorgeous, clear, radiant skin upon waking. 

I've been oil cleansing about a year and I feel my skin retains moisture better, has less breakouts-freakouts-clogged pores, is more even in tone and just extremely fresh in appearance overall. I definitely feel like this is because I'm cleansing effectively without subtracting the oils my skin needs to thrive.

Do you oil cleanse? What is your method?


  1. I keep hearing about Josh's dry method recently - definitely going to give it a try! I like oil cleansing too, but I've always used a wet cloth to remove the oil. Curious to see how a dry one will compare! :)

  2. I keep hearing about Josh's dry method recently - definitely going to give it a try! I like oil cleansing too, but I've always used a wet cloth to remove the oil. Curious to see how a dry one will compare! :)

  3. This is quite interesting and I think I shall give it a go! I double cleanse since I wear makeup daily and use warm water to wet a mircrofiver cloth as traditionally done. I do it mostly in the shower though so trying this will be a big change!

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