If you’ve been reading for awhile, you might remember that I don’t wash my face. Or rather, that I do, but with a brush and infrequently and without the help of any suds. In college I first noticed the miracle that was leaving not-so-great alone. My perenially problem skin was worlds happier when it wasn’t being stripped of its natural oils. Problem skin? More like problem cleanser. Because I was never in the habit of wearing a lot of makeup, a splash of cool water at night was all that I needed. My skin cleared up practically overnight.
More recently—maybe because I’m officially on the other side of thirty, or because I’ve taken to occassionally wearing a bit of color on my face—I’ve been deigning to wash my face. With oil. I’ve come to relish the feeling of going to sleep with a freshly cleaned and oiled face. Cleaning with oil, it turns out, is a lovely and not at all gross thing to do.
Fair warning: the first time I cleaned my face with oil, I was disappointed. It was several years ago and I had just come home from an evening spent chatting about natural beauty. Armed with a jar of new coconut oil, I poured a palm-sized portion into my hand and slathered it on my face. The process was slimy. Rinsing it off was near to impossible. I felt greasy and slick for hours afterward. I swore off oil cleansing and didn’t look back until everyone and their mother began to exclaim about cleaning with oils at which point, I gave it a second shot. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Do It Yourself:
There’s hardly a need to look beyond your kitchen cabinet when it comes to cleansing with oil. Stick to low-comedogenic oils like evening primrose, sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, and, if the kitchen is indeed the place you want to turn: olive or coconut oil can both do the trick (though they’re slightly less comedogenic than the others listed here). If you want to get a little bit fancier, you can also blend several of these oils together.
Have Someone Else Do It For You:
Here’s the beauty of cleansing with oil: If you want something a little fancier than what you use to roast your vegetables, can use the same oil that you use to moisturize your skin to clean it. (Here’s my post on those.) In case you’d rather opt for something specially formulated for deep cleaning, here are a few options:
One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil*: This stuff smells and feels really great. I’ve used this cleansing oil before bed and followed by their Love Springs Eternal Oil for an especially decadent evening ritual. These guys do include fragrance, should that be something you like to avoid.
Beauty Counter Nourishing Cleansing Balm*: My friend Hadley sent me a sample of this cleanser last winter and it was really effective, especially for getting off any lingering mascara. It’s a bit more complex than some of the simplest cleansers out there. Fragrance-free, but with a lovely scent all the same.
SW Basics Cleanser*: If you know that oil’s not right for you, this super simple vegetable glycerin-based cleanser is another really nice option. It leaves your skin feeling clean, but never dry. Also: rosewater.
Rose and Chamomile Cleansing Nectar: Another non-oil cleansing option comes from RMTL sponsor, Marble and Milkweed. This vegetable glycerin-based cleanser is scented with hardworking rose and chamomile.
If you’re looking for eye-specific cleanser, I’ve recently tested the We Love Eyes Tea Tree Makeup Remover Oil* and the SW Basics Makeup Remover* and have had great luck with both. They’re both made from super simple blends of three oils (and could also be swapped in to clean the rest of your face, if you’re willing to go through a tiny bottle quickly.) In my experience, less is definitely more around the eyes. Oil-based eye makeup removers can get my eyes feeling gloopy if I’m not careful. I like to use a small amount on a cotton swab to avoid blinking through an oily haze all day.
How To Use It:
Okay. But how do you clean with oil? The best way to cleanse with oils is to apply a small amount of oil (I never use more than a nickel-sized amount) to your hands and massage into your face, giving it time to settle into your pores. Admire yourself in the mirror and then run a washcloth under warm water and use it to remove excess oil, gently wiping it away. I like to lay the entire warm washcloth over my for face for a few seconds, letting it steam up, facial style. You might feel a slight film on your skin afterwards, but if you use your oil sparingly you’ll probably just feel a healthy emollience that’s helping to nourish and moisturize.
Oil cleansing removes makeup, so you shouldn’t need to use any other makeup removers before or after.
If your skin feels a bit tight, you can dab a few drops of that same oil blend onto your skin when you are done cleaning your face.
(And, YES, in case you’ve begun to wonder, a single bottle of sweet almond oil or jojoba oil might very well be used to clean your face, moisturize your face, and moisturize your body. The rest is just icing. Ah, simplicity!)
Disclosure: I am sometimes sent beauty products to review for this series. When I love them and think you might too, I write about them. Items that were sent to me for review are marked with an asterik. All opinions are my own.
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