Coconut oil is a staple in the home of almost every naturalista and health conscious individual I know. This creamy goodness has crept into our hearts, keeping our tresses moisturized, our skin baby soft, and our cuticles flawless year after year. With over 100 different health, body, and beauty uses, there is no denying the power of coconut oil.
On average, I use it for all of the following essential routines:
Moisturizing my hair
Deep conditioning my hair
Moisturizing my body
Nail cuticle maintenance
Make no mistake. This abbreviated list doesn't even come close to capturing all of the potential uses for coconut oil (For a further exhaustive list, see Wellness Mama's 101 Uses for Coconut Oil).
Today, I'm narrowing the focus a bit to discuss a coconut oil technique that I've been using more increasingly in recent months: Oil Cleansing.
What is Oil Cleansing?
I'll be the first to admit that I was highly apprehensive about the idea of using oil to cleanse my face. When I first heard the suggestion, I thought it was absolutely foolish. I have combination skin, and typically get oily in my t-zone area throughout the day, so the idea of adding more oil to that equation just seemed counter intuitive. However, upon further examination of the logic behind the process, using natural oils to cleanse the skin makes perfect sense, particularly for oily skin types.
The underlying science of oil cleansing is consistent with one of the most fundamental principles of chemistry: "like dissolves like". The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition, i.e. another oil. Using the proper natural oils allows you to cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally and effectively, while replacing the impure oils with beneficial ones. Utilizing oils extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables, and fruits can heal and nourish your skin. The natural oils used to cleanse your skin will dissolved the oil that has hardened with impurities lodged inside your pores. The subsequent steam that you apply to your face will open up the pores, allowing the oil to be extracted. The result is nourished and moisturized skin, without the use of harsh over the counter cleansers that are laden with harmful chemicals.
Implementing quality natural oils into your skincare regimen prevents your skin from overcompensating in excessive oil production, which can lead to increased breakouts. Oil cleansing can prevent ongoing skin imbalances such as oily skin, dry skin, whiteheads, blackheads, and mild acne. Keep in mind that everyone responds differently to certain regimens. Great skincare is all about exploring what works best for your specific skin type. Many people that haven't used oil cleansing before undergo a period of adjustment, during which they may experience increased breakouts. This is a natural reaction that results from the skin detoxing while impurities are being extracted. Typically after a few weeks, the skin balances out and will appear clear, hydrated, and refreshed.
Let's Begin Cleansing!
Here's What You'll Need:
If you are new to oil cleansing, it may take some time to determine the specific oil or blend that works best for your skin. Currently, I'm using a blend of coconut oil and olive oil. A few of my friends use olive oil only. Feel free to test the waters and explore which oils or combinations work for you. Depending on your skin type, the following oil blends are recommended:
- Oily Skin: 1/3 Castor Oil or Hazelnut Oil and 2/3 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
- Combination Skin: 1/4 Castor or Hazelnut Oil and 3/4 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
- Dry Skin: All nourishing oils like olive oil, or a very small amount of Castor/Hazelnut Oil added to the nourishing oils.
Test out these combinations in small portions and adjust as needed once you determine your desired blend.
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Beginning with dry skin, pour a quarter size amount of your oil blend into the palm of your hand
- Using your finger tips, massage the oil gently all over your face, using circular motions.
- Massage for 1-2 minutes, allowing the oil to thoroughly saturate your skin. You can even leave the oil on the skin for up to 5-7 minutes to deep clean your pores.
- Soak a cloth in very hot temperature water and quickly wring it out. Open up the cloth and place it directly over your face. This will create steam against your skin to remove the oils and any impurities. Let the wash cloth sit on your skin for about a minute.
- Repeat step 5, 1-2 more times or as needed to remove excess oil.
- Typically, no moisturizer is needed following the treatment. There will still be a thin layer of oil remaining on the skin. This is beneficial and will absorb gradually.
- It normally takes about a week for most skin types to adjust to the oil cleansing method. It is normal to notice oily skin or small breakouts during this period, as the skin is ridding itself of impurities.
- Try to avoid using harsh soaps or facial cleansers during this time, so as not to disrupt the skin's natural adjustment period.
- It's okay to take your time experimenting with various oils until you find the right combination for you. Good skincare requires patience and taking time to understand how your skin reacts under certain conditions.