I’m a big fan of using oils in my skincare routine, and one of my favourite ways to use them is oil cleansing. If you’re not a convert yet, this guide might change your mind!
What is it?
Oil cleansing is a alternative to regular cleansing. It’s not going to get rid of your toxins, it’s not going to empty your pores in one go – but it might be the answer to your cleansing woes!
Why should I oil cleanse?
If you’re having problems with make-up removal, if your skin’s dehydrated or dry, or if you can’t find a good cleanser, oil cleansing might work for you! Here are the benefits:
- Doesn’t strip the skin – you won’t remove too much oil if you’re using oil!
- Removes make-up more efficiently than most cleansers – since make-up is usually oil-based, and like dissolves like, oil will move the most stubborn face paints.
- Can help dissolve gunk in your pores – again, like dissolves like and gunk in your pores is oily.
How do I oil cleanse?
I know a lot of people who are put off by how complex oil cleansing sounds, but I assure you it can be done simply!
Here’s what you do:
- Buy some oil (see below for suggestions)
- Pour it into your hand
- Dab it on your face
- Rub it around
- Wipe it off with a warm towel
- Follow up with your regular cleanser
To make it even easier, you can do it before you shower, and replace Step 5 with a quick rinse under the shower.
If you’re wearing very light make-up, or none at all, you can skip the follow-up cleanser. If you’re not sure whether you need extra cleansing, put some toner on a cotton pad and wipe it over your face to check for traces of leftover make-up.
What oils do I use?
Some oils are known for being on the top of most “comedogenic oils” lists, but those lists aren’t very scientifically valid (the data is old, and the tests are generally performed on rabbit ears, so the results aren’t necessarily transferrable to humans). The safest way to proceed is to start with something that most people find unproblematic, then once you’ve got the hang of it, you can experiment with using more exotic oils.
Some good starter oils:
Mineral oil – This is stable and hence unlikely to cause breakouts. People with sensitive skin will want to avoid mineral oil with fragrance. You can use baby oil from the supermarket – if you’re in the US, you can try Snow River Wood Oil which is good value and additive-free. Try to find mineral oil without vitamin E, which breaks some people out.
Sunflower and grapeseed oils – These are my favourite oil recommendations for oil cleansing, because they’re lightweight and easy to find at the supermarket. They’re also less occlusive than mineral oil, so you’ll find that any treatments you put on top will be absorbed more easily.
Oils I would avoid at the beginning: olive oil (frequently adulterated and may irritate sensitive skin), coconut oil (high melting point means it’s one of the more comedogenic oils)
I’ll be posting more info on different oils for skincare soon…
Oil mixes – Some people mix their own oils for oil cleansing, to get the advantages of more than one oil, or to make a more expensive oil (argan, rosehip etc) go further. You can also add surfactant (emulsifier) to the oil to turn it into a cleansing oil, so that it’ll come off cleanly and you can skip the cleanser step. Once you’ve settled in with oil cleansing, you can do some research and go nuts experimenting!
Massaging – Some people massage their face for longer when rubbing the oil around. It can help dislodge clogs and feels really relaxing, but be cautious, since too much rubbing and tugging can irritate your skin (think redness and broken capillaries!).
Now go forth and get yourself some good skin!