Food Fo Yo' FACE - the oil cleansing method

If you're reading this, it's likely you've started to really look at what you eat - you try to eat whole fresh foods, you take care to read labels, and try not to eat anything you can't pronounce.  You watch what you put IN your body, but what about what you put ON your body? 

I started to check out labels on soaps, cleansers, lotions, make-up, and sunscreens a while ago. But to be honest, I ignored it. It was too much at the time. I like smelly-good things and girly products and, well, I just wasn't ready to face the facts. 

Does your Face #eatclean?

One of those facts being that your skin is the largest organ of your body. It creates a barrier against some pathogens and outside elements, but is also very absorbent - some studies show that skin can absorb up to 64% of what's applied to it topically. 

Cut to: me standing in the Sprouts body-care aisle for a total of 142 hours over the last few years trying to figure out which of the "natural" cleansers is the most "natural." Seriously a lot of hours.

And while I can't save you from the rabbit hole of freaking out about all your skin products, I can give you a few healthy options I've found to nourish your skin like you do your insides - with real ingredients!

Oil cleansing

...is based on the premise that the oil you apply will naturally dissolve the hardened oil and impurities in your pores, while maintaining a natural oil level on your skin to prevent your skin from over-producing. It sounds scary to those of us who were teenagers in the age of Clearasil and taught that oil is the enemy. But I've been testing out varying types of oils for the last few months and I can say that my skin felt better immediately, and is clearing up more than ever now that I've adjusted to the routine. 

DISCLAIMER - I am not an expert in this method; I've only been trying it for a few months. All skin types and exposures are different!  What works for me may not work as well for you, so be sure to pay close attention to the ratio of oils you use and the reaction of your skin. Be patient and experimental with what you try; it can take a few weeks for your skin to adjust. And check out more info on this topic at The Oil Cleansing Method, or all over good ol' Google!

As you choose carefully what oils you eat, choose oils for your skin in the same way. Most every oil cleansing tutorial out there suggests using castor oil for 20-30% of your mixture, and a base of your choice of another oil. In addition to this you can add a few drops of an essential oil to create a yummy smell. Here is a helpful chart from Holistic Homemaking:

A few tips from my experimenting:

- Castor oil is very drying, so adjust your ratio if you are feeling dry after cleansing. Or skip it! 

- Olive and coconut oil are delightful and luxurious for some, but are reported to be heavier and can cause breakouts for a select few. 

- I choose not to use sunflower or grapeseed oil - because I don't consider them real food oils for consumption either. Stay well away from cooking oils like safflower or canola. Bleck.

- Seek assistance/advice when adding essential oils (like lavender, tea-tree) since these are potent and can have other effects like keeping you awake, or sensitizing you to sunlight. 

- I'm currently experimenting with BONUS EXTRA oils like Argan (Moroccan oil), Evening Primrose oil, Borage Seed oil, and Tamanu oil. The jury is still out on whether these are worth the extra $. But they sound fancy. And I like that.

Here's my method:

(I've been doing this every evening before bed, and not washing other times during the day except a quick water rinse after sweating)

1. Wet a washcloth with very hot water, wring out, and place over your face to steam open your pores, for at least 30 seconds. 

2. Massage about 1/2 teaspoon of your oil blend into your face using upward circular motions for about 1-2 minutes.

3. Again wet  your washcloth under very hot water, wring out, and (using the opposite side as the first step) place over your face. You can chill out here if you are patient... relax, take some deep breaths... and when the washcloth cools a bit, wipe your face gently to remove the oil. 

4. You may want to repeat step 3, rinsing and repeating the steam/wipe step depending on your oil blend and how your face feels. 

5. Rinse your face with cool water to close the pores, and pat dry with a clean towel. No need for moisturizer! 

Have you tried Oil Cleansing? What works for you? What is your favorite blend? I'd love to hear from you!