As a kid of the 80s, I washed my face with Noxzema. (Anyone else?!) It was one of the main beauty products of the time, available in pretty much any small town or neighborhood store (Pamida and K-Mart, I’m looking at you)... A medicated white paste-cream with a minty sting, slathered on from a blue tub.
I tried other cleansers in highschool, college and beyond. Most were foaming and sudsy (and full of all sorts of chemicals). They left my skin feeling "clean," but in a strangely tight and dry way. A good amount of moisturizer was always required to counter that, and it wouldn't be too long before my face felt super oily again.
Then at some point in my adult life I discovered oil cleansing. Total game changer.
If you haven’t explored oil cleansing yet, here are a few key questions answered:
What is oil cleansing?
It’s essentially what it sounds like: using a blend of oils to cleanse your skin. And specifically, your face. It’s both gentle and highly effective at dissolving makeup, excess sebum, and the random dirt and sweat of the day. All without stripping and drying the skin. And it leaves your skin beautifully soft and clean.
What are the benefits?
Oil cleansing doesn't interfere with the skin's natural moisture level, meaning it doesn’t ‘over-cleanse’ like many harsh cleansers do. (One of the more common foaming agents in foaming cleansers and soaps is sodium laureth sulfate - a cheap chemical and a known skin irritant.)
Oil cleansing also helps balance oil production, prevent clogged pores, and maintain a healthy skin barrier. It leaves the skin soft and clean, without the dried-out crispy feeling. What I found (with my oily skin and t-zone issues) was that switching to oil cleansing actually helped reduce the amount of oil and acne my face was producing.
Who is oil cleansing helpful for?
Because it’s both gentle and effective, it works beautifully for most skin types, including dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin.
How do I do it?
Starting with a dry face, apply the oil with your fingertips and palms. Gently massage it over your entire face using circular motions, paying attention to areas with makeup or buildup. It won't foam or change color or texture - you simply move it around and over your skin.
Then, using a warm, damp washcloth, wipe off the oil. I rinse my washcloth and repeat a few times to get everything off. And sometimes before wiping the oil off, I lay the warm cloth across my face and have a little 'mini-steam' moment.
How often do I use it?
Because it's so gentle, oil cleansing can be used any time you wash your face, depending on your skin's needs: In the morning to freshen up and wake up. After a sweaty workout. As part of your makeup removal routine.
I especially love using Enrich Daily Face Cleanser, the oil cleanser I formulated, at night. It’s my cue to wind down before bed: to slow down, be present in the moment, and inhale the gorgeous fragrance of the oils. In addition to their skin-supporting properties, the essential oils in this blend are also mood-enhancing.
*For a really light freshen up, like first thing in the morning before a walk or the gym, I sometimes just use Rosewater Hydrating Face Tonic on a cotton pad, swiped across my face. Then I follow the workout with oil cleansing.
Are all oils the same/useful for cleansing?
Different oils have different properties and benefits, so it's important to choose a botanical oil or blend of oils (botanical = comes from a plant) that’s suited to cleansing. Jojoba, grapeseed, almond, olive, castor, and coconut oils are all beneficial - and botanical and vegan. And there are a variety of essential oils that are helpful as well.
Most important? Avoid petroleum-based oils, mineral oils, and paraffin, which are NOT botanical and can clog pores and irritate sensitive skin.
Pure Luxe Apothecary's oil cleanser:
Enrich Daily Face Cleanser
Full Ingredient list: Olea europaea (olive) oil, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, Ricinus communis (castor) oil, Cedrus deodara (cedarwood) essential oil, Cananga odorata (ylang ylang) essential oil, Cympbopogon martini (palmarosa) essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil
Mood: Grounding and centering.
Skin: Helpful for healing irritations, including acne. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory.
Ylang Ylang essential oil
Mood: Uplifting, relaxing, calms the mind.
Skin: Helps regulate sebum production. Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory.
Palmarosa essential oil
Mood: Soothing, calming, balancing.
Skin: Helps cleanse and balance sebum production. Antibacterial.
Bottle sizes: 2oz and 4oz bottles, with glass dropper for easy application
Shelf life: 6-9 months, stored in a cool dark spot away from heat/sunlight
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I hope you enjoy oil cleansing in your skincare rituals and feel the difference it makes!
Cheers to good health and happy skin,