Case in point: After reading the shampoo-free article, I later wrote an article extolling the virtues of baking soda wherein I mentioned being on the shampoo-free train. And when I gave up using shampoo, I meant every enthusiastic word of it. I loved it. It was so easy! My hair smelled great! My hair was adjusting! And then came week three, when my hair was no longer pliable. At all. It not only felt like straw but one of the cowlicks on my forehead (Hi, my name is Pretty) was doing this horrible Alfalfa thing. RIGHT ABOVE MY LEFT EYEBROW.
On the upside, I totally took Shauna’s advice from her article on how to keep long hair healthy and soft AND I LOVE IT. I, in my scarecrow hair, ran out and bought the 3 products, have used them regularly for over a month and I will not ever go back. I have lots of gray hair; its very nature is to be crinkly and dry and witchy. These products completely smooth those suckers out.
What has this experience taught me? To really test something before I share my unbridled enthusiasm.
Can you feel what’s coming?
For the last seven weeks — maybe longer — I have been washing my face with oil. Straight oil. No astringents; no makeup removers; no expensive moisturizers. Instead, every night these last several, several weeks I have been taking about a half teaspoon of coconut oil and rubbing it all over my face. OIL.
Did you know that as an over-40-year old person I still had breakouts? And like awful, painful pimples?(Probably hormonally related, but still!) Suffice it to say, super gross and scarring. Guess how many zits I’ve gotten since I began washing my face with oil? No seriously. Guess.
None. None breakouts. I have gotten a couple tiny blackheads to rise to the surface (DON’T JUDGE) — for which I was really grateful. But other than that, nada.
Here’s why using the Oil-Cleansing Method (OCM) is the greatest face wash method ever in the history of cleaning faces:
• All those man-made, chemical-laden skin cleansers remove the natural oils from our skin. So to protect itself, our skin makes more oil. Basically, apart from being incredibly expensive? These skin cleansers and moisturizers make our skin all out of whack. At first, too dry. Then too oily. Then, maybe some weirdo patchy combination. And this is the result of our skin’s constant efforts to find the right balance to heal itself.
• Man-made cleansers are water based. Water does not dissolve oil. And all those oil-free cleansers we use to remove oil and debris from our skin? They aren’t actually helping much, because of one little scientific fact: Oil is a non-polar substance. As I gleaned from A Human Touch of Chemistry:
There is a particular saying in chemistry called ‘Like dissolves like’ which basically means polar substances will only dissolve polar substances and so is the same for non-polar substances.”
Oil does not dissolve in water. Call them narcissistic: At an atomic level, oil molecules are more attracted other oil molecules than they are to water molecules. Point being, if you want to get rid of oily skin, you need a face wash with oil.
• Oil removes makeup, even waterproof makeup. You don’t need different cleansers for different tasks; one oil will do.
• Oil pulls out the gunk and debris from your pores and moisturizes your skin. It can remove excess oil, but not throw your skin out of balance. (Or so my experience has been.)
Have I sold you on this? Ready to give it a try? Here’s how you get started.
Part 1: Create your blend
I originally decided to try this cleansing method after reading this piece on Simplemom’s blog. She gives several recipes for how to go about washing one’s face using the OCM.
• For those with normal skin, you could start off with a one-to-one ratio of castor oil and EVOO [extra virgin olive oil].
• For those with acne-prone or oily skin, reduce the proportion of EVOO, and try three parts castor oil to one part EVOO.
• For those with drier skin, start off with one part castor oil to three parts EVOO. This is what I use.”
Personally, I found the castor oil way too drying and I eventually eliminated it altogether. I use plain old coconut oil — the same exact stuff in my kitchen — because of its antibacterial properties (and lovely scent). Others prefer EVOO, because its pH is the same as human skin.
Part 2: How to wash your face
The actual process is really simple.
1) Rub about 1/2 teaspoon of your oil blend all over your face. Need more? Use more. Simplemom suggests rubbing it all over your skin for about 1 minute, giving yourself a nice face massage. Sometimes I do that; other times I’m super lazy and move more quickly. Gently, but quickly.
2) Wet a washcloth in tolerably hot water, wring it out, and lay it on your face. You’re basically steaming your face until the washcloth cools. I skip this step a lot. But it’s nice to do, because it opens your pores and really cleans them out.
3) Wipe away the oil with the wet cloth. Then dry off with a hand towel.
And that’s it. I’ve been using this method for just shy of 2 months and the OCM has been, hands down, the greatest face cleanser, makeup remover and moisturizer I’ve ever used. My skin is very healthy; no breakouts; I love it.
For more details definitely visit Simplemom’s blog.