Oil Cleansing

And for my next trick, I am going to rub this all over my face.

And for my next trick, I am going to rub this all over my face.

At the beginning of every month, I choose to make one or two changes to my life that will help make me more holistically well. Keeping the focus narrow makes the changes feel manageable and allows me to better evaluate whether or not this practice is beneficial. This month I decided to take the oil plunge and ditch chemical-laden, microbead-laced face washes for…olive oil.

My sister is the OG of oil cleansing. She’s been doing this for years and her skin is radiant. Her face is consistently clear, bright, and her skin tone is even. When she told me her secret many years ago I decided she was out of her damn mind and kept on using those makeup removal wipes and calling it a day. Much more recently, a good friend of mine switched to an olive oil-based skin care line and noticed immediate positive changes to the health of her skin.

Reducing the amount of chemical exposure in my daily life is something that is important to me on a health and an environmental level. My husband and I are fanatics for a TV show called Adam Ruins Everything* (seriously, watch it). The episode on hygiene was particularly impactful on both of us.

“Adam Ruins Hygiene” led me to eliminate my use of beauty products laced with microbeads, which included my face wash and my body wash. These little plastic beads, meant to help with exfoliation, are so small that they aren’t filtered out of wastewater. Couple that with their ultra-absorbency and they pick up chemicals wherever they go. At the end of their water system journey, they ultimately end up being swallowed by fish, animals, even humans. They are such an environmental problem that President Obama signed an act to outlaw the use of microbeads in beauty products beginning in 2017.  

Apparently it takes approximately two word-of-mouth endorsements and one television show for me to jump on the bandwagon to ditch traditional face washes. Voila! March became the month of oil cleansing.

You guys, it’s simple, it’s cheap, and it works. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Rub a dime-sized amount of olive oil on your face and let it sit for 2 minutes.
  2. Soak a washcloth in steaming hot water and lay it over your face for 30 seconds. This will open up your pores and help remove impurities.
  3. Use the washcloth to remove the oil using gentle, circular motions. Be extra careful to scrub all over. I’ve noticed that some of the easy to miss places, like along my hair line or eyebrows, will have little breakouts when I overlook giving them a good scrub.

The oil will remove makeup and I’ve found it makes my skin super smooth and my skin looks the cleaner than it ever has in the past. After 4 weeks, my skin is clearer, my skin tone is evening out, and I notice how much brighter my normally very dull skin looks. I even had a dream last night that I caught a look of myself in the mirror and was surprised by how great my skin looks. So that’s refreshingly narcissistic and a wonderful endorsement for oil cleansing.

There is about a 7 to 10-day hump where your skin gets worse before it gets better, but even with this “hump,” I had approximately 3 pretty good sized pimples. Not exactly a good enough reason to quit trying.

If you are new to this concept, I can understand your concern. It sounds bizarre to grab your olive oil by the stove and rub it all over your face. Everything we’re taught as teenagers tells us that grease = zits. But it’s not true, oil breaks down oil. Oil cleansing is an environmentally friendly, cost friendly, face friendly way to take care of your skin.

Here are some great resources if you want to learn more:

*The premise of the Adam Ruins Everything is simple, the host, Adam Conover, chooses a broad subject like employment, summer vacation, or hygiene, and then pokes holes in all of the “universal truths” we hold dear on this topic. He not only references his sources, he cites them on the screen and they are readily available on the TV show’s website. If you like your television with a side of education, I wholeheartedly endorse this program for your viewing and educational pleasure.