I can’t remember how I discovered the oil cleansing method (OCM), I just know I was pretty proud of myself because my crunchiest friend hadn’t heard of it. Finally I had the chance to discover an alternative skin care method and report on it. I was suffering from dry skin on my cheeks and no matter how much moisturizer I used, my skin wasn't healing. I had just plunged into natural deodorant, so finding an alternative for cleansing and moisturizing my face was my second adventure in natural products.
Being new to using oils for skin care, I now realize that I went to the natural food store rather blindly. I did some online research and found what types of oils are best for OCM but didn't quite understand why. The recommendation I found was to mix a carrier oil and castor oil in order to moisturize and cleanse. I found a chart that explained the more castor oil added to the mixture, the more abrasive or cleaning power the mix would have. It is suggested that there always be twice as much carrier oil to the castor oil. I started with ¾ carrier oil and ¼ castor oil.
If you are wondering what a carrier oil is, don’t worry, you aren't alone. I had no idea what classified as a carrier oil or even why it was called that. In a nutshell (pun intended), a carrier or base oil is a vegetable oil derived from a seed, nut or kernel. The oil has a light or no smell and doesn't evaporate. The reason they are called a carrier oil comes from blending carrier oils and essential oils (EO). Because essential oils are highly concentrated and evaporate, they are blended with carrier oils to avoid irritating the skin and not evaporate so quickly.
I chose sunflower as my carrier oil because of its low viscosity. The skin absorbs it so it retains the moisture without clogging pores. It is also high in vitamin E which naturally is high in antioxidants and promotes healing. I had great results almost immediately. For the first few days my face felt oilier than usual, but I never broke out during the transition period. I wash my face using OCM once a day, usually at night, and then rinse and dry my face in the morning. On occasion my cheeks will still dry out, but I just dab a little avocado oil on them in the morning and it is almost an instant fix. Check out AromaWeb for a great in depth description of carrier oils to choose the right one for your skin. You can find a great resource for troubleshooting OCM here.
So why oil? Conventional cleaners strip away the natural oils our body produces, leaving our skin feeling dry and even tight. Our body works extra hard to produce oil to rehydrate our skin. In response advertisements would have us deep clean our face, then add synthetic moisturizers to rehydrate. Because oil dissolves oil, OCM works to clean and hydrate our skin.
Last summer I traveled to New England. Not wanting to deal with the hassle of flying with oils I decided to keep them at home. My husband is always going on and on about how great the water is in Maine, so I figured between that and the humidity, my skin wouldn't dry out too much. Half way through out trip my face was so dry I started checking kitchen cupboards for olive oil. With just a little bit rubbed into my face I felt instant relief. Now I know to not leave home without my oils!