How to Use Cleansing Oil

Have you heard of the Oil Cleansing Method? It was probably my favourite discovery this year. I was skeptical at first, wondering how rubbing oil into my face could possibly clean it, but I gave it a go and was not disappointed.

What makes the oil cleansing method a winner for me personally is that when I do it several times a week, I actually notice a reduction in the size of my pores, and my skin really feels amazing.

The oil cleansing method has been touted as being excellent for all types of skin including acne-prone, and many long time users of the method claim they never experience breakouts. I am not overly strict with my routine and don't always remember to do it regularly, so I can't say I've had zero breakouts since first using the method, but I can definitely say that it works well and I absolutely love doing it.

What is Cleansing Oil?

Cleansing oil is a combination of several plant oils, the key ingredient being castor oil. Castor oil is a heavy, thick oil with the consistency of runny honey, and a strong smell. It's extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plantCastor oil has the ability to go deep into your pores and dislodge any sebum or dirt lurking in there and congesting your skin. It is actually a very strong cleanser in this way, which is why it must be blended with other lighter oils before it can be used on your face. It can actually dry out your skin if it is used undiluted. (Sounds strange to think that an oil could dry your skin, but it can!) It is also great for clarifying your scalp and promoting hair growth.

Why does it work?

In a nutshell, cleaning your face with oil works because the plant oils are able to break down the dirty oil and remove it from your pores. It's essentially the concept of "like dissolves like". It's different from cleansing with detergent, where oil is stripped away in water. Instead, think of it as using clean oil to purge away old, dried oil, while respecting your skin's natural oil balance.

The Oil Cleansing Method

What you need:

  • Cleansing Oil
  • Clean face cloth (a flannel works fine, but a swatch of soft muslin/cheesecloth is excellent as it provides light exfoliation)
  • Hot water and 5 minutes - before bed is a good time to do it

How to do it:

  1. You can start with dry face and hands, no need to add water yet. You don't even need to remove your makeup, unless you are wearing heavy makeup; do a quick wipe with the flannel.
  2. Pour a 20 cent piece amount of oil, warm it between your palms and apply it to your face.
  3. The best part: sit back for 5 minutes and give your whole face a thorough, deep massage in very slow circular motions. Pay extra attention to any areas where your skin is most congested. I like to use my palms flat against my cheeks in smooth upward motions. It's extremely relaxing and it feels really nice.
    • Your hands should be gliding easily along your skin. If you feel like you're pulling at your skin, add a bit more oil. Remember to use slow circular movements.
  4. When you have spent at least 5 minutes working the oil deep into your skin, it is time to remove it. Soak your face cloth in hot water and then hold this to your face for several moments until it has cooled. Wipe firmly in a downwards motion. Soak the cloth in more hot water and repeat.
    • Do this 5 or more times until your face feels nice and clean. If you've done the massage well, your skin will feel very clean and smooth, almost as if you have used a face scrub or exfoliator. If you do a lazy, quick massage, the result will not be as nice.
  5. Apply your usual toner, facial oil or moisturiser to finish if your skin feels a bit dry.

Things to note:

  • Not every cleansing oil will suit everyone. More castor oil in the formulation can be too drying for people with dry skin (but very effective for people with greasy skin). Formulations with less castor oil may be more suitable for people with dry skin, and especially for mature skin.
  • The massaging step is absolutely crucial to this method. I can say from experience that the results are poor when I have been in a rush and tried to do a "quick" clean in the shower. When I plan ahead and take the time to sit down and do it properly, it makes my skin feel baby smooth.
  • It's possible to overdo it. This is not something you need to do every day. I find every second day works well for me but everyone's different so do what feels right for your skin.

Watch this space for Cleansing Oils coming to the Mojo Botanicals store in the near future!


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