Hello oil-cleanser, good-bye oily skin!

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A few years ago I wanted to do the “no-poo” method (no shampoo) for my hair, but I could not get the right formula of baking soda, water and apple cider vinegar. OK, don’t get grossed out. There are plenty of people that have gotten beautiful and great results with this. Shinier hair, healthy scalp, no oiliness. It just didn’t work for me. After almost 4 weeks of wearing my straw-like, dull hair in a pony tail, I gave up. But there was still hope on the green-beauty radar for my instant-gratification-loving self:

cleaning my face with oil. Yes, oil. I had battled mild adult acne for years and tried every cleanser, toner and scrub they sell at Target. I even did the proactiv thing for a couple of years and although that helped, I didn’t like the fact that once I stopped using it, I immediately returned to my previous skin problems. So I had to stay with it and that stuff is harsh. And expensive.

So a few years ago, I came across the oil-cleansing-method via the “Art of Simple” site. I had the same reaction you may have had when you first read this. Oil? But doesn’t that clog up your pores? But all the dermatologists and Cosmo and Glamour tell me to look for “oil-free” cosmetics! True. But I believe you should only heed that advice for extreme cases and only for your moisturizer, …which you may not even need anymore if you go this route.

So, why does oil clean better than soap? Simple: oil dissolves oil. And the grime on your face is oil based. 

Traditional face cleansers – especially the acne-fighting ones – strip your face of all its natural oils (called sebum). That’s why your face feels so squeaky clean afterwards. These oils are your skin’s natural moisturizer and are best left in balance. Your skin’s natural response is to replenish what was removed, so when you constantly strip your skin off all its built-in moisture, it will work harder to replace these oils. The result is oily skin. Makes sense, right?

It works the same way for your hair, although I don’t recommend washing your hair with oil. The more often you wash your hair, the faster your scalp will replenish the oils. You can wean yourself off shampoo but there’s definitely a transition period of 3-5 weeks where you should just wear it in a ponytail, or put a hat on :)

This cleanser also works exceptionally well as an eye make up remover, so you’re saving money times two! And all without any harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances, and totally customizable. You can add a few drops of essential oils to give it your favorite scent – just be sure to use pure essential oils. You can find them at health food stores and a few drops will go a long way. Use sparingly 😉

OK, so here’s what you need:

Oil cleansing

Castor Oil

Yes, the same stuff that your grandma recommended for constipation :) but don’t worry, it has exceptional benefits for your skin: castor oil softens and hydrates your skin. It also helps to promote the production of elastin and collagen, which help to delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and give your skin a more youthful appearance. Who doesn’t want that? But wait, there’s more: castor oil helps for overly dry skin, especially when mixed with:

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been in the news for a while now for its multiple benefits. It really is good stuff and so versatile, so get a jar and give it a try. Use coconut oil for about 1/4 of your oil cleanser mix for its moisturizing benefit and also for the yummy, tropical scent. It also contains vitamin E which is essential for healthy skin growth, repair of wear & tear on the skin, and keeping skin smooth. If you don’t have or like coconut oil, you can also use:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

it has similar moisturizing benefits and most people have this already in their pantry. Be sure to always buy extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil in dark glass bottles. Clear bottles let too much light through which damages the quality of the oil. Olive oil has a neutral pH level, just like your skin, making it a perfectly gentle cleanser.

You can customize the scent of your cleanser with a few drops of essential oils, like lavender (calming), mandarin (stress relieving), or tea trea oil (antiseptic effects).

essential oils

Here’s how you can make your first batch:

Use a small bottle, like the 2 oz carry-on bottles you can find in the cosmetics section;


use 1 part castor oil and 1 part olive oil (or coconut oil)


use 2 parts castor oil, 1 part olive oil, and 1 part coconut oil


use 1 part castor oil and 3 parts olive or coconut oil


use 3 parts castor oil and 1 part olive or coconut oil

Add essential oil if you want (or not), and shake it up so everything combines evenly. Done! Ready to use :)

When you’re ready to cleanse, put a dime sized squirt of oil in your hand, rub your palms together and then gently massage it on your face for about a minute. This will give the oils time to bind with your dirt and makeup and the beneficial components to get absorbed by your skin. This will also let you enjoy the scent of the essential oils for a little,

it’s like an aromatherapy massage for your face!

Take a washcloth and wet it with hot water – not scalding, but just as hot as you get it out of your faucet, without burning your skin. Squeeze the excess water and lay the warm washcloth on your face: the steam will open your pores. Leave it on until it starts to cool and then wipe the oil (and grime) off your face. Repeat the steam and wipe if necessary. I do a few rinses to be sure I get all the mascara off. Rubbing the washcloth over your face also gently exfoliates your skin.

Your skin will instantly feel supple and fresh. No tight skin, no burning, no moisturizer required. Try it, and you’ll see how your complexion will improve over time.

This is me – today, as I wrote this post. All I’m wearing is mascara. I swear!

me today

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