How I accidentally started oil cleansing – and why you should start on purpose!

About a year ago I went on a yoga retreat to the middle of nowhere. And I mean the middle of NOWHERE. No cell coverage whatsoever. No local stores. Nada.

When I got to my room the first evening, I realized I had forgotten to pack my facial cleanser. (I’d been using Annmarie Gianni’s stuff for years – gorgeously natural ingredients and wonderful products.)

The oil cleansing method made simpleSo I looked around. I could use the crappy little bar soap in the shower. Or…I had a container of oil with me, which I typically used as body moisturizer…

Oil! Oil cleansing. It rang a bell.

I’d been hearing about oil cleansing from some crunchy mama bloggers and had been intrigued but weirded out. Oil was going to clean my face?

What the what?

Ok. The internet makes it sound really weird and complicated. I’ll make it simple:

Like dissolves like. That’s a chemistry principle. It works. You just use warm water, oil of choice (more on that in a sec) and a washcloth. My skin felt smooth, soft and clean after that first wash and I haven’t looked back.

Only downside? Washcloths get gross after awhile and will need to be replaced. But mine held up for a good 6-8 months.

Maybe they just need to be washed with…oil…hmmmm…


Let’s talk about what kind of oil to use.

This is a little tricky. From what I’ve sorted through online and tried myself, here’s what I can tell you:

– Different skin responds to different oils, so experimentation is key. Give each experiment a few days to see the results.

– Coconut and olive oil are not top choices, sometimes causing clogged pores for people. I don’t know why! I have used olive oil for short periods of time with no trouble, personally.

– Castor oil is a very good choice, but can be drying/overpowering if used on its own. Try a blend with 1/3 castor oil.

– Argan oil is good for aging skin. Try adding a few drops to your blend. (It’s expensive!)

– Other oils to try are avocado, jojoba, sesame, sunflower, hazelnut and other high quality, cold-pressed nut or seed oils.

– Avoid highly processed cooking oils like canola or vegetable.

Personally, I use a blend of 2/3 avocado and 1/3 castor oil, with a few drops of argan.

Lots of people will say that oil cleansing doesn’t work…and trust me, I had my doubts. Everyone is different, of course. If oil cleansing is not working for you, I suggest trying a different type of oil before giving up.

And here’s how you do it.

There are long lists of instructions out there that include steaming your face, rubbing with a washcloth for 20 minutes, etc. Come on. Let’s get real. With 2 kids I’m lucky I have time to wash my face at all.

Here’s how I’ve been doing it for a year with no trouble:

1. Wet your face with warm/hot water.
2. Massage a nickel-sized amount of oil blend into your face with fingers.
3. Further massage with wet, warm washcloth.
4. Rinse and wipe excess oil off with washcloth.

I do this once per day.

The best parts?

I know exactly what’s in my oil blend. No weird list of ingredients. I mean, have you read the back of your Olay cleanser or whatever?

During my first pregnancy/postpartum period I had terrible cystic acne. With oil cleansing my skin was almost perfect during my second pregnancy. Awesometown.

It’s fast. You can probably skip toner since there’s no need to remove soap residue. You can also probably skip the moisturizer since you haven’t stripped away your skin’s natural oils. I simply wash and go.

Finally, oil is amazing for removing makeup. So forget makeup removers, you don’t need ’em.

Oh, and one more thing. It’s pretty inexpensive. A little goes a long way.

Go forth and cleanse with oil!

Still too weird? I understand. My next best recommendation is for Annmarie’s products. Know what you are putting on your skin!