- I used to have the oiliest skin of all time (foreshadowing: used to)
- I'm a bit of a dirty hippie
When I was a senior in college, Eva, my Best Friend In the World (my mostly companion of 26 years, the friend I have had since before I was born) experimented with a chemical-free beauty regimen. This included baking soda instead of toothpaste, corn starch instead of deodorant/antiperspirant, baking soda instead of shampoo, and olive oil instead of face wash.
I was so. jealous.
I'm fully integrated into the 21st century - I have an iPhone and a Kindle and a car with Bluetooth and I get checks direct deposited (when I remember to turn in my voided checks) but sometimes I'm afraid of all the Chemicals in my life. There are Chemicals in, like, EVERYTHING - not only will our phones give us brain cancer, they will eventually break down and seep chemicals directly into our soil and water and give us stomach cancer. And there are tons of Chemicals in the other things we use every day - cleaning solutions, foods, and beauty products. Do we really NEED all those extra preservatives and detergents hanging around our bodies like that?
This flower child wanted to see how much she could simplify her beauty routine. I tried to use baking soda as toothpaste (it tasted disgusting, but felt okay; mostly, it was a little complicated to do, so I stuck with regular toothpaste), corn starch instead of deodorant (left my pits BONE DRY, but didn't do a THING to combat stench - I have literally never smelled worse in my life), baking soda instead of shampoo (my curls laugh at this method, and refuse, as usual, to be tamed), and olive oil as face wash.
My face LOVES to be cleaned with olive oil.
It sounds counter-intuitive, I know - why would oil help oily skin? But when you look at the *science*, it all comes together. The best, most succinct explanation I've read comes from Crunchy Betty:
"You know how your skin – all of it – secretes oil? Even if your face feels dry, it still has oil on it. Well, according to chemistry know-how, like dissolves like. So, effectively what you’re doing is dissolving and wiping away all the icky dirty oil from your face and replenishing it with clean, nourishing oil. There’s no harsh chemicals involved. No suds. Nothing to actually strip your skin of its oil. And this is good, because when you strip your skin of its sebum, it goes into overdrive, trying to create more. Which leads to clogged pores. Blackheads. Whiteheads. Just plain old irritation."Don't you want to slather your face in oil?! I hope so, because I think if you try it you will fall. in. love.
There are a lot of different ways to cleanse with oil - a Google search will return a ton of options. Here's my method:
- I have a soap dispenser filled with equal parts olive* and grapeseed oil.
- I turn on my hot water and let it get really warm.
- While I wait, I pump a dime-sized amount into my hand and massage it all over my face (This is how I remove my makeup, by the way. Oil will lift the waterproof mascara straight from your lashes. Oh, and it's ridiculously gentle - if you poured the oil straight into your eye, it wouldn't hurt at all).
- I soak a washcloth in the hot water, lightly wring it out, and then lay it over my face for a minute. The steam opens my pores for maximum cleanliness.
- I wipe the oil off with the washcloth, rinse it out, and hang it to dry.
That's it! I do this at night, and in the morning I splash my face with cold water. If it's particularly dry outside, I'll put a few drops of oil on my whole face as a moisturizer. You can use the same stuff you wash with.
I've been cleaning my face this way for four years, and I love it. My skin has never been softer, and it's not oily any more. Guys, science!
Oh, and the OCM is insanely inexpensive. So chew on that.
I will say, this method doesn't always travel well. It's ever so slightly annoying to cart around a washcloth, and since it gets completely soaked, it's even more annoying to take home. When I was in Israel, I washed my face with a traditional cleanser (by First Aid - I got it as a deluxe sample from Sephora) and used maracuja oil (a gift from the aforementioned Eva) to moisturize at night and in the morning.
That's another thing - oils are really "in" right now. If you go to Sephora, Ulta, or even CVS, you'll see a lot of oils on the shelves. The maracuja oil is AMAZING stuff (I seriously adore it), but I urge you to save your money with this. Grapeseed, almond, avocado, safflower, olive, and castor oils can ALL work for cleansing and moisturizing, and you can get them for a fraction of the price.
So guys, don't you think it's about time to embrace your inner hippie, give your wallet and your face a break, and treat yo self to some oils?
*According to Crunchy Betty, I might be a freak, since olive oil works for me. You might want to try other oils, since it seems to cause trouble for most people.