Using Natural Oils to Clean Your Skin

OK, so I'm about a year and a half into using the oil cleansing method of face washin' and I have to say, I really love it, and don't see myself switching back to soaps and lotions anytime soon!

Here's the deal: Soap is drying, even the best of soap, so there's no reason, especially as we get older, to continually scrub off our natural oils and dry out our skin. I use an all natural glycerin-based soap for the rest of my body but not for my face. At nite when I wash my face, or if I take a shower before bedtime, I use the oil cleansing method, and I love it! Here's the rationale:

"Almost every facial soap sold in drug stores contains synthetic chemicals and artificial ingredients, despite the number of brands that claim to be “organic” or “natural.” These soaps can be toxic to your liver and other organs with long-term use - and, even in the short term, they can do real damage to your skin."

My reasoning is this, it's natural, it's cheap, I don't have to buy anymore little containers of this or that. My plastic/packaging consumption drops down another notch. I can alter it to fit the chemistry of my skin, it makes me feel, well, OK, sometimes hungry for pasta, but also connected to tradition. And it leaves my skin ever so soft. Oh, and it tastes better than that Oil of Olay stuff that I had recently started using. I mean seriously, if you get that near your lips?...gross.

Also, did you know Oil of Olay changed the name of their products to just "Olay"? Apparently their consumers weren't happy to learn they've been putting petroleum on their skin all these years in the form of mineral oil (which, according to this article, is very bad for your skin because it interferes with your bodies natural moisturizing system, can clog your pores, and lead to an increase in your body's toxin loads). And the smell...I couldn't finish the last jar of Olay I bought because I couldn't get past the smell, and I certainly didn't realize the oil in it was the black tar variety. Whenever possible I think it's best to avoid putting our money towards more oil consumption, especially when there are so many alternatives.

Just for kicks, here's other ingredients in Oil of Olay (which I'm sure is similar to most other namebrand moisturizers, perhaps minus the petrolatum):

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: 3% OCTISALATE, 3% OCTOCRYLENE, 2% AVOBENZONE. Also contains water, glycerin, cetyl palmitate, mineral oil, petrolatum, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl hydroxystearate, stearic acid, steareth-100, dimethicone, octyldodecyl myristate, fragrance, potassium hydroxide, DMDM hydantoin, Iodopropynl butylcarbamate, tetrasodium EDTA, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl accrylate crosspolymer, carbomer and red 4.

(they're also owned by Proctor and Gamble...just sayin')

And just like with shampoo, this stuff doesn't just sit on your skin, it's ABSORBED into your body.

My skin story is I have sensitive skin. I was told when I was younger because I have sensitive skin that I should avoid all face products and makeups that have mineral oil in them (lots of pressed powders have mineral oil, fyi). I think as I've gotten older my skin has gotten less sensitive so I don't worry so much about that anymore, but I do avoid products with fragrance and oily based makeups for this reason. But looking at this list, I don't think it's just mineral oil that we need to be looking out for when it comes to sensitivities.

The OCM has 2 ingredients: olive oil and castor oil.

Now, the thought of putting olive oil and castor oil (castor oil, BTW, is vegetable based, comes from the castor bean) on my face did freak me out at first because of my skin sensitivities. I thought for sure I'd have a face full of red bumps the next morning. I've had this happen many times in my life when I've switched to a different brand of powder or lotion (particularly with lotions) or eye makeup, soap, etc. Scented laundry soaps can cause me to itch all day. Even using a fragranced oily kind of sunscreen can send my skin into a tailspin for a few days. So needless to say, I was concerned.

But it didn't happen. In fact, the opposite happened. I think my face is softer, and less prone to breakouts. Now, I have also significantly changed my eating habits over the past few years cutting out processed foods, white sugar, meat, cow's cheese, cow's milk, etc and I've heard there's a connection to dairy and skin problems so it's possible just cutting down on cheese consumption can make a difference in your skin. But, lets say that's a stretch and are unrelated...then the OCM is working. I've not had any problems with allergies or sensitivities so far and have enjoyed softer skin. AND I love the nighttime mini facial that comes with it!

Even, ahem, during that time of the month, it doesn't irritate my skin. I do use it less during that week because our skin naturally produces more hormonal oils so less is needed to maintain balance (as long as you're not scrubbing it all off every nite with soap, which BTW, could be causing you to produce MORE oil to offset the disruption with the natural order of things). It's best to just let our bodies do what they are supposed to do.

So I only do the OCM once every other day, and always at nite. Skin repair happens at nite and I like going to bed with clean soft non-greasy non-smelly skin. So far so good! Now I have noticed if I get too much around my eyes there's a bit of irritation. I've heard this from others as well. So when using it to take off eye makeup, make sure you don't gob too much around your eyes, and rinse well.

I watched a show a while back about women who look younger than their age and they talked about some of their beauty secrets. Several of them said they never wash their face with soap and several others said they only use natural oils (coconut oil, olive oil, etc) on their skin. I think there's some wisdom in this. Try it out and see what you think. I know it seems freaky, but hey, not nearly as freaky as giving up shampoo, right? (snicker snicker)

I'll leave you with a few links here and here and here and you can read up on why this method works and why it's good for your skin, and how to mix up the oils, etc. Start your new year off right!



  1. I switched from olive to coconut oil about a year ago and I LOVE it. Chris likes the smell, too. :-)

  2. I don't know why it posted as unknown. This is Shannon. :-) anyway no eye irritation problems with coconut oil. I highly recommend it. I even got a co-worker to drop her expensive beauty regimen and start using it. She loves it too!

  3. I've heard the same from another friend (about the coconut oil). I might have to try it. I switched to sunflower seed oil and not liking it as much as I did the olive. I will definitely try the coconunt oil next! Thanks for the tip! Happy New Year to you and Chris!