Oil…and Cloth

Wow, it has been a while since I have written, but spring has a way of awakening things in all of us.  Yeah, ok…it is not technically spring yet, but I can see crocus popping up on the lawn, and as soon as I see Irish Soda Bread in the stores, I know St. Patrick’s Day and spring are coming soon.

Spring often has me thinking of nature, and jars and bottles.  Jars and bottles??  What’s up with THAT, right?  Well, I start to think of fresh things – vegetables and fruits, the time for planting, and eventually the time for harvest.  No, I am not a canner.  The only thing I tend to put in mason jars of a food variety are pickles (refrigerator pickles at that) and my roasted tomatoes with garlic mixture.  No, for me, spring is a great time to open the kitchen windows and let the smells of grass and growth waft in.  To add to those smells, I like to put things in jars and bottles that are of the skin care variety, and that smell like grass and growth, plants and herbs.

I have often been a fan of natural skin care, and even household stuff, like homemade laundry soap, etc.  But one thing has been a steady for me, and that is using oils to cleanse my face.  I know you are saying “did I just read that correctly?  Did she just put cleanse and oil in the same sentence?”.  No, I am not encouraging you to make your face an oil slick.  And no, I am not ruling out all of you with oil-prone skin and related issues.  But let’s go back to some basic chemistry.  Like dissolves like, right?  Right.

People have been using oils as a solvent for ages.  And skincare is no deviation from the logic.  However, you must use the RIGHT type of oils.  I am not saying you can douse your face in canola and call it a night.  There is one oil that you MUST use if you are creating a blend to remove your makeup and all the other cares of the day.  And the process is also important.

First of all, you need a vessel.  Glass bottles are great for this, and one with a dropper or a pump would be ideal.  As you can see, I have a cleansing blend in a less-than-ideal vessel, but the dropper bottle contains a blend that I use as a moisturizer.oilsSecondly, you need the right oils.  The Oil of High Importance here is good, old fashioned CASTOR OIL.  Yep…wasn’t it used as a laxative years ago?  Lordy.  Well…let me tell you, Castor Oil is the solvent for all the bad stuff…dirt, makeup and yes, even other oil and impurities.  But, you cannot rely solely on Castor Oil.  Why?  Because, believe it or not, it is rather drying.  And when you strip your skin, you get more problems, even more bad oil production, blackheads and other ickiness.  So…you need a balancer or two.  Generally speaking, you can use any other moisturizing oil with good results.  I used to use Olive Oil, which is a very balancing oil, but have found some controversy on the ‘net lately that it might actually be a pore clogging oil.  And we don’t want that, do we?  Anywho…the basic rule is, the drier the skin, the less Castor Oil, and the oilier the skin, the more Castor Oil.  The beauty of creating this cleanser is that you can customize it to YOU and you alone.  No more guesswork in the store about all the soaps, cream cleansers, foaming washes…that are all quite likely packed with chemical agents, no less, and will also lighten your wallet.

I will tell you what the recipe is for my own blend.  As a point of reference, I am 45 years old (translate to “maturing”), and have combination to dry skin.  In the winter, my skin desperately needs moisture, but from time to time (rarely), I get a little pimple.  I have some sun damage…spots, and moderate wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes.  I have always been religious about taking care of my skin, and have been moisturizing since high school.  But as I have gotten older (and…I worked in skin care for about 3 years a while back), I have veered more toward natural skin care.  Keep in mind that your skin is the largest organ of your body – and what you put on it, goes directly into you.

Anyway…in my bottle is about one third Castor Oil to two thirds Argan Oil.  I happened upon some Argan Oil at a very good price.  It is incredibly expensive oil, but the moisturizing properties are legendary.  It is reaaaallllly luxurious.  A wonderful substitution would be Sesame Oil, Jojoba Oil, or Apricot Kernel Oil…or a blend.  I have also added about 10 drops of Vitamin E oil (emollient…and great at preservation) and about 10 drops of Patchouli Oil (wonderful for mature skin…and smells great too.).  Certain Essential Oils have properties for different skin types, so you may want to research that and add to yours accordingly.  And why the essential oils when you are really just going to rinse this off?  Well…that brings me to the process!

The Oil Cleansing Method is a nighttime cleansing routine.  It is not something to be rushed…and for me, it is a bit ritualistic.  Like a short, little nightly facial.  Lately, I have been knitting and crocheting cotton washcloths, which are a big part of my ritual.  Here are a few – aren’t they pretty?washcloths2Well, anyway, they are my new friends.  When it is time to de-stress every evening and remove the “day” from my face, I let the faucet run on hot…not egregiously scalding, but hot enough so that it is just bearable.  I have my washcloth handy, and I get it wet, and then hold the steaming cloth to my face.  Let it sit for a minute to open the pores.  Then, I pour about a nickel sized amount of cleansing oil into my palm.  I massage that into my skin, avoiding my eyes for the moment.  Massage inward…and upward from the neck.  Then, I pour a teensy bit more into my hands, and gently massage that over my eyes.  You can open your eyes – it is funny to see yourself looking like a raccoon if you wear black eyeliner and mascara like I do!  Then, get your washcloth under that hot water again.  And put it back on your face and leave it for a sec or two…then gently scrub all the day’s grime away.  Rinse the cloth again, and gently wipe the eye makeup off.  Wipe until you get it all off…the oils will dissolve it nicely.  Then rinse.  Rinse with the water hot…and then take it down to cooler temperatures with the next rinse…and keep rinsing.  Finish with a cool (not cold) rinse, and pat your skin dry.  You will notice (you are such a Doubting Thomas!) that it is NOT OILY.  If it is oily, then you have either A) used too much oil, or B) need to add more Castor, or C) not rinsed enough.

As for me, I finish up my routine with a moisturizing oil blend…just two drops for my whole face.   Luxury, and the smell!!  Oh, the smell…just like at the spa!

Anyway…give this a try.  And if you don’t believe me, just google “oil cleansing method”.  I swear, it is almost a religion.  Your skin will thank you…really!  And lastly, I don’t think my skin makes me look a day over 29:-).