Geoffrey Ross Image by: Geoffrey Ross
While not entirely a new phenomenon (Shu Uemura introduced a cleansing oil in 1967), it has only been in the past few years that this effective skin care method has gone from an obscure product to must-have skin care step for a natural beauty look.
We asked Suki Kramer, natural beauty expert and founder of Suki Skincare, about the current trend toward forgoing foaming cleansers and soaps in favor of oil, and how this shift can benefit skin.
Natural beauty with oils: How it works
While it may sound counterproductive (don’t we cleanse to get oil off our skin?), an oil does in fact lift the dirt from pores and remove even mascara, gently, without pulling the skin, explains Kramer. “ It’s a very effective way to remove dirt and oil from the skin while nourishing and hydrating,” she says. Despite our addiction to traditional cleansing methods, the best way to dissolve sebum is by using oil. “By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals that heal and protect your skin.”
Cleansing with oil is not very different than using any other cleansing method. Gently massage the oil into your skin as you would your usual cleanser, place a very warm (not hot) washcloth on your face for a few minutes to help open your pores. As your pores open they release impurities and the oil we don’t want on our skin. Gently wipe the oil from your face (resist the urge to scrub), rinse out the cloth and wipe once more to ensure skin is free of oil.
“Look for any good high quality oil and it will work fabulously to clean and moisturize without clogging,” Kramer says.
More tips for adding cleansing oils into your skin care system on the next page...
People often balk at the idea of cleansing oils and Kramer says the main hesitation is the belief that oil will make you break out. But contrary to popular belief, oil does not cause oily skin or acne. Those enemies to clear skin are usually caused a combination of hormones, trapped bacteria, and dirt. ”The sebum that the skin secretes is actually good for your skin,” explains Kramer. “It’s there to protect it and keep harmful toxins from seeping in.” When skin’s natural oils are removed, the body’s reaction is to compensate by producing more oil, or if your skin is dry, it means all the oil has been stripped away, and your body doesn’t compensate by replenishing it.
Most people opt for oil-free cleansers, or cleansers with harsh acids in order to kill acne-causing bacteria and dry up the skin. But, Kramer explains, oil dissolves oil, and by using this method, you can clear the complexion of oily skin, blackheads and other blemishes.
All skin types can benefit from using facial cleansing oil. Using facial oil cleansers will help to balance the skin’s oil production in those with oily and acne-prone skin. Mature, dry and combination skin all also benefit from cleansing oils since they hydrate while purifying the pores, lifting dirt without tugging or pulling at delicate skin tissue and leaving skin soft and supple. “Oils cleanse, while also leaving your skin healthy and properly moisturized,” Kramer says. The result is a complexion that glows from being perfectly in balance – not too oily, not too dry.
If you think jumping on the cleansing oil bandwagon will break the bank; think again. Simply open up your kitchen cupboards to find what you need. You can make a simple at-home oil facial cleanser by mixing a couple of oils together in a small bottle and shaking it up before applying, Kramer explains, adding the most popular blend of oils is castor oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Castor oil draws out dirt from your pores and the olive oil is a great moisturizer, working to heal and nourish the skin.
Whether motivated by this season’s fresh-faced models or not, more and more people are interested in cleansing with oil, a shift that Kramer says stems from our desire to use more natural, pure alternatives rather than harsh chemicals and toxins in our facial products. “The more educated we are about these alternatives, the better choices we can make for ourselves.”
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