Thursday, February 2, 2012 solutions..

I am no spring chicken. And in the cooler, dryer months, my skin takes a beating. This fall I came across an article about using oil cleansers. That's right, oil. Needless to say, I just laughed it off initially. But come December, my skin was feeling particularly parched, so I decided I had nothing to lose and I should perhaps give it a go.

It. is. marvelous. 

It's simple and cheap to make, and it is more a ritual of relaxation and unwinding from your day rather than just "washing your face." Of course, if you are so inclined, there are many commercial oil cleansers to choose from.
This is what you need:

castor oil
olive oil (or another oil for the skin like jojoba or grapeseed)
essential oil of your choice, a few drops

I started making the cleanser with 75% castor oil and 25% olive oil, using the ratio recommended for oily or acne prone skin. I have been happy with this ratio, and have not had any problems with breakouts. In fact, one of my cheeks, which appeared to be inflamed and irritated before I started using the oil cleanser, actually faded and went back to normal. If you have dryer skin, the article recommends reversing the ratios. In adding an essential oil, I have tried lavender and geranium (separately, not together). Choose something that you enjoy.

When you wash your face, the process is a little different.
Moisten your face slightly, and put some oil in your palm. Rub the oil in your hands to heat it up ever so slightly, then massage  your face. Concentrate on areas that need a little tlc. At first, I spent a lot of time on that inflamed cheek, but now I find massaging along the jawline, the sinuses, and at the temples are the best places for me. Take your time massaging in the oil, breathe deeply, and just relax.

After the massaging is done, use a washcloth, soak it in hot water and hold it on your face. I am not able to lie down and let the washcloth work it's magic while I unwind (as the article suggests). Instead, I just hold the cloth to my face at the sink and continue the deep breathing. I re-wet the cloth a few times, just to make sure I've given the oil the time it needs to release the dirt and makeup from my skin. (Note: if you are removing eye makeup, I would gently rub it off onto the washcloth).

A couple words of caution: 1. If you don't want an oily residue left in your sink, use a separate basin or tub. 2. Never use oily hands to remove contacts. I, unfortunately, learned the hard way.

After I'm done rinsing (which you're not so much rinsing as you are dabbing), I ever so slightly dry my face. Really you shouldn't need to dry it much, it just depends on how wet your washcloth was. You want your face to have the slightest layer of oil left on it.

It is heavenly, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Happy, clean face.

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