Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to cleanse with oil

Back when I was new to the workforce, I got suckered into the world of buying expensive cleansing, toning and moisturising products. I thought it was worth the expense to have proper skincare. I don't even want to think about all the money I've sent down the drain with this habit over the years. Not to mention all the nasty chemicals I've unwittingly spread over my face.

Since reading Living Green, I've tried various brands of natural facial products with great success. Happily, this is one of those rare cases when healthier has also meant cheaper.

Now thanks to Keeper of the Home, I've been inspired to make my own cleansing product out of the simplest of ingredients - oil. Several months ago I watched Stephanie's vlog about how she's doing the Oil Cleansing Method and my interest was piqued. I did a bit more research and decided to give it ago.

Basically, all you do is mix together castor oil and sunflower oil (or extra virgin olive oil). Despite being an oil, castor oil can actually be quite drying on the skin as it draws away impurities. That's why you need to mix it with another more absorbing oil at a ratio of around 20% castor oil to 80% other.

To mix up my batch I used an empty bottle from a previous cleanser and guesstimated what seemed like the proper ratio.

How to oil cleanse
1. Shake your mixture of 20% castor oil and 80% sunflower oil to ensure it is evenly dispersed.

2. Pour a dollop into the palm of your hand and rub this all over your face for a couple of minutes. You want to really work it into your skin. Add more oil if you feel your skin needs it.

3. Run the hot tap until it's piping hot and wet a facecloth with it.

4. Wring the facecloth out and lay it over your face to steam it. Every time the facecloth cools down a bit, re-wet and wring it, and then lay it over your face again. You want to steam for a good few minutes.

5. After steaming, gently wipe the oil from your face with the wet facecloth. You will be left with a lovely clean face.

Sourcing the ingredients
I found the trickiest part of the whole method was sourcing the castor oil and sunflower oil.

My local supermarket back in Hamilton didn't stock them, but I found them both at Bin Inn. The sunflower oil came in organic or regular, so I went for the more expensive organic option. At $10.60 it was still a bargain for cleanser that would last years. And the castor oil only cost $2.50 for a small bottle, so I got a couple of those too. You can also find castor oil at pharmacies, although it is more expensive there.

How it works for me
I have to admit I am incredibly lazy when it comes to looking after my skin. Now that I'm a stay-at-home Mum, I don't wear makeup often, so there just doesn't seem any point vigorously cleansing my face every day. A splash and rub with water in the shower usually does me, along with a little bit of natural facial moisturiser afterwards. 

Every now and again though, I want to give my skin a deep cleanse, so that's when I pull out the oil cleansing method. It seems to be especially good over winter, when I don't get as much sun to help keep my skin clear.

I'm a bit claustrophobic so I find the whole draping a facecloth over my face slightly freaky. I just try to breathe through it.

Afterwards my skin feels very clean, although in a different way from using normal cleansers as it still has a slight feel of oil. I still like to apply a moisturiser afterwards to make it feel more how I'm used to.

I'd love to hear from others who have tried the oil cleansing method. Let me know what you think of it.


  1. Interesting. I haven't heard of cleansing your face with oil before, although I do like to moisturise with rose hip oil.

    Have you tried baking soda and cider vinegar for washing your hair? It works well and I found it helped with Isabella's cradle cap too.

  2. Hey Louise,
    The no 'poo method is next on my list of homemade beauty products to try. Do you use it all the time?

  3. I am keen to try this! I might give Castor Oil and Coconut Oil a go, and or Extra Virgin Olive oil. I have always struggled with breakouts, so I wonder if this method will do the trick with properties of the Castor Oil. I am so happy I stumbled on this blog...we are kindred spirits!


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