The enormous beauty care industry would love for you to believe that in order to have clear, glowing, perfect skin, you need to rid the skin of oil completely. How has this scrubbing, disinfecting and drying worked for you so far?
The reason why we have so much trouble with mainstream skin care products are many. Conventional products strip the natural oils off your skin, leaving this largest organ trying to repair itself by replacing the oils that were just stripped away. The skin then compensates this dryness by producing more oil, and this constant dryness followed by oiliness, pulling, scrubbing and patting, leaves our skin feeling irritated, sensitive and tired-looking.
The same goes for babies: As their delicate skin adjusts to life outside the womb and all the environmental changes surrounding it, we have been generationally taught they need a warm bath with soap and bubbles. Daily. This needs to change, and oil cleansing is just about as natural and soothing as it can get for baby.
Oil is attracted to oil.
Oil dissolves oil.
Our skin naturally produces sebum (oil), which protects your skin from water being released from it, as well as from dirt and pollutants from entering it. It may seem counterintuitive to add oil to an oily face, but this actually helps you have less greasy facial skin!
We shared quite a bit about why this occurs, in the blog post topic on "babies don't need shampoo" [HERE]. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense: The more you strip the skin off these precious natural protective oils, the more it will want to make more, yes? Your skin then becomes over-reactive and fatigued.
If you’re cringing at the thought of adding oil to your skin, remember no two oils are alike! Every single carrier oil has its own benefits, derived from the plant matter it came from. Some are thicker, runnier, greasier, and some are more "dry" oils. The trick is to find the one that works for your skin type and any particular issues you may have.
Some brief examples:
Rosehip oil is often used for those with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and added to products for anti-ageing creams and lotions because of its high content of vitamin A that increases elastin content and promotes collagen formation.
Sacha Inchi oil is an amazing one to heal sores, wounds, and burns, and soothes itchy, irritated skin.
Jojoba is one of the closest to the sebum (oil) that our skin naturally produces, and it benefits multi-skin types for its regenerative, toning, calming and restructuring properties.
Argan oil – or "liquid gold" as the Moroccans call it – is used often in haircare products because of its ability to penetrate the skin and hair strands without the greasy feel. Plus it has a whole collection of nutritional goodness that the skin loves!
Pumpkin seed oil is often used to help promote hair growth, calm an itchy scalp, and soothe red and damaged skin.
Rice bran oil is a light, more 'dry' oil, and excellent for those who cringe at putting a greasy oil on their skin.
So just a few of thousands of examples, but the more you cater the oils to your specific skin challenges or what you want to achieve, the more you learn! Plus, experimenting is fun ;)
Babies and "Cradle Cap"
It's been said that Cradle Cap on babies is caused by the hormonal changes a baby's skin undergoes after birth and while nursing, and possibly from overactive sebaceous glands. It's not an itchy or painful condition for a baby, but it can be annoying for them to have scales on their head for a few weeks or months (yes, apparently babies can feel them, just as you would feel a scab stretching on your arm). Parents aren't big fans of cradle cap either, as everyone envisions their baby having perfectly newborn skin.
My daughter had cradle cap for years. Not weeks or months, but years! It kept coming back and it was a pain in the butt to get rid of it – and sooo embarrassing for her. The oil cleansing method was amazing, as conventional shampoos only dried her scalp even more and made her hair fall out super quickly.
The oil cleansing method worked wonders for her. It is an excellent alternative to shampoos for small babies too. Not just for those with cradle cap, but for babies in general. Why do we feel it needs to be cleaned with stronger surfactants (detergents)?
How to make your own cleansing oil combo
First step: Castor Oil & Jojoba Oil
The two oil combinations I would first recommend are castor oil and jojoba oil. Castor oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties and it is naturally healing and cleansing. It can be found at your local pharmacy, and it’s very inexpensive.
Since Castor oil’s cleansing properties are so strong, and its consistency thick, it needs to be diluted with another, thinner oil. Jojoba oil is the second recommended because it's the oil that most resembles the natural oils that our skin produces (sebum). Jojoba helps transport the castor oil deep into the pores, bringing dirt to the surface where it can just be wiped away (you’ll be shocked at the muck!).
Second step: The right combination - just for you
If you have OILY skin: Try a blend of 30% castor oil and 70% Jojoba oil.
If you have BALANCED skin: try a blend of 20% castor oil and 80% Jojoba.
If you have DRY skin: Try a blend of 10% castor oil and 90% Jojoba.
Mix and store in a clean, four-ounce bottle with a pump on it (dark/amber glass is best).
Don’t be surprised if your skin seems oily the first few times you try the oil cleansing method. Once you remove the plugs from your pores, they will begin functioning properly again. You should notice a huge difference in your skin after the first deep cleansing massage. Great for clearing up Acne, calming Rosacea and soothing Eczema. And for cradle cap!
You may also use grapeseed oil or sunflower oil, instead of the Jojoba, if you want more cost-effective options.
Method: How to
cleanse prior to bed – you really don't need to wash or scrub your face in the morning (a quick splash with warm water should be enough).
pour a generous amount (like a quarter size) of the mix onto your hands, rubbing between them to warm and then smooth onto face (Note: This combo will remove the most stubborn makeup traces too!). Your skin can be dry or wet - that's up to you and you can try both to see which one you prefer. I like it when my skin is dry.
massage gently in circular motions over the entire face and neck area.
allow a couple of minutes for the oils to work and bring dirt to the surface
soak a clean washcloth or cotton pad with warm water and squeeze to drain excess water from the cloth (i like using small bamboo face towels as they're very gentle and can be washed and reused over and over!) Apply the washcloth to the face and leave it there until it cools (about a minute). You will feel the pores "breathe", releasing impurities, dead cells and bacteria. Aaaaahhh! So good!
gently wipe (do not scrub!) and then rinse with warm water.
I would suggest starting with the oil cleansing method twice per week, and working your way to using it daily as your sole cleansing method. This transition should take just 2 weeks.
You may experience a couple of pimple breakouts and that's NORMAL. I cannot stress that enough, so don't freak out! As your skin clears of impurities and debris, it will react. Don't worry and just give it a fair chance.
Have you tried the oil cleansing method? Which are your favourite oils to use? Share what you do in the comments below so we can learn together!