The Oil Cleansing Method
Have you heard about the Oil Cleansing Method for clearer, brighter skin? It’s been around for a while, and its popularity has picked up considerably in the last few years. Nowadays most reputable skincare ranges have at least one cleansing oil in their repertoire, including Dermalogica, Bobbi Brown and the cult Korean range DHC. Elemis are also launching their first cleansing oil in February, surely a sign that the oil cleansing method is here to stay.
Interestingly, the very first cleansing oil was introduced to the Japanese market back in 1967 by respected skincare house Shu Uemura. Always ahead of their time, Japanese women could see the benefits of using an oil rather than a cream or bar of soap to cleanse the skin, and the range now has a cleansing oil for every possible skin type and concern.
Oils can be extremely beneficial for many types of skin, it’s simply a matter of finding one that suits you.
You might remember for your science lessons at school that oil and water don’t mix. In fact, oil is highly resistant to water. What that means is that even a deep cleanse with a water based product might not be able to remove all of the oil based pollution and make-up residue that has built up during the day.
Surfactants used in water based cleansers ‘sit’ on the top layer of this residue but are not able to penetrate any deeper.
If you don’t wear much make-up or don’t live in a heavily polluted area, you might find you a cream or emulsion cleanser is enough. But if your skin doesn’t feel as deeply cleansed as you’d like after you’ve washed your face, it might be time to consider using an oil.
Is your skin suitable for the Oil Cleansing Method?
There are a number of skin types that could potentially see a big difference in their skin using this method. These are mainly:
- Polluted or congested skin
- Dry or very dry skin
- Skin that feels dehydrated
- Sensitive skin, or skin that needs calming or soothing
Even oily or combination skin can use a cleansing oil, although it’s not recommended for people with active acne.
The best time to use a cleansing oil is in the evening. During the day the skin is in protective mode, with the skin’s barrier being stronger and more resilient to environmental pollutants. In the evening, the skin’s ability to regenerate is three times faster, with products being absorbed more easily.
Start by using a specific eye make-up remover around the eye area and lips for particularly stubborn or waterproof make-up.
Then, using a 10p size amount of cleansing oil, massage into completely dry skin. The oil will become softer and easier to spread over the face and neck. Massage in circular movements, starting at the centre of the face and moving outwards. If necessary, add a couple of drops of water to emulsify the oil.
Spend a couple of minutes if possible massaging the oil in the skin. Oil has very small molecules which are able to penetrate deeply into the skin for maximum benefit.
Follow with a cream cleanse, and remove with a muslin cloth dampened with warm water.
Particularly when you first start using the double cleanse method, you might feel as though your skin is a bit ‘oily’ afterwards. If this is the case, simply apply an alcohol-free toner to dissolve any remaining oil left on the skin.
If you prefer to double cleanse in the morning and are following it with an application of make-up, then it’s definitely worth using a toner. Foundation in particular can react with oil, so it’s worth this extra step to ensure your make-up stays put all day.
- Polluted skin – needs antioxidants. Avocado, olive, argan and evening primrose oils are fantastic.
- Oily/Combination skin – look for oils that are low on the non-comedogenic scale (https://www.beneficialbotanicals.com/facts-figures/comedogenic-rating.html). Safflower and sunflower are great, as is any product that includes glycerin.
- Sensitive skin – soothing oils can really help sensitive skin or those suffering with psoriasis or rosacea. Chamomile and calendula (marigold) oils are best. Also look for a cleansing oil with allantoin as this ingredient is both soothing and anti-inflammatory.
- Dry or dehydrated skin – A base of grapeseed, almond or jojoba oil will nourish the skin and create a barrier on the skin, preventing further water loss
One final tip: if you have a baby or child and use a lot of Sudocrem (or any other nappy rash cream) washing your hands with a cleansing oil at the end of the day will help to remove any last traces of product. The emollient properties of these products are particularly resistant to general hand washes but a cleansing oil will dissolve any remains quickly and easily.