Thursday, 6 June 2013

26

The Oil Cleansing Method: One Month In

Tagged by @ashleybmorgan31 but I was sleeping. #widn About to clean my face, second week of OCM and what a difference! Anyone else tried it?

And now for something completely out of character for me: not only talking about my face but inviting you to look at it quite closely.  I posted this picture on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and quite a few people wanted me to elaborate on what I was talking about.  In short, the Oil Cleansing Method.  I've been doing it for just over a month now and feel like a long enough period of time has elapsed for me to pass opinion. 

If you're unfamiliar with the Oil Cleansing Method, the basic principle is that using traditional chemical-based products to cleanse, tone, and moisturise strips away the natural oils in your skin, which in turn responds by either over-producing oil or generally becoming dry and / or irritated.  With OCM, you eschew chemical products and instead use oil to cleanse, tone and moisturise on the basis that oil cleans oil.  I researched it for a very long time, watched friends try it (with and without success I must add), but the idea of massaging oil into my skin was so terrifying to my with-oil-comes-acne mindset that I was too nervous to try.  And then a couple of things convinced me it was worth a shot.  This neverending winter, our freezing house, and my natural tendency to be cold all the time meant that central heating, calor gas heating, and my electric heater got more than normal-usage this year.  I was gifted a facial for my birthday last year and the beauty therapist was (a polite version of) oh dear god your skin is so dry you must exfoliate.  I did exfoliate but then my face was painfully dry and pinched, the default condition of my skin since forever, which I would attempt to treat by slathering on moisturiser for temporary relief, and repeat.   I also have problem skin, exfoliating and moisturing generally irritate it and if I don't have a couple of spots on the go at any given time (including a stubborn cystic one) is a rare and glorious experience.  Add this to my (not proud of it but hey) increasing vanity about lines as I'm marching into my mid-thirties, and I finally decided I had nothing to lose if I gave OCM a try.  My skin couldn't get any drier, and I had enough spots that what was a few more?

Rather than invest in pricier oils from the off, I started with just extra virgin olive oil.  You massage about a five pence piece (dime size for Americans) into your skin in circular motions and then hold a piping hot washcloth against your face once or twice, and then use the same circular motions with your washcloth to exfoliate and rub the excess oil off.  I did this before bed, and after a week off nothing terrible happening, and actual soft skin that didn't hurt to move, I invested in some extra oils.  All of the research I read suggested that it can take a bit of experimenting to get the balance of your oil mixture right so I bought quite a few: jojoba, sweet almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed, and castor.  The former are all 'carrier' oils, and the castor is a beast of a different nature: it's an oil that draws out all of the yuck in your pores but is too drying to use without combining with a larger proportion of carrier oil.  From what I've read, the typical proportion of carrier to castor is 66% /33% (or 75% / 25%) although everyone is different and it can take some experimenting with which oils to use and in which proportions.  At the moment I'm using 25% olive oil, 50% jojoba, and 25 % castor (a third castor was too drying so I added a bit more carrier to my mixture).  Although my skin gets a bit drier than than the straight-up EVOO I started with, I'm happy to continue with this mix because the castor is a natural cleanser.  If I feel I need it I'll rub a couple of drops of straight almond oil in just before bed, or a couple of drop of apricot kernel or grapeseed oils in (both lighter than Almond) during the day. 


And now for my completely un-scientific picture comparison; obviously the left is taken in bright light and the right in more flattering light so it's not really like-for-like-holy-sh*t-will-you-look-at-that.  But to the person who is most au fait with my face (ie me, sorry mum you were a close second!), the fine lines around my eyes which I attribute to lack of moisture and definitely not getting old look improved.  And even if they don't look any different at all, my face feels so much better.  Softer, smoother, more evenly toned, a bit glowier, and not at all tight or sore.  I've gotten precisely one cystic spot in a month (gigantic improvement) and it went away in a couple of days with neat castor oil.  Not lying.  Overall, OCM is been the absolute best for me and the £20 I spent on oil should last more than six months.

Next up on the hippy train is no-poo (not at all what it sounds like, it's about aschewing shampoo).  Anyone have any advice or anecdata?  Have you tried Oil Cleansing and how did it work for you?

Addendum:  I'm not an expert nor do I play one on TV.  Almost everything I learned about the Oil Cleansing Method is from Crunchy Betty, which is the awesomest site, and then trial and error.  Her introduction to oil cleansing is essential reading if you're new to the idea, and there are even forums if you need advice.

26 comments:

  1. wow - that's so interesting! might give it a try (or certainly look up the site you mentioned). i have a few friends who do the no shampoo thing and it does seem to work. not sure how it works if you have hair like mine that def needs regular conditioning tho to be able to get a comb through it!

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  2. I've been looking at this as I was recommended using an oil after cleansing and before moisturising, so was wondering if this would work, followed by moisturiser. Can I ask where you found the oils? Holland and barrett seem to only come in large bottles at large prices. thanks

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    1. I got them on Amazon from a seller called Naissance, ranging from approx £3ish per 100ml to £8ish (Jojoba is the most expensive). You might find you don't even need moisturiser after, I haven't used any the whole month! This post on Crunchy Betty is super interesting too: http://www.crunchybetty.com/simple-homemade-3-ingredient-facial-oil-moisturizer-customize-it-for-your-own-gorgeous-skin

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  3. That's so lovely that you've found something that works so well, although the before and after pictures are fairly poor at demonstrating your point as you look completely young, gorgeous and vibrant in both and no one else apart from you would notice any lines (although because you drew my attention to them I stopped to look and I still don't think there are any age-related lines on your face, only temporary creases because you're smiling, which serve to make you look more smiley and as though it's natural radiance and not botox that's responsible for your wrinkle-free skin).

    I'm tempted to try it on your softness recommendation though, but every time I've moved away from Cetaphil cleanser my skin has become an unmanageable nightmare, so I feel a little too scared.

    With the no-poo - I tried this when I was 14...unfortunately it coincided with a summer holiday where my friend and I spent our time almost exclusively beside and in the pool. I can still remember the horrific smell now, and how delighted I was when my friend agreed that we should finally give up on the experiment after a month. We washed our hair with double helpings of shampoo and it was heavenly. I think if you avoid a swimming pool and chlorine it could work though as the logic behind it makes sense - I'll look forward to hearing how you get on.


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    1. You are entirely too sweet, Florence. I read a lot of comments from people on Crunchy Betty afraid to stop their Cetaphil, you're not alone! And thanks for the no-poo anecdata :)

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  4. I tried no-poo when i was pregnant last time round and found it hard (after having a 'wash every day with head and shoulders habit' so it was probably asking a lot.) In the end i shifted to using castile soap every couple of days or so which works really well for me, and which i make myself in about an hour once or twice a year, so it's cheap too. and it's only olive oil and lye so it's nice and simple.

    however my husband hasn't used soap or shampoo for years (just straight water) and he smells great and has wonderful hair, and none of the children have ever used shampoo and there hair is great too. so it's definitely worth an experiment. (once i'm no longer breastfeeding i will probably give it another go or start going longer between washes and just rinse my hair in between.

    hope that helps. :)

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    1. Thank you! We have hard water that makes it SUPER hard to get residue out. I switched to non-sulfate shampoo but it hasn't helped at all. I hadn't hear of castille soap, I'll check it out.

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  5. That's brilliant that you have found it work so well for you! I can't really tell the difference between you 2 photo's...but will take your word for it. Tell me, do you premix your oils in a bottle or just wing it at each wash? Also, do you do it every single night? Just wondering, I have only being doing it since you mentioned it on IG. Ta, Keri

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    1. I premix it in a pourable beaker, Keri. When I started I did 1T castor, 1T olive oil, and 1T jojoba but when I realised I wanted less castor I added another tablespoon of jojoba. That mix has lasted all month! And, yep, I do it every night.

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  6. Didn't realise you we're trying this! I've been using OCM with coconut oil for over 2 years now. Nothing else mixed in, just coconut oil. I cleanse with that at night and rub a little oil on after to moisturise, then in the morning splash with cold water and apply bb cream. Works fab for me, wish I'd known about it as a spotty teenager! Hoping to save my kids that pain!

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    1. That's interesting! I've heard *very* mixed things about coconut oil. It's supposed to be comedogenic and therefore bad for people with problem skin, but a lot of people swear by it too!

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  7. I did it for a while and it was the best method I ever used on my face until something (I'm not sure what!) went majorly wrong one day and I had a very painful breakout that took several weeks to clear up beneath my jawline. I shyed away from it after that but really should just give it a whirl again and avoid that area maybe.

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    1. I've heard this a lot too! Lots of stories from people who had very good success until something went crazy down the line. That was one of the things that made me wary to try.

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  8. Can't comment on the oil cleansing (and you look great in both photos) but I've been no-poo for about 3 months now. I started thinking about it after my son was born and had terrible eczema possibly exacerbated by daily baths (first time parents, ya know...). We changed to bathing him once a week (with wipe downs the rest of the time) and got rid of all soap/detergent, the eczema got better and we kept going with the new routine. He's two now and only gets washed with soap if he is actually dirty; his hair just gets a rub over with a wet sponge unless it is full of jelly/pasta sauce/sunscreen/etc.

    I did quite a bit of research about going no-poo. I used to think it was literally not washing your hair but it seems to vary. I found this post very informative http://babyslime.livejournal.com/174054.html. I have long hair and used to have a very itchy scalp which would go through phases of being reasonably happy then having a major scabby breakout (but not really what I'd call dandruff). I gave up shampoo around February I think and changed to bicarb of soda and cider vinegar. I wet my hair, massage in about 2 tablespoons of dry bicarb (some people make a past first but I think that only works with short hair), give it a good rub, rinse it out and do a final rinse with a good splosh of vinegar in a jug of water. It worked really well from day 1 and I haven't had any itchyness. I also found that I no longer need conditioner before I can get a comb through my (wet) hair - it combs better now than when I used shampoo and conditioner. And I can let my hair/head dry naturally whereas before I would get an itchy scalp if I did that.
    Sorry! Very long comment and possibly TMI but hope it's useful!

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    1. I've read the babyslime post many times! No poo just sounds like a bit of a faff? I normally shower about 5 minutes before we need to leave for school so I've been put off thinking about putting baking soda on my head and then vinegar. Maybe I just need to switch to showers later in the day, or to be more organised in the morning :)

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  9. Me again... Just to clarify on my comment from yesterday, we only wash my son's hair with soapy-type stuff (Weleda Baby Wash) when whatever is in his hair won't come out with just water. And I did think of something oil-cleansing related: when we were looking for moisturisers for my son during his eczema phase, pumpkin oil was often recommended although you have to keep it in the fridge and use it up quickly. We didn't find it worked any better than anything else we tried but like all these things, some work for some people and not for others.
    OK, no more comments on this post from me. Promise. :¬)

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    1. Pumpkin oil is something I haven't heard anything about, thanks! What you said about 'works for some not for others' seems to be the key feature of OCM. I'm counting myself lucky just now that nothing catastrophic has happened to my skin, but it seems that trial and error is a definite thing.

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  10. yep, still advocating OCM 100%. I did no poo for about 4 months a couple years back and it never worked for me. I wanted it to work so badly. Even just reading stash avalanche's comment above me there makes me want it to work again. I think the problem is that my hair is too thick - often I'll stand under the shower but if I lift my hair up, it's still dry at the roots underneath. So there was a bad combination of the "bicarb of soda" (so cute) not reaching all the dirty hair, and then the natural tendency of "bicarb of soda" (still cute) to make your hair thicker, when I usually do everything in my power to make my hair flat. All the reviews I've read are from people who love it because it makes your hair thicker.

    You look to have pretty thick hair also, so I'll be curious to see how it works for you. Having shorter hair might be key too though.
    -A

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    1. My hair is very, very thick and I have *loads* of it. My current problem is that the underneath hair always looks dirty no matter how much attention I pay to it. I switched to sulfate free when I was at my mum's and it was awesome! But home again with hard water and poor pressure and even the sulfate free shampoo makes my hair look perpetually dirty :(

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  11. I use a daily moisturiser with spf 25 in it and would be worried about going without it - do you use an spf alongside the oils?
    Also can't tell the difference between the photos as you look radiant and lovely in both and Florence is right, those are natural lines that you get when you smile, you would look extremely freaky without them! Show us a 'straight face' photo so we can see what you mean :)

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    1. If I'm caring and / or if it's sunny , I use a BB cream with an SPF in it. I'm pretty sure you can use whatever you like during the day as far as moisturisers and make up go, but the oil before bed is meant to take it all off so you start with a clear face in the morning. I've definitely found the oil is excellent at removing makeup and even eye makeup!

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    2. Cool, I'll stick to my normal spf cream during the day and give the oil a go at night. I use estee lauder double wear mascara which is pretty hard to shift, so it'll be interesting to see if it eliminates panda eyes. Bizarrely my mum just got a sample of cleansing oil free when she went to Gardener's World show at the NEC (??!), but I can't get her to part with it, so I'll start with olive. Thanks for the post x

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  12. Thanks for the info. I've thought about doing something like this and it's nice to hear from someone I know who has had good results. I have something I really like now but it's soooo expensive that I would love to switch to something more natural and cheaper.

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    1. Some of the oils are quite pricey individually (jojoba and argan in particular, and many essential oils if you're so inclined) but overall it's going to work out mega-cheap over the year. I used to use Clinique or Estee Lauder moisturiser at $40 a pop but the oils should work out so much cheaper over the year.

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  13. I'm waiting to finish my current cleanser before giving this a go.

    Thanks for the info. Will check out Crunchy Betty too.

    Sarabeth
    Life of an Agnostic Sunday School Teacher

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    1. Crunchy Betty is a total gold-mine!

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