Friday, January 3, 2014

The Oil Cleansing System

I forget exactly why I did this, but a few months ago I started trying The Oil Cleansing System.  For those of you who have no idea what this is (I certainly didn't used to), it's where you stop using harsh detergent-based cleansers on your face and instead clean your face by smearing it with oil.

Sounds gross? Sounds like it won't work? I was skeptical too.

I've never had what you'd call "nice skin".  When I was a teenager I had terrible acne.  In hindsight I probably could have improved my situation by washing my face more often or clipping my huge, thick bangs back when I slept.  Instead I went about it in my typical teenage fashion, trying to solve problems by whining.

Fast forward a decade, and my 20-year-old skin has fewer rampaging breakouts (I also lost the bangs, so I think the two might be related), but I still had the amazing ability for my skin to be flaky dry while having an oil slick on top of it.  I also have enormous pores, but my mother does too so I think I'm just genetically screwed in that department.

Now that I'm in my 30's, I really was waiting for the day that I had acne and wrinkles at the same time, and I'm still not entirely convinced that's not my fate.

Anyhow, some crunchy hippy friends of mine were talking about the OCS a while ago, so I goggled it and came to the page I linked to above.  They kept talking about how great their skin was, so I figured I'd try it, and if it made my skin disgusting it wasn't like I didn't still own soap.

Now, I'm consistently terrible at following directions and I think my crunchy friends weren't using castor oil and I didn't have any in the house, so I went with just straight coconut oil.  I was doing this at night for a while, and I noticed that after I washed my face in the morning with my regular facial cleanser my skin was kinda red and irritated and dry.  I stopped for a while mostly because I'm terrible at washing my face at night (gross, I know) because I go from active to passed out on the couch in about .5 seconds.  If I was smart, I'd get ready for bed before sitting down on the couch, but that just doesn't happen.

I started up again maybe a month or so ago.  No clue why I did, I probably just ran out of face soap and was like "heck, let's go back to that OCS system because I still have oil in the house".  This time I used sweet almond oil and for fun put lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in with it.  I ran out of sweet almond oil the other week so now I'm onto grapeseed oil with lemongrass essential oil.

Here's the crazy thing - it totally works.  Do I look like an airbrushed magazine model? No.  But my skin is less oily, I haven't had a zit since I started (that could just be luck), and I think in general my skin looks more fresh and clear.

It's certainly possible that I want this to work, so even accounting for that, the OCS works just as good as facial cleansers with the words "deep cleaning" and "pore minimizing" in their names.  My skin certainly isn't any worse.  That's freaking nuts.  And I'm not even following the system exactly, imagine what could happen if I just ordered some castor oil on Amazon Smile!

This time around I'm washing my face only with the OCS system in the morning in the shower like I usually do, and sometimes at night if I think to. I'm not seeing the red, dry, irritated problem and I think that's because with the combination of the OCS followed 8 hours later by harsh facial cleansers, I was over cleaning my skin.

I think I liked the coconut oil better, it seemed to get down into my pores better and I could feel them opening.  But I do like the ability to add essential oils to the liquid carrier oils.  Downside of adding lemongrass oil is that I constantly crave Thai food now.

You can also use the oil you wash your face with as a facial or body moisturizer AND it removes makeup.  Just as an FYI, I think a lot of the lotions I was buying before had chemicals in them that made them absorb quickly, so moisturizing with straight oil is a bit different.  It's good to moisturize right before bed so that way your skin can absorb everything and you won't have the problem of not being able to do anything since your hands are covered in oil.

I read an article on lifehacker about shaving with olive oil, so I tried shaving with the same oil I was cleaning my face with, and that also totally works.  I actually like it better than shaving cream since it repels water, it actually stays on your legs for longer without having to constantly re-apply the saving cream you've just accidentally rinsed off.

So, all in all, with one bottle of sweet almond oil (which sells on Amazon Smile for like eight bucks), I've been able to replace:
* makeup remover
* facial cleanser
* facial moisturizer
* body lotion
* shaving cream.

Just buy yourself a spray bottle, some essential oils and go to town! You'll save money, won't be putting harsh chemicals on your skin and you'll smell delicious.

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