5 Tips For Easing Into Washing Your Face With Oil

If you suffer regularly from acne, oil cleansing just might be your solution. I know, I know. It sounds counterintuitive to add MORE oil to an already oily complexion, but hear me out. The oil cleansing method (OCM) is widely recommended for all skin types. Sources at Huffington Post state that oil is actually good for your skin, not matter what troubles you're trying to solve. Basic chemistry to support the argument that oil dissolves oil, so using certain oils similar to the ones our skin naturally creates will replace dirty, bacterial oil with healthy oil thus providing clear skin without the dryness. Hmm, sounds like what almost every OTC acne solution promises doesn't it? Well, the big difference is that, with OCM, you get to experiment with which oils and proportions are exactly right for your skin.

Just a couple of years ago, I was covered in scars left over from using OTC acne treatments that were just way too harsh for my sensitive skin. There were also little dry patches of skin that, through the healing powers of coconut oil, mostly healed but still left behind dark scarring on my face. I was a monster. I had always believed the acne hype that had become universally and socially accepted by most dermatologists: Oil is bad for acne-prone, oily skin. After decades of drying the crap out of my face, I decided to look into natural alternatives for my outbreaks. I feel in love with the OCM, but it certainly took a while to get used to. Welcome to the trials and tribulations of starting the oil cleansing method.

Listen, the OCM will be trial and error — you are probably going to screw it up the first few times, and that's OK. Be mindful of other outside factors (like diet changes or traveling) that could be messing with your skin as well. The oil cleansing method is an experiment, so you'll want to keep it in a controlled environment as much as possible.

Take my own personal adventures in OCM as an example. At first, I used coconut oil and jojoba oil in equal parts — and my face was glowing. I felt like I had finally found the ultimate key to happiness. After another week, however, I felt my skin was becoming clogged and that glow completely disappeared into what looked like an unwashed face. Since I still had major scarring, I now looked like an unwashed monster. Awesome.

I've used harsh chemicals on my face for over 25 YEARS, so it took me not just months, but almost a year to adjust to a completely natural skincare regimen. It took me a long time to find the right blend of oils for my skin. I stopped the oil cleansing method, but only for a little while. Once my skin adjusted to a world without soap, I reintroduced oil cleansing on a weekly basis. Sources at Perfect Skincare, advise to do test patches, something it took me years to actually start doing, before trying new products. Never go in assuming that because one oil worked for someone that it will work for you.

With all that in mind, I thought it only fitting to give some tips for anyone looking to benefit from the oil cleansing method, because it really is a beautiful thing for so many people. Complexions have been restored, dark spots have healed, acne has become a thing of the past all with natural oils. How could you say no?

1. If You Aren't Willing to Experiment, The Oil Cleansing Method Isn't For You

The oil cleansing method involves paying attention to your skin and a lot of patience. If you aren't willing or able to put the time and effort into the oil cleansing method, chances are you are going to be pretty disappointed with the results. If you get it right on your first try, sans test patch, then please contact me immediately because you are officially a prodigy.

2. Don't Ignore Those Essential Oils

My oil cleansing method has had several makeovers, and I didn't realize until very late in the game that I was missing two super important ingredients: lemon tea tree oil and geranium essential oil. In the past, both essential oils have worked great for treating my acne and restoring a healthy complexion. Plus, antiseptics are important for a daily skin routine to remove bacteria and free radicals, and essential oils are packed with 'em. It's not just about carrier oils in the OCM (though those are definitely the most important part), so check out some essential oils that may advance your new treatment before you delve in.

3. Start Slowly

I jumped right into OCM by making oil my daily cleanser. In hindsight, I recognize that it works best in conjunction with natural exfoliates and masks. Start off by doing your oil cleansing method once a week and then pick up speed if you see fit, but don't ignore other natural face packs that can also promote healthy, clear skin.

4. Continue To Moisturize

Believe it or not, dryness is still pretty common with the oil cleansing method, especially if you are using an oil like castor oil. Emollients work to seal in moisture when you leave them on, but you'll be washing them off in this case, so you still need to add a moisturizer on top.

5. Only Buy Pure Oils

Definitely avoid the cheap stuff if you're switching to OCM. Choose your brand of oils wisely and make sure they are extra-virgin, cold-pressed, and/or raw products so you are getting the purest forms available. Some of my favorites brands are Aura Cacia and Plant Guru.

Image: madaise, U.S Army RDECOM, Kate Ware, Rupert Ganzer,; Kristin Collins Jackson; Giphy