Enter: The Oil Cleansing Method
While it may seem counterintuitive to use coconut oil as a face wash, the oil cleansing method is quite possibly the purest, most effective way to remove dirt, impurities and yes – even oil from your face.
And the idea is actually quite simple. Using the principle of “like dissolves like” – the basic concept is this: the natural oil you massage into your skin dissolves the oil that has hardened on your skin with impurities and/or clogged your pores. When you apply steam from a hot wash cloth to your face, the pores open and the natural oil lifts the dirty oil, which can be easily wiped away. This practice cleans your face, and moisturizes your skin at the same time.
I know – I didn’t believe it at first either. In fact, I did such a remarkable amount of research on the oil cleansing method, how it worked, and what oils to use that I completely paralyzed myself from trying anything because I didn’t know where to start.
But, I still had a dirty face. So, I had to put on my big girl panties and git ‘er done.
Enter: Coconut Oil Face Wash
As you can tell – I’m a big fan of coconut oil for skin care. I use it in a ton of different ways, including as a moisturizer for my body. Since I had previous experience with coconut oil, I was a little bit more comfortable with rubbing coconut oil on my face, and one evening – I finally decided to try washing my face with coconut oil.
Now, I’ve been washing my face with coconut oil for quite a few years, and not only does my skin never feel dry (even in the winter), I also haven’t had a blemish on my face in about 1.5 years. Not. Even. Lying. Using coconut oil on my face was the best thing I’ve ever done for my skin (and my feet – because now I have way more money to spend on cute shoes.)
Why is coconut oil so fantastic for washing your face? Not only is it antimicrobial, full of antioxidants, and super moisturizing, it also has been shown to work well for all skin types. And because it improves collagen cross-linking, coconut oil may help improve stretch marks, scars, and fine lines and wrinkles. Booyah.
Interested in trying coconut oil on your face? Good, I think you should too.
How to Clean Your Face With Coconut Oil
What You’ll Need:
- Coconut oil (I use this organic, unrefined coconut oil. Purchase in bulk here to save money!)
- A washcloth (I use a Norwex Body Cloth)
- A face
What You’ll Do:
- Step 1: Put about a teaspoon of coconut oil into the palm of your hand
- Step 2: Warm the oil up in your hands by rubbing your hands back and forth
- Step 3: Gently massage the oil into your face using small, circular strokes for at least 1 minute
- Step 4: Rinse a washcloth under very warm water, wring out the excess water, and let the cloth sit on your face for :30 seconds
- Step 5: Gently wipe the oil from your face
- Step 6: Repeat previous three steps again
- Step 7: Admire your clean and moisturized face in the mirrorWant to kick it up a notch? You can add essential oils like tea tree oil (oily skin), lavender oil (all skin types) or geranium oil (dry skin). Simply add 1-3 drops per teaspoon of coconut oil and mix well.
Tips & Tricks of Cleaning Your Face with Coconut Oil
First and foremost, if you’ve never used coconut oil on your face, test it on a small section of your skin and see how you react for 3-4 days in a row. Not everyone will react the same to coconut oil – and some people may experience an increase in comedogenic acne. If that’s the case, a different oil will work best using the oil cleansing method, like fractionated coconut oil, which is non-comedogenic. Check out Coconut Oil for Skincare: Everything You Need to Know for a more in-depth discussion regarding coconut oil for skin, and what to do if coconut oil doesn’t work for you.
Also, don’t be surprised if you experience a minor “detox” reaction with the oil cleansing method. While I didn’t experience this personally, because you are performing a “deeper” clean, you may experience a small increase in breakouts for a week or two as the dirty oil is brought to the surface. Believe me – the clearer skin on the other end is worth it!
Before & After
In most cases, you will not need to worry about removing your makeup prior to washing your face with coconut oil. Coconut oil is a fantastic makeup remover, and works especially well with the waterproof kind. In the rare occasion I have a bit of “heavy duty” eye makeup on, I use my Norwex Body Cloth or Makeup Remover Cloth to gently help break up some of the mascara ahead of time. When using the oil cleansing method, it’s ok to rub some of the oil gently into your eyelids, but please refrain from getting it in your eyes… unless you want everything to be blurry for the next half an hour. (Yes, I speak from experience.)
After you’ve washed your face with coconut oil, in some cases, you will not need to put additional moisturizer on your face. Given that I always had dry skin, I made the mistake of continuing to massage more oil into my face post-cleanse which ended up being too much for my skin. First, see how your skin does without moisturizer. If you end up feeling dry, or want to moisturize your face throughout the day, try this How to Make a DIY Facial Moisturizer.
I highly recommend using a DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner post-cleanse to help freshen skin and remove any excess residue. This has helped my pours tremendously and always removes that little bit of dirt I seem to miss.
Because the oil cleansing method is a deep cleansing method, it’s best to wash your face with coconut oil no more than once a day – preferably at night before bed. If you feel like you need a bit of freshening up in the morning or after a workout, the DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner works great and will restore your skin to it’s natural pH. I personally only clean my face with coconut oil 3-4 times a week, and simply use water and wipe my face with a Norwex Body Cloth and use my DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner on “off” days.
Type of Coconut Oil to Use for Skin Care (& Storage!)
For skin care, I recommend going with an unrefined, virgin coconut oil. I personally use Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil (I get in the gallon size!) or Nutiva Coconut Oil.
As for storage, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. This means, you’ll need to store your coconut oil in a wide-mouth glass jar so you can scoop it out with a teaspoon or your finger when you’d like to use it. I use these mini Weck jars to store things like coconut oil, baking soda, etc. all throughout the house.
Using Other Oils for The Oil Cleansing Method
Coconut oil is just one of the many oils you can use to wash your face using the oil cleansing method. So – if coconut oil doesn’t work for you, you can use the exact same step-by-step process listed above with other oil combinations.
In fact, the traditional oil cleansing method encourages using a blend of oils because you can reap the nourishing benefits of each. If you’d like to use a blend of oils, I recommend using one “astringent” oil, and one “carrier” oil. Here’s how it’s done:
Blending Your Oils
First, you’ll want to choose your “astringent” oil. This oil will do a very good job at cleansing your skin, aka – doing the dirty work. Your two options for this are:
- Castor Oil: Great for all skin types, but especially acne-prone skin
- Hazelnut Oil: Great for all skin types
Next, you’ll want to choose your “carrier” oil. This oil carries the astringent oil deep into your pours, and nourishes the skin at the same time. The most popular options for this are:
Now – on to blending your oils! You can mix your oils ahead of time in a bottle depending on your skin type. My general guidelines are as follows:
- Oily Skin: 30% astringent oil, 70% carrier oil
- Combination Skin: 20% astringent oil, 80% carrier oil
- Dry Skin: 5-10% astringent oil, 90-95% carrier oil
Tips & Tricks on Blending Oils
First, always try to purchase high-quality, organic, and cold-pressed (or pure) oils when purchasing ones to wash your face. These oils will be going deep into your skin, and you don’t want to be taking pesticides and residue along with it.
If you have sensitive skin, I recommend starting with no more than 10% astringent oil. From there, you can increase the amount of astringent oil depending on how your skin feels. It may take a little experimenting to find your perfect blend – and that’s ok!
No matter what your skin type is, it’s best to test any blended oils you’ve chosen on a small patch of your skin – especially if you reacted to coconut oil. If you’re allergic or have a sensitivity to a specific ingredient that is part of an oil – you should not put it on your skin. Capiche?
And finally, if you’re lazy and want the easy route like me, you can use any carrier oil exclusively using the oil cleansing method. My choice is obviously just using coconut oil. Ain’t no shame in my game.
Well what do you know – looks like it’s about time for a coconut oil face wash!