The practice of oil cleansing is rooted in ancient traditions dating back to the 14th century, and has been used for centuries to cleanse and nourish the skin. In Japan and Korea, double-cleansing with oil was used to remove the thick white base of makeup used in traditional dress.
Oil cleansing to repair the skin barrier
Oil cleansing is having a renaissance moment because it effectively cleanses the skin without harsh surfactants, emulsifiers and preservatives found in most cleansers. These can strip the natural skin barrier and lead to problems like rosacea, eczema or acne. Oil cleansing is a gentle way to melt the day away without disrupting your skins natural balance.
Moisturising with oil
A moisturiser is effectively oil, mixed with water. Oil on its own (depending on the type) has a shelf life of between 1 to 5 years. As soon as water is added, you need emulsifiers to bind water and oil — since they don't go together — as well as preservatives to keep it stable and avoid biohazardous bacteria from growing. This is why oil is a gentle solution for all skin types, because it avoids ingredients that interfere with the skin barrier. It also contains 100% active ingredients, in their most potent non-watered-down form.
Why oil products are better for the planet
Since moisturisers are full of water, there’s a lot of empty space in the container. Oil cleansers are better value, because you’re getting more of the actual active ingredients. You only need a few drops to moisturise your entire face, so it lasts longer and likely reduces the amount of skincare products an individual buys over a lifetime.
How to oil cleanse and moisturise
- Start with a dry face. Add a couple of drops to a wet face towel and gentle cleanse the skin in circular motions working from the bottom up. Make sure to use a gentle cloth that’s not over-exfoliating. This is also a great moment to do a bit of self-care and massage from your chest, neck and working up to the face, to encourage blood circulation and lymph to detox. There are a lot of great Youtube videos on this.
- Once the skin feels clean, you can follow up with the same oil to cleanse, or a surfactant based cleanser.
- Apply serums and then a couple more drops of the oil back over damp skin to lock in moisture. Oil applied to dry skin can keep hydration out, so it’s crucial that your skin is damp before applying oil.