The other day when I found myself unexpectedly covered in olive oil, it seemed the perfect time to try out my next experiment: the oil cleansing method (OCM). I learned about this while I was reading up in preparation for the no 'poo experiment, and I was intrigued. Using the OCM, you wash your face with a combination of castor oil and olive oil instead of face wash or soap. Yes, you read that correctly. You wash your face with oil, and this even works for people with oily skin. Although this may seem counterintuitive, oil breaks up oil. Ask the manly men in your life, and they'll tell you that you can't remove motor oil or engine dirt/gunk from hands with soap; you have to use an oil-based cleanser. On a lesser scale, the same principle is at work in the OCM. Here's the regimen:
1) Just before using, mix castor oil and olive oil. I use an empty travel-size squeeze bottle for this; just pour in the oil and shake. If you have "normal" skin, it's 1:1 (a teaspoon of each does the trick). If your skin is dry, use 1 part castor oil to 3 parts olive oil. If your skin is oily, use 1 part olive oil to 3 parts castor oil. Tweak as needed until you find what combo works best for you.
2) Pour a quarter-sized amount of combined oil into your palm, rub hands together and gently rub oil onto your (dry) face in a circular motion using your fingertips. Be thorough and don't rush; this can be a really nice facial massage, so enjoy it. Although the OCM does remove make-up (including eye make-up), do not directly apply oil in the eye area.
3) Steam your face by applying a hot, moist washcloth and leaving it in place until cool (takes about 1 minute).
4) Rinse the washcloth in warm water, and then wipe your face to remove excess oil. You can wipe gently over the eyes in this step, which removes eye make-up beautifully.
Recently, simple mom wrote a more thorough post about this with other resources if you'd like more detail. I only need to use the OCM at night. In the morning, I just rinse my face with cool water to help wake me up before applying my sunscreen. That's it!
From the get-go, this experiment had a leg up on my No 'Poo Month, because I'm prompted by curiosity and a personal search for something better that the standard. Whereas I'm actually quite satisfied with my shampoo (meets criteria that rationalizes its use), I have yet to find a commercial facial cleanser that I like. Most seem harsh and dry out my face severely. I've settled on a cleanser for "sensitive skin" that isn't quite so nasty, but it doesn't remove the little make-up I wear (mascara and lipstick). I've been using the OCM for about a week now, and (barring any future mishaps) I am sold. The process is like a mini-facial every night; so pleasant! It removes mascara without a trace, and my skin feels amazing. I'm over 30, so skin care (i.e., fighting the dreaded wrinkles) is a concern, but the OCM is so nourishing! I can even foresee that I will need less moisturizer over time, perhaps not at all during the day. I have never had problem skin (knock on wood!), so I don't know from experience how it would work for those who do...but you can see via simple mom that the OCM is endorsed for people who are acne-prone. I can highly recommend giving the OCM a try. You might be sold! If not, at least you might have fun giving yourself a really inexpensive facial.