Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A (Somewhat Comprehensive But Don't Quote Me on That) Guide to Oil Cleansing

How's my first attempt at creating some kind of a header? Not too shabby for Microsoft Paint, haha!

Oil Cleansing! It's become somewhat of a buzz on the beauty blogosphere, with two strong camps of "Tried It/Know What They're On About" and "What The Dickens is Cleansing With Oil? WHAT ARE GRITS?" and my objective today is to shed some light on that for members of the latter. 

So, what is? Oil cleansing is, quite simply, step one in a generally two step cleansing routine whuch involves first breaking down daily dirt/makeup/sunscreen/sweat and other greeblies. You apply an occlusive oil (such as mineral oil, or castor oil) liberally, massage to get amongst your pores and dredge up the gross stuff to sit in the occlusive layer on the skin before being rinsed away. This step preps skin for the next step of cleansing which is generally a foaming (or lathering) cleanser which is used to whisk away any traces of the oil, and any really gross stuff the oil couldn't get to. 
Oil cleansing works on the principle of oil, like attracts like, and by massaging the skin with an occlusive oil (which will stay on the surface of your skin and not absorb like other facial oils) and by using two gentle cleansers, an oil and a gentle foaming, you're getting a deeper, more effective facial cleanse that is better for your skin than one cleanse with a harsh, stripping cleanser.

I've said the word cleanse a lot! Does it even still look like a word? Onwards we must go!

Using an oil cleanser enables you to experience something, albeit highly polarising between users as to who has and hasn't experienced it, quite unique to the oil cleansing experience: GRITS. No, not the food - as much as I'd like that to be a part of the routine, but something well, technically a bit ick.
Massaging your face during an oil cleanse is a lot different to when you do it with a foam cleanser - for one, you're doing it for a much longer period of time (around 5 minutes) and rather than the oil lathering up and sudsing and otherwise masking the sensation of your makeup and sunscreen breaking down, you get a very one on one experience with the junk that's been sitting on your face all day. Using your fingertips to massage the oil creates a sort of "balling" effect, where all the make up and sun protection, dead skin and other gross stuff kind of balls together into little granules, which kinda feel like sand - or "gritty", hence the name. Contrary to popular belief, they're not actually "blackheads" being massaged out of your skin (because if extractions were that easy, those nasty little blackhead tools would be a thing of the past!) but the reason why the grits are often white or black like icky little blackheads is because of the make up or pollution you exposed your skin to that day. That's not to say it's not an effective remover of blackheads, as it's insanely good for keeping those suckers at bay, they're not what you're seeing on your fingertips during a cleanse though.

All that out of the way, I'll run you through how I get the best from my oil cleanser and how you can too!

You'll need:
- An oil cleanser, duh. There are two main camps for oil cleansers, liquid and balms. Liquids come in pump packs and go on in the state they're pumped out, whereas balms are often in jars and as soon as they're smoothed on the face, they melt to a liquid state. I personally am more of a fan of the balms, as they're much easier to apply and less messy than liquid cleansers. You can find oil cleansers in a solid state, which are kind of almost similar to the consistency of a soft bar of soap, but aren't as stripping, obviously. To avoid confusion, I'm just going to stick to the two main forms.

Popular liquid oil cleansers:
- Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil

- DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

- The Face Shop Bright Cleansing Oil Light

Popular balm/solid oil cleansers:
- Banila Co. Clean It Zero (comes in several varieties - regular, Purity, Brightening, Radiance etc)

- Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
- The Face Shop Seed Fermentation Cleansing Oil Balm

My personal HG oil cleanser is Banila Co Clean It Zero!
- A foam cleanser 
- A towel on hand, so you're not running around the bathroom with water dripping off your face.

How to:
Now, obviously, there isn't a one-size-fits-all how-to for oil cleansers as they will vary from formula to formula, and each cleanser will have their own directions, this is more to give you a vague idea of how these things work, and what to expect when you're using them.

- Apply oil liberally to dry, uncleansed skin. I like to take my eye make up off first with some micellar water, but make sure my face is dry before applying the oil. 
Make sure to apply enough that it coats your face but isn't dripping everywhere, and if you're applying a balm, you'll probably have a little spatula that comes with the product to help you fish out what you need. I use about an almond sized blob of Banila Co Clean It Zero, and dab it all over my face before smoothing it out to make almost a mask.
- Next, you'll wanna start massaging! Using the pads of your fingers, and don't go too hard, gently massage the oil about your face. The massaging action is crucial to breaking up all the grot on your skin, so massage firmly but gently - if you're finding your tugging your skin around too much, you may need to apply a touch more product.
- As your massaging, you may start to feel a gritty, sandy, powdery sensation on your fingertips - these are the beloved grits so many people are talking about! All the dead skin, make up, sunscreen & pollution from the day is rolling up, balling up, and helping with the cleansing process (like attracts like, remember - the dead skin cells actually attract more skin cells in the same way Italy Towels work. Italy Towels are another story for another time!)
- After about five minutes, it's time to rinse! Depending on what kind of oil cleanser you're using, (read the package!) some emulsify with water which means you can add some water, massage your skin to create a creamy lather & rinse, some simply rinse off & some can even be tissued off. 
- The next step is important - oil cleansing is a part of the double cleansing routine, so to rinse off any oily residue, it's important to follow with a foaming cleanser of your choice. I'm using Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing foam and it's seriously been good to my skin.
Simply apply a small blob to your hands, work into a lather, and apply to your face. Rinse off, pat your face dry and congratulations, you just double cleansed like a pro!

Some things worth noting:
- This routine seems time consuming, but I honestly smash my cleansing out in around 6 minutes - including the 5 minutes of massaging! Double cleansing is meant for nighttime, so don't fret, you don't have to do it in the morning too! I like to clean with my foam cleanser in the morning, to freshen up and prep my skin for skincare, but that's my personal preference.
-  Low pH foaming cleansers are going to do a world of good for your skin - especially if you're using chemical exfoliators.
- Double cleansing isn't a harsh method of cleansing, but it is advisable to replenish your skin with plenty of nourishing moisture after cleansing. This is where the wonderful world of layering essences, serums & creams starts to open up, but again, another story for another time!
- Some people will find that their skin doesn't agree with mineral oil based oil cleansers (especially with balm type cleansers) so shop around and try to get samples/testers where you can - a lot of shops offer testers instore where you can patch test with the product, which is an awesome way to see if you like the fragrance and texture of a product. Banila Co Clean It Zero is mineral oil based, but their Purity variance is made for those who have skin that doesn't agree with mineral oil.

Have fun with it! Skincare isn't meant to be boring and chore-like, find products you like so you actually look forward to the routine at night!

I hope this helps answer some questions, if there's anything I haven't covered, don't hesitate in dropping me a line, I'll do what I can to help!



  1. Great post! I have really learned a lot here. Never knew that oil cleansing is a great way in rejuvenating the skin. A must try indeed!

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