Facial oils can be incredibly intimidating. With so many on the market now, it can be overwhelming to know which one(s) to choose. It can also seem counterintuitive to put an oil on oily or acne-prone skin. Most of us probably grew up with the belief that if we had acne or shiny skin, the only way to treat it was to dry it out with harsh astringents, toxic ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, and over-cleansing. The problem with this is it disrupts our skin microbiome and strips the skin of its natural oils, leading to accelerated aging, sensitivities, breakouts, and MORE oil.
It was when I was in school for my aesthetician certification that I learned about oil cleansing. This was such a foreign concept to me. Cleansing the skin with oil?! How was that possibly going to clean the skin? I was amazed when I tried it and it removed all traces of makeup and left my face soft, balanced, and glowing. I was hooked. Coconut oil tends to get a bad rap for causing breakouts when used on the face. However, I have found it usually has more to do with the type of coconut oil being used. I personally have sensitive, breakout-prone, skin and I love using coconut oil for cleansing. I use an organic, raw, extra-virgin coconut oil that is made from fresh coconut rather than dried. This type of coconut oil is bioactive and full of beneficial enzymes. It is also antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial due to its high levels of lauric acid. All skin types can benefit from oil cleansing with a high-quality, raw coconut oil.
Lora’s Oil Cleansing Method Using Raw Coconut Oil
1. Start with about a teaspoon of the oil and massage it onto dry skin.
2. Gently massage it into the skin for about a minute or two, focusing on areas of congestion.
3. Take a soft, natural, washcloth and place it under warm running water until it is fully saturated.
4. Lightly wring it out and place the washcloth over the entire face, pressing it lightly into the skin.
5. Leave it in place for about thirty seconds.
6. Gently rub the cloth over your face in circular motions until all of the oil has been removed.
7. If I am wearing makeup, I will follow this up with a double-cleanse using a gentle herbal gel or natural cream cleanser.
Once the skin is thoroughly cleansed, it is time to use a toner or hydrosol (which is a steam distilled flower or herb water). A good quality rose water works wonderfully for this. When it comes to applying oils to the skin as a serum or moisturizer, I ALWAYS apply them to damp skin. This helps to balance the skin’s protective hydrolipid barrier and keeps the oil from sitting on top of the skin, essentially suffocating it and leading to clogged pores. Water is hydrating and oil is moisturizing. Together they allow the nutrients to penetrate the skin more effectively, enhancing the benefits of the oil being used. This can eliminate the need for any other moisturizing product also, as the skin learns to self-regulate becoming evenly hydrated and moisturized.
There truly is a facial oil for every skin type. From dry and sensitive to oily with deep, cystic, acne. Here are some of my favorites:
Golden Jojoba Oil– Lightweight, breathable, sebum regulating, antibacterial, ant-inflammatory. This oil most closely matches our own skin sebum and can help to break down and dissolve excess oil. Great for acne-prone skin too.
Squalane Oil– Rejuvenates skin tone, diminishes excess oil, and improves moisture balance. Also good for acne-prone skin. *Be sure to purchase squalane oil that is pure and sustainably derived from olives.
Grape Seed Oil– This oil tends to be more astringent than most, so I would not use it as a daily moisturizer unless you are extremely oily and want to mattify the skin.
Rosehip Oil– Lightweight, hydrating, reduces scars and hyperpigmentation, anti-inflammatory. This is my holy-grail oil. It really evens and brightens like no other.
Tamanu Oil– Great for rosacea, acne, eczema, sunburn, and balancing oil production.
Pomegranate Oil– Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, calming, lightweight, helps restore and even the skin tone, reduces acne scars. This oil is deeply nourishing and balancing.
Neem Oil– Purifying, cooling, reduces redness and sensitivity. Helps to decongest pores while also nourishing the skin.
Pumpkin Seed Oil– Anti-inflammatory. High in zinc, selenium, vitamin A, and Vitamin E. Helps reduce acne and scarring, protect from environmental damage, support the skin’s collagen levels, and improve texture. Deeply repairing.
Marula Oil– Superbly moisturizing, nourishing, calming, and balancing. High in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, improving elasticity and helping to repair the skin.
Almond Oil– Extremely gentle and hydrating. Wonderful for eczema, dermatitis, and very dry itchy skin. High in naturally occurring vitamin A, making it helpful for smoothing fine lines over time, as well.
Sea Buckthorn Oil– Deeply nourishing, restorative, and revitalizing. Wonderful for sun damage and skin that is in need of repair.
Avocado Oil– High in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids that help nourish and moisturize dry skin.
Argan Oil– Calming, restorative, nourishing. Helps to reduce redness and soften the skin.
Moringa Oil– Helps to repair dry, damaged, skin. Calms irritated skin. Lightweight and hydrating.
Calendula Oil– Antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory. Great for acne, eczema, rashes, and overall skin repair.
Buriti Oil– Rich in antioxidants. Nourishing and protecting. Helps repair dry, irritated skin.
When you are looking to purchase facial oils, be sure to always choose high-quality, pure, organic oils. You want to make sure there are no added preservatives or artificial fragrances. I also do not recommend using essential oils on a regular basis. Over time they can cause skin sensitivity and dehydration. I prefer oils that are infused with herbal extracts over essential oils. With that being said, they can be beneficial to the skin when used therapeutically for a short time to address specific concerns. Clove and tea tree essential oils can be especially helpful in clearing deep, stubborn, blemishes. Never apply essential oils directly to the skin as they can be very irritating and, in some cases, even burn the skin. Add one or two drops of the essential oil per one teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as the ones I have listed above, for proper dilution.
As I mentioned before, apply the face oil while the skin is still damp from a toner or hydrosol and gently press the oil into the skin. Do not rub or pull on the skin, as this prevents the oil from being properly absorbed and can damage the pores. Depending on the oil and your skin type, anywhere from 1- 4 drops of oil is typically sufficient. Check the label and adjust accordingly. They can be used both morning and night. If you prefer to use a water-based moisturizer during the day, you can mix one or two drops of the oil into it before applying. I would not suggest doing this if your moisturizer contains SPF, as it can decrease the level of sun protection. You can even mix a drop of oil into your foundation for an extra dewy finish.
Just like nutrition, skincare is not one-size-fits-all. It is best to choose skin products that fit your current skin conditions and your overall skin goals. Oils are no exception. It can take a little trial and error, but once you find the oil(s) that are best for your needs you can begin to experience the plethora of skin enhancing benefits they have to offer! ✨
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