Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Oil Cleansing Method

The other week, while reading the blog No More Dirty Looks, I stumbled across commenters who claimed they washed their face with oil. At first, I was horrified. Then, I was intrigued. A quick Google search informed me that the oil cleansing method is supposed to dissolve dirty oil, makeup, and grime from your face without stripping it of its natural oils. It is also natural and fragrance free, so it is supposed to be less irritating.

Curious, I snuck into my bathroom with my bottle of extra virgin olive oil. I felt like I was doing something rebellious or naughty. Like I was breaking all sorts of rules. I poured the olive oil into my hands and began rubbing it onto my face. My skin felt soothed and moisturized. I rinsed a washcloth in hot water and let it sit on my face for 10-15 seconds, then wiped the oil off. It was luxurious!

The next morning, I was afraid I'd wake up and my skin would be a broken out mess. But it looked great! It was dewy. It wasn't as red as it normally was. It didn't feel tight, and I was able to skip my morning moisturizer.

I've been doing the oil cleansing method for about two weeks now, and I don't know if I will ever go back. I am so in love with it! Not only does it make my skin look better, it is all-natural! I always have olive oil around the house, so it cuts back on the amount of different products I have to buy (especially if I'm able to forgo moisturizer with it). And because I'm able to pour the olive oil straight from the bottle into a recycled glass container from another face mask, it will also cut back on the amount of packaging I use and, inevitably, throw away. I'm guessing it is also much cheaper in the long run.

Source: BBC Food

If you feel like trying it --- and you should! -- here is everything you need to know:

How It Works: 

The reasons we have so much trouble with mainstream skin care products are numerous, but two reasons, in particular, lead the pack. These products strip the oil out of our skin, leaving our largest organ trying to repair itself by replacing the oil stripped away. This leaves us in a cycle of being tight and dry followed by the inevitable oil slick. Each time we strip the oil away, our skin over-compensates for the lack of moisture by creating more oil. On top of the drying effects, these products are highly-scented. Fragrance is one of the top skin irritants and strangely enough, even the so-called "unscented" products usually contain fragrance. See for yourself and check the labels. Dry, irritated skin replaced by oily skin, inflamed and trapping debris?

Getting right down to basics, when cleansing and moisturizing your skin, it is imperative that you keep in mind that oil dissolves oil. Your skin naturally lubricates itself with oil, and as we are creatures of adaptation, one can believe that if this weren't the appropriate built-in care for ourselves, our bodies would have adapted to suit the need. (Source: The Oil Cleansing Method).

What To Do:

1. Find your moisturizing oil. Olive oil, jojoba, and almond oil are the best. Skip the coconut oil for this one, it can clog pores.

2. If you have oily skin, mix the moisturizing oil with castor oil. Castor oil is supposed to draw out the impurities from your skin. If you have acne prone skin, mix three parts castor oil with one part olive oil. If you have dry skin, mix one part castor oil with three parts olive oil. To be honest, I haven't bothered to go and buy any castor oil because I'm lazy and have been quite pleased with using just olive oil. But many people swear by incorporating castor oil. 

3. Massage the oil into your (dry) skin. Enjoy how relaxing it feels!

4. Rinse a clean washcloth with warm water. Put the washcloth on your face and let it "steam" your face for 10 seconds. Then rinse it with more warm water and gently wipe away the oil. 

5. Show off your dewy, moisturized, soothed, and cleansed face! 

Some Advice:

If you're going to try the oil cleansing method, I would really try it. Go all out! Part of what the oil cleansing method does is balance your skin. If you alternate with another harsher face wash, it might not work or lead to break outs.

Similarly, I would skip the moisturizer. Unless your skin is really dry and flaky, go a few days and see if your skin adjusts to the oil cleansing method.

76 comments:

  1. I use a combination of olive oil and table salt when I get paint primer all over my hands (I am a very messy painter and nothing works better than this). I usually have really rough and dry skin, but after the olive oil and salt, my skin is smooth and supple - better and longer lasting results than any lotion I have ever used.

    I'm not sure what type of salt you should use to exfoliate your face a couple of times a week. I use Lush's Ocean Salt on my face, so maybe you can buy straight up ocean salt to mix with olive oil?

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    1. another article i was reading mentions blending oats. you can add yoghurt in too (: that should be gentler than salt, i imagine.

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  2. GREAT! I often use olive oil in the kitchen, and always use some to rub into my hands,...love how it feels! Just never thought to WASH with it. Also, I saw a TV show once with an Italian woman who was 100+ yrs old, and she looked great. The interviewer asked her what she used on her skin, and she said "Nothing but olive oil!" Thx for the suggestion...I'll try it tonight!

    PS - since I fly soo much, my skin is always dry..but I hate putting all the preservatives/chemicals on my skin...this may be the answer to my prayers!

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  3. I use jojoba oil! Funny how it actually makes skin less oily. Very brave of you to conduct a SKIN EXPERIMENT! Terrifying!

    -Bex

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  4. @ Anonymous - I never thought of mixing salt in with it. I've heard of some people having success with using a mix of honey and baking soda as an exfoliating face mask once a week. But I haven't tried it. Apparently, the oil cleansing method is supposed to be much better than regular face washes at removing dead skin cells from your pores. I've definitely noticed that my skin seems much smoother. If you try the olive oil and sea salt combo let me know! And maybe I'll do a post on all-natural exfoliating.

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    1. I have read that jojoba oil & brown sugar are an excellent natural exfoliate.

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    2. Good to know!! Ya think that would work with olive oil?

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  5. @ twosie - If you try it out, I'd love to hear about it!

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  6. @ Bex - Jojoba oil is supposed to be great! I haven't tried it because I'm too lazy and cheap to buy something that isn't already in my house. Way to out fancy me on the oil cleansing method, though! :-)

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  7. I'm just a little afraid to try olive oil because I read online that people with oily skin sometimes have bad reactions... it's be so much better if I could slather my face in EVOO... or butter! -Bex

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  8. I bet if you mixed it with some castor oil you'd be fine! You could always try it and see what happens. But jojoba oil should be lovely! Albeit more expensive.

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  9. As you might imagine, I was skeptical about this. But I have been having sensitive skin problems despite using expensive stuff (from B. Kamens of Montreal), so I figured I had nothing to lose.

    After about a week, I am happy to report that most of the redness from skin sensitivity is gone. Even the stubborn dry red spot between my nose and left cheek is almost back to normal.

    I'm a "woman of a certain age," so my skin is dry. I might make a few adjustments. So far I'm using just olive oil, but I read somewhere that 10% castor oil and the rest safflower oil is recommended. Who knows.

    Thank you for this insight! I love how my skin feels. I love the process of cleansing! I'm amazed that this works.

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  10. Veronique - I'm so glad you tried it and love it! Like you, most of my skin issues revolved around having redness from super sensitive skin. I was amazed at how quickly the redness went away, even though I was using some expensive products before. And also like you, I am so in love with cleansing my face this way. It just feels so nice! Thanks for sharing your experience with oil cleansing.

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  11. I am trying this. I started last night and it felt GREAT on my face. I took really great closeups of my face beforehand, so I am hoping to see some noticeable improvement over the next several weeks. Yay!

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    1. I forgot to add that I wear a lot of makeup. It did a really nice job on getting all of my makeup off (this is what I was most worried about).

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    2. Naomi! I'm so glad you liked it. I think it feels really soothing, almost sensual, to use it at the end of the day. Let me know how it goes!

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  12. Today I started to use this method with Castor oil (20%) and Extra Vergin Olive Oil (80%).

    After the cleansing I feel somenthing like my skin is a little bit dry, or something like my face is a little bit burning (I think I have a sensitive skin).

    My question is, can I use a moisture after this OCM or this method is ALL in ONE, the Castor Oil cleans and Olive Oil moisture?

    If I can use, I would like to know which one is best: organic unrefined butter shea or Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil?

    Is it possible to clog the pores butter shea/ coconut oil? (I think butter shea is fatter than coconut oil)

    Thank you for your time and answer

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    1. Victor,

      If your skin doesn't have many issues and is a little on the dry side, you could try using just the olive oil and skip the castor oil. You can absolutely use a moisturizer after the OCM method. Most people seem not to need it, but there have been times when my skin is still dry afterwards. If you're thinking of shea butter or coconut oil, I would go with the shea butter. Coconut oil can clog your pores. If my skin is dry, however, I usually apply a thin layer of olive oil after the OCM and just let it absorb into my skin overnight.

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  13. I'm in my mid-40's and have been using OCM for about 2 years. My skin has NEVER looked better. My pores area smaller, the color is brighter, the texture is smoother. I have always had problem skin, acne, pigmentation, lines and wrinkles; but my skin is better now than in my 20's or 30's.

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    Replies
    1. so you were seriously able to diminish lines and wrinkles?! which oil do you use?

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  14. I am in my mid 30s and have been using the OCM for about a month now. I have super oily, acne prone, very sensitive skin. I have tried every product...you name it...Clinique and Arbonne being the best of the expensive ones I tried, but still left my skin very oily by the end of the day and with breakouts...especially when hormonal or eating fried foods.

    My first batch I used 3 tsp of Castor Oil, 1 tsp of Sweet Almond Oil, and 2 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil. This batch lasted for about a month.

    The OCM has left my skin much clearer than before and I can go 2-3 and still not have the oil/greasy feeling I had in 12 hours before. I have much fewer blimishes as well. My husband has commented several times about how less oily my skin is and how well this is working.

    I find now I often go without makeup or just highlight a bit versus trying to hide my skin.

    I have found that if I cleanse with OCM everyday then my skin can get dry, so this time I mixed 50/50 with the two oils. If I find it dry after using I get a drop or two of the cleansing oil and rub in my hands then pat on the dry areas of my face and rub it in...if it seems to much I will hold a warm cloth on those spots.

    I am so pleased with this method and the cost savings will be huge. My Arbonne regimen was about $150 a year. The cost for my supplies for this were:

    Castor Oil - $9.99
    Sweet Almond Oil - $4.99
    Tea Tree Essential Oil - $4.99

    ...so for less than $20 I have a product that will probably last me a year or two...if not longer. Before I would always wear makeup to "hide" my skin issues.

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  15. Wow! I can't wait to try it!!! Thanks for sharing and yes, I too always have tons of olive oil around the house!

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  16. hello!
    i started the OCM about a week ago in the hope of improving my forever lasting skin problem. i mixed 20% castor oil with 80% sesame oil. but so far i have just gotton a massive breakout on my forehead. i dont know if this is a preliminary reaction...if i shouldn't be using sesame oil? what am i doing wrong? i was so happy to see all the positive reactions about this natural method.
    it does feel really nice, but my skin doesn't really look better, if not worse. please help!

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear this isn't working for you! I would try using olive oil and castor oil, not sesame oil. If your skin was dry to begin with, you could also skip the castor oil and try just using the olive oil. Make sure you "steam" your skin with a warm wash cloth, or try using it in the shower.

      I don't think this is what is happening with you, but when I tried it it did unclog some pores at the beginning. A few larger pores kind of oozed stuff out for the first few days.

      I would try the olive oil and/or olive oil and castor oil mix for a few days and see if that helps. Otherwise, unfortunately, this method might just not work for your skin.

      Let me know how it goes!

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    2. Sunflower oil is also a great alternative. I woul, however, be careful abiut storing any if these oils for a long period of time; the shelf life may be shirt. Using them past shelf life may be countraindicated.

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  17. Hi Ladies,
    I have read your oil cleansing methods which are very interesting and i thought i should share my secret as well.
    I use jojoba oil( ho-ho-ba) mixed with almond oil to cleanse my face with warm water and cloth, i have't tried olive oil may be i will try olive oil next time but jojoba oil and almond oil is working great for my skin.

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  18. Hello,
    Regarding the use of jojoba oil (jojoba is actually a type of natural liquid wax), if using this in your oil cleaning method make sure you mix it with another oil(s) (olive oil, rice bran oil *a natural source of vitamin E and sunscreen, apricot or macademia nut *both of which are known to help with elasticity and wrinkles and macademia nut oil is known for not creating the reactions that the use of other nut oils can-such as almond). Keep the ratio of jojoba to other oils small to reduce the possibility of jojoba clogging the pores.

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  19. Nice article. Wonderful It contain a good information. Thank you......

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  20. hi, i will be trying OCM this weekend and I read that many are doing OCM every other day. I just would like to ask if what should I wash my face with on days when I won't be doing OCM. TIA! :)

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    1. Hi,
      OCM is fine to use every day but if you do prefer to alternate - as I sometimes do - try rosewater (I sometimes mix with a drop of honey). Rub lightly into your skin and splash off with a bit of cool water, yummy. It is know for its cleansing and calming effects, the honey will add antibacterial properties.
      Also see my comment below of August 20, 2012 9:01 AM,
      Hope this helps and good luck, your skin will love you - and vice versa :-)

      Delete
    2. Hi, thanks for the info! I will try rosewater too if I bought one.

      I tried OCM last Sunday, and was really surprised when I felt the gunks while I was rubbing/massaging my face. When I woke up, I got 2 small pimples and I guess it's just an initial reaction to the OCM. Hope everything will work out in the next few days/weeks.

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  21. Hi,
    I've been using OCM (as well as no shampoo - No poo) for over a year now - face and body. I have very sensitive skin and at first found olive oil was too heavy and left my face feeling quite irritated. After much experimenting I now use a mix of 2 thirds olive oil and 1 third rosewater (also know for it's cleansing properties). I now have the best skin of my life and the severe blushing that I had started experiencing - probably due to the onset of menopause - has completely disappeared. Also the rosewater smell is so luxurious and restful. Mass produced cleansers, who needs them!?

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  22. Coconut oil does NOT clog the pores. This is a myth. In fact, organic virgin coconut oil is one of the BEST oils to use on skin and hair. It does however bring all the toxins in your skin to the surface which can result in blemishes when you first start to use it. Do not panic. This is actually a good thing. It's getting all those toxins out of your skin.

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    Replies
    1. I've actually had mixed experience with coconut oil, depending on the time of year. In the summer (warm weather) my skin seems to love it. In the winter (cold weather) it causes acne. I realize my skin temperature is supposed to be consistent year-round and prevent clogging, but the coconut oil seems to be affected by the air temperature instead. Strange but true. In the summer, I don't need oil cleansing at all & just use the coconut oil to moisturize. In the winter, I now oil cleanse with olive oil & it works beautifully. Different needs at different times.

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  23. I agree. Coconut oil is amazing on the face. I never had dry skin until recently after my first encounter with acne. Coconut oil is really helping my now sensitive skin without clogging my pores.

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  24. olive oil with coffee grounds...fantastic and age defyingly friendly.

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  25. Shannon - I was wondering what brand of EVOO you use? I've come across a lot of information about a lot of the olive oil sold in North America being adulterated. I'd like to get a brand that someone here has used and has had success with before I go and grab just any old brand off the grocery store shelf. Any knowledge or suggestions? I appreciate it.

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    1. Great question! I buy my olive oil from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I feel like it is probably purer than a generic at my local grocery store, but I should probably do more research and make sure that it isn't adulterated.

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    2. No matter what oil you use, be sure it is not past its shelf life and that it is cold pressed. This is important so you don't risk inflammation....

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  26. What type of bottle/container do you store you mix in that is easy to get a small amount out of? Thanks!

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    1. I use an old small jar made out of dark blue glass that had previously stored a face mask I had bought in Scottsdale, AZ. I think any small jar would do!

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  27. I tried OCM and the first week went great and then I started breaking out. I kept with it for 4 weeks because I figured it was the initial breakout that everyone talks about and that 4 weeks would be a good trial period. The breakout just kept getting worse and now, 5 weeks post OCM, I'm still trying to get it under control. I'm even on a prescription antibiotic cream to try and get my face back to where it was before trying OCM. I don't mean to be a Negative Nancy and I know people for whom OCM works well but I thought people should be aware that it's not for everyone.

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  28. I just started OCM this week and so far it's great. No dry skin! I am using the 80% castor/20%sunflower. I haven't been using moisturizer at all. But am wondering about the under eye area? Use the same? Any thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. I use jojoba oil and a moisturizer. Don't want to let all that good moisture go!

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  29. What does the tea tree oil add to the equation?

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    1. TTO is know for its cleansing and healing properties

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  30. I think you meant 3 parts carrier oil and 1 part castor oil

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  31. I have been using OCM for about 3 weeks and my skin has never been as dry as it is now. I cut out the castor oil about a week ago and am just using EVOO. I don't want to switch back to face wash and moisturizer, but I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hello, I know this post is old, however try Mr.Bronner's castile soap, or Black soap from Dr. Woods, helped me a lot.

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  32. Any thoughts on using honey or tea tree oil in the mixture? I'm currently just using cold-pressed, higher end olive oil and it's working great so far! My recent break out has become much more calm and my black heads and clogged pores are actually fading! So far, so good only being on day three! I know that both honey and TT oil provide a little bit of antiseptic properties but I'm nervous to make any changes right now. My skin feels so nice and not tight at all after using even mild, natural products that I used for years so I'm thinking, if it ain't broke... I do know that honey would be the gentler option and provide just a little "deeper" cleansing but am wondering if any one else has tried this and has luck?

    Thanks, ladies!

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    1. I'm not sure about mixing the honey with the olive oil, but I love to use honey as a face mask. Another favorite of mine is to do a face mask with 1 tbsp. yogurt, 1 tbsp. honey, and lemon juice.

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  33. Mask Cara has an AMAZING face scrub recipe...I've heard sugar is better than other exfoliants because it is less harsh. LOVE oil face washing ...I'm never going back to commercial products!
    http://www.maskcara.com/2011/09/actually-tlc-i-do-want-a-scrub/

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  34. Because we have an outdoor shower in the summer, I body scrub with oil and raw sugar. You can also add essential oils. The deck is easy enough to clean off, and there is no better way to have glowing post-sun skin!

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  35. Just started OCM yesterday outbid pure desperation... Have dry and tight (not flaky) skin, clogged pores, and oily T zone. Currently using 1 part extra virgin olive oil to three parts castor oil and 2 drops of tea tree oil. Even after massaging it in, steaming with a hot cloth, and patting just the excess off, my face feels tighter, even though it looks much better. Should I add more EVOO to my mix? Or nix the tea tree oil? Thanks in advance! (:

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    1. the castor oil will dry out your skin, so I would increase the amount of olive oil you use and decrease that. In the winter, I just use olive oil and it still keeps my face looking pretty. Hope this helps!

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  36. I am on day 3 of using the OCM, I am using Castro Oil / Jojoba Oil with a few drops of tea tree oil. I am in my mid 30's and have struggled with acne my whole life, I've had a history of oily skin but the past year my skin is not as oily but the acne remains. I believe I also suffer from Roscea, my skin is very red and inflammed. I have heard more good then bad, and hoping I have a great outcome on this trial.

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    1. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

      I have very red skin as well, and I noticed a significant reduction in inflammation and redness when I switched.

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  37. Hi...Can anyone plz tell me where should i store the mix of castor oil and olive oil..??
    N how long can i use it..??

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    Replies
    1. I store mine in a little blue glass jar that was left over from an old face mask purchase. I think anything would probably do!

      I try not to pour too much olive oil into the jar so that it isn't sitting for too long. Probably 1 or 2 weeks? I figure olive oil doesn't go bad sitting in the kitchen....

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  38. My skin is still dry and flaking even after using the OCM for at least six months :) Help? I don't really want to go back to using excessive amounts of creams. I am using only 5% Castor to 95% Safflower oil (I was using Olive Oil). Does anyone else have to moisturize after?

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    Replies
    1. I use jojoba oil. but I still use a moisturizer to keep the moisture on my face

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  39. I actually do the OCM with coconut oil (no castor oil) and my skin is radiant. I don't have any breakouts that I previously had, even hormonal ones.

    One thing I've noticed about my skin is that it changed from oily to normal.

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  40. To remove dead surface skin and for glowing skin try blending papaya with milk or yogurt. Salt or sugar can be too harsh for sensitive skin causing tiny little cuts in the skin, fruit masks especially papaya is a gentler option. Also i find tea tree oil to harsh for my skin. Lavender oil is perfect to heal and soothe sensitive acne prone skin. Try adding a few drops to olive oil.

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  41. Shannon aftr using d olive oil for the cleansing, will I still use soap and cream on my face? Also, can I mix olive oil wit shea butter for the cleansing? Pls anyone dt has an idea shud pls share. Tnx

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  42. What about sunscreen? I use a moisturizing lotion with spf in it, but If I don't need a moisturizer, what can I use for sun protection?

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    1. A natural sun protection to go with my olive oil face wash, I mean.

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  43. Your skin is the representative of you, a clean and well toned skin adds confident to your self.
    Skin Medica is one proven by many people that it has
    very soothing effects fo r
    your skin issues….

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  44. I use jojoba oil and then rub fine ground oats (using my coffee grinder) to absorb the oil then i use a warm washcloth to wipe it all off.

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  45. I just started useing Olive Oil on my skin for the past week now,my skin is much softer, I do have some even tone skin dose anyone no if the olive oil will help repair it?

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  46. I have used coconut oil for everything to do with moisturising since I was about twenty, I am now 40. I use it as a make up remover and find that nothing can beat it when removing waterproof make up. I also use it as a moisturiser every morning and as a hair treatment for dry ends after every hair wash. I save so much money, it is such a versatile product and it smells divine. I have combination skin and have never had any breakouts associated with coconut oil. I add fine brown sugar and oatmeal to turn it into a scrub. It is my one product I cannot do with out. I have read that olive oil due to its high oleic acid content can interfere with the skins natural barrier and have never used it however I do think that using oil instead of a commercial skin care product is more sustainable both for the environment and the individual using it.

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  47. Thank you. I just wanted to know where to ship it since I know now to keep producing it




    Face Cleanser and Moisturizer

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  48. i started using castor oil.for.some old.acne.scars at night...then i.decided.the skin looked so.much better on a .whim i.decided.why not.try it.on.rest of my face....omg the pores.are.shrinking....and all.is.becoming smoother. I use a.clay soap in the morning.... only thing i am using under the astor oil at night is my own essential oil mix with 3 oils in almond oil base...but i feel.the.main help.is the castor oil for.the.pores. I am using a cold press.hexane.free.castor oil.
    honestly i.think where.people run into.breqkouts w the oils is probably bc.they were not using cold press ans solvent free organic oils...bc most if not labeled such can have solvents which may affect the skin in some.people

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  49. Pura D’or Argan oil is even considered as the natural remedy for anti aging and treating many skin and hair as well as nail problems through best quality and effective method. For getting healthy lifestyle, you have to use Argan oil at proper basis. For more, visit at Buy Argan Oil for Face

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  50. I've been to a rheumatologist to rule out any autoimmune issues since they run in my family. Since I was 13 I have been plagued with ultra sensitive red facial skin. The rest of my body isn't this way and the rheumatologist says he thinks it's related to acne. (I've been to dermatologists before and am tired of using pills and creams that don't work.) I've gotten my life more on track through an elimination diet and getting rid of my food sensitivities and am currently trying to work on my skin.

    I've tried coconut, castor, and neem oils before but my face hasn't liked any of them. I currently love Calendula oil as it's kept my acne at bay really well! My face is still red and I don't want to have to use a green tinted moisturizer to cover it up, I'd rather get to the bottom of it and fix it naturally. I'm considering adding Chamomile oil to my routine as a moisturizer or as part of the calendula mix. (the reason being when I used chamomile based products before my skin reacted well to it for the most part.) We'll see how this goes... especially since I'm moving out of the USA in a week to travel and live abroad indefinitely!! :)

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