Why I Wash my Face with Oil

February 26, 2018

I get the craziest looks when I tell people they should wash their face with oil.  I always start by saying, “What do you use to wash your face with now?” I get everything from regular old bar soap, to water, to coconut oil, to some excellent marketed face cleanser.  Occasionally, I get something great like argan oil. My next statement is always, “You should throw all of those away and switch to an oil.”

The Myth called “Natural Soap”

We all know about the greasy skin feeling day.  You wake up and, as my mother used to say, you could fry French fries on your face. Yes, that was me. Greasy face, greasy hair, always broken out and battling my face. I have tried dozens and dozens of facial cleansers over the years. I will refer to them as “soap” in this article, but please note that to me, soap is anything that has a foaming agent in it.

Foaming agents are either natural oils that have been saponified with lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide), or they are a synthetic adulteration of something once-upon-a-time natural so that it will create bubbles. The only thing that naturally foams is soap nuts. These are excellent alternatives for laundry soap, but not what you want to wash your face with.

So even if your favorite face wash says “natural” on it, it isn’t my definition of natural. Natural here at Susie Q Skin means found in nature, without bleaching, adding lye to it, or chemicalizing it in any way. Now, I understand the need for things like soap bars or natural, high quality, organic castile soap to wash those super dirty areas, but just know that even castile soap has been adulterated in some way to get to a liquid, foaming state.

What Soap Does to Your Skin

We have all had that feeling after washing our face with soap- tight, stretched skin, sometimes even hard to smile! When you have naturally oily skin, this feeling brings about a moment of relief. Soap does this because it strips away the fatty profile of your skin and increases the pH of the skin.

Verywell explains that our skin cells naturally age by turning into protein cells (keratinocytes) that are perpetually shedding. As they come to the top layer of our skin, they become hard and dry. Surfactants (soap/foaming agents) bind to these hard cells and cause them to swell. This pushes the surfactants deeper into our skin, where they cause drying, itching, and irritation. Once the water evaporates off your skin, this exacerbates the drying.

In addition to causing dryness and itching, surfactant-based cleansers also interrupt the natural cycle of oil production in the skin. Once the skin has been stripped and dried, it sends signals to the body to start making more oils/sebum. If you have oily skin naturally, this means your face is going to make even more oil. This starts a perpetual game of stripping your skin, then making excess oil, then stripping again, then making more oil. The only way to balance out this process is to use a highly emollient cleanser that will balance the pH, not strip the skin, and start to send signals to the skin that it doesn’t need more oil/sebum.

Why Oil Cleansers Work

I know the doubt. I was doubtful myself until I started using No Regrets Organic Facial Cleansing Oil on my face every day, and Ink Oil Non-Drying Tattoo Wash on my brand-new tattoos. The philosophy behind the two is the same. One is an oil cleanser for your face, so it is milder, less essential oils, and has extra goodies like organic castor oil. The other is an oil cleanser for your tattoos (Ink Oil), so that your new tattoo is balanced (ie: no shower pain or burn), doesn’t exacerbate the scabbing and scarring process, and is protected from body soap and shampoos.

Oil cleansing is for all skin types, but my original intention was pointedly for oily skin and individuals with acne. I wanted mine gone, so I was highly motivated.  There are many oil cleansers out there in the world, some as simple as coconut oil and others that are blends (like our No Regrets). I always believe in the combination effect- so not all just one thing, but everything in moderation. Our No Regrets and our Ink Oil use a combination of natural, organic, virgin oils, along with therapeutic essential oils to actually work on your skin.

Castor oil and olive oil are two of the best oils for acne prone skin. These both work as cleansers and they have a deep hydration property. Castor oil also works to help thicken and lengthen natural eyelashes, so that is a bonus! Jojoba oil and sunflower oil (both organic, of course, in our products) are non-comedogenic and mild on the skin.

How to Oil Cleanse

There are some variations per individual, as everyone has slightly different skin and slightly different preferences. Here is a general step-by-step with some notes for those variations. This process applies to both men and women. Our Dapper Dude Face Wash and Moisturizer-In-One for men is a super easy product for you to use in your shower and go about your day.

  1. Wash your face at the end of your day. I know many who only wash in the morning, and if that is you and you just cannot fathom changing that, then put our products in your shower and use them there. The reason I encourage washing your face at the end of the day is because it is a great practice to get rid of the day’s dirt and grime and not roll around in it all night on your pillow.
  2. Use tepid water, not scalding hot. I love a hot shower, don’t get me wrong, but hot is stripping and drying and that is what we are trying to avoid. Get your face wet.
  3. Dispense 2-3 pumps ONLY into your fingertips and rub together spreading it between the fingers. If you use too much product, you will be overwhelmed and you will hate the initial effect.
  4. If you wear eye make-up, massage the No Regrets into your eyelashes and eyelids. You don’t have to press hard, our product will easily remove even waterproof mascara or eyeliner. Focus on this area until it feels clean.
  5. Move to the top of your forehead and massage starting in small circles all the way down your face, neck and chest. Wash all these areas the same as they all age the same and get the same exposure, generally.
  6. Rinse your face with water. Pay attention to the eye area as you have makeup there you want to get off. Splash the face enough times to get the makeup, dirt and grime off but don’t keep washing until you don’t feel any oil anymore. That is not the point.
  7. Take a cloth or towel or tissue or cotton pad and wipe the eye line clear. This will ensure to remove any leftover mascara so that it doesn’t get in your eyes.
  8. Pat your face dry.
  9. You can follow with something like our White Rose Frankincense Hydrosol Toner to prime the skin, and then something like our Vitamin C Retinol Intensive or our Acne Prone Facial Oil Serum to help promote healing.

For a more intense cleaning, I suggest following steps 1-5, then taking a hot, steaming towel and placing it over your entire face for about 5 minutes. This will do a deep cleanse on the pores and leave your skin open and hydrated.

How Long Until You See Improvements

If you have dry skin, you’ll see it immediately.  Your face will thank you the very next morning.  If you have oily skin, you are going to question me for a couple of days. I tell everyone, don’t make a judgement about oil cleansing for at least three days, more like 7. It also takes 21 days to form a habit, so be sure to give your face enough time to de-tox and renew itself- so three weeks. You’ll see improvements in the meantime, even as soon as the next day. You’ll love the way your skin feels at the end of the day and that you aren’t able to fry French fries anymore.