There seems to be a bit of a coconut oil craze lately and, I'll admit, I've drank the kool aid. I love the stuff! I use in my kitchen, on my girls bums, to blend my essential oils, and even to wash my face. Yes, though it seems completely weird and wrong, oil is a great option to cleanse your face, and body for that matter. Now, not all oils are great for cleansing, but a few really do a fantastic job.
Why? If you have ever taken a chemistry class, you've probably heard at some point that like dissolves like. But what does that actually mean? When chemists say that 'like dissolves like' they mean that substances with similar chemical characteristics will dissolve in each other. Specifically, polar solvents tend to dissolve polar solutes, and non-polar solvents tend to dissolve non-polar solutes, while non-polar and polar substances do not mix.
Ready for more chemistry? Some examples of polar substances are water and salt. Polar means they have a partially positive charge and partially negative charge in bonds arranged asymmetrically, which gives water molecules that Mickey Mouse look. Since both water and salt are polar, water will dissolve salt. Oils, on the other hand, are non-polar. This means there is either an equal sharing of electrons between the atoms of a molecule or because of the symmetrical arrangement of polar bonds. So, water will not dissolve oil. Hence why we need to shake up our vinagrette before putting it on a salad, and why oil floats on water. Because water molecules are electrically charged, they get attracted to other water molecules and exclude the oil molecules. This eventually causes the oil molecules, or lipids, to clump together. (source)
Too much? Well, if I can't teach you something new, (or perhaps remind you of something you haven't thought of in a while) what good is a blog?!
What does this have to do with face wash you might ask?
Cleansing oil uses "good oils" to remove the "bad oils" on your skin. No matter your skin type, cleansing oil mixes with the preexisting oils already on your face. These can be naturally produced sebum, or other oils that may be in your makeup and other beauty products. When you massage cleansing oils into the skin, they pull out dirt without clogging pores, and you can comfortably rinse them away leaving the skin clean, soft and hydrated. Bonus!
It's really a win/win situation. You're not stripping your skin of oils it needs and naturally produces, which means its not overcompensating and overproducing natural oils. Also, most of the cleansing oils, like coconut oil, are naturally antibacterial, so you're cleansing your skin at the same time you're hydrating it. Bonus!
My favorite oils for making DIY face wash/skin cleanser are coconut oil and argan oil.
Lets go back to the ubiquitous coconut oil. Why does it make such a great cleanser? Coconut oil is one of those antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and anti-aging properties due to the fatty acids that make it up. It also naturally contains Vitamin E, so good for skin. Fractionated coconut oil is ideal for any kind of skin cleaning. As the name implies, Fractionated coconut oil is a "fraction of the solid coconut oil from which almost all the long chain triglycerides are removed, thus leaving mainly the medium-chain triglycerides and making it an absolutely saturated oil. This saturation gives it a very, very long shelf life and greatly increased stability.In addition, fractionating raises the comparative concentration of Capric acid and Caprylic acid, thus giving it more of antioxidant and disinfecting effect." (source)
Argan oil comes from a little nut produced in the fruit of trees in Morocco. One of the main reasons that argan oil is so healing, is that it is "rich with vitamin A and vitamin E. However, argan oil is also packed with anti-oxidants, Omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid. Research shows that when applied to skin, it eases inflammation while moisturizing the skin" (source)
So, these two oils together create a nourishing, hydrating, cleansing face wash that you can tailor to your skin!
Here's my basic recipe:
1 part argan oil
3 parts fractionated coconut oil
Essential oils of choice
I say 1 part to 3 parts because the quantity you may want to make, or the size of your container, can determine how much you use. In general, I tend to use about 1/4 cup FCO (fractionated coconut oil) to a little more than a tablespoon argan oil. Then I add 4-6 drops of essential oils.
Here is a quick video of how I make my face cleanser, with some of the chemistry included. (Why does Youtube always pick the worst possible still shot to lead with?)
Essential oil options
Need some ideas for essential oils? I got a few to share! You could use one to three essentials to make your own blend based on your needs, and your nose.
So how do you use this new cleanser you've created just for you?
1. On dry skin, use about a quarter size amount of the oil and blend massage into your skin for about a minute or so, or until you are sure that the oil has saturated your skin. FYI, this cleanser will also remove make-up very effectively, so there is no need to remove make-up first. You can even leave the oil on the skin for up to 10 minutes to really deep clean pores.
2. Soak a wash cloth with hot water and then ring it out. Open it up and lay it over your face. You get to give yourself a little mini-facial! The steam helps to remove the oils and any impurities in the skin. Leave the wash cloth on until it cools. Rinse and repeat if needed, then use the corners of the washcloth to gently remove any remaining oil. A thin layer of oil on the skin will remain on your skin. This is good!
3. You most likely won't need any moisturizer on top of this, but you can use it if needed.
FYI! You're skin may react a bit to this new way of washing as it is adjusting its production of natural oils. This is normal and please, try to resist going back to harsh cleansers. All new things take time. Also, if you use it in the shower, or any oil-based scrub or cleanser, make sure you're cleaning the floor regularly so you don't create a slip and slide.
Which essential oils do you like for your face? Share your recipes in a comment!