Several years ago, I stopped buying face wash and lotion.
And while this might seem drastic, it was the best thing that could have happened to my skin. Yes, there might have been some element of my decision that had to do with not being able to pronounce the names on the back of the bottles, or perhaps I was a bit fed up with so much spending, and convinced there had to be a more cost effective way. But the reason I found myself at that crossroad in the first place was that my skin had stopped feeling like my skin.
After doing some reading, oils were an interesting proposition. On one hand, the idea of washing and moisturizing with something like oil seemed strange, and differed from the foaming effect I've typically recognized as "cleaning." On the other, I was coming off of a harsh winter, and tired of always doing what seemed like more to try and combat my skin issues. Doing less just seemed like a better choice.
And then, I found Daphne Miller.
Miller, a family physician, sought to understand how the environment and what we put in and on our bodies affects health in her two brilliant books: "The Jungle Effect: Healthiest Diets from Around the World--Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You" and "Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing."
"Farmacology" is part investigative reporting, part anthropology. In the book, Miller visits several family farms around the country to understand what might be lacking in typical allopathic medicine's approach as a means to better enhance her approach towards ailing patients within her own practice. In the final chapter, she turns the search towards herself and an embarrassing skin problem and heads to Evan Healy and an aromatic herb farm. Reading about what she finds (sustainable beauty! the benefits of natural plants! vibrational energy in products!) reinforced the need to simplify my routine, and try a new and more natural approach: oils.
I haven't looked back since. I now stock an arsenal of therapeutic skincare oils that I use to cleanse and moisturize my skin - which feels healthier these days than ever. It's also the first tip that I passionately share with friends who are looking to shake up their beauty routine or find themselves frustrated by the look and feel of their skin, despite ongoing attention and spend.
Below are a few key oils and links to brands that I love and use. Many are widely available at a natural grocery store or online. I've also included a few tips on how I've found most effective use of them.
As a note, all skin is different. It's important to test out what works best and discontinue use if issues occur.
Favorite Skincare Oils
Kukui Nut Oil: The oil that started my journey, this one is extracted from the official tree of Hawaii and is filled with essential fatty acids. It's emollient and completely luscious for cleansing and when applied on body or face after a warm shower.
Rosehip Oil: Rosehips oil is amazing for giving dehydrated and dry skin a drink. Also full of fatty acids, this one is great for balancing combination skin. I use this one for moisturizing, rather than cleansing.
Jojoba Oil: Extracted from jojoba tree seeds (Simmondsia chinenis), jojoba is an excellent moisturizing oil, and one good for oily skin as wax ester (what it actually is) is extremely similar to human sebum (also known as the oil on your face). This one also absorbs nicely so I keep it in my gym bag to cleanse after exercising and showering.
Grapeseed Oil: Full of linoleic acid, grapeseed oil is a restorative one, and I've noticed it helps prevent clogging in pores. It's extremely light and skin-tightening, so I balance it with a more hydrating oil for cold dry days.
Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet almond is high in vitamins E, A, B1, B2, and B6. It's also an excellent massage and carrier oil, and gorgeous when used on the body or to enhance other oils on the face.
For cleansing, I prefer to splash my face with warm water and drop a small amount of my chosen oil into my hand. I then rub my hands together and apply to my face, always performing a facial massage for several minutes. I then get a small washcloth damp with warm water and use that to gentle massage my skin. After one final splash of water, I then massage my face until dry. That's right - I don't dry my skin with a towel.
For moisturizing, simply perform the same facial massage without water. If you plan on using makeup, let oil absorb for several minutes. Avoid use on eyes.