Shunning Soap and Opting for Oil: The OCM Benefits


If you know anyone who loves the oil cleansing method (OCM to those in the know), you’ll know your friend has ditched good old-fashioned face soap in favour of oil — but why? According to anti-ageing wellness expert Melissa Breyer, ‘The last few years have seen more and more people stepping away from the soapy things; we’ve begun shunning shampoo and giving the cold shoulder to showers. And now, even face soap – one of the most sacred weapons in the beauty routine arsenal – is being ditched by a legion of reformed women who have turned to cleaning their faces with oil. Why would someone clean their face with the very thing they are trying to remove from their face? Well, there are plenty of reasons, and they make perfect sense, as crazy as it may sound.’ So why are more and more women turning to oil?


1. It Actually Cleans Your Skin: Dr. Heather Rogers, a Seattle dermatologist, explains, ‘The concept is that like dissolves like. If you put oil onto your skin, it will then combine with the oils that are layered on your skin. … It will also cut through some of the dirt, and the grease. Castor oil, it’s actually closer to a surfactant [an important substance in soaps] than the other oils. There’s a part that likes oil, so it connects to the oil on your skin, and there’s a part that likes water, so it allows the oils to be carried away by the water.’


2. It Moisturises: Breyer points out, ‘While soap strips away the natural oils in your skin and can lead to dryness, oil doesn’t, leaving skin quenched and potentially alleviating your need to apply moisturiser.’


3. It Can Clear Up Your Acne: ‘For many people, cleansing with oil works to clear acne,’ says Breyer. While most commercial facial cleansers and toners use chemicals to strip the skin’s oil, an action that irritates the skin and causes it to produce more oil as a result, notes that, ‘When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, white heads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne — while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturised.’


4. It’s Potentially Better for Your Wellbeing: ‘Do you need to be slathering your face with petroleum distillates, parabens, sodium laurel sulfates and synthetic fragrances?’ asks Breyer. ‘If you select cold-pressed or expeller-pressed organic oils, you will be treating your face to sumptuous natural products that are better for your body and, depending on the oils you use, easier on your wallet.’


5. It’s Better for the Environment: Breyer cautions, ‘Soaps with triclosan and other chemicals end up going down the drain … and then find their way to aquatic habitats. In rivers and streams, these chemicals are thought to affect how fish mate and spawn, scientists warn, even when the substances are not present at levels high enough to cause visible damage.’


6. You’ll Glow: Breyer comments, ‘Although it might take a few weeks for your skin to adjust, most OCM advocates testify to softer skin and a big boost in the radiance department.’


7. It’s Easy: ‘No need to pre-clean your skin, just give it a quick rinse with warm water,’ Breyer advises. ‘Pour some oil in your hand and rub it gently all over your face. Massage for two minutes and then let sit for 30 seconds. Soak a washcloth in hot water and cover your face with it; leave it there for 15 seconds or so, then begin to wipe the oil away. Rinse the washcloth and repeat until the oil is gone.’


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