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oil & balm cleansing: the oldest new way to better skin

February 18, 2012

This guy! So well loved!

This guy! So well loved!

Yesterday I tried to make a video about this post. Twice. how do vloggers do it? I’m ridiculous on camera! I love the challenge, so I will try again. For now, here’s a written version, more or less, of what I was trying to convey.

So, this is part one of my multi-purpose series, but in all reality, the balm in question can do more than the 2 things I’ll mention in this post. It’s a good start though.

When I talk about cleansing with a balm (and I tend to, pretty often) sometimes people who aren’t initiated into this particular pleasure, are like “Nooo, I can’t do that. I’d break out even worse than now.” It’s sad, because they are truly missing out, but they are apprehensive of leaving behind an outdated notion that does not serve them or their skin. They still think that harsh, foaming cleansers are necessary.

People didn’t always use harsh chemicals to blast away everything, both good and bad, from their skin. Shocker, right? People also didn’t have the kind of skin problems that seem to be plaguing us. Hint: Chemicals in these products are REALLY bad for your skin, and drying your skin out MAKES YOU PRODUCE TOO MUCH OIL! Yes, your sebaceous glands go into overdrive.

Not so long ago, our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers looked to plant oils to gently wipe away mascara and rouge from their skin. I my grandma’s case, probably some car grease as well (she owned a gas station/garage and was the sweetest lady ever! Badass!).  When they did start to buy commercial products, many of them used Ponds or Nivea (mine did!) or another brand of cold cream (anybody else use Noxzema in the ’90s?) to dissolve makeup and grime without disrupting their skin’s natural production of oil. These creamy, multipurpose products are based on the same idea as the oil cleansing method: LIKE DISSOLVES LIKE.  So, as you massage in the product, all the stuff on the surface of your face gets dislodged and actually melts away. As you gently wipe it away (with or without water), your face is left clean but NOT dried out. Cold cream, for the record, was formulated by Galen in 2nd century Greece, with rosewater, beeswax and olive oil. The oil cleansing method is clearly not a new concept!

So, whether you’re using a liquid oil for cleansing, or a balm (which is more convenient in my opinion), what you need to do is choose a product that is gentle, natural and has nutritious oils and butters derived from antioxidant-rich sources. Of course, Stark’s GRAPEFRUIT Cleanse + Hydrate Balm, also know as “gf” if you’re on a first name basis, is created using Shea butter, cocoa butter, camellia seed oil and other high-quality ingredients, so I do recommend that. Don’t settle for cheap mineral oil or anything else petroleum-based, or anything with synthetic preservatives or fake perfume. Show your face a little respect!

What I like to do is massage in the balm (especially working it into makeupy areas), let it sit a little, then use a warm, wet facecloth to gently wipe everything away.

That’s it! Just be gentle with your skin, give yourself a nice little massage and enjoy the lovely balm or oil you are treating your skin to.

It feels truly luxurious, and your skin feels unquestionably clean and refreshed, but not all creepy tight and squeaky-clean. Sometimes I like to splash a little water on my face as well, follow with a toner and always use a moisturizer (and int he case of gf, I just use it again, but I don’t rinse it off the second time around). If you’re very young, you can probably get away with just taking off all your makeup with a balm and leaving it be, but at 30 I like a little extra sumthin’.

I know. It’s so simple. To me, that’s part of the appeal.