The Dirty Truth: Coconut Oil as a Facial Cleanser

Okay, okay... I know. The idea of smearing oil all over your face is completely the opposite of what many of us grew up learning. I know. It's weird.

I mean most of us grew up with the idea that oil was the cause of our bad skin. I thought that the more I could get rid of oil, the better I would look and that belief lead me to years of buying prescription medication, cleansers, and lotions that said "oil reducing". I spent a ton of money and my skin only got worse! Eventually, I gave up all the expensive oil stripping products and things started to get better.

Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly that easy. But there was enough of an improvement that I began to wonder if oil wasn't so bad after all.

I did a lot of research, but part of me was still very hesitant to try it. I somehow just knew that if I used it, then I would wake up the next day with a face full of zits. I bet that's how you feel too, right?

Oh, the horror!! 

Seriously, it took me months to grow enough nerve to try it. Yes, I know. I'm a wimp.

I was such a wimp that I decided to start experimenting with coconut oil in other ways. I made deodorant with oil. I know. It's weird. But it worked! My pits smelled fabulous and there are no zits. Sweet!

I tried other beauty products with coconut oil and each one worked great. I didn't break out anywhere on my body, plus my skin was smoother and softer. I became a believer! It was time to start using coconut oil to clean my face.

Why Coconut Oil Is Good For Your Skin

  • It has antibacterial and antifungal properties (goodbye acne and eczema)
  • It won't change the pH of your face so it's not irritating
  • Lots and lots of antioxidants to help diminish fine lines and wrinkles
  • Great natural moisturizer
  • It tricks skin into thinking it has enough oil to slow down oil production while locking in the moisture.
  • It's been shown to work for all skin types although some people may be more prone to break outs using only coconut oil. If you break out then you can mix it with other oils like castor oil or jojoba oil.
Even celebrities use it! Heck yes, I want to look like Gisele Bundchen and Gwyneth Paltrow!!  If it's good enough for them, then it's definitely good enough for me! Also, I found out that ancient nobility (Pharaohs, Roman Emperors) used natural oils commonly for skin cleaning and moisturizing. If oil is good enough for models, celebrities, and ancient royalty, then I suppose it's good enough for me. {wink}

The one thing I will impart with you as IMPORTANT is that you buy a good quality coconut oil.

You should look for a coconut oil that is unrefined, 100% coconut oil, and preferably organic. Remember this stuff will be entering your pores and hydrating your skin-- this is a time to splurge a little! Get the good stuff!

Your face will smell like vacation.

What You Need:

  • Coconut oil (organic is best) 
    • I use these brands: Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • A warm, wet washcloth-- I use 100% 
  • Organic Cotton Wipes Technically, they are baby wipes. I know. I know. But they are a nice size and softer than a wash cloth.
  • Essential oils optional 
Step 1: gently massage the coconut oil to your face (~30 secs)
Step 2: apply warm towel onto your face (to open up the pores)
Step 3: wait 15-30 seconds or so and then lightly remove oil with washcloth-- no scrubbing!
Step 4: if you feel like you need it, splash some warm water to remove excess oil, but your skin should absorb most of it. 
Done! See-- not so hard, right?

The warm cloth will open up your pores and allow the coconut oil to go inside and push out all that dirt and yuck that's inside.
Overtime, coconut oil is supposed to help even skin tone and reduce the size of your pours. You can also use this in the shower, but I don't recommend washing it off right away. Let your skin absorb it for a few minutes before you try to remove any excess oil.

You can also add other oils into the coconut oil for additional benefits. I've seen multiple websites that recommends mixing the coconut oil with carrier oils, especially castor oil at a 1:1 ratio.

You can use carrier oils such as....
  • Almond oil or Grapeseed oil for oily skin
  • Sunflower oil or Aragan oil for regular skin
  • Avocado oil or Apricot oil for dry skin
  • Jojoba oil for all skin types, but especially acne prone skin
  • Castor oil for all skin types (but is more likely to cause drying and sensitivity than other oils)
Don't be afraid to experiment!

Essential oils
You can add essential oils to your coconut oil to get added skin benefits. Just make sure to dilute them. You can use as little as 1 drop per tablespoon of coconut oil, but I like mine stronger by using 1-3 drops per teaspoon of coconut oil.

I recommend using therapeutic grade essential oils because other essential oils are more likely to cause a reaction because they are not meant to be applied directly to the skin. Did you know that only 10% of an essential oil actually needs to be 100% plant matter to have "pure" on the label! Blasphemy!

Trouble Shooting
There have been reports of increases acne with the use of coconut oil in some people. Other people have great results, so you'll have to see how your skin reacts to the coconut oil. If you do notice that you start to break out, then I've read that people will often replace the coconut oil with jojoba oil or mix it with castor oil which greatly improves the symptoms.

I recommend putting a little coconut oil in a container with a lid so you can freely dip your fingers or put a cotton ball into it.

It can be stored at room temperature. It does NOT need to be refrigerated. It will last years at room temperature, but since you will be introducing objects or fingers into the coconut oil, I recommend that you use your best judgement. Even though coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties remember that your fingers harbor bacteria so you probably don't want much more than a few weeks supply in your storage container at at time. Sorry, I'm a total germaphobe.

You should not store coconut oil in anything that doesn't have a lid that easily comes off or that you can  not stick your fingers into because it can be a liquid or a solid or something in between. Coconut oil has a melting point (anytime the temperature is above 75 degrees) so the consistency will change throughout the year. It's summer and I have seen it as both a liquid and a gel consistency, but I know from using coconut oil that it can become solid when it's colder. However, it easily melts when it comes in contact with heat (like your hands).

The Dirty Truth is...
I know that this isn't for everybody, but a lot of people really love cleansing with coconut oil and they have seen tremendous results. But it can cause comedogenic acne in quite a few people (which are tiny clusters of small, hard pimples) and if that happens you should change what you're doing! You can keep cleansing with oils, but you should either change oils or blend the oil with another carrier oil. Some other people have a tremendous about of acne with OCM and that doesn't mean that OCM isn't for you- it means you have to experiment more with different kinds of oils and ratios.
Just keep in mind that most people who try OCM can get great results, but they may need a little trial and error to find their perfect formula.

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