Friday, January 20, 2012

Ask Ink: Oil Cleansing With SeaKat


"I've been hearing a lot about the "oil cleansing method" from some crunchy granola types. I've got some fierce adult acne, and nothing else seems to work on my skin, so I'm considering going the natural route. Do any of you have any experience with this method? Is it BS? Does it work?"

SeaKat here! I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for almost a year now, and I absolutely love it. I have sensitive (and in the winter VERY dry) 40-year old skin. Most regular cleansers make me feel “tight” or “pulled” afterwards. Which SOUNDS like it might be appealing to a 40 year old, but it’s not like it gets rid of fine lines! It actually makes them look worse. And sometimes fragrances are a no-go for me. AND it kills me in the heart and the pocketbook to spend $15 or $20 bucks (or more!) for cleanser. That’s money that can be better spent on wine, friend.

While it may sound somewhat non-intuitive at first— “Use oil to clean my face? Isn’t that what I’m trying to clean OFF of my face?”—the basic idea behind it is that oil will dissolve oil. For a scientific look at that—complete with fancy words like “covalent bonds” and “solute” and, umm, “emu oil”—check out this Beauty Brains link.

Alright, so you’re convinced. Good! And now you’re asking: “SeaKat, how do I make covalent bonds work for me?” Well, it’s pretty easy. You go to the kitchen and you get your olive oil. I’ve heard of people using JUST olive oil and having a good result from that. But we’re not just people, friend. WE’RE Hot Inkers! We deserve THE BEST.

So you’re going to go to your local drugstore buy some castor oil. And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to have to ask a cute, young stock boy to help you find it. And he’ll shout across the store to the lady working the register, “Do we sell castor oil?” And she’ll yell back “IT’S WITH THE CONSTIPATION STUFF! IT HELPS YOU… YOU KNOW!” And you’ll gather the tattered remains of your dignity and slink away, “constipation cure” in hand.

Sorry. Flashback. ANYway, mix your olive oil (or sesame seed oil if you’re feeling fancy!) and your castor oil in a smaller bottle. (Check out percentages of the mix by skin type, including oily and acne-prone.)  Then just rub it on, massage it in for a bit (it also removes makeup, freeing up yet MORE wine money!) and then remove by wiping with a washcloth and warm water. (Really detailed instructions along with some woo-woo stuff about “positive visualization for your skin” here)

That’s it! Cheap, EFFECTIVE, gentle, and unscented. And, reportedly, Cleopatra used a similar method. One can only assume the Ancient Egyptian oil merchants didn’t yell across the bazaar that SHE had a problem with… you know…

Our girlfriends at Persephone Magazine also tackled this question recently, specifically citing jojoba oil as helpful for acne-prone skin. Check it out!


  1. Awesome post from SeaKat! Would love more from her.

  2. I'm gonna try this, but if it doesn't work I want my money back.

  3. Oh, hey, it's my question! Thanks, SeaKat, I am looking forward to being embarrassed in front of a cute stock boy!