In the 1980’s and 1990’s, oil got a bad rap. Nobody wanted to eat fat anymore, and nobody wanted to let oil touch her face. Oil made you fat, and oil gave you pimples. Except…it didn’t. Along came the health food people of the new millennia, who announced that in fact, some oils are super-sludge that should never enter your body, but others are actually really beneficial to your health. And then they went as far as to suggest that we (gasp!) actually put oil on our skin to (again, gasp!) prevent acne.
OH. MY. GOSH. Could you die?
The best thing about these five uses for oil is that you can use oils that you probably have in your kitchen. I’m a health food nut, so I always have a few bottles of high quality, expeller-pressed oils in my cabinets. If you don’t, just know that you now have an excuse to buy yourself some really yummy oil, and to start dressing your salads with it, as well as your face. So let’s do this.
1. The post-shower EVOO massage: A really good shiatsu practitioner told me about this post-shower skin treat, which is really quite wonderful. At the time, I was living in a Mediterranean country where great extra virgin olive oil was plentiful and inexpensive. If you are acne-prone, extra virgin olive oil might make you break out. In that case, substitute grape seed oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil. In the shower, scrub yourself well with a natural loofah. If loofahs gross you out, then exfoliate with a brush or with a washcloth. When you’re finished showering, pat yourself dry (leave skin a little damp) and massage your skin (all of it) with a small palm-full of extra virgin olive oil. You really only need a Tablespoon or two to moisturize your whole body.
2. The oil facial cleanse: One of the most useful blogs out there is Crunchy Betty, a blog full of totally original content that teaches how to make beauty products out of food. (Her tagline is: “There’s food on your face”.) Crunchy Betty recently published advanced tips for cleaning your face with oil. As counterintuitive as it might seem to clean your face with the very substance that you’re trying to remove, she claims that it works. Why? Like dissolves like. Basically, the “good” oil dissolves the “bad” oil, and allows you to whisk away the dirt and grease from your face with a hot, wet washcloth. Also, the theory is that adding oil to your skin prevents your skin from overproducing its own oil, the kind that causes zits. The key is to use the right oil for your skin type, and to never wash your face with olive oil or coconut oil. Recommended oils are grape seed, sunflower, safflower, and apricot kernel oils.