Wednesday, November 26, 2008

beauty tip: olive oil facial cleanse

If you desire a beautiful complexion only to find yourself staring at skin with large, clogged pores, and nothing else has worked, try this easy facial cleanse that Mediterranean women have always used.

Buy yourself some virgin or extra virgin olive oil and some other "healthy" oil like coconut, Castor, jojoba, etc. Coconut is available at Walmart in the cooking aisle, and is very inexpensive.
Mix equal parts of your oils together (I saved mine in a little jar in the bathroom). If you like, you can add a drop of skin-safe fragrance or even essential oils, but that isn't necessary. If you choose to add essential oils, be careful to only add a drop to every 8 oz. cup of mixed oils or you could end up irritating your skin (I know; I tried lemon grass, and put about 3 drops....set my face AFLAME!). Keep in mind that if you add scent you might not be able to use this near the eye area (and it makes a wonderful eye makeup remover as well).

Once you get your oils mixed, twice a day you'll wash your face with this mixture rather than soap. Wash with oil? you're thinking. But I already have oily skin...I want my pores to be cleaner and lighter and smaller; I don't want to add another layer of grease to my already shiny t-zone. I know, I know, I thought the same thing. The ancient Greeks "washed" their bodies with oils and they were probably beautiful people. ;) Stay with me for a sec: just as there are oils/fats that are unhealthy and should be used sparingly, there are also "healthy" or "good"oils that are wonderful and beneficial for human consumption. Those same oils that are good for eating are also equally good for external body use. Our Lord blesses us with what we need!

So go ahead and try it: rub a layer of these wonderful oils all over your face, paying special attention to gently massage them in to any area with large pores, clogged pores, blackheads, etc. Let the oils sit on your face for at least 2 minutes. Then, put a washcloth in very hot water, wring it out, and place it on your face to "steam" your skin. Let the cloth stay on until it cools, then repeat; this time rubbing it on your face in circles as it cools, to gently remove the excess oils.
It may not be an instant improvement, but stick with it for a few weeks and come back to let me know your results.

I have a hereditary disposition to oily skin and large pores. After hitting puberty at a very early age, I was experiencing loads of breakouts in 6th grade. My mother let me wear some foundation/concealer to hide the blemishes, but the cosmetics were actually clogging my skin in the process. I also am very hot-natured (and sweating in the humid TN summers with makeup on doesn't help at all).

Now at age 34, I am left to deal with what the bad cosmetics and genetics have left me with: pitted skin and pores that appear large and dark. I have tried everything from Proactive to "aspirin masks" to every scrub and cleanser on the market. As a teen I steamed, picked, extracted, and did all those other no-no's you're not supposed to do to your skin. Recently I even bought the Clean and Clear Eraser and started using it. It made my skin soft but it didn't seem to help my pores at all. If not for my son's own breakouts and clogged pores, I would've thrown in the towel. But he too, is experiencing the curse of his mother's skin, and being a boy, probably doesn't wash his face like he ought to. At least I have makeup to hide behind, but I hate to see my son's beautiful baby face going down the tubes.

On night last week I was again searching for some medicine, some cleanser, some thing to make our skin clean and fresh-looking when I stumbled upon this olive oil cleanse. I was skeptical but thought since I already have those oils in my soap making cabinet, I'd try it anyway. What could it hurt? At worst, I'd have a layer of oil on my face that wouldn't help me. But it did and it's helping me! For the first time in years, after only a week of use, I can see my pores shrinking, lightening up, and looking cleaner. The oil doesn't cause me to break out or feel greasy. it washes off well and not only that, my face actually feels drier after having removed it. Strange, huh? I find I am going back and leaving a small amount on my skin all night to take away the dry feeling. And get this: that oily nose I used to wake up to is gone. This is amazing!!!

Since I paid a small fortune for the Clean and Clear eraser gadget, I am using both, even though it might not be necessary. I start now with a gentle exfoliation with my eraser and follow that with my olive oil cleanse. I am making my son do it morning and night as well, also starting with the eraser, and can't wait to see his results in a few weeks.

A few more tips for those with breakouts and clogged pores:

  • If you MUST use soap on your face to feel clean, make sure it is real, hand-made, old-fashioned lye soap. It is said the the store bought soaps are made with detergents, not "real" soap, and have additives that can build up and make pores even more clogged over time. It doesn't hurt if the soap also has salt in it. My friend Vickie at Country Candles and Soaps makes a yummy clove mint salt spa bar and it was helping tame my breakouts long before I discovered this cleanse. If you go to see her online at her store, check out her delicious and unique Bumblebee ballet salt soap as well (buy one for me too, and a matching soy candle to go with it), and tell her Lynn said hi!

  • Switch to mineral makeup. Even though my pores didn't shrink when using it, my face felt less oily and cleaner, and now I won't go back to regular cosmetics.

  • There are some nice maskes on the market. Queen Helene makes a lovely mint julep mask and a great (and fun to use) Grapeseed peel-off mask. I have to keep my kids out of it as they like to put it on and "peel their skin off" over and over.

  • Crushed aspirin masks work well for temporarily shriking pores. But if you get the dust up your nose, you will have about an hour of nasal irritation. For those who wish to try it: crush one aspirin, add water to make a paste, rub it on large pores, let dry, and rinse off.

I know how it feels to have to hide behind makeup. I know how it feels to want to have nice skin that looks good up close, and how much you want to "wear it bare". I challenge you all to try this for say, 2 weeks, and come back and comment on how it is working/not working for your skin.

Lynn, the Whimsy Lane girl