I recently read an article about why you should move to a new city by yourself when you’re in your twenties. Most of the article didn’t apply to me, since I’m no longer in my twenties and am hardly alone. Mainly it was about finding yourself, challenging yourself, helping you see all you are able to do and learning more about the world. All good things. The one thing that stuck out for me was that it offered an opportunity to change your look: you could get a crazy hairstyle or piercing and nobody is going to question or judge you, because they don’t know you.
My twenties were certainly the time for me to try out crazy hairstyles, but I realize I’m taking advantage of the being able to change your look thing over here in Geneva, with my new naturally inclined beauty regime. For the most part, it’s because there’s no one I know who’s going to comment “dear god, what happened to your hair,” but I feel totally fine wandering around with my messy dirty hair. I’ve even started to go makeup free. People who know me might think this is crazy – I used to never to ANYWHERE without makeup. Like, run to the corner store for milk? Just let me get my concealer and mascara. But now, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to matter as much, I guess. Maybe it’s just because I don’t really have any time to do my makeup.
So, next up in my natural beauty regime is for the face. When I first heard about the oil cleansing method (OCM), I thought it was nuts. The principle: washing your face with oil instead of cleanser. I have always struggled with breakouts, so the idea of rubbing oil onto my face seemed so counterproductive as to be absurd.
But, I was running out of my awesome beauty products from Calgary, and I did not want to try out a bunch of new products, many which wouldn’t work and would cause even more breakouts, before finally finding something that was way too expensive but finally worked okay. I’m realizing I spend a lot of money on products for my face. I would guess, conservatively, that I spend $100 a month. Just on lotions and stuff, not even makeup. That’s $1,200 a year that could be going towards my travel fund. Thinking on that, I did a bit more reading about this weird OCM thing.
I’m not going to go into details about how it works, there are other people who’ve done that better than me (you can find some information here). The important thing is that some people have found success with this, and it’s pretty cheap. It’s supposed to be fantastic for your skin as well. The ingredients are: olive oil and castor oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is something I will always have in the house, as I use it religiously in my cooking. Castor oil I had to go to the pharmacie to find, but was happy to easily get an 8 0z bottle for 8 francs – not bad at all. The castor oil is used as the “cleanser,” it’s the stuff that washes dirt off of your face. The olive oil is the moisturizer. So if you have dry skin, I believe they suggest three parts olive oil to one part castor oil. If you have oily skin, it’s the opposite, with three parts castor oil for one part olive oil. Normal skin, it’s suggested one to one. I’m never sure of my skin (I’ve been told it’s oily, and that it’s so dry that it’s overproducing oil), so I started off a little trial amount at a one to one ratio.
The first time I used it, I was cringing. It felt SO WRONG. We’re always told if you get oil on your face, you’ll break out. But here I went. I massaged the oil solution into my face for a minute, all the time thinking about how much I smelled like a salad. I then placed a warm wet facecloth over it and let everything steam. That part felt really good. Afterwards, I just wiped off any extra oil. That night, I was surprised at how my face felt. I was thinking it would be gross and almost dripping oil, but in fact it was kind of tight. There was no oil anywhere. And I’m pretty sure it cleaned my face better than the cleanser I was using before. I always take a q-tip with a bit of tea tree oil over my breakout areas before I go to bed, and usually I’ll get a bit of residual makeup my cleanser didn’t get. But this time, it was clean as a whistle.
At that point, I was a little more intrigued, thinking this might actually work. The next day, I started to grow the largest zit of my life. To be fair to OCM, I started it at the absolute worst time of the month, right when I start to break out anyway. Despite the volcano growing on my cheek, I decided to continue on with it. I was going to give it at least a month. It only took me three days to figure out I was totally sold on this.
It’s been nearly two weeks of OCM. My skin is super soft and glowy. Some of the scarring from old breakouts is starting to fade. I only use the oil once a day, at night. In the morning, nothing at all. It’s crazy. I’m so used to using so many products, having such an intricate system of stuff to apply to my face, that to not do anything to it baffles me. I kind of shuffle around in front of the mirror for a second, wondering what I should do with myself. The fact that this takes up less time in my day is obviously a huge benefit, but I wouldn’t stay with this unless I saw real results. It is completely bananas that this works, but I do recommend it. I imagine it might not work for everyone, just like anything, but I’ve been talking to a lot of people recently who have said they are unhappy with their face products. I’d try this out, if only because the price tag is just so fantastic! Now I can imagine where I’m going to go with all those savings!
I’ve also fine-tuned my oil mix a little. I kept the ration at one to one because I think that works for me, but I added a few drops of my new favourite drug of choice, lavender oil. It helps to kill the salady smell of the olive oil and it’s supposed to have some good properties for the skin as well. So far, so good! Let me know if you’re interested in trying this out, I’ll get you some more information. And I’d love to hear anyone else’s experience with OCM.