Skin Care The Natural Way

Over the weekend, my homegirl came over to visit. I had been home all day, was in sweats with my bantu knots tied down with a satin scarf, and I didn't give an eff. If it was anyone else, I would have apologized for my appearance (didn't have to - she's one of my besties), but she still paid me a compliment by asking: "What are you using on your face? Your skin looks amazing!"

I've made two major changes in my skin care routine over the past few weeks, and I guess things are paying off. Change #1: Drinking a lot more water. Change #2: Using an oil cleansing method.

Now, the first change is pretty straightforward. Water is vital to our bodies, and you can never have too much (actually, that's a lie. See water intoxication). Anyways, our bodies are made up of approximately 60% H2O, so it is definitely necessary for cell functioning, nourishing the skin and hair, and flushing out our internal systems. Unfortunately, even knowing all of that, water is boring. That's what has always made it hard for me to drink consistently. However, over the past little while, I've seen the difference in my skin, and that motivates me to continue. I can't say I drink x amount of litres a day, but I try to reach for a water bottle instead of a Coke/juice anytime I'm thirsty. Crystal Light or even a slice of lemon can help to excite your water a bit, but do what you can to get it into your system on a regular basis. You'll definitely see and feel the results.

As for the second change, this is a little bit more interesting. Oil cleansing is a method that I had heard about, but always avoided due to the fact that I have oily skin myself. I thought, oil + oil = gross, but the more I read, the more I realized I was wrong. Oil actually dissolves oil, so I learned that this method would likely balance out my oily skin instead of overwhelm it. I thought back to all of the harsh products I previously used to strip oil from my face, and remembered how it always seemed like my pores went into overdrive in protest. I figured I might as well give the OCM a try.

As I read on various sites like this and this, all skin types can use the OCM. You'll just need to tailor your mixture to your skin type. At the heart of the OCM is castor oil. Castor oil has incredible cleansing and softening properties, but can be a bit thick for some. Therefore, it's always a good idea to dilute CO with another oil, like jojoba, grapeseed, extra virgin olive oil or sunflower.

My (oily skin) mixture: 60% castor oil + 20% grapeseed oil + 20% jojoba oil      

Dry skin? Try 40% castor oil + 40% olive oil + 20% avocado oil

Sensitive skin? Try 50% castor oil + 25% apricot kernel oil + 25% rosehip oil

The great thing about this method is that if you buy pure oils, you're using natural elements to cleanse your skin, versus harsh chemicals with ingredients no one can pronounce.

How do I do the OCM? It's pretty simple:

1. After mixing my oils (in a bottle or cup), I'll take a quarter or loonie sized amount, and massage into my face.

2. I'll take a washcloth, run it under hot water, and wring it out.

3. I place the washcloth over my face like a mini steam treatment (opens pores to allow oils to cleanse deeply), then gently rub the oil off.

I always wash the cloth out with soap to remove oil buildup, then I moisturize my face with a bit of grapeseed oil when I'm finished.

Simple, natural, and healthy for my skin. With my water + OCM practice, I'm seeing the results! I find that this method is much cheaper for me, because the oils last a LONG time. In Toronto, I buy my oils at Healthy Planet (castor, jojoba), Danforth Market (rosehip, apricot), or just the local grocery store (olive, grapeseed). If you're looking for a new skin care regimen, up your water intake and  research the OCM - it just might work for you too!

Have you tried the OCM? If so, what is your favourite mixture? If you don't use the OCM, what is your tried and true cleansing method? And please, someone tell me what you do to make water more appetizing...I'm stuck in a water rut!

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