For as long as I can remember I’ve had ‘brand-new-penny-slathered-in-vaseline’ shiny skin.
Up through my mid-twenties, I sought to control the oil by endlessly stripping it. I tried every mattifying lotion, deep cleanser, blotting paper and blemish-prone treatment paste I could get my hands on to no avail. Within 20 minutes of waking up in the AM, my skin would be working on its first oil slick of the day.
Then, I learned something that changed my life.
Oily skin isn’t tough-as-leather skin. It can actually be quite sensitive, even if it is thicker than other skin types. And it often overproduces oil because it’s out of balance due to LACK of moisture – NOT because it needs to be ‘dried out’.
Instead of trying to suck the shine out of my skin, I needed to look into balancing it out by properly moisturizing instead. So, I started examining my skin with this in mind. One of the first things I noticed was that when I first woke up in the morning, my skin looked wonderful. It was slightly dewy with a nice glow but as soon as I doused it in skin detergent aka ‘face wash’ I’d have a tight, dry feeling radiating from the center of my face followed by a rush of oiliness. The harsh detergents and ingredients I’d been subjecting my face too in order to conquer it was actually making my problem worse.
I instantly stopped using face wash or any type of soap on my face and the changes were near immediate. I’ve refined my routine since then, but harsh soaps and foams and detergents are still not allowed. These days I typically cleanse my face with a Face Halo pad – the ‘magic eraser’ of skincare – soaked in warm water, apply my serums of the moment, lightly moisturize with a beneficial natural oil and I wake up to clear, happy skin much more often than not.
Don’t You Get Zits?
Surprisingly…not really. It’s kinda crazy, actually. I definitely think there are several factors at work here though.
- I’m Getting Older: most of us are less prone to acne as we age. There are still occasional interlopers, but generally speaking, most of us trade zits for wrinkles.
- I’m Vegan: many people will tell you that after an initial detoxing period their skin improved after cutting out meat and dairy. I’ve been vegan for about 18 months and I stopped washing my face roughly 8 years ago. So it may be a contributing factor, but it’s definitely not the primary cause of my skin’s improved condition.
- I Don’t Wear Foundation Regularly: I’ve NEVER liked foundation. I hate not being able to touch/scratch my face, the oil factor made it feel like an instant pore clog and until more recently it seemed impossible to find a match for my complexion. Figuring out my skin also had the added benefit of less acne, scars and giant pores, meaning I had less reason to wear it than I did before.
How Do You Remove Your Make Up?
My secret weapon is fractionated coconut oil. When you take normal coconut oil and separate out most of the long-chain triglycerides you’re left with a super light, non-greasy oil, non-clogging oil. Unlike regular coconut oil, the fractionated version never solidifies.
When I need a little extra elbow grease to get my make-up off without lots of tugging (also bad for skin) I smooth on a few drops of this stuff. The oil breaks down all the dirt and pigment (including waterproof stuff) – which makes for a very flattering, sludge-like substance – that I can easily rinse and then wipe clean with my Face Halo. Adding water to your hands after your face is all prepped with oil and massaging actually creates a little low-level lather action.
But You Said Oily Skin Needs Moisture…?
Yes! And it does! Post (non) wash I apply Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick to any potential trouble areas and/or ongoing zit situations. They like to hang around before ‘shark week’. Then I apply my serums (I’ve just started playing with some vegan ones thanks in part to the Vegan Cuts beauty boxes and I am SO obsessed) followed by moisturizer. I tried commercial moisturizers at first but I hated that they would burn if they got into my eyes. Nowadays my moisturizers of choice are 2 drops of grapeseed oil mixed with a dab of 100% aloe vera gel in the morning, and 2 drops of grapeseed oil mixed with 2 drops of carrot seed oil at night.
So You Really NEVER Wash Your Face?
Ok. Never might be a little strong. The exceptions for me are:
- Exceedingly thick or elaborate makeup: I’ll follow the coconut oil with a gentle, vegan cleanser to cut through the sludge.
- Exfoliating! My exfoliators of choice are typically oil-based and they don’t lather but some might consider it ‘washing’.
- Masks! Masks are my jam after traveling, sun exposure or anything else that knocks my skin off-balance. Again, I don’t think of it as ‘washing’ my face but some people might.
So, in conclusion, if you have oily skin embrace it! You’re naturally highlighted at all times and may even less likely to wrinkle. If you’ve been going overboard trying to blot, dry and wash your skin into submission, consider taking a break from harsh detergents, experimenting with a moisturizing routine and simplifying your skincare instead. I am in no way an expert and I can’t speak for everyone, but it was a huge turning point for me in terms of skin texture, clarity, and tone.