The pharmacy is my happy-place. Hand me $100 and in 25 minutes and I’ll come out armed with tons of “essential”, wondrous products that will keep me entertained for weeks on end.
Heart shaped cotton pads? Sure!
French fry slicer? Yes please!
PJ bottoms styled to look like jeans? Why not! (True story)
My decades long love affair with the pharmacy began when I was in my teens - I was (and am?) awkward, shy and covered in “bad” skin. In those days, I would pace up and down the facial cleanser aisle looking for that one miracle product that would transform my skin into an even toned and acne free masterpiece. In those days, I would gravitate towards anything that proclaimed to be Oil Free or Astringent. The logic was, my oily skin needed to be stripped down in order to regain normality. I would scrub, exfoliate, and basically attack my face with the harshest alcohol based products on the shelves.
It didn't work.
All that negative attention aggravated my acne and made my combination skin flare up and peel. I was devastated (in that pure, endless way teenagers often are).
Fast forward a few decades to today. I am still somewhat shy and awkward and I am still prone to adult acne. The difference? I’ve learned how to treat my skin with the love and dignity it deserves. In return, it has begun to love me back. Heres the irony: that substance which caused me so much angst in my early years is the very thing that solved the problem.
The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) hails from the ancient Indian system of medicine called Ayurveda. I am sure there is a very long and interesting history of Ayurveda which I need to get more familiar with, but my experience of this discipline stems from stories my parents used to tell me. These stories always revolved around a line of children, patiently waiting for the daily massage from their grandmother. The grandmother would lovingly and expertly massage oil into the children’s hair and skin and then send them off for a bath, one by one. Perfect skin for everyone.
With this hazy scene in mind, I learned more about the OCM. Briefly, the idea is this: the best way to clean off daily grime, clogged pores and makeup is to use oil. Truly, nothing gets makeup off better than an oil blend. Even my award winning mascara and eyeliner - built to survive on my face through a war - crumbles in defeat when faced with the OCM. Here is how its done:
- On a dry face, rub a loonie sized amount of oil in circular motions all over. Take your time (although the makeup comes off in a few seconds).
- While this is going on, wet a face towel with hot hot water.
- Wring out the towel and lay it over your face. Give yourself a little steam… enjoy the feeling for a second.
- Wipe. Rinse. Repeat.
One of the reasons I adore this process so much is that its so relaxing after a long day. A mini spa that I think I deserve! Also, because you can be very gentle with the circular motions, I find there is less pulling at the sensitive skin around my eyes and I don't lose as many precious eyelashes as I used to. BIG WIN.
The oils I selected for the blends were chosen for their cleansing and hydrating properties. I found oils that are non irritating and light and very, very lightly scented. The blends were heavily tested (you’re welcome, family/friends) and I use them myself every day.
I also found that the oil cleanser is multi purpose:
—Use an extra drop when you are finished cleansing as a night cream replacement
—In the winter, use it on your legs to prevent alligator skin
—Smooth it on after a wax for a smooth finish, reducing the irritation and redness.
After a week or two of an adjustment period, you are likely to find that your skin feels balanced and smooth. I found a more even skin tone was apparent in just a few weeks, and it does wonders for the appearance of fine wrinkles. You might have a glow… you might be able to fly. Just kidding - you’ll definitely be able to fly.
If you are ready to turn conventional logic on its (oily) head, I hope you give the OCM a try. It’s fantastic as a makeup remover and moisturizer and feels luxurious and decadent.
Just like a pair of pyjama jeans.