I used to meditate. I was religious about it. Every morning, I would wake up 30 minutes before my alarm, prepare my hot water with an entire lemon (for another post, but I swear by it!), throw on my largest old man sweater, and get back into bed with Deepak Chopra. I love him so much, but that is for another rant.
For me, meditation is very simply a means to an end. The end? To get out of my own head. It’s the only time in my day where I give myself permission to put the elevator of my brain temporarily out of service. “Meditation” doesn’t have to be narrowly defined, either; anything that allows me to escape my own internal chaos can quickly morph into a meditative experience, including–wait for it–washing my face.
Two years ago I was introduced to the oil cleansing method, also referred to as the double cleansing method, by way of truly rabbit-hole, and borderline clinically insane research on how Korean women (and men) maintain such beautiful complexions. I tried the technique once, never looked back, and now force my learnings on innocent friends, family members, and unassuming strangers.
Think about all of the things your face is exposed to on any given day–dust, pollen, sweat–some are water based, some oil based. A basic cleanser or scrub, which will most of the time be water based, may remove the surface grime but probably won’t be able to touch the oil and sebum that builds up throughout the day (oil and water don’t mix, my friends!). So, it keeps building resulting in oily skin, shine, and eventually acne. The worse your skin gets, the more harsh your own methods become, driving you to potentially stripping your skin of healthy layers, and drying yourself to the point of oil overproduction (aka more acne). It’s a vicious cycle.
Oil cleansing typically blows people’s minds because it is so counterintuitive. But, think about it. If water can’t melt oil, what else can? OIL! Not only does it break down the oils we don’t want, but it prevents you from stripping your face of the oils it needs. GIVE YOUR FACE WHAT IT WANTS. It’s just one extra step, and it’s wonderfully meditative. Here’s my routine.
First, give yourself a mini facial massage with your oil based cleanser of choice. I typically apply on dry skin but damp skin works too, and sometimes the product will specify the method that is best. The oil cleanser will break down everything, including makeup, and will leave your skin feeling bouncy and hydrated. Honestly, I didn’t realize what “bouncy” meant with regards to my skin until I started this routine.
I switch up my oil cleanser basically every night but have a tendency to gravitate towards solid oil cleansers, like the Femmue and Farmacy varietals mentioned below. Here are the brands I currently have on rotation:
- Lancome Cleansing Oil – This has served as my go-to when I want to take a break from the solid oil cleansers. It kind of smells like my grandma but I, too, am a grandma so I embrace it. I feel like I notice makeup coming off even more with this one so if I happen to actually put a face on for a “wild” night on the town, this is the one I’ll use.
- Femmue Cleansing Balm (pictured) – I love this stuff. So so much. It’s just what I crave––thick and delicious––and is also packed full of antioxidants which they keep telling my face needs. I gladly acquiesce.
- Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – I just started using this one and no complaints so far. Gentle on the skin and smells great. Sometimes I use this in the mornings since it’s so mild.
In the past I have also used Farmacy’s Cleansing Balm, great if you are more open to natural skincare products; a cleansing oil by Erborian which is another Korean skincare brand offered at Sephora, the smell is amazing and this one will get you hooked on the whole solid oil concept; and recently purchased Drunk Elephant’s Beste Jelly Cleanser which I am thrilled to try.
Once you feel you have sufficiently rid your skin of the bad oils, follow with a water-based cleanser. This will gently remove the remaining oils and make sure that all surface dirt and grime are washed away. At this stage I will typically also insert some sort of light exfoliation by way of my Foreo (which I use 3-4 days per week) or my Konjac sponge (the remaining days). I was recently introduced to the Konjac sponge by a dermatologist and I am obsessed with it–it’s gentle enough for me to use every day, but feels like it is cleaning a bit deeper than purely my hands would.
I am less picky about my water based cleansers but am really into this foaming cleanser by Cremorlab and will probably stick with it for a while. At first, I felt like it was leaving a film on my face, but after a few uses I became an addict. You can’t put a price on feeling that clean!
Then, the rest of my skincare meditation commences with oils + serums + moisturizers galore. That, my friends, is a post for another time. For now, I urge you to meditate with the oil cleansing method…sometimes just 5 minutes is enough!
**Friendly reminder that I am not a medical professional, just a skincare enthusiast. It’s always wise to consult your dermatologist if you have specific problem skin to see if this method is the right fit for your needs. I am also a strong proponent of “you are what you eat”; skincare isn’t just skin deep and no single method is going to solve all of your skincare woes.