Years ago, I never would have imagined I’d be this excited to talk about how great coconut oil is for face cleansing. The idea of putting coconut oil on my face (I use this one) seemed like crazy talk, and I thought cleaning your face with coconut oil and using coconut oil as a skin moisturizer was for “those” kind of people.
And now, I am totally one of them.
The truth is, I used to be a total sucker for step-by-step facial cleansing systems. I figured the more scrubbers, foams, and serums involved—the more beautiful my skin would be.
Despite trying a variety of these special (and expensive!) products, I was never truly happy with my skin. My face was always extremely dry, and I had little white bumps that popped up in clusters on my face on a regular basis.
Then, one day—common sense hit me. Why would adding more unnatural compounds to my skin somehow be more beneficial for me? If it was important to me to eat nourishing foods free of hydrogenated oils, color additives, preservatives, and synthetic ingredients, why would I be putting that kind of stuff on my face?
So, I stopped. But then I quickly found myself with a dirty face, and nothing to clean it with. Kinnnd of a problem.
Enter: The Oil Cleansing Method
While it may seem counterintuitive to clean your face with coconut oil, the oil cleansing method is quite possibly the purest, most effective way to remove dirt, impurities and yes—even oil from your face.
And the idea is actually quite simple. Using the principle of “like dissolves like,” the basic concept is this: the natural oil you massage into your skin dissolves the oil that has hardened on your skin with impurities and/or clogged your pores. When you apply steam from a hot wash cloth onto your face, the pores open and the natural oil lifts the dirty oil, which can be easily wiped away. This practice cleans your face, and moisturizes your skin at the same time.
I know—I didn’t believe it at first either. In fact, I did such a remarkable amount of research on the oil cleansing method, how it worked, and what oils to use that I completely paralyzed myself from trying anything because I didn’t know where to start.
But, I still had a dirty face. So, I had to put on my big girl panties and git ‘er done.
Enter: Coconut Oil Face Washing
As you can tell, I’m a big fan of using coconut oil for skin care. I use it in a ton of different ways, including as a moisturizer for my body. Since I had previous experience with coconut oil for moisturizing, I was a little bit more comfortable experimenting with coconut oil face washing, and one evening—I finally decided to give it a try.
Now, I’ve been washing my face with coconut oil for quite a few years, and not only does my skin never feel dry (even in the winter), I also haven’t had a blemish on my face in years. Not. Even. Lying. Using coconut oil on my face was the best thing I’ve ever done for my skin (and my feet, because now I have way more money to spend on cute shoes.)
Why is coconut oil so fantastic for washing your face using the oil cleansing method? Not only is it antimicrobial, full of antioxidants, and super moisturizing, it also has been shown to work well for all skin types. And because it improves collagen cross-linking, coconut oil may help improve stretch marks, scars, and fine lines and wrinkles.
Interested in using coconut oil to clean your face, or using coconut oil for skin care? Good, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
How to Clean Your Face With Coconut Oil
What You’ll Need:
- Step 1: Put coconut oil into the palm of your hand
- Step 2: Warm the oil up in your hands by rubbing your hands back and forth
- Step 3: Gently massage the oil into your face using small, circular strokes for 1 minute
- Step 4: Rinse a washcloth under very warm water, wring out the excess water, and let the cloth sit on your face for 30 seconds
- Step 5: Gently wipe the oil off of your face with the wash cloth
- Step 6: Repeat step 4 and step 5 if necessary
- Step 7: Admire your clean and moisturized face in the mirror
Want to kick it up a notch? You can add essential oils like tea tree oil (oily skin), lavender oil (all skin types) or geranium oil (dry skin). Simply add 1-3 drops per teaspoon of coconut oil and mix well.
Tips & Tricks for Cleaning Your Face with Coconut Oil
First and foremost, if you’ve never used coconut oil on your face, test it on a small section of your skin and see how you react for about a week.
Not everyone will react the same to coconut oil, and a small number of people may experience an increase in comedogenic acne when using coconut oil on their face. If that’s the case, a different oil will work best using the same process described above, which is known as the oil cleansing method.
Read more about using coconut oil for skin care for a more in-depth discussion regarding coconut oil for skin, and what to do if coconut oil doesn’t work for you.
You may experience a minor “detox” reaction with the oil cleansing method. While I didn’t experience this personally, because you are performing a “deeper” clean, you may experience a small increase in breakouts for 2-3 weeks as the dirty oil is brought to the surface. Believe me, the clearer skin on the other end is worth it!
Before and After Cleaning Your Face with Coconut Oil
In most cases, you will not need to worry about removing your makeup prior to washing your face with coconut oil. Coconut oil is a fantastic makeup remover, and it will all come off when using the oil cleansing method. If you have some heavy duty or waterproof eye makeup on, I highly recommend using this Instant Eye Makeup Remover, which has absolutely no mineral oil or silicones and uses a blend of coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, cornflower extract, and vitamin E to remove eye makeup with ease.
When using the oil cleansing method, it’s ok to rub some of the oil gently on your eyelids, but please refrain from getting it in your eyes, unless you want everything to be blurry for the next half an hour. (Yes, I speak from experience.)
Right after cleaning your face, you’ll want to use my DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner to freshen skin and remove any excess residue. This has helped my pours tremendously and always removes that little bit of dirt I seem to miss.
After using this method for some time, it’s likely that you will no longer need to put additional moisturizer on your face. Given that I always had dry skin, I made the mistake of moisturizing with more coconut oil, which ended up being too much oil for my skin. First, see how your skin does without moisturizer. If you end up feeling dry after the coconut oil face cleansing + DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner, or want a moisturizing serum to use after cleansing.
Because the oil cleansing method is a deep cleansing method, it’s best to wash your face with coconut oil no more than once a day, preferably at night before bed. If you still want to wash your face in the morning or freshen up after a workout, you can splash your face with water or wipe your face with a damp Norwex Body Cloth. Then, follow up with my DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner.
If you feel like that isn’t enough for you and you really want to clean your face in the morning, try using a simple detoxifying cleanser, like this Charcoal Cleansing Bar. I typically use the charcoal bar after working out to clean my skin (before putting on makeup), and clean my face with coconut oil in the evening before bed.
I personally do not recommend doing the oil cleansing method more than once a day early on because it is a deep cleansing method and exposing your skin to heavier oils multiple times a day may result is breakouts. For me, doing it once a day is perfect. When I do it twice a day, my skin becomes overly moisturized.
Type, Storage, and Tidbits
For skin care, I recommend going with an unrefined, virgin coconut oil. I personally use Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil (I get in the gallon size) or Nutiva Coconut Oil.
As for storage, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. This means, you’ll need to store your coconut oil in a wide-mouth glass jar so you can scoop it out with a teaspoon or your finger when you’d like to use it. I use mini Weck jars to store things like coconut oil or baking soda all throughout the house.
Coconut oil’s melting point is 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will be liquid at temperatures above this. This is OK, and you can still use coconut oil to clean your face no matter what temperature it is where you are.
Using Other Oils for The Oil Cleansing Method
Coconut oil is just one of the many oils you can use to wash your face using the oil cleansing method. So, if coconut oil doesn’t work for you, you can use the exact same step-by-step process listed above with other oils or oil combinations.
In fact, the traditional oil cleansing method encourages using a blend of oils because you can reap the nourishing benefits of each. If you’d like to use a blend of oils, you’ll want to use an “astringent” oil, and a “carrier” oil. Here’s how it’s done:
Blending Your Oils
First, you’ll want to choose your “astringent” oil. This oil will do a very good job at cleansing your skin, aka doing the dirty work. Your two options for this are:
- Castor Oil: Great for all skin types, but especially acne-prone skin
- Hazelnut Oil: Great for all skin types
Next, you’ll want to choose your “carrier” oil. This oil carries the astringent oil deep into your pours, and nourishes the skin at the same time. The most popular options for this are:
- Jojoba Oil: Great for all skin types
- Avocado Oil: Great for dry skin
- Pure Sunflower Oil: Great for combination skin
- Sweet Almond Oil: Great for oily skin
Now, on to blending your oils! You can mix your oils ahead of time and put them in a bottle. My general guidelines are as follows:
- Oily Skin: 30% astringent oil, 70% carrier oil
- Combination Skin: 20% astringent oil, 80% carrier oil
- Dry Skin: 5-10% astringent oil, 90-95% carrier oil
Tips & Tricks for Blending Oils
First, always try to purchase high-quality, organic, and cold-pressed (or pure) oils when purchasing ones to wash your face. These oils will be going deep into your skin, and you don’t want to be taking pesticides and residue along with it.
If you have sensitive skin, I recommend starting with no more than 10% astringent oil. From there, you can increase the amount of astringent oil depending on how your skin feels. It may take a little experimenting to find your perfect blend, and that’s ok!
No matter what your skin type is, it’s best to test any blended oils you’ve chosen on a small patch of your skin, especially if you reacted to coconut oil. If you’re allergic or have a sensitivity to a specific ingredient that is part of an oil, you should not put it on your skin. Capiche?
And finally, if you’re lazy and want the easy route like me, you can use any carrier oil exclusively using the oil cleansing method. My choice is obviously just using coconut oil. Ain’t no shame in my game.
Will you try to wash your face with coconut oil? How did coconut face washing work for you? Let me know how it goes, and any questions you have below!