Follow up – the coconut oil experiment

Exactly one year ago today I started using coconut oil as a body lotion. I figure it’s about time for a follow up.

I switched from lotion to coconut oil because:

  • I hate smelling like a potpourri basket
  • I care about what goes on my skin
  • My impression of a rabid chihuahua scratching its legs to death when I have an allergic reaction to a lotion gets old after a while

After a year of itch-free skin, I will not switch back to lotion. No freaking way. My skin hasn’t looked or felt this good in years. I use it on my elbows, feet, legs and face. Coconut oil doesn’t smell, doesn’t make me feel like a greased pig and doesn’t take much to get the job done. The skin on my hands still cracks occasionally because I’m constantly washing them or exposing them to the winter weather,  but not nearly as bad as before. In my world, coconut oil is a skin miracle cure.

Here’s something I didn’t expect though – the cost savings! In a year, I’ve used exactly two 14-ounce jars of coconut oil. That’s roughly $13. I’ve seen bottles of lotion that cost that much.

Have any of you tried it? How did it work for you?

The oil cleansing method

Olive oil + castor oil = the most amazing face wash EVER.

Had this not been recommended to me, I would’ve thought this formula for face wash a load of total you-know-what.

The oil cleansing method is an extremely gentle and frugal way to wash your face. It’s made of a ratio of castor oil and olive oil that you can chose to fit the needs of your skin. I tried it a week ago, fell in love, and probably won’t spend another dime on face wash again!

I had never heard of this until Country Man’s Wife of The Simple Life of a Country Man’s Wife blog shared this tip with me in the comments on my post about a new biodegradable shampoo (and cheap!) that I’m absolutely in love with. She read about this method on the Simple Mom blog.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell – the olive oil moisturizes while the castor oil does the dirty work of cleaning out the dirt, makeup, etc. And I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too – how does oil clean and get rid of the oil that my face already produces!? It’s basic chemistry, which my science teacher husband Sax Guy reminded me when I was explaining this to him – “like dissolves like.” Or, oil will dissolve oil. I read several blogs of people claiming the oil cleansing method (OCM for short) cleared up their chronic acne, made their faces clean and bright, removed blackheads and performed all kinds of magical, amazing stuff. Basically, the cures I’ve been shelling out money for years on expensive face washes and have never seen.

I’ve tried lots of different brands of face washes over the years, but I’m pretty much a faithful Noxzema woman because it’s the only thing that doesn’t eat my skin alive. Besides constant dry skin, my facial problems have always been dark, clogged pores on my nose, forehead and chin. My nose is the worst area, and it’s something I’ve been self-conscious about since I was 13. Nothing has ever been able to clean out those pores, and I’ve tried those expensive Biore strips several times. Nothing.

Still skeptical, I bought a 4 fl. oz bottle of castor oil at the store for around $2 and a little plastic travel-size bottle for a buck. Castor oil can be found in the pharmacy section with the laxatives. I already had olive oil at home.

I tried it using a 1:1 ratio (2 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 Tbsp. castor oil). After one use (one!), my pores were probably 80 percent cleaned out. I have never in my life seen them that clean. I literally jumped for joy. I also immediately noticed that my skin was not tight, red or dry like it normally would be after a washing, so I skipped the moisturizer. Haven’t done that in probably 10 years. Those factors alone sold me on the OCM, but my face did look super clean. And you know what else? My face wasn’t an oil slick mid-afternoon either. My face produced very little oil as the day went on, which is not typical for me. These results have been true the whole week. I’ve only used a touch of moisturizer on my nose because my allergies have caused me to blow my brains out and my skin is peeling.

Another perk about the OCM formula is that it’s gentle enough to remove eye makeup, even waterproof mascara. There’s another cost that I’m saving myself now. And, my eyes no longer itch! I deal with flare ups of contact dermatitis around my eyes and this method has helped to keep that under control. I had no idea how drying my previous make up removers and Noxzema were until I switched.

So, want to try it!? It’s not really all that involved, and it makes me feel like I’m in a spa. The most detailed instructions and ratio formulas for normal, dry or oily skin can be found at the Simple Mom blog, but here’s the nickel tour:

  1. Pour a quarter size amount of the oils into your hands and rub them together to warm the oils. This seems like a lot of oil, but it’s really not. I use the 1:1 ratio for normal skin.
  2. Massage into a dry face, focusing on the problem spots, for a minute or two or more if you’d like.
  3. Place a hot washcloth over your entire face so the steam can help the oil remove the gunk from your skin. Leave it on your face until the wash cloth is cool. I usually do this twice.
  4. Rinse off the remaining oil with the cloth. Make sure to get it all off or it might cause breakouts.

That’s it! It’s so simple and I really can’t praise the OCM enough. Anyone else tried it?

Here’s another good resource to explain how this all works.

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