In the summer, I wash my skin once a day. Every so often, twice a day, depending on circumstances and activities.
In the winter, I wash my face only when I shower, which is every other or every third day.
Even living in Southern California, I find that the weather changes that come in the winter, even if seemingly laughably mild to the rest of the country, still do cause a noticeable drying and sensitivity in my skin.
I actually came up with this method in New Mexico. Every year I go back home for Christmas, and the air in NM has got to be the driest in all of the country. Add cold to that, and it is always a shock to my poor skin, which I keep swaddled in layers of Salvation. Usually I pack pretty minimally, which means omitting a cleanser all together. As you may know by now, I am not a huge fan of cleansers, not matter how mild, and my skin is happiest when I’m not fussing with it too much.
But this year, my skin is in poor shape. I have been sick these past few months and you can definitely see it reflected in my skin. Lots of congestion and dead skin piling up. So there I was, in NM, longing for a nice, long oil cleanse to just lift all of the ickiness off and away. Luckily, my parents had some EVOO lying around, and that’s how this idea came about.
Winter oil Cleansing
I will preface this by saying that I am pretty ritualistic about my showers, although you could certainly speed this up if you’re on the go. One of the upsides of showering less is that when you DO shower, you can spend more time pampering yourself and make it really a special experience.
This is basically a variation on oil cleansing. I call it “winter oil cleansing” because it is a very gentle form of oil cleansing that truly does leave your skin soft and moisturized and protects your skin from the hot water of a shower – especially important in the winter.
I took some olive oil into the bathroom with me, and spent about 3 times as long as I usually do massaging my skin with it. The longer you massage, the more oil plugs you soften and the more dead skin you slough off. Luckily my parents have this lovely very fine grain salt, which I then used very gently over the EVOO as a scrub (you could also use almond flour or maybe soggy coffee grinds). Normally I don’t advocate physical scrubs as the best methods of exfoliation, but they definitely don’t hurt once in a blue moon and they do leave your skin undeniably soft. They key is to be extremely gentle and stick to other methods of exfoliation (oil cleansing, enzymes, acids) as your primary ones. I like salt because salt is antibacterial and is believed to help cleanse negative energy.
Then I showered as normal and let the water rinse off the salt and some of the oil. It definitely did not take all of the oil and that is exactly what I was going for! The hot water really helped my skin deeply absorb the nutrients and moisture from the oil while whisking away all the oil plugs and dirt that the oil had lifted. Meanwhile, the oil protected my already dry and sensitive skin from the hot water – win-win.
When I got out of the shower, my skin still felt oily, but by the time I had dried it with a towel, it felt so amazingly clean and soft and nourished and the oil had sunk in so perfectly and completely that I knew this was my new winter cleansing method.
It differs from the traditional oil cleansing method in a few ways:
- A very gentle oil is preferred although any oil cleanser can be used (different oils have different “pulling” and “drying” abilities, so you want one that isn’t too drying, like EVOO or macadamia nut or even jojoba)
- The oil is NOT removed with a washcloth, but is subjected to prolonged rinsing with warm/hot water instead
- The massage portion of the cleanse lasts (well, should last) longer, since in colder, drier weather it can take longer to loosen clogged pores and stimulate skin
- An additional mechanical exfoliant might be used over the oil for extra exfoliation or as a special ritual
- Works best in conjunction with a shower
Try it with moss
The best moss combo and one I can’t wait to try when I get home is either Beurre Céleste or Vert Pur for the oil cleanser. For the exfoliant, I want to try both Sacred Ground and Polishing Petals. Whichever one works better will go into the moss recipes book that is launching in January! (Note: if you DO try this with SG, please be aware that it does have enough turmeric in it (we don’t skimp on the good stuff!) that coupled with the oil, it may leave a slight yellow tinge on your skin. The best way to remove the yellow is to just give your face an extra good drying with a dark towel post shower. You can also use a warm wet washcloth to remove the mixture, just like with traditional oil cleansing.)
In conclusion, this is a very nurturing and moisturizing form of oil cleansing that leaves skin very clean but also soothed and smoothed, showing just how versatile oils and oil cleansing can be. Go oil!
If you feel like sharing, would love to know in the comments: how do you cleanse your skin in the winter?