Apparently a whole lot of people. My mother among them. My 14-year-old daughter returned from a weekend at my mom’s and promptly advised me to start using olive oil as a moisturizer. After all, that’s what my mom is using, and she looks great.
Naturally, I checked it out.
Jenni Wiltz cites Carol Firenze’s
The Passionate Olive
and Cal Orey’s
The Healing Powers of Olive Oil in her history, which credits the Ancients with the first use of olive oil as a cleanser and emollient. In short, hormones, trapped bacteria, and dirt – NOT oil – causes oily skin and acne. Oil protects skin. When the skin’s natural oils are removed, the body reacts by producing MORE oil – hence, the familiar vicious cycle of ever more harsh astringents to combat oily and oilier skin. An oil based cleanser arguably provides a more effective way to remove unwanted bacteria and dirt, with far less drying.
With respect to adapting the use of olive oil to facial care regimens for contemporary women, the
Beauty Bottle's Stephanie probably provides the most thorough discussion how to use olive oil as a treatment and moisturizer. Many others provide simpler instructions. I like
The Simple Mom's Tsh Oxenreider’s, in particular.
1. Create: Mix selected oils together in a small bottle, give it a little shake, and you’ve got yourself an effective facial cleanser. The most popular blend of oils for this cleansing method is castor oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Castor oil draws dirt out of pores; olive oil moisturizes, helping heal and nourish the skin.
2. Rub: Pour a quarter-sized amount into your palm, rub your hands together, and slowly massage your skin with your fingertips. Don’t splash your face with water first — apply it dry. Work the oil into your skin for about a minute. Don’t scrub — just rub.
3. Steam: Wet a washcloth with hot water, and put it over your face until it’s about room temperature to remove impurities and dead skin cells. It’ll take about a minute.
4. Wipe off the oil: Take the washcloth, rinse and wring it, then gently wipe off the oil. Your skin will probably feel softer immediately.
Most sites advise using this cleansing routine once a day – preferably at night, splashing water on your face and following with a bit of olive oil or your favorite moisturizer in the morning. I’ve tried it for two days so far, and it appears to work. My face immediately felt smoother and, almost more importantly, it is much less red after washing – even when I add a bit of fine (so-called “baker’s”) sugar to create a natural scrub.
For those who want to give it a shot, but shy away from undiluted olive oil, a mix of water and oil also works and forms the basis for commercial olive oil washes currently available from
Kiss My Face.
Come on, try it. After all, what do you have to lose? Unlike other cleansers and moisturizers you’ve tried, this one can become dinner if it doesn’t solve your skin issues.