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Why Oil-Free Isn’t the Answer

When trying a new beauty product we look for the OIL FREE label plastered onto the bottle, but why? Beauty and skincare products promise to keep you oil free or reduce excess shine, so naturally we pile it on.

However, even with layers and layers of oil fighting products, at the end of it all we still get oily. Products slipping and sliding off our face day in and day out and no real, miracle cure in sight.

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The truth is our constant removal of oil from our skin only promotes our bodies to produce more and more. If we want to put an end to this vicious cycle of oiliness, we need to introduce oil back to the skin. For example, the more you wash your hair the oilier it becomes. Hair stylists commonly recommend washing your hair only 2-4 times a week as opposed to every day.

You can limit the times you wash your hair to preserve the natural oils found in your hair. This will give you healthier, shinier, and softer hair. When you first start reducing your hair washing you’ll feel like you could use a little dry shampoo. By the end of the second day you’ll be hiding in hats and wondering why you ever followed that beauty tip in the first place. If you stick it out though you’ll find that your hair will stop getting as greasy as it did before.

Your scalp catches on pretty quickly and recognizes that the oils its producing are not being washed away and will slow down their production. This same process happens with your skin. There are two ways to introduce oils into your skin to re-balance oil production- oil cleansing and moisturizing levels.

Oil mixing for cleansing

Photo Courtesy of: Paula M AcneRemovr

Oil Cleansing

In this method, oil is used to cleanse the face of grime and products. Rub your oil of choice onto damp skin for 1-2 minutes. Take a wet washcloth, microfiber works best, and gently wipe off the oil. While massaging the oil into your face you may notice small beads forming on your finger tips called grits. Grits is the grime stuck in your pores that is pulled out by the oil. Don’t worry if you don’t notice them but if you do you’ll see that it’s oddly satisfying because you’ll know that this method is working correctly. The type of oil you use is up to you and depends on your skin type but I have included some recommendations.

Oily- Grapeseed Oil: A lighter oil that has more drying properties.

Dry- Almond and Jojoba Oil: Almond oil is richer and Jojoba is a lighter oil which makes it better at removing makeup.

Acne Prone- Hemp Seed Oil and Tree Tea Oil: Tea Tree needs to be diluted in another oil to be used safely on the skin.

Normal/Combo- Mineral Oil: This is a great oil to start off with. It is noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores) and easy to find. Check the ingredients list and avoid mineral oil with added tocopherols as they can irritate the skin.


Oils can be used to moisturize the skin alone or in conjunction with oil cleansing. The same oil can be used for cleansing and moisturizing. Simply apply a nickle-sized amount to clean skin. Below are some recommended oils and ones to avoid.

Recommended: Argan, Jojoba, Mineral, Sunflower, Hemp seed, Almond, Olive

Avoid: Coconut, Wheat Germ Both of these oils have a high comedogenic rating which means these type of oils have a higher chance of clogging your pores. This can lead to closed comedones (bumps on skin) or breakouts.

Before and After photo of oil cleansing

Before and After photo showing the benefits of oil cleansing. Photo Courtesy of : www.almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com

After introducing oils back into your face you will notice hydrated, even, and balanced skin. If you find that your skin still gets oily, use gel-based moisturizers in the AM and silica-based powders to set makeup.

As with any beauty product make sure you patch test oils before using to make sure you don’t experience any adverse reactions. There are many different kinds of oils so don’t get down if your first choice doesn’t work for you. Most basic oils can be purchased at your grocery store or health food store and more exotic ones can be found online.

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With a BS in Biology from the University of Florida, Hazel is pursing a career in nursing and finding her voice as a blogger. Her blog warmbeercoldwomen focuses on beauty, fitness, and fashion.

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