Over the years, I have turned my dressing table into a pantry and experimented more than my fair share. From going chemical-free to burning a hole in my pocket buying makeup, follow the beauty trail over the next few weeks to know more.
I can’t remember a time until recently when my skin wasn’t an issue. The 15-year-old version of me had acne, a moustache that could make Groucho Marx jealous and a serious issue with scars. Family, friends, strangers and boyfriends commented on my face, and tracking how good/ bad my skin had become was a weekly dinner-table conversation at home. Yay!
Despite this, I was super dedicated and took care of my skin. Washing it with cleansers twice a day, applying glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide, using harsh creams to dry out my skin. I took Accutane, had a rendezvous with chemical peels and spent (much) more than I should have.
Enter oil cleansing. Figuring out that I really didn’t have much to lose, I gave this ridiculous sounding remedy a try. It is based on the premise that ‘like dissolves like,’ and has you playing with ratios of different kinds of oils to find one that fits your skin. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to smear oil all over my face. But like every DIY trick that has a huge fan following, there were horror stories about “deep, cystic acne” and “terrible breakouts.” It was risky, but I had to try it.
It’s quite confusing at first, and if you’ve ever had skin problems, you’ve probably been told that oil is the devil. The two people who I ask the most about skincare — my dermatologist and my mom (obviously) were traumatised. Isn’t this just going to break me out more? Do I just leave it on my face? Do I let the neighbourhood dogs lick it off? Do I dab it with a tissue paper like I sometimes do with a pizza?
You’re supposed to massage a cocktail of oils and steam your face with hot towels, which apparently helps it penetrate the skin better. I’m not exactly sure if I want the oil deeper in my pores, but this was the process and I was going to stick to it! I turn on the steam and obviously start to sweat immediately, all while panicking about the oil and my sweat mixing together. I calm down after a while of recalling comments about cystic acne — because how stressed can you actually be when you’re pampering yourself with an opulent steam bath?
My face is clean. I continue this process for a week and must stop — not why you think though. My skin glows but I noticed that when I didn’t steam my face, the oil clogged my pores easily. I would have stuck to this method but the sheer amount of time and laundry had me stepping out. Plus, I’m hopelessly devoted to my skincare routine now: lots of naps, a few avocados and my new terribly kept secret — activated charcoal.
(The writer is a reporter with TNIE, a hopeless romantic, loves to read and would like a bottle of wine attached to an IV)