How the right facial oils healed my red, hivey, sensitive skin.

The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM for short) has many fans, but just as many detractors. Some of the resistance to this natural way of caring for skin may come from some common misconceptions about oil cleansing. You may think that oil cleansing is not for oily skin (it is!) or that oil cleansing can cause acne breakouts.

Some of these misconceptions may come from the advice to use a single oil such as coconut oil to clean your face. But a single oil, such as pore-clogging coconut oil, is not balanced properly to give your skin the full benefit of the oil cleansing method.  Additionally, those with skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, or allergic reactions may feel that oil cleansing can't help them, and opt for a harsh topical medicine instead.

My skin reacts to toxins as well as natural ingredients such as lanolin and argan oil, and is extremely sensitive. This summer, when I tried out a new toxin-free sunscreen, I was mortified to find a breakout of hives along my jawline. I immediately stopped using that sunscreen, but the hives persisted. After a solid week of avoiding irritants, cleansing gently, and changing pillowcases nightly, my bad reaction to the sunscreen had not budged.

 And that's when, at the perfect time, the Kari Gran Oil Cleansing System came into my life.

I've tried oil cleansing before, on the basis of tutorials and recommendations that touted it as the ultimate in natural skincare. But when I did try it, I used straight oils such as jojoba or coconut oil. And while those oils were excellent for removing makeup, they didn't offer me any benefits. A couple of epic acne breakouts later, and I shelved oil cleansing. I wrote it off as so many other beauty junkies have.

Two things were missing: the proper product, and the proper technique.

The Right Product

The Choosy Chick carries the Oil Cleansing System from "the little black dress" of skincare, ecoluxe company Kari Gran. The packaging is chic and sophisticated, but it's really what's on the inside that counts. And what's inside is a facial cleansing system that works for any age and any skin type.  When I began using the system, I was skeptical. Cleansing without water? I'd only just wrapped my head around the possibility of toxin-free cleansers that didn't lather. But the key to this system is the fine balance of natural, organic, and wildcrafted oils that rid your pores of dirt, makeup, and impurities.

The Right Technique

Step One: Cleansing Oil  -The Kari Gran cleansing system comes with three products. The first is the Cleansing Oil. In the evening, 8 to 10 drops is all you need to clean skin with or without makeup on.  Massage into the skin slowly.  The first time I tried it, I knew I'd hit on something different. I could feel the oil cleanser cling to dirt and grime in my pores.  And my makeup rolled right off with it.  The next step is to remove the oil.  This definitely takes longer than rinsing with a splash of water, but I came to love my nightly ritual of facial steaming. 


Taking a clean wash cloth, douse it in hot (not scalding) water, wring out  and apply it to your whole face, leaving an opening at the bottom to breathe!  Then wait for it to cool - don't rush!  In the minutes between, I found that not only was I able to experience a much-needed relaxing facial steam, but that it was also a great way for me to contemplate my day. It was forced meditation that I so desperately needed.              





Step Two: Hydrating Tonic -The next step is to use the Hydrating Tonic, or toner, alone or in conjunction with the essential serum. Since I have skin that's prone to redness, I prefer using the toner on its own.  Rather than rub it in, I love the feeling of spritzing my face with the refreshing natural ingredients.  And while I wait for it to sink in, I find it's a great time to floss and brush my teeth.   I absolutely love the smell of the Rose Tonic, but it is also available in soothing Lavender.



Step Three: Essential Serum - The Essential Serum is a lovely mixture of oils including Camellia Seed, Avocado, Rosehip and Sunflower.  And I know what you're thinking: how can this system be for every skin type, especially oily skin, when it involves so much oil?  The thing about oils and moisture is that it's all about balance. Dehydrated skin will overcompensate by producing oils that can cause breakouts and shine. And since proper hydration is essential for keeping skin youthful, there's no need to fear the oil!  One to two pumps of the moisturizing oil product is all you need in the evening, and you can replace your under eye lotion with this oil. You can also apply it to neck and décolleté

Morning Routine - The morning routine is much quicker. After wiping down your face with a clean, wet wash cloth, you simply apply the toner and one pump of the moisturizer either mixed together or separately. Then you're ready to apply SPF, your makeup, and take on the day!

The Results

It only took a couple of days using the Kari Gran system for my hives to clear up. The gentle oils, toner, and moisturizer calmed and balanced my red, angry skin.

 If you're still on the fence about oil cleansing, you can try Kari Gran's system as a starter kit. And if you're one of the few who aren't converted, you can try other oil cleansing systems to find one that's right for you. The Choosy Chick carries other oil cleansers such as Josh Rosebrook's Herbal Infusion Oil, Mun's No. 1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum, and Solavedi Organics' Lavender + Sage Pore Clarifying Cleansing Oil.

No matter what your skin type, and whether or not you've tried oil cleansing in the past, you should give it a go. The real difference between trying to find the right pure oil for your skin and a pre-mixed system like Kari Gran's, is balance. These products are made from multiple oils, mixed in the right ratios to gently cleanse and moisturize your face. The guess work is taken out, and I know I'll never have to slather pure jojoba, coconut, chamomile or almond oil on my face again!


By Guest Contributor: Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Wilson is a writer with extremely sensitive skin. When she noticed that even those products marketed for sensitive skin bothered her, she began to research natural alternatives. That’s when she found out about the harmful and irritating chemicals contained in conventional makeup and skincare, including those designed for sensitive skin!  She is a beauty junkie with a passion for style, and writes about toxin-free beauty and sustainable style on the blog: Sense of Aesthetic.