It all started back in the early '90s when I read a book that suggested deep cleansing my face with plain olive oil. It wasn't a new idea, as people throughout history had already been using oil to clean dirt and grime off of skin, but in today's world of harsh acne products (and the marketing behind them), it held a special, simple novelty to me. Not having much money to spend on skincare at a young age, I gave it a try with olive oil I found at home and immediately fell in love with the soft, supple, skin I was left with. Up to my eyebrows in aromatherapy literature, a passion of mine, I began to experiment with different carrier oils in place of the olive oil and soon found that while I thought my results had been good with simple olive oil, my results were even better with other oils. I found that my favorite blend over the years would be 25% castor oil to 75% sunflower seed oil and a drop or two of diluted rose oil* for balancing and fragrance.
Throughout my teenage and adult years, I used a variety of skin products, natural and otherwise, but whenever I felt like my skin looked congested, irritated, unbalanced, or if I just needed to break through the heavy sunscreens of summer (we all remember how horribly thick and slimy they were), I resorted to cleansing with oil. It was the only thing that felt like it truly removed the oily grime from my skin. I have had many commercial skincare products over the years (especially with being a beauty editor), but feel that oil cleansing is to my skin like the best friend you know you can go to when you need to.
I have experienced completely normal, balanced skin, to deep cystic acne during my pregnancy with my son. Typically, as an adult, my skin remains fairly normal to combination in oil production, but is very prone to hormonal breakouts along the jawline and chin. I do try to balance my skin from the inside out, but find cleansing and moisturizing with oils to be the best thing I've done to maintain my skin.
*As a side note, I discovered that my skin cannot tolerate most essential oils being steamed into the skin--rose oil, highly diluted, was the only exception that I have found. Tea tree and lavender, especially, proved to be nearly disastrous for my skin in this application. These oils still remain some of my favorites for other applications, however, and others have had success in adding oils to their cleansing oil blend. See how your skin reacts to pure oil cleansing before adding essential oils so you know what to expect.