The One Ingredient that has Revolutionized Skincare

As co-founder of Well + Good, one of the most influential wellness websites in the country, Melisse Gelula is certainly an uber-expert when it comes to all things relating to natural beauty. She’s literally cornered the market of skin-care journalism, and with that, of course, comes some tricks of the trade, along with a deep understanding of the way these natural products function on a deeper level. So, while it may seem counterintuitive to oil cleanse or slather on the grease to resolve a pimple, purer oil-containing products have single-handedly revolutionized the skincare market – and it’s about time. Still skeptical? Read on for the truth behind oil cleansing and why it works, along with Melisse’s all natural favorites.  

Why are we still convinced that face time with oil will cause our skin to freak out?

It’s likely most of us are still drinking the Clean & Clear Kool-aid. Maybe teenagers don’t need the extra oils, but your adult skin does thanks to three dozen years on the planet + sun exposure + free radical damage + accumulation of cocktails.

The fact is, acne isn’t caused alone by surface oil, but by a plumbing problem in the pore, say dermatologists. Hormones, the lymph system, diet, poor digestion, and stress are all largely responsible for issues pertaining to the skin. Balanced skin reacts appropriately to dirt and dryness by sloughing and flushing the pores. The issue is only amplified when chemical-laden, drying ingredients are applied as a quick fix to these issue. They create a vicious cycle of dryness and inflammation that never allows the skin to restore its delicate and protective dewy barrier.

Years ago when Melisse discovered oil cleansing she knew it sounded counterintuitive to her desired skin state, yet, in the end and after much research, actually made perfect sense.

“I get that my fanaticism flies in the face of what conservative dermatologists and Neutrogena commercials advise. But here’s some of the reasoning that’s made me an oil addict culled from dozens of interviews with chemists, facialists, aromatherapists, and formulators.”

The Facts:

The smaller oil molecules (I’m talking jojoba seed, grapeseed, rosehip seed, apricot kernel, black currant seed, and more) can penetrate deeper into the skin and nourish it. Creams can’t (at least natural ones).

Oils help protect the skin from water loss and feed it hydrating, firming nutrients like essential fatty acids, gamma linoleic acid, and vitamin E that help boost elasticity, sans harsh chemicals.

Using pure face oils spares you from chemical emulsifiers that many face creams and lotions need to keep the oils from separating with the water.

Oil binds to oil, not water. (Ever made salad dressing?) So it makes scientific sense as a cleanser for shiny skin and makeup-wearers. That’s the reason for the popularity of Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils.

Your skin likes balance. So over-washing it with detergents like sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) to get that tight, dry “clean” feeling just tells your skin to produce more oil.

. . . . . .

So which skin-nourishing essential oils are high quality and not synthetic schlock? My wheatgrass might be your poison ivy, but I’ve tried all these to good effect.  —Melisse Gelula

Melisse’s All Natural Skincare Oil All Stars:

Susan Ciminelli Sensitive Skin Formula : Key ingredients include algae extract, and a blend of cypress, basil, and petitgrain essential oils to soothe and help exfoliate the skin.

She Essential Beauty Night Serum : Inspired by the beauty regimes of the ancient empresses of China, blended with the highest grade Chinese pearl, certified organic and nutrient rich oils, plus silk amino acids for added skin rejuvenation benefits.

In Fiore Complexe de Fleur : This multipurpose elixir is infused with 24 highly effective infusions, floral essences, and minerals, encourages healing and renewal to counteract signs of aging.

Pangea Organics Complexion Balancing Oil : A luxurious and complex blend of precious, plant-based ingredients, Pangea’s Balancing Oil delivers the most impactful, restorative and hydrating effects possible.

  • Araynalmay

    What about SPF?

  • Kathy

    You are so right!  I’ve been using cold-pressed Rose Hip Oil every day for years. I put a thin film on after cleansing in the morning, let it absorb from 30 -60- seconds and then use my regular moisturizer with SPF 15.  The oil alone doesn’t quite do it – never has, but in combination with a moisturizer it’s dynamite. I then use a loose powder from Jane Iredale and it doesn’t cause the powder to get gummy.

    And you can use ANY moisturizer with your oil BTW. Caudalie has a beautiful little oil I’m using nights as well. One thing to be clear about – you might be sensitive to certain essential oils (not the same as, say a wheat grass oil or rose hip oil) so be sure to try a tester to see if you like the smell,  If you don’t, let it be – your nose knows.

  • Alice

    I like Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil. The company uses only organic ingredients from its own farm, which are sustainably grown.

  • Beloved

    Great blog! So glad I stumbled upon it because this is exactly what I have been experimenting with as an adult who suffers from acne…I too had drank the kook- aid but finally saw the light when I bought a Weleda trial pack of oils and added a bit of one to a drop of organic aloe gel before bed and in the morning my skin seemed so “well rested”!