Skincare has never been my strong suit – growing up, I had terribly acne-prone skin, dry patches, and all the wrong products. During my worst acne years, I tried just about everything under the sun to avoid medication – specialty soaps, bar soap, $100 topical treatments, derma-facials, extraction facials – you name it, I’ve tried it. And sure, most of my issues were hormonal acne in my teens, but this problem (though not nearly to this degree) plagued me throughout college and the years since. Since then, I have struggled to keep a routine that is easy, manageable, and affordable. Now 25, I could try seaweed facials and at-home peels, but the one thing that has completely revolutionized my skin AND that I have successfully maintained as a routine has been extra virgin olive oil.
I first heard of olive oil as a skincare regimen from The Skinny Confidential. She mentioned how many women, myself included, feel as though makeup wipes tug at facial skin, leaving it dry, burned, irritated, or even just unclean, and how expensive & wasteful this routine was. Every girl I know has face wipe, eye makeup remover, face wash, and moisturizer in her drawer for the off chance she may one day take her makeup off after a drunk night out (still not me, smh). However, olive oil could successfully complete all of the expected tasks of each of these products, and at a cheaper price tag and quicker routine time.
Sign me up.
I first started using extra virgin olive oil about 8 months ago, as winter was about to begin. I have always struggled with dry spots that turn acne ridden due to the weather and my naturally oily skin attempting to overcompensate for the changes in humidity out here. This past winter, I decided to try olive oil as a means to avoid the seasonal breakouts from the dryness and combat my oily skin from producing more oil (old tip – stripping oil from your skin only tells your skin to produce more oil – instead, focus on moisturizing your skin so it doesn’t have to produce those pore-clogging oils we all hate seeing in group pics after a day wine tasting with the girls). Additionally, as a habitual sleep-with-my-makeup-on-er, I wanted an easy and quick all in one step to help my drunk and sober (lbh, when is this?) self to take makeup off and take care of my skin at least 2% more than recent events. I went to my favorite grocery store, walked down the organic aisle, grabbed an unnecessarily large bottle of EVOO, and began my routine.
First things first – to successfully use EVOO in your skincare routine, you also need cotton balls and/or QTips. When I first began, I poured the olive oil in my hand and rubbed it on my face before bed. This left me ULTRA moisturized (we’re talking upper lip olive oil sweat at 3am) and with all my makeup on still, as all I had successfully done was spread it across my face and neck. The best technique for me has been a cotton ball lightly covered in olive oil and then soaked with hot water. The hot water helps cut the oiliness so you aren’t sitting around waiting for a bowl of pasta to land on your face, but doesn’t stop the oil from doing the moisturizing magic it’s here for. Plus, the cotton ball helps to remove the makeup from your face rather than take your mascara to your neck for a trendy new look.
Initially, the smell was strange to me, but I was able to overcome this. I now look forward to the smell because my fat ass loves olive oil and it satisfies some deep fat girl cravings within me. My routine currently and for the last 8 months consists of at least once, ideally twice a day EVOO cleansing of my skin.
Now, if you’re an overachiever, which I can assume you know I am not, you would want your routine to look like this:
1. Lightly douse cotton ball with massive and heavy bottle of EVOO
2. Soak cotton ball in HOT (not cold, it doesn’t cut the oiliness) water and squeeze out excess
3. Use cotton ball to remove makeup from face/neck/eyes (THE best waterproof makeup remover ever ever ever). Use multiple cotton balls if a cake face or you deem necessary
4. Wash face with cleanser and something exfoliating (like a Clarisonic or similar)
5. Tone face with a light toner like Kate Somerville
6. Repeat 1&2 and use cotton ball to moisturize face in circular motions, moving upwards as to avoid the effects of gravity and postpone the all-inevitable wrinkle
7. Top with a topical ointment or oil (more on this later, when I’ve tested my new ointment for a few more weeks)
8. Go to bed satisfied
If you’re lazy like me, you do 1-3 and call it good. You’re welcome, face, that I even took the makeup off.
As an oily-skinned girl, this has resulted in a huge change in the quality and texture of my skin. I now have maybe 1 breakout/pimple every month, usually hormonal, and have minor blackheads/white heads since this change. Sure, my skin isn’t baby-soft, but I’m also doing the bare minimum and I am still pleased with the results. As a formerly acne-ridden high schooler, leaving the house with no makeup on is a huge win.
I would recommend anyone with dry or oily skin try this routine for at least one month. You may feel excessively oily at times – if so, take a hot, wet cotton ball (no oil) and go over your face one more time. This will help pick up any oily residue you may have left. But don’t be afraid to use natural oils to treat your skin. Olive oil is non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores, so the only thing you have to really lose is your silk pillowcase (recommend you ditch that if you’re using olive oil at night). I have loved olive oil as skincare, makeup remover, and moisturizer for over 8 months now and will not go back. I am now doing this routine year-round, and loving it. Plus – I’m still using the same bottle I originally bought, rather than purchasing 8+ 30-day packs of makeup wipes that neither remove makeup nor moisturize.
Try it, let me know your thoughts. Worst case scenario, you now have nice, organic EVOO to cook your pasta. You’re welcome.