Two weekends ago, I moved
house. In the process of flinging my entire life into twenty
cardboard boxes, I uncovered several boxes of old photos I’d
dragged across the ocean at some point. Baby pictures, holiday snaps,
even old pictures of my grandparents looking impossibly glamorous in
the 50’s. I have carried these with me since the day fourteen years
ago that I left my hometown with a one-way ticket to London and two
bursting suitcases. The Delta check-in agent sweetly looked the other
way when I heaved them onto the baggage scales.
I am eighteen in the
picture above and I am terrified of fat: both of eating it and of
putting it on my face. These are the days of fat-free Snackwell
cookies and Molly McButter, a vile yellow dust that promises to taste
as delicious as butter, but really just looks like an over-excited
daisy got frisky with your jacket potato when you weren’t looking,
leaving nothing behind but a sad smear of pollen. I load my plate
with plain steamed vegetables and lather my face with a Neutrogena
gel that makes my skin feel as though it’s shrunk in the dryer. It
makes sense to me at the time. How can you fight oil with more oil?
Thankfully, times have
changed. I figured out five years ago that plant oil on my face (and
in my mouth, for that matter) is nothing to fear. In 2009, picked up
a copy of India Knight’s The Thrift Book and caught wind of DHC
Deep Cleansing Oil. Since then, I have been devoted to the oil
cleansing method in general and DHC in particular. When I first began
using it, it was only available through the DHC website, which made
it a difficult sell to anyone without £20 to punt on a facial
cleanser that resembled a salad dressing. Happily since then, it’s
now more widely available, but I do appreciate that it is still not
easily found outside of major metropolitan areas.
The Body Shop, on the
other hand, is everywhere. When I was eighteen and snacking on
iceberg lettuce leaves during English class, the Body Shop held an
exotic appeal, largely because we didn’t have one in Mobile. Since
moving to London though, I mostly associate them with fruit-scented
lotions for adolescents and Christmas gift sets that inevitably end
up gathering dust in a cupboard. My loss, really, for they actually
have some excellent products.
The Camomile Silky
Cleansing Oil is one of them. I pinched a bottle from Lippie Mansions a
few months back and I’ve been using it as my morning cleanser ever
since. For £10, it’s seriously good stuff. It’s a paler yellow
and slightly runnier than my beloved DHC, but no less effective at
removing make-up and leaving your face feeling clean and super-soft.
If I’m using it at night, I massage a single pump into my face with
my fingers for about thirty seconds, then use cotton wool to remove
my eye make-up. I then remove the rest of the oil with a hot flannel.
If I remember, I use the Body Shop Facial Roller after removing my
eye make-up, but before the hot flannel.
The complaints I’ve
heard from those who don’t get on with oil cleansing fall largely
into two camps: first, that the oil always runs through their
fingers and onto their clothes or down the drain, and second, that it
ends up in their eyes and gives them blurry vision. All I can say is
that the former has never been a problem for me (perhaps I have
exceptionally well-arranged fingers), and the latter stopped
happening after a few uses.
Will the Body Shop oil be
a permanent replacement for the DHC on my bathroom shelf? Honestly,
no. But my preference is largely aesthetic, not based on
effectiveness. I like the dark, greeny-gold colour of the DHC, and I
like the fact that it smells faintly of olive oil, allowing me to
pretend I’m a Greek goddess, rubbing my alabaster skin with
precious ointments. But I’d happily buy it if it was the week
before payday and I’d run out of DHC. And I’d absolutely
recommend it to anyone who wanted to try oil cleansing without
splashing the cash for the DHC. It’s a tenner. Take the punt.
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