The Great Soap Debate Part III: The Wisdom of Oils on your Face

Average Reading Time: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

In the first two installments of this series, I have discussed the tremendous benefits offered by applying vegetable oils to the skin. They include:

  • oil drops into heartsMoisturization of the deeper layers of the skin, while soaps can dry the skin out.
  • Feeding the good microbes on the skin.
  • Creating a saponification or detergent effect on the skin, without destroying the good microbiology of the skin.
  • Bringing to the surface, or pulling, impurities and toxins out of the pores.
  • Supporting a healthy immune response against foreign microbes by supporting the health of the beneficial microbes that produce immune-boosting fatty acids.

In the last installment, I taught you how to prep and soothe the skin on your face for deep moisture. I also started to tell you about the deeply moisturizing potential of a natural vegetable oil derivative called squalane. Today, I want to tell you more about this incredible ingredient and how you can harness its smoothing and softening benefits, and share some real behind-the-scenes knowledge along the way.

Behind the Scenes

I’ll let you in on a little company secret: sixteen years ago when we first launched our skin care line, we had problems with folks breaking out from using the products. At first, we couldn’t understand why these products – which we designed to be so pure – were causing some people to break out, while others just loved them.

We never used any preservatives or fillers, the herbs were all organic – it just didn’t make sense!

We designed the line to restore deep moisture and vitality to the skin. Restoring the skin’s health beyond cosmetic changes was my priority.

At the close of my last article, I mentioned how when oils are used on the face they can become comedogenic, or cause blemishes. Of course, as you could guess by now, our line was based on the ancient principles of using oils on the skin.

Here’s a sneak peek into our formulation process:

We soaked herbal formulas in an oil called olive squalane for two weeks until the herbal constituents fully impregnated into the squalane. Interestingly, the skin, with the help of certain microbes, manufactures its own squalane. In fact, squalane, in any significant quantity, is only found in three places: olives, shark cartilage, and the sebum produced by human skin. Squalane is an oil, and the body’s very own natural moisturizing factor, so what better oil to use to soak our herbal formulas in?

With this squalane-herbal infusion, we created two products: the Fountain of Youth Skin Serum had herbs infused that would support the smooth texture and appearance of the skin, and the Royal Glow Facial Moisturizer was loaded with herbs that deeply moisturized it.

How it Worked, and How it Didn’t

The squalane was a small enough lipid (fat) molecule that it acted as a carrier of these herbs deeply into the pores. Once this dynamic duo of squalane and herbs were absorbed into the skin, it enhanced the skin’s natural ability to slough off impurities and pollutants that may have accumulated on the skin.

But for certain skin types who tended to be more comedogenic, the cleansing effect was too much without the right preparation. As we learned, we needed something to prepare the skin for this kind of deep moisturizing and detox.

After some experimentation, we realized that by prepping the skin with all of the simple, natural ingredients that make up our Cleanser/Toner and Mask, we could finally see the results of our squalane-based moisturizer and serum radiating on the skin the way they were intended. The mask was our first product, and it is required to do the deep cleansing of the skin before we moisturize the skin at such a deep level as is accomplished by the squalane. I share the ingredients behind this ancient Ayurvedic recipe here.

Without the deep cleansing of the skin, the squalane/herbs combination moisturized the pores so deeply that it caused the skin to accelerate the process of sloughing-off of impurities, and this had a comedogenic affect.

But when we encouraged folks to use the mask and cleanser before using the moisturizers – the problem was solved. It was an amazing journey to see how deeply these ancient Ayurvedic formulas supported the health and function of the skin.

We also noticed that folks tended to overuse our herbal squalane products, which may have accelerated the natural purifying effect on the skin. We encourage using a very small amount of these products at a time, as they are 100% concentrated, active material – without any fillers. A little goes a long way! Applying the moisturizer and serum to moist skin and using a very small amount each time helped to clear up the comedogenic issue as well.

olive oils

What We Learned

Using vegetable oils that have larger molecules on the skin of the face is risky, and success may depend on your skin type.

You can take two important steps to garner the benefits of vegetable oils while avoiding breakouts:

  1. Choose a squalane-based moisturizer for all of your smoothing and moisturizing needs.
  2. Prep and exfoliate your skin with intelligent exfoliating formulas, such as the honey-based Blooming Lotus Mud Mask and the gently scrubbing Crystal Clear Cleanser/Toner.

As a great entrance to taking an Ayurvedic approach to your skincare, I encourage you to discover your Ayurvedic skin type by taking our Skin Typing Quiz. You can also find out if your skin type is in or out of balance with our Skin Imbalance Quiz. It is a great resource, and step one to understanding the do’s and don’ts of Ayurvedic skin care, and when and when not to apply oil to the skin.


The Great Soap Debate Part I: Is Your Soap Killing Essential Microbes?

The Great Soap Debate Part II: How to Restore your Skin’s Function

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