Judging by Maggie Mahboubian’s skin, you’d think she were 10 to 15 years younger than she is. Seriously, the Lalun Naturals founder has retained that coveted youthful glow with nary a wrinkle in sight. And she knows one big reason why: she does not cleanse her face with water.
Intrigued, I had to dig further.
“Water-free oil cleansing is a skin saver for all ages and types because it follows the logic of how our skin functions,” she explained to me over an email and in person when we met at the Healthy Brand Showcase in NYC in March.
“Our skin produces oil (sebum) to help condition our skin, retain moisture, prevent too much moisture loss, protect us from the sun (sebum has a certain spf) and form a barrier against hostile bacteria. This slightly acidic environment (around pH 5) allows probiotic colonies to flourish which help protect us as our first line of defense. Washing with water strips the oil from our skin and changes its pH, making it more alkaline, thus inviting other types of bacteria that flourish in a more alkaline environment. In addition, bacteria grow in water but not oil.”
Could water be aging our skin?
Hmm…interesting because I was beginning to wonder how the different pH of water affects our skin too. My sister pointed out that every time she visits our parents in Florida, her skin starts to clear up. Of course, that can have a lot to do with other environmental changes too, but she’s convinced it also has to do with the water that she uses when she washes her face. It simply feels different.
I know from living abroad for five years that water can be harder in some locations than in others. For a more comprehensive explanation of hard and soft water, check out this article here.
According to this YouBeauty article, most U.S. water is hard and hard on our skin:
With over 85 percent of all water in the U.S. being hard, most American homes have to face the cold, hard truth: We’re covered in soap scum. And that soap scum is clogging our pores and contributing to breakouts. The problem with hard water is that its high mineral content prevents it from properly reacting with soap and, instead of triggering a lather, it creates a soapy layer on the skin. This not only clogs pores, but also irritates the skin, making it itchy, flaky and dry.
The post continues to attribute skin conditions like eczema and rosacea partially to hard water as well. Considering chemicals and toxins found in water, in addition to the pH and minerals, maybe too much water washing could be doing more harm than good.
Traditional ‘Oil Cleansing’ gets a makeover
In place of the traditional oil cleansing method that requires the use of a wet washcloth and warm water, Maggie uses her seasonally based toner spritzed onto a cotton pad or washcloth with a few squirts of oil cleanser.
“Oil cleansers function by dissolving dirt and make up,” she said. “Spraying a cotton pad or wash cloth with toner helps the oil glide better along the skin without washing it away. I use a wash cloth run under very warm water and rung out to help ‘steam’ open the pores before putting on a moisturizer [in the morning], but I don’t use it to cleanse the skin. Washing the oil with a warm washcloth would defeat the purpose of using the oil in the first place!”
My impressions of waterless cleansing
I’ve tried this method many times and am amazed by the way makeup effortlessly glides off with a few swipes of the saturated cotton pad. Even when I do this in the morning instead of washing, the amount of “dirt” that comes off when I use oil plus toner is noticeably different than when I use toner alone.
It does seem like my skin responds well to this gentler treatment, though I still have to let go of missing that “clean” feeling that I get after traditional water cleansing. However, when I feel like my skin needs to be treated gingerly, I do cleanse this way to give it a breather from my overzealous skincare tendencies.
With the current water crisis on the West Coast, I’d think that this method of cleansing would actually be something to strongly consider.
What skin type can use this method?
“Using this water-free oil cleansing method ‘normalizes’ all skin types, making the whole notion of skin type moot!” Maggie said. “It especially helps oily skin, because it breaks the cycle of oil removal which triggers the body to create more oil to compensate for the loss.”
“When I don’t have enough time to cleanse and steam, this oil cleansing routine is hydrating enough that I can get away with not using a moisturizer! Bear in mind that I’ve been doing this for years, so my skin is probably accustomed to the routine—but another advantage of cleansing with oils!”
So it’s a time saver and product saver too. Getting interesting!
Lalun Naturals Spring Collection
When I went to visit Maggie at the Healthy Brand Showcase, I fell in love with her collection for Spring. Like I mentioned, she categorizes her different formulations by season, as the skin’s needs shift with the changing climate and require different treatment.
“Like plants, we are affected by seasonal changes that can lead to imbalances as our skin works hard to regulate differences in temperature, humidity and sunlight. My skincare is designed to help the skin get in shape and rebalance itself each season,” wrote Maggie in the description on the the Lalun Naturals Etsy shop.
The Spring Blossom Cleanser, $18, uses cold pressed safflower oil that has been sun-infused with Maggie’s own biodynamically grown flowering rosemary which is high in tissue regenerating ketones that invigorate the skin and promote cell turnover. The fresh floral notes that I fell in love with stem from petitgrain and grapefruit essential oils.
The Spring Blossom Toner, $18, is a mineral rich mist made with distilled orange blossoms, aloe vera gel, naturally occurring mineral salts, and honey.
I’ve been enjoying treating my skin to both and feeling cleansed and hydrated with a reduction in redness and clogged pores after use.
A line that’s as eco-friendly as it is pure
The products are made in micro-batches with many of the plants and herbs grown by Maggie in her own garden. Plus, Lalun Naturals is a ZERO WASTE company. She uses glassware and offers customers a 50 cent refund per piece. To redeem, simply save packing materials and mail back empties for a glass and postage refund.
Of course, years of watching my beautiful, ageless mom remove her makeup at night with Pond’s cold cream and tissues taught me that waterless cleansing is not limited to using oil and toner. Other possibilities include Aurelia Probiotic Cleanser or a good cleansing balm as well.