Here’s a thing that sounds completely disgusting … and pretty much is the first time you try it. (But stick with me, kid, it’s worth it.)
Oil pulling. Have you heard of it?
It’s the morning practice of popping a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and then swilling it around for 20 entire minutes. Gross, right? Yep. Pretty much. The first time I tried this, I literally gagged on the oil.
So why bother?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that helps draw toxins out of your body and improves oral health.
I started oil pulling in January, at the height of my battle with adult acne. I figured rather than caking my skin in creams and potions, which really only treat the external symptoms, I’d aim for the root of the problem by cleaning up my inner health.
The theory is that a whole heap of bacteria congregates in our mouths while we’re sleeping, which we then swallow down once we wake up. Now that is gross.
Swishing oil around in your mouth before eating or teeth brushing allows the oil to soak up this bacteria, which you can then spit into the rubbish.
My acne has since cleared up dramatically. Admittedly, oil pulling is only one part of my overall skin strategy – I’ll offer the full rundown on that very soon – but I’m certain it helped during those awful months of red, angry, painful acne.
Here’s some other reasons oil pulling is awesome:
+ Cleans teeth (they feel so smooth afterwards!) and acts as a natural teeth whitener.
+ Helps prevents cavities and gingivitis.
+ Helps relieve hangovers. (Yep, seriously.)
+ Strengthens gums, teeth and jaw.
+ Can help ease the symptoms of sensitive teeth.
+ Can help alleviate skin issues like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
How to do oil pulling:
- Put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth. I used sesame oil but coconut, sunflower and olive oils are also fine.
- Swish the oil around your mouth for about 15 to 20 minutes. Some people meditate during this step, but I found it easier to distract myself by showering or checking emails.
- Spit the oil into a rubbish bin (it will probably be a rather unattractive white-ish colour), then brush your teeth as normal.
I used this method daily for several months and found it hugely beneficial. These days, I’ve dropped back to every now and then (okay, mainly when I have a hangover!).
What do you think? Keen to give it a go?
12 steps to cosmetics so natural you can eat the ingredients
This little how-to is the seventh instalment in our series on how to green your bathroom by swapping to completely natural and cruelty-free cosmetics.
We’re also volunteering to be your human guinea pigs, so if there’s something natural cosmetics-related that you’ve been a-ponderin’, hit us up in the comments.
Check out the other steps via the links below:
- Step 1: Bathroom stocktake – get our handy free worksheet to help you work out how naughty or nice your current cosmetic brands are.
- Step 2: Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap – how to recycle used coffee grounds into a luxuriously exfoliating and all-natural homemade soap.
- Step 3: How to cleanse your face with nothing more than oil (and a little apple cider vinegar) plus tips on dealing with adult acne.
- Step 4: Whipped organic chocolate body butter – how to create an intensely moisturising body butter using only three-ingredients.
- Step 5: How to go no ‘poo – ditch store-bought shampoo and wash your hair using only bicarbonate soda and apple cider vinegar.
- Step 6: Menstrual cups – less wastage, less stink, less toxins. The better alternative to pads and tampons.
- Step 7: Natural homemade toothpaste – whip up your own toothpaste using everyday ingredients you probably already have floating around your pantry.
- Step 8: Oil pulling – swill a little oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes each day to improve dental health and a whole heap more.
- Step 9: Dry body brushing – get healthy, glowing, soft skin using this simple exfoliating technique.
- Step 10: Healing face and body butter – how to make your own naturally-scented and powerfully healing face and body moisturiser.