Using the combination of products I am about to list will, over time, balance and detoxify your complexion. I’ve kept this selection on high rotation for weeks. I’ve even tested it out on oily-skinned friends and unsuspecting lovers. And that much I know to be true. But as any naturopath will attest, your skin is merely revealing symptoms of an underlying imbalance.

For Saimaa Miller, naturopath and author of The Aussie Body Diet, excessively oily skin can come down to a number of factors.

“When all of that water you drink is not effectively moving up into the cell membrane, it doesn’t matter how much you consume, your skin will remain both oily and dehydrated,” Miller explains. “So the first thing I ask is why is your body not properly absorbing good fats and water?”

The issue, she continues, comes down to a fine dance between acid and alkaline. If either is out of whack it’s going to immediately show up on your face. Good news: taking that dance from dad doing the sprinkler at a wedding to Beyonce at Coachella is easy. Even better news: Saimaa was gracious enough to let us in on a few industry secrets (but more on that in a second).

When it comes to balancing your skin from the outside in, there are things you should do and things you definitely should not do. Things that fall into the latter category include stripping away every last trace of oil. Overuse of harsh scrubby beads and sulphates (which you can learn more about here), will erode the skin’s protective barrier. This leads to heightened irritation, dullness, dryness and – you guessed it – it will make sebum production go into overdrive.

Now that we’ve eliminated the have-nots, here are the haves for all of our resplendent, oily-skinned girlfriends out there.


Get your hands on some Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA).

Ok, so we told you not to strip all of your natural oil. Still, you do want to ensure you are removing the excess, keeping the complexion clear and de-congested. To achieve said #skingoal, incorporate Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) into your daily regimen to clear out blocked pores, as well as gently dissolve oil and dead skin – more on that here from supermodel skin whisperer Melanie Grant. At THE FILE HQ, we cannot live without Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer and Lotion P50 by Biologique Recherche, gentle enough to use daily, life-changing enough to keep multiple backups under our sinks.


Deep Detox with a mask.

After cleansing, gently open your pores by steaming your face over a bowl of hot water. A couple of drops of tea tree oil won’t go astray; inhale and it will also help to kill germs lurking in your airways. Double win. To finish, slather on a mask containing oil-sucking clay and charcoal, such as Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask.


Deep hydration with Hyaluronic Acid.

The last thing oily-skinned women tend to think about is hydration, especially those who are breakout or acne-prone. And you can forget about luring them into using a variety of oil-based beauty products (FYI that’s up next if you need time to mentally prepare). A product packed full of hyaluronic acid will bind water to the skin and deliver hydration deep into the lower layers of the epidermis, without clogging your pores. Effectively, it’s going to say to your skin “it’s okay, our thirst is most quenched, there’s no need to produce more oil to compensate”. For maximum penetration, pat our all-time favourites onto clean skin, morning and evening – that’s NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex and Apot.Care Hyalu Repair Serum.


Make friends with oils and good fats.

We’ve told you once and we will gently tell you again. Please do not be afraid of using products containing oils! Fighting oil with oil is one of the best ways to restore balance to sebaceous glands in crisis. Just make sure you go for something featherlight and purifying, such as Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil and for those dealing with breakouts, Sunday Riley’s UFO Ultra-Clarifying Oil will work wonders. Instead of a harsh, stripping, foaming cleanser, try an Eve Lom’s oil-rich cleansing balm to deep cleanse and restore balance. As for diet, Saimaa recommends cutting out saturated fats and replacing them with avocado and fish. Just make sure you limit your nut intake to no more than fifteen a day.


Every morning do a magic shot…

…of tequila. Kidding. Terrible joke, moving right along. Saimaa’s power mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, warm water and a pinch of cayenne pepper will kick your digestion into gear, and alkalise your insides before you do the damage with actual tequila in the evening.


Make a juice packed with alkalizing greens.

You know what else alkalizes your insides? Greens. And lots of them. Saimaa suggests packing yours full of those of the dark, leafy variety such as kale, spinach, mint and dandelion – the latter of which is distastefully bitter, but will detox your liver like nothing else. Top with celery and cucumber, full of collagen-boosting silica, and you’re halfway to a glowing, balanced complexion.