The role of castor oil in oil cleansing.

OCM is, of course, the Oil Cleansing Method, where oils are used to clean the skin without using water as part of the process.

Googling OCM, most posts will rely on combinations of oils that invariably include castor oil, so let’s look at this very unique oil.

Ricinus communis is the botanical name for the castor bean plant. The nuts or beans of the castor bean are interesting botanically as they produce a deadly poison, ricin, along with an oil that is unique to this plant alone.

We don’t need to worry about the poison as it is rendered harmless by the heat used to extract the oil from the nuts and is not present in the oil in any measure.

But the oil, however, is unique to the plant and made up of 90% its own named fatty acid, ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid is an 18 carbon monounsaturated fatty acid chain with a very unusual added hydroxyl functional group, -OH, on the 12th carbon, the only fatty acid with such an arrangement.

What this hydroxyl group, -OH, adds to the otherwise common 18 carbon fatty acid chain is an ability to affect the body when used topically on the skin. The oil is thick and viscous feeling, not at all like most oils made up of similar 18 carbon monounsaturated fatty acid chains.

Why castor oil is so good for oil cleansing combinations

Castor oil cleans the skin by its deep penetrating properties and when applied to the skin is able to remove make-up and dirt with a simple massaging and removal with a hot washcloth. Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, properties in the oil help to clear the skin of bacteria that can cause blemishes.

Combining Other Oils with Castor

I’ve experimented with oil cleansing with a range of oil types combined with castor oil which I will share with you here. Then I’ll describe how to perform the OC method.

  • One experiment was with FCO/MCT type oil that I thought would be light and do the job but the fully saturated fatty acids, though short chains, were not at all a pleasant or comfortable feel on my skin. Afterward, I felt my skin overly oily and heavy.
  • Combining the castor with monounsaturated oils like olive or almond was better than the saturation of FCO or coconut oil and worked well but was still a bit heavy for the wipe off phase.
  • My favorite was high linoleic acid oils like grape seed oil that felt light and helped balance the viscosity of the castor oil. This combination cleans the face well with the hot washcloth and left my skin feeling clean and not overly oiled. I still needed a follow up with a facial oil to maintain the moisture in the cells. This was perfect.

Experiment with oils to suit your face and skin. And combine with castor oil at about 25% if so desired. Then, using the following technique, you are ready for a daily cleanse.

The technique:

Once mixed, massage a small amount of the oil combination into the skin in gentle circular motions giving the face and neck area a good massaging. When done in the shower or bath you can leave it on until ready to get out and as a final action take a hot washcloth wrung out of excess water and wipe away the cleansing oil.

That’s it, a simple procedure for cleaning the skin without the use of any synthetic ingredients, just simple oils and a bit of water.

Have you tried the oil cleansing method? Leave a comment below and share your favorite oils and combinations.