Saturday, October 30, 2010

Handy Tip

I’ve been searching for a solution to a certain problem of mine for the better part of a decade. Researching soap making websites, I finally ran across something that made a lot of sense to me, knowing what I know about how soap is made. What’s my problem?

I’ve had issues with my face breaking out. It’s worse than it ever was when I was a teenager. It first started when the Mister deployed to Japan in 2002. Everyone told me that it was stress. Well, maybe that’s what triggered it, I don’t know, but it never went away. In the years since, I’ve tried everything from face washes, astringents, and scrubs that you buy at Target to the more expensive varieties you can buy at high end department stores. I’ve had prescriptions from doctors. I even tried Proactive and NONE of it made much of a difference. The only thing I didn’t try was a prescription for antibiotics because the side effects I get from them are worse than acne, believe me.

Then, a few months ago, before we moved to California, I ran across a website that had an alternative-type solution. At first I was skeptical until I stopped to think of the soap making process and then it made perfect sense to me and I decided to try it out. I waited a bit to make sure it wasn’t a fluke before posting about my results. I still get the occasional spot here and there especially when my hormone levels are up and down (if you know what I mean) but for the most part, I’m extremely happy. So, what the heck did I try??? Oil. I’ll be more specific.

I went out and bought an empty travel bottle at Target. It cost me $2.99 I think. Then, I made a solution that was 50/50 Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Castor Oil. You can try out different oils and different amounts BUT, the castor oil is a must. The other oil can vary. For instance, you could try sunflower oil. If you have oily skin, try a 30% castor, 70% EVOO mix. If you have dry skin, try a 10% castor, 90% EVOO mix. I’ve been using a 50/50 mix with great results. This is the method:

  1. Put a quarter-sized amount of oil in your palm. Using the fingertips of your other hand, spread a thin layer of oil over your entire face.
  2. Next, put some more oil in your palm (enough to thoroughly cover your hands but not enough that it’s dripping) and rub your hands together. Use your hands to massage the oil into your face. Relax your facial muscles and use upward, circular motions.
  3. Take a washcloth and using the warmest water you can stand, get the washcloth wet, and wring out the excess water. Place the washcloth over your face. Relax and breathe in the steam. When the washcloth has cooled, use it to wipe the oil off, again, in an upward circular motion.
  4. Rinse the washcloth and repeat step #3.

That’s it. You don’t need to wash the oil off with soap. The thin film of oil you leave behind acts as a moisturizer. This is my nighttime routine. In the morning, I cleanse my face with a cotton ball and an astringent. This is basically because some habits die hard and it also makes me feel like my face is totally clean to start the day. I also use the nighttime oil to remove eye makeup. It works just as good as store bought eye makeup remover unless you use waterproof mascara. That’s a little tougher to remove. If you find your skin drying out, use less castor oil or try this method every other day. I can’t say how it works using it more than once a day because I’ve never done that.

Not only is this a great way to relax at the end of the day, it’s all natural, and it’s very inexpensive. I don’t know about you, but I always have EVOO in the house. I think a large bottle of castor oil is 3 or 4 dollars. Use a good extra virgin olive oil. The more yellow and less green that it is, the better the quality. Another tip that I do but isn’t necessary, I wash my washcloth with my favorite scented soap prior to placing it over my face. That way, when I’m relaxing and breathing,  I am inhaling a scent that I also find relaxing and pleasing to me.

If you decide to try it out, I’d love to hear your results, good or bad. As someone who has suffered with adult onset acne, I was thrilled to my toes to finally find something that works and I can feel good about using it because it’s all natural.


  1. I'll admit I am intrigued by this. I've suffered from acne my entire life but it seems to have gotten worse the last year or so (I'm in my early 40's). I have very oily skin and so the thought of putting more oil on my skin just seems to make no sense. Any thoughts as to why this seems to work?

  2. I'm not an expert by any means, but the reason why it works is that castor oil and EVOO are nutrient rich oils that break down the dirt and bad oils on your face. The steam from the wet, warm washcloth, helps to open your pores for a deep clean. Again, I'm not a scientist and I only believe that this works because it has worked for me. The reason why it makes sense to me is that when I make soap, I use EVOO and castor oil in quite a few of my recipes because of the nutrients and moisturizing aspects of them.


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