Olive Oil & Castor Oil to Cleanse Skin

Olive oil is as good for your outsides as it is for your insides.

Photo: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Using oil to cleanse your skin may sound like reverse psychology for your face, but smart girls always look deeper. Oil picks up dirt but is not drying, so cleansing with oil makes sense. Washing with castor oil or olive oil offers savvy environistas clean skin without using unclean chemicals. Castor oil cleanses and olive oil washes give you glowing skin and a clean conscience, so who says you can’t have it all?

Olive Oil Facts

Olive oil is pressed from olives. It comes in different grades that are based on what part of the process they’re taken from. Any kind of plain olive oil will do for cleansing, so there’s no need to reach for the super-spendy, high-grade, extra-virgin stuff. Many olive oils come infused with other flavors, but only ones containing skin-friendly additions like lavender are good for your skin.

Castor Oil Facts

Castor oil is pressed from the seeds of the castor plant, which are commonly called castor beans. Castor oil is most commonly taken internally as a laxative, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also approved it for topical use, meaning it works both inside and out. Castor oil contains undecylenic acid, which is used to treat skin conditions. It also contains ricinileic acid, which is a proven anti-inflammatory agent. Castor oil penetrates the topmost layer of your skin, making it an excellent moisturizer as well as an effective cleanser.

Procedure

Pour a small bit of castor oil, olive oil, or a mixture of both into your palm. Warm the oil by rubbing it between your palms. Massage the oil into your face with your fingertips. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and lay it over your face. Rinse it out and repeat until whatever oil has not been absorbed into your skin has been picked up by the washcloth. Use a smaller and more diluted amount of castor-oil blend as a moisturizer. Before trying any new method, you should check with the pros, especially if you have troubled skin. Castor oil and olive oil are not irritating, but check with your doctor or dermatologist to be sure.

Pros

Olive oil contains no harsh chemicals or additives. It has been used as a skincare beauty aid by women as far back as ancient Greek beauties. It was also favored as a moisturizer by a more recent ancient beauty: Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122. Using castor oil and olive oil on your skin may not help you live that long, but it can’t hurt in making sure you don’t look it.

Cons

Castor oil is very heavy, and some people find its texture and scent unpleasant. Mixing it with another, lighter oil -- like olive oil or sunflower seed oil -- can help with this. Olive oil can be somewhat more pricey than soap and it does not contain any proven acne-fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Some varieties of olive have a strong scent that is not to everyone’s taste, so have your S.O. do a sniff test before slathering it on at night.

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