Thirteen and a half years ago, in no way, shape, or form could you have convinced me that I would some day write about the wonder that is castor oil.
You see, thirteen and a half years ago, I took a teaspoon of it and then gave birth to my son, rapidly, without painkillers, while he was turned around facing my back.
And I’ve always blamed it on castor oil.
I’d like to say that taking that tiny teaspoon full of contraction-inducing slime was brave, but it wasn’t. It was impatience. He was still a week early, but I was ready. As someone who’s never endured the triumphant hell that is childbirth, I had no idea what I was wishing upon myself.
And the childbirth itself? Not brave. It was necessity. When the doctor comes in and says it’s time, you’re not allowed to go, “Hm. I’m a little afraid right now. Can we wait a few?” No. You push through the pain – the excruciating pain that makes you forget your own name – and eventually something pops out. Surprise!
Then come the hours and weeks and months and years later, where you worry constantly about this little being you, frankly, forced into this world. You stay up nights, even when they’re not screaming (for years, about things they just don’t understand yet). You watch them fall down and say nothing of your fear for them, knowing your fear only makes theirs worse. You watch and cry silently and love and protect. But that’s not bravery either. It’s what mothers do. It’s just … in us.
No. I’ll tell you what bravery is. Bravery is actually reading some far-fetched, ridiculous thing on the internet and trying it at home.
In a moment, I’ll tell you more about, but first let me tell you how to DO it. Regardless of what’s on your face – excluding lead-based paint or an entire banana cream pie (which would be hilarious and I would love to have a picture of that, please) – the oil will remove it. Let me make that clear before going further. You do not need to (and should not, really) wash your face first.
First, you want to mix portions of your chosen oils – Castor Oil being the only one that MUST be in the mix. As you can see, these days I use approximately 3 parts grapeseed, 2 parts avocado, and 2 parts castor oil. The specific amounts you use are irrelevant. Honestly. Except that you want to use more “softening” oil (the other oils listed are more softening) than castor oil, as castor oil can be drying. Oily skin? Use a little more castor. Dry skin? Use a little less. Perfect skin? Stop reading this and go be a model or something.
Pour this mixture into the palm of your hand and proceed to massage it into your face – slowly, in long, luxurious circles. Try to remember to move up – don’t drag your skin down. You’re just dragging wrinkles down when you do. That’s not fun.
Massage this way for a good three to five minutes, working in the oil and letting it do its business of dissolving everything on your face – like acid, only without the burning disfigurement and years of emotional pain.
Now, start your hot water running in the sink. Let it get good and hot. While you’re watching diligently for steam, contemplate the oil soaking into your skin, freak out a little bit because you think it might make you break out, and then quickly grab your washcloth, shove it under the hot water, wring it out and apply it to your face. You have now calmed down (and luckily this panic only happens the first time you do this). Let the washcloth sit on your face for a minute or so.
Gently, moving upwards again, rub the oil off your face with the hot washcloth. Rinse and wring out and wipe as many times as you need to in order to get all the oil off. It’s a quick process, really, and the hardest part is not hotting up your hands while you’re rinsing and wringing.
After you’re done, gently dry your face and give yourself a long, hard look in the mirror. Beautiful, right? Amazing, really. Glowing, and not oily at all.
You only have to do this once a night – but do it diligently. In the morning, I typically just use a dash of toner and some moisturizer, and I’m set for the day.
Try this, please. Let me know what you think. I’m a little obsessed with it now, and probably need a support group.
So, here’s the thing about this oil cleansing whatnot. I read about it about two weeks ago (sadly, I cannot find where, so I cannot credit the bold soul who went before me and thus inspired me) and thought it was insane. Everything inside screamed “Gross! Pimples!” But I pushed on anyway – not just for this blog, and not just for my rapidly aging skin – but for all of womankind. You’re welcome.
I do declare, in a most drawling Southernly manner, my skin has never looked better – it is more clear with less blemishes, softer, more radiant, and I swear the hint of crepe-ishness under my eyes is less noticeable. Why, just yesterday I was carded while buying a bottle of wine. Then I contemplated taking it over to my parents’ house while they were gone, drinking it out of a paper cup, and then making out with a boy on their bed. But then I was afraid of getting grounded, so I listened to Debbie Gibson at home instead. Lost In Your Eyes – it still speaks to me after all these years.
Anyway, if you’d like to read more about castor oil and its litany of folk medicine accolades (of which there is MUCH), I recommend looking at earthclinic.com for other ideas from around the world.
And if you do try this – if you are BRAVE enough – let me know how it goes!
Also, I’d like to add that I do NOT recommend using castor oil to induce labor. Not only was it a mistake for me, but the ingestion of castor oil is no longer recommended, medically, for health reasons. Just be patient. Five years down the line, you’ll wish you could put him back in.