oil me up


it’s here! my personalized oil cleansing process! I share the ingredients! step by step instructions! hilarious self deprecating photos! that’s right, no skimping for you kittens, no way no sir. since it’s a lengthy post containing said pictorial evidence [two words: before & after] and the descriptions of the ingredients, I’m going to pop it after the annoying jump. oh c’mon, it’s one click people! see you on the flip side.

so first I should probably share the compulsion for the switch to OCM, which is of course due to my history of soul sucking, emotionally debilitating acne. settle in, refresh your drink and corporeal cuddle that furball next to you.

now, I don’t have any photos handy of those ‘glory’ days when my face first started erupting [what a visual eh?] but just imagine an awkward ginger lass with too many freckles to count on top of skin that blinds passerby, teeth that more resembled dracula than a typical human, a wicked cowlick that only helped for the 2 years that ridiculous ‘wave’ bang was popular AND a real life connect the dot game spread across my cheeks, chin and forehead. “HEY SEXY LADY! YEAH YOU! Wait.. no, I meant the chick behind you.” I remember how relieved I felt with a thick layer of foundation on, like it was my battle armor.  It may have covered the current breakout, but did nothing to help heal it or the mountains growing beneath them. I still have a scar on my right cheek from a behemoth that taunted me daily to pick and dig at it. We are all young and uninformed dumb once though, right? Embarrassingly enough, this process continued honestly up until meeting my hetero life partner Karyn almost 2 years ago. She was the first to convince me to ease up on the level of coverage, not only to let my skin BREATH, but also because it turns out my skin.. wasn’t the leprosy I built it up to be in my head. I was hiding my freckles that I actually love, and that thick layer of spackle wasn’t sitting too smoothly in my wrinkles,  pores or scars. I can’t remember how I first heard about OCM [<-that lady? hilarious. you're welcome.], or if it was my pal Morgan who shared it with me.. but let’s just focus on the god damn game changer that it was.. uh, is.

Let’s start with the ingredients. No matter what combination of ‘carrier’ oils [don't worry baby birds, I'll feed you] you will *almost* always incorporate some amount of castor oil into your mixture. While the idea may sound like a load of balooey, just remember “like dissolves like.” The oil you’re introducing slides in next to the sebum chilling in your pores, being all cloggy n stuff, get’s it sufficiently lubricated [stay with me] and then brings it along to the party on your washcloth. …..Yeah. The pictures will help, I promise.


So you got your castor oil, which you can find hanging out next to the other laxatives in the grocery, bottom shelf style, and now you need some soothing and moisturizing carrier oils to help combat your skin troubles without leaving it dry and cracked. When I first gave this seemingly crazy method a go, I looked up which oils work best on acne prone, combination skin. I have a Mr T sized zone down the middle of my face, but my outer cheeks and eye area can be a bit dry so I need to take both into account. Jojoba & grapeseed were my first, and really only choices as they work well with oily acne-prone skin….. and Whole Foods didn’t have sunflower seed nor Tamanu. I use roughly 2 parts [changes depending on the weather, the time of the month {oh hello old friend Mr Tampax Stallion}, and the frequency of use] castor oil to one part each of jojoba and grapeseed. Since this isn’t baking [thank god], the amounts don’t need to be exact, but you don’t want to get too far off especially if you’re making a larger batch. Actually, when you’re testing it out for the first night, just mix the necessary amount in your palm to play with the ration until you find your sweet spot of combinations. Also, and this is very very important, only buy COLD PRESSED +ORGANIC oils. There’s no sense in going the natural route if you’re smearing crap with additives, preservatives and who knows what else all over. Now, you can stick with the main foundations of this cleansing method, or get fancy up in here, and toss in some extras.


Personally, I add in a few drops each of tea tree & lavender [both have excellent healing properties, help fight infection and smell amazing] as well as a glob of vitamin e. Yes, glob is a technical term. There’s a stick attached to the lid that allows for relatively mess free dispensing, though let’s be honest, I still manage to make a disaster with it. Now that you’ve got all your ingredients, it’s time for the tools. WATCH OUT FUSSY SKIN, WE’RE [almost] COMING FOR YA!


I was going to snag a new, shiny [read: not stained with the many layers of mascara I coat my eyelashes in daily] but I am nothing else if not AUTHENTIC, so you get my dingy grey one as an example. That loud sound you just heard was Yen groaning at me. You will also need some sort of container [that one pictured above is from Whole Foods, is BPA free, 2 fluid oz and has a wide cap that makes pouring sticky liquids as easy as it can be for me.... and I forgot the brand name.] though the size doesn’t matter [that's not what she said]. It also doesn’t need to be a squeeze bottle, since this viscous stuff slides out quicker than you sometimes need. [but what'd she say?...OK OK I'm done.] Alright, you’ve got your goop, goop container, and goop party vehicle.. let’s move on before this get’s even weirder.


{THE BEFORE}. Hold on, before we continue, I just want to set a few things straight off the bat: no photoshop fixes beyond the very light filter were used on these photos. As much as I would like to have totally flawless skin, even with OCM that isn’t gonna happen. I have deep smile lines, crows feet, bags under my eyes and the rogue spot or two. Secondly, it’s real awkward to stare into a mirror with a camera on a tripod sitting behind your head. Moving on.



{DURING} What Mama [cat] Merl promises, she delivers. Did I mention this method is amazing at removing eye makeup? Just be gentle when you’re smearing the oil on your peepers.. not only can it irritate your eyes, but the skin there is insanely delicate and needs to be treated with kid gloves.. covered in goop. It should also be noted that these oils are also great hair conditioners and castor oil is even claimed to help hair growth.. so far I haven’t woken up with beautiful full brows or spiderly long lashes, but here’s hoping.


{CLEAN UP} Up until now, you were hopefully firmly on board this crazy train, seatbelt locked and luggage stowed. Imagine the soothing and relaxing experience of slowly massaging delicious scented oils into your skin, rubbing away all the stress and headaches of the day in your quiet, serene bathroom. After a leisurely period of this, you lower your hands and realize.. what the fuck do I do now? Water doesn’t remove oil! I’M TRAPPED WITH THIS GOOP FACE FOREVER! Whoa there Oscar nominee. Remember the dingy, well used washcloth? Soak that bad boy in as hot of water as you can handle [since my faucets take awhile to heat up and, being Mama N's right hand woman, I detest wasting water, I wet my rag and pop it in the microwave for 1 min] then gently drape it across your face. Let the heat coax your pores open even more with whispered murmurers of encouragement, then gently press the cloth against your skin moving in tiny circles on your problem areas. Give it until the washcloth starts to cool slightly, then wipe all the dirt, grime, makeup and no good oil right off your face. Give it a few passes to make sure you’re getting in all the nooks and crannies, and don’t forget your hairline! You can rinse your washcloth off and give it another go if you feel like there’s some residue left, but one thorough swipe should do the trick.


{AFTER} Now look in the mirror you beautiful natural creature you. Yeah, YOU. Your skin should feel refreshed but not greasy. Clean but not dry. Go ahead, check out those pores. Do they look a bit empty to you? You betcha sweet ass they do. What’s that? Your skin DOES feel slightly greasy/dry/irritated? I SEE YOU REACHING FOR THAT HARSH ALCOHOL LADEN CLEANSER!! Step away from the medicine cabinet dammit. This can still work for you! If your skin isn’t glowing like the sunrise, that just means you have to tweak your recipe a bit. Too dry? Ease up on that castor oil. Too greasy? Bring some more to the party. Irritated? Perhaps you have a nut allergy. Try removing that specific oil or substituting it to determine the culprit. I also want to stress that while your skin may feel amazing that first time.. Rome wasn’t built in a day [I've got to be towards the end of my limit for referencing that..]. I went through a purge period about 1 1/2 weeks after using my concoction and almost turned my back on the whole idea. Luckily, I was not alone and on the advice of countless others online, stuck by my oily cleanser and came out the other side with clearer skin, more $$ in my pocket in the long run and a happiness that results from using safe, natural ingredients on my delicate skin.

There you have it! My oil cleansing method in a surprisingly large, somewhat oblong nutshell. I hope this helps any of you kittens looking for a natural, yet effective cleanser. Especially you folks who have tried every other harsh, irritating over the counter medicine.. give this a try before resorting to pills or scary lasers. I’m not guaranteeing anything, but it’s worth a go. Like I mentioned on the instagram, I still have the rogue zit or two, especially when I’m nearing the red zone, or if I’ve been lazy and slipped off the OCM wagon. Keeping a steady intake of water, leafy greens and oodles of fruits and veggies obviously will help even things out as well. Oh and sleeping, but I am the very last one to give advice on that. In fact, anyone got any soft rubber mallets that don’t cause traumatic brain injuries to recommend? Or I could always try putting down the iphone…. mallet it is!

Any questions, comments or concerns, leave em below or contact me privately if you prefer. thanks for letting me share this guys.. feels good to admit my struggle and let the emotional wounds heal along side the physical ones.


*****Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not guaranteed to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make informed decisions based on their unique bodily requirements.

  • Emily Leclerc

    such a natural beauty, no need for pounds of make-up miss merl!
    So I didnt know this oil cleansing was a “thing” I’d heard lots of stuff about coconut oil being good for your skin but didnt know that you could cleanse your face with castor oil (which always makes me think of beavers…. (beaver is castor in french)) this is definitely interesting. You and I have had several pizza-face convos over the years and the other day I was looking back at the pictures you took of me when u visited 2 Mays ago (can you put an S on May?) and my skin was terrible. But then I went back on the pill and got some dermatologist developped cleansers and toners (40 smackers for a bottle of each) and my skin is telling me ‘dont you DARE stop what you’re doing and smother beaver oil on your face!’

    However the part of my brain that hates all things processed and filled with all kinds of inarticulable (big word of the day) ingredients is seriously considering a bit of a change in the cleansing routine to something more basic and natural.

    Good luck with the constant battle against the monster known as acne.

    (and huge KUDOS on the self shot tripod mirror shots!!)

    • merlkinzie

      Not gonna lie, I’m thinking of getting back on an oral contraceptive to help with my PMS zits every time the red devil comes to visit since that’s the only time I have any significant breakouts (like this morning). Also to help with my insane mood swings and horrific cramps.. Which I think the world wants to see gone as well. Or at least those who have to deal with me on a daily basis.

      Also, Yen swears by coconut oil both for cleansing and moisturizing. It’s too thick for me, but ill occasionally use it on my hands or feet at night, but I have to stick with the lighter oils during the day.

  • http://babesinthriftland.blogspot.com Babes in Thriftland

    I have really dry skin, would this work for that too or is it more for acne prone skin?

    • merlkinzie

      Totally! You would just use less castor oil,but more carrier oils and make sure they are varieties geared towards drier skin like avocado or apricot kernel. Try adding in some vitamin e for extra moisturizing as well. I of course am not a doctor but since these are all natural oils (and better be organiz -_-) you can’t really do a ton of damage to your skin when used correctly.