The Wonders of Castor Oil – Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) and 6 Other Uses for Castor Oil

Lately, there has been a rush to the pharmacies here in Sweden. Girls and boys all over have almost queued outside of the pharmacy just to get a single small bottle of … castor oil?
No, there’s no epidemia causing constipation going around.. The castor oil is actually going into their hair!

The Swedish blogosphere has lately been filled with pictures of long-haired girls who want even longer hair, and use castor oil to get it. Before and after pictures, where their hair has grown 4 times as much as it usually does, have convinced readers and more bloggers to run straight to the pharmacy.

So what’s up with castor oil anyway? Why is it better than other oils? Is it better than other oils? Let me break it down for you, and explain how you should use it in your hair like the Swedish bloggers and on your face using the oil cleansing method or OCM.

The oil cleansing method (OCM) and other uses for castor oil

Castor oil is a vegetable oil that comes from the castor bean.  This oil differs from other oils in that it is really thick and slow-running. Castor oil has a great many fantastic properties; not only does it have antibacterial properties, it is also cleansing for your skin, and can even help heal the skin!

The uses for castor oil seem to be almost endless. Let me share my 7 favourites, starting with the amazing:

1. The oil cleansing method (OCM)


When I started this blog, I figured that one of the things I would write about first was the oil cleansing method. This was, almost to the day, 2 years ago. What has happened? I have no idea. But now it’s time.

OCM is the process of washing your face with vegetable oil, one of which is castor oil. It’s a great way of washing your face and clearing it of any blemishes; if you use this method a couple of times a week, you will definitely soon see a clear difference with more radiant, smooth skin.

How it works

The thought of using oils to clear your skin of blemishes can seem counter-intuitive – isn’t it oily skin that gives you acne in the first place? That’s true, and that is exactly why you need to supply oil to the skin. The reason why your skin gets blemished is that it produces excess oil. So, if you provide your skin with external oil, it will not need to produce as much oil. Which leads to clear skin. It’s as simple as that.

OCM is, however, not only for those with oily skin. Anybody will benefit from using OCM, because you can make your own personal blend of castor oil and another vegetable oil, that will be perfect for you whether you have dry skin or problem skin.

How to do it

When using OCM, there is no need to wash off any makeup, not even waterproof mascara. The oils will take care of that!

First, get your castor oil. Then, get another vegetable oil. Olive oil is, as always, great. Other oils you can use include (but are not limited to) sunflower seed, jojoba oil, avocado oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil. Then, get a washcloth. Then, go into your bathroom. Then, you’re ready to go!

Now you mix your castor oil with other oil. The amount of castor oil in the blend should be relative to your skin type. Here’s something to start with.

Oily skin equal parts castor oil and vegetable oil
Balanced skin 1 part castor oil to 2 parts vegetable oil
Dry skin 1 part castor oil to 3 parts olive oil

OCM oil cleansing method oil blends

This is something to go by, but once you get the hang of OCM, try a few different ratios to find what’s perfect for you. Either, you can pre-mix a bottle of castor oil and vegetable oil, or mix it in your hands each time. When you have found the ratio that you love, get a bottle and mark with lines up to where the castor oil goes and the vegetable oil goes – and you’ll never have to measure again! Now, here’s how you do the OCM, step by step:

  1. Pour a generous amount of oil into the palm of your hand (I’d say at least 1 or 2 tablespoons).
  2. Apply the oil to your unwashed face and massage it carefully for about 5 minutes so that the oil is well absorbed into the skin.
  3. Turn on your faucet and get some hot water. The water should be really hot, but not so hot that you’re scalding yourself of course.
  4. Soak your washcloth in the running water, wring it out slightly and apply it to your face.
  5. Leave it on just for a minute or so, or until the washcloth is cold
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, once or twice.
  7. Scrub your face lightly with the washcloth
  8. Splash some cold water in your face or use a facial toner. This will close the pores that were just opened by the hot water.
  9. If you have dry skin or just feel like it you can apply a little bit of OCM oil to your face and neck.

This can be done once every day, although most people find it enough to use twice or three times a week.

Warning: The first weeks there might be a little bit of acne breakout when you’re using OCM. This is normal, as the skin is trying to adapt to this new method and will try to get rid of nasty stuff. Just hold on tight, keep doing OCM and after not too long your face will have cleared up, smoother and more perfect than you could ever imagine!

For references and other cool stuff, check out this Pinterest  board that I created solely for this purpose with lots of info about OCM: The wonders of castor oil.

2. Castor oil as a homemade makeup remover

If you find that OCM takes to long, or if you don’t want to do it every day, you can still use castor oil as a make up remover. Either 100% castor oil or half castor oil and half olive oil is great. Just apply some oil to a cotton ball or q-tip and swipe off the make-up.

3. Natural hair growth with castor oil

To get your hair to grow faster, you need to do a hair oiling a couple of times every week with castor oil. Apply some to the scalp, leave on for at least 30 minutes and then wash off. The result is long, thick, shiny hair. It will also prevent hair loss. If you like you can also apply some to the lengths while your at it. Again, if you find that castor oil is too thick, add a bit of some other vegetable oil to it (olive or coconut for instance) – up to 50%.
Tip! To remove the castor oil from your hair: if you use shampoo, apply the shampoo before wetting the hair. The same goes with the conditioner only method.

4. Castor oil for darkening hair

Using castor oil will make your hair just the slightest bit darker. So if you want darker hair, you’re going to love using castor oil on your scalp!

5. Get long, thick eyelashes

But this doesn’t only work on the hair on your head! No, applying castor oil to your eyelashes or even eyebrows will also result in long, thick lashes and brows. Maybe you want a thicker beard? Works just as well! This is great to do before going to bed and leaving on over night. Or, when doing the oil cleansing method, make sure your eyelashes get some of that oil as well. Just avoid contact with eyes if possible!
Tip! Wash out an old mascara brush and use it to apply the castor oil. You can even pour some castor oil into the clean mascara container and apply just like you would do with mascara.

6. Castor oil for scar healing

The healing properties of castor oil means that it can be used on scars to help them heal. According to  skinverse, castor oil can even help heal internal scars such as scars from surgery. You can also apply castor oil on cuts or burns to help them heal fast.

7. Mole and wart removal

Applying some castor oil to warts, liver spots or moles will over time help you get rid of them. If you apply some every night, you should see progress already after a few weeks, and after 2-3 months the whole thing will be gone, says skinverse.

Not bad, huh? To see some of my inspiration for this article and to get some more information about castor oil and how to use it, visit my Pinterest  board: The wonders of castor oil.

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  1. stylebymeli

    This is great, I actually have been a big fan of using oils as cleansers for years now and have been meaning to blog about how I use them. I believe they will keep the skin supple and firm too over time!

      1. hilda

        yes, it’s really easy and effective on the hair. Just apply the oil and leave it on for at least 30 minutes and then rinse. You can see the instructions in point #3 in the post. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

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    1. hilda

      Castor oil will not make hair start growing if there isn’t already some there – other wise, just imagine what a miracle cure for baldness it’d be! Moustasches and beards that are already there will get thicker and darker, but the very very fine hair that covers most female faces is not affected by castor oil.

      1. Morgana

        Actually, Hilda, that’s a bit of a generalization and it needs clarifying.

        It can’t be reiterated enough: Castor Oil IS ‘a miracle cure for baldness’.

        If we women folk left it on our faces overnight, on a daily basis, we would see, at the very least, a thickening of the fine, downy fuzz that covers most women’s faces – if not exactly a full-on beard and moustache.

        Castor Oil isn’t capable of distinguishing where hair ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be….if there’s a plug on the skin, be it dead or alive, it WILL stimulate renewed follicle growth.

        I’ve been using castor oil daily for the last 2 weeks to regrow parts of my eyebrows (and hair at the back of my head) where small sections had stopped growing almost 3 years ago, thanks to the evils of radiation treatment…and it’s working a treat, resurrecting and breathing new life into parts of my body the medical world destroyed.

        So the bottom line is, whether on your face, head, chin or nose, if there’s a pre-existing plug there where a strand of hair ‘used to grow’, castor oil will regrow it.

        Just felt that needed clearing up.

        1. hilda

          Hm, I have never tried castor oil on my skin for long enough to notice any difference on the hair on my face. According to skinverse, however, castor oil does not affect vellus hair for some reason. So that’s what I was quoting, but unfortunately that’s my only source for that so I might have been hasty. I’m pretty sure that just OCM:ing a couple of times a week won’t have any larger effect on the hair of your face (at least it hasn’ for me). But anyway, that sounds wonderful! I’m really happ y castor oil has worked such wonders on you 🙂

          1. hilda

            No problem, i haven’t trind myself but apparently it should work just as well on chin hair and moustasches.

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  5. Vivi

    Just ordered some castor oil and can’t wait to try it out. Probably wont use it as OCm though because I’m way too paranoid that the hair on my upper lip and chin will get even thicker and darker. It’s not really fluff for me – more like a very fair and thin moustache and beard :). Going to use the oil on my head and on my varicose veins (dunno if it will work…).

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  7. Woman

    I love and adore castor oil when used in a hand and a foot massage. I find my nails just glow and my stiff fingers and toes ache less when massaged in.

    I’ve just started to use castor oil in my hair after reading this article a while ago and have noticed that my once limpish kind of flat straight hair just radiates health now even after six days of using it. I take about two or thee tablespoons of boiling hot water and mix with the same amount of castor oil. Then add a few drops of essential oils (for me… mostly for scent purposes). After all my hair and scalp have been properly massaged, I wrap my head in a bag, put a toque on my head and spend the rest of the evening smelling like whatever essential oil I have used, being mocked and laughed at by friends, and go to bed with it on.

    In the morning, I can feel the difference in my hair while even just shampooing my hair. My hair feels just like silk, the ends look less dry, and the whole hair shaft just looks oodles shiny.

    Thanks for the suggestion on using castor oil in my hair!!!

    I’ve yet to notice much of a difference in my eye lashes though… but hopefully in a few weeks I’ll see something!

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  9. syble

    I am so happy that I stumbled on the castor oil skin care. I have been using it to clean my facee for a month and I love the way my skin looks. I am using the cator oil each night on a mole and brown spots and I am hoping to have some results. I have tried everything on the brown spots so anything is worth the try. Thanks for the good instructions.

    1. lorraine Romano

      I have been using castor oil to remove moles and skin tags for years. First put just castor oil on the mole or tag, for about a week. After that, make a paste of castor oil and baking soda, and apply that. After that it will sting a little. to make removal faster, start putting a band-aid over the paste for a few days, and the tag should fall right off.

    1. hilda

      If you only use OCM once or twice a week and leave the oil on for 5 minutes it probably won’t make much of a difference – if you leave it on overnight it will. Also, using castor oil won’t mean that you will grow hair in places you don’t already have hair, and it shouldn’t affect the very fine hairs.

    1. hilda

      The castor oil won’t make you grow hair where you don’t already have hair, and it shouldn’t affect the very fine hair that many women have in their face but if you already have moustache-y growth it might make it darker. However, if you only use OCM once or twice a week and leave the oil on for 5 minutes it probably won’t make much of a difference – if you leave it on overnight it will.

  10. Ehren

    I am interested in trying the OCM but am hesitant due to the possibilities of it promoting hair growth and darkening. After having my first baby, my horomones have been raging and I have found darker hair growth on my chin, neck and upper lip. I am not willing to chance( even for five minutes

    1. hilda

      I understand your concern. Actually, you can try to just leave out the castor oil and just use olive oil or for instance a mix of sunflower seed (which is a bit drier) and olive oil. It won’t be as effective to cleanse your face but should work anyway.

  11. TJ

    Hello! I’m am interested in trying this method but I am a 20 yo female with polycystic ovarian syndrome that can cause hirtuism in women. I have side burns that I tweeze as well and some chin hair and even a few strands on my neck. Will this make my situation worse?

    1. hilda

      Hi TJ! Like mentioned, castor oil can make hair grow thicker and darker. If you only use the Oil Cleansing Method, where you leave the castor oil in your face only for about 10 minutes, it shouldn’t make a huge difference, it’s only when you leave it in for longer that the results will be very noticeable. Also castor oil won’t affect the really small hair strands that one’s body is covered in (say forehead and cheeks). However, with your specific condition, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this. On the other hand, you can just skip the castor oil and use only olive oil combined with some sunflower seed oil or safflower oil or any other drier oil. This will not increase hair growth, but you will still get the positive effects from OCM. The reason we use castor oil is that it has some cleansing properties for the skin, which will be lost when skipping it, but I have tried OCM with half olive oil and half sunflower seed oil and i thought it worked (almost) as well. Just let me know if you want some more info!

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  13. Jan

    I use castor all over. I started using it on and under my chin. I had coarse curly black chin hairs. I figured it couldnt get worse so I went for it. I was getting dark marks from tweezing them too. Weel, to my surprise over about a weeks time, the hairs have gotten finer. So fine i didnt feel them. They were a little longer but much finer, which was better than stubble effect. :/

  14. Danika @ Your Organic Life

    Castor oil is amazing. But there are some things to keep in mind when using it. First, mist castor oil is extracted with hexane, which is a pretty nasty chemical and there is often residue left in the oil. So it’s hard important to always use organic castor oil. Also, there are some labor concerns in the extraction, so be sure you are buying from a company committed to social justice.

  15. Julie

    Great post! I’m wondering about using Castor Oil for stretch marks. Does anyone have experience with this? After 4 kids, I look like a roadmap and would love to minimize them…swimsuit season is just around the corner!

    Also, I tried washing my face with 1/2 castor oil and 1/2 olive oil for 2 weeks. It cleaned my skin very well but my naturally dry skin got really dry and I had to stop. I’m thinking 1 part castor to 3 parts olive would be better for dry skin.

    1. hilda

      Hi Julie! I’m glad you liked the post 🙂 I don’t have any kids of my own so I don’t have any experience with stretch marks yet. I haven’t heard that castor oil would be particularly good for stretch marks, but I’m sure it’d work and it’ll definitely not do any harm. From what I’ve read, it’s good to do regular oil massages and the oils that supposedly are the best are wheatgerm oil, evening primrose oil and olive oil mixed with any lightweight oil such as sunflower seed oil or grapeseed oil. But the most important thing is the massaging, exactly which oils you use isn’t the main point. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the mix, some essential oils that are said to be good are lavender, rosewood, rosemary, grapefruit and sage.
      As for the castor olive oil ratio, the only way to know what your skin likes is to try and try again until you find something that your skin likes. Everybody’s skin is different and I can only give general directions. Like I mentioned in the post, you can apply some of the oil mixture, or just plain olive oil to your face after the treatment which should help a little bit. You can also use a face mask for dry skin once a week or so. Here area a few recipes for dry skin:
      Hope this helps and let me know how things turn out! And you’re welcome back if you have any other questions 🙂

  16. Urban Earthworm

    I think you may have inspired me to re-try oil in the hair. Heaven knows I could use some thickening/lengthening. My hesitance at this point is only based on how incredibly hard it was for me to get the oil out the last time I tried it (with olive oil).

    I have since found out that you should start with wet hair (oops!), and apply mainly to the scalp (doh!), but I was wondering if you have any other advice for a no poo solution for getting the oil out after the treatment.

    1. hilda

      Yeah, I’ve had some trouble with getting oil out of my hair as well. People have very different hair types that absorb the oil differently and mine is apparently among the worst. For me it usually takes two washes before the oil is completely gone.
      Personally I don’t think it matters that much if you apply the oil to wet hair or dry, and if you want to apply only to scalp or to the whole hair depends as well. Castor oil is mainly used for lengthening and thickening, and then you mostly want to get it into the scalp. However, if you use olive oil, jojoba oil or other vegetable oil and want to get shine and moisture into your hair, then you should apply to the lengths as well – or even only to the lengths (might make it easier to get out).
      The most effective way I have found of getting oil out of the hair is to apply tons of conditioner (or preferably an SLS-free shampoo, but I don’t really use shampoo at all any more) to your hair BEFORE wetting it, into dry (or, you know, oily) hair. Then massage well and possibly leave the conditioner in for a little while. If you first wet your hair the conditioner will not absorb the oil as well as if you have dry hair. I doubt this has anything to do with if your hair was wet or dry before you applied the oil though. Good luck 🙂

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  18. Gen39

    for the hair treatment, do you use all castor oil or should I use the same ratio as for cleansing my skin?? I also have the problem of how to get the oil out. I started no poo 2 weeks ago but whenever I use the castor I have to use conditioner (which works very well) to get it out. I am trying to go natural and no chemicals but I do need an oil treatment for regrowth. Next, I am going to try using Shikakai and amla paste, maybe also sopa nuts. I will post if it works. Thanks, love this article on castor oil.

    1. hilda

      Hi there! Well, it kind of depends on what you want to accomplish with the oil treatment. If you use pure castor oil, the main purpose is hair growth. Oils like olive and coconut oil are better making your hair shiny and smooth, so if you want a treatment for dull hair you can add some of those into the mix. But, you might also find that castor oil as such can be a bit too thick, so it’s ok to add a little bit of olive or coconut oil to the blend to make the application easier. Just try it as you go along and see what works for you 🙂 I’ve never actually tried shikakai and amla, but I’ve heard many good things about them. Let me know how it turns out!

  19. Jamaican Castor Oil

    Castor Oil is a wonder oil. Thanks for sharing these benefits. There are so many other things you do with Castor Oil. Most people feel that rubbing oil on your face will cause it to get bumpy or cause acne. That maybe true of the oil our body produces, but not so for natural oils like Castor oil. There are so many benefits, everyone should have one at home. All we have to do is to find out more about the different uses an benefits.

    1. hilda

      Hi! You can just apply some castor oil in the beard and on your chin. You can follow the instructions in the post for using it on your hair. That is, leave it on for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. Since beard hair is usually much more coarse than head hair, it probably won’t look as oily, so if you’re comfortable with it, there might not even be any need to rinse it out. Just try it out and see what works for you. Hope this helps 🙂

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  21. Deborah

    I have been using this oil cleaning method for several months. My skin is looking awesome! And is the cleanest it’s ever been! Love it! Thank ups for the reminder.

  22. Michelle

    I’ve been using OCM for a couple of years, every night (cleanse twice, first time to remove makeup and again to cleanse the skin). My favourite blend is equal parts castor, grapeseed and olive oils. (Recently I swapped out the grapeseed with coconut oil and my skin wasn’t happy! Became red and dry.) I haven’t had any superfluous hair growth on my face. I use a DIY cold cream as a moisturiser afterwards (rose/floral water, beeswax, honey and olive oil; I use the cold cream to cleanse my face in the morning and remove in the shower with a cloth). I’m always amazed at how little beads of hardened oil roll around under my fingertips, drawn from the skin, using this method. Miss 10 has been experiencing blackheads on her chin and the OCM dissolves them enough not to cause an infection. Next time I make up a solution, I’ll save a little castor oil to try on my thin brows. Love experimenting on myself before recommending to others! Thanks again, Hilda – I’ve spent hours today looking around your sites xx

  23. Roni Ford

    Castor oil can be used to heal an eye injury or infection. I have used it for this multiple times. It works great at healing pink eye. Just wash your eyes with a warm cloth and put a couple of drops in the eye a couple of times a day till healed.

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