Modified OCM balm

I have been totally failing at the catchy (I thought they were catchy ?) opening puns. I’m sorry. I’ll try harder.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the OCM (Oil Cleansing Method)? I’ve been doing this to my face when I wear make up or when my skin gets to that irritated “in between” stage of combination skin, or when it has patches of flaky dryness and a T Zone that mimics an OPEC nation, complete with zits and giant blackheads. I’ve always found a certain decidedly gross satisfaction in popping and pus draining the big, ugly zits, but I’m generally very pleased that those days are behind me and get grumpy when a biggun’ pops up overnight. Thankfully, the OCM has been very useful, especially when I wear make up, at getting my face good and clean without over drying or causing breakouts. The other days I use plain soap-I’m really loving African black soap, ironically the one soap I don’t make these days-or I use the surfactant based facial cleanser I made recently after following Susan Barclay-Nichols “Newbie Tuesday series over at Point of Interest blog. 

If you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of OCM, you can read all about it on Mommypotamuses page right here. (Mommypotamus: Oil Cleansing Method) I disagree with her at the end when she talks about castor oil and ricin, because I’ve done my own research and it’s not that drastic of a concern (not like palm oil, for example), but that’s enough for another blog post. Just be aware that I’m a huge fan of castor oil, I use it in almost every soap I make, and in a lot of personal care and cosmetic applications because it’s so amazing and versatile. In fact, instead of hair serums using silicones; any ingredient ending in “cone” like dimethecone, I advocate just rubbing a mixture of castor and broccoli seed oil between your fingers and smoothing over your hair. Go easy. A few drops is more than sufficient and it’s a short trip from “glossy” to “greasy”. 

My biggest complaint with the OCM is that it involves liquid oil. Oil is messy, and it gets onto things (dripping from your fingers or the container you’re storing your blend in, yuck), and those droplets of oil are insidious and get on things in the bathroom where they don’t belong. Worse, it seems like a microscopic film of oil gets on things and they collect dust and the yuckies faster than if they were oil free. So I set out to make an oil based cleansing balm. Something creamy, to be scooped with a finger, and drip free. I decided it should follow the same ratios as given for the typical OCM: 1 part castor oil (or other drying oil) to 3 parts moisturizing oil, a combination of light and heavy. But how to do that without making it 30% beeswax? Beeswax is a notoriously skin troubling item. It is a great thing; but known to clog pores when used in large quantities and 20-30% to thicken a salve is tipping the scales from cleansing to clogging.

I settled on using mango seed butter. You can read about mango seed butter Here. In a nut shell, it’s a hard, drying butter (unlike shea butter- which is soft and more greasy-and which you probably are much more familiar with me waxing poetic about). Mango butter is definitely not as hard as cocoa butter or as brittle, but it does leave your skin with a more dry after feel than cocoa butter. I think, of the butters, it’s the most like the dry oils. In fact, it’s finish on my skin is an even “cleaner” and “drier” feel than rose hip oil, which by far is one of the dryest oils I love and adore. (As an aside: I’m not using rose hip oil in this application because it’s expensive and because this is a wash off product, but I highly recommend using a mix of rosehip and argan to create a facial cream or lotion to apply as a moisturizer after cleansing.) I knew I would have to use a small amount of something even more firm, ideally beeswax, to firm up this even more, but I really wanted this to be beeswax free. So I settled on using cocoa butter, which does double duty by helping fulfill the “heavy oil” portion of the equation and gives the balm stability. Now, I’m up in the air about what role mango seed butter plays as far as being a light, heavy, dry, or moisturizing butter. It’s not truly a drying oil, because it’s loaded with moisturizing benefits. However, it’s definitely drying, as it sinks in your skin without a trace and leaves no greasy after feel, just like a drying oil does. So what to do? I decided to treat it as a “complete” oil, already encompassing both dry and emollient properties we need. So when I’m calculating dry and rich oils for the recipe, I still will have 1/3 drying oil, and 2/3 enriching oils (following the OCM recommendation for a basic cleansing oil for all skin types; I technically have aging skin which could be regarded as dry but that troublesome T Zone puts me back using the stronger oil blend). Mango seed butter stands on its own. Cocoa butter, however, counts as an enriching oil. 

I chose tea tree, rosemary, and lavender here, as they make up one of my favorite scent profiles, but my second choice and strong recommendation is to use a combination of citrus essential oils. You can also go scent free, or use whatever essential oils sound good to you. I was also thinking a balsalm fir and vanilla-like benzoin might be good here, and as always, I’m a huge fan of helichrysum and lavender, as both are anti aging and also skin goodies. Since this isn’t a leave on product I really would consider breaking out citrus oils and going crazy; something as simple as lemongrass or as complex as lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot. If it were me, I’d add a few drops of rosemary for depth. Now, I prefer to use the the tea tree, rosemary,and lavender combo (at a 1:2:3 ratio) because it’s just so great for your skin. I could write an entire post about that essential oil combo and it’s healing properties, especially tea tree and rosemary. Lavender…I can give you a few journal articles and let you draw your own conclusions, and they will be good. I may include a few drops of rosemary oleoresin in my next batch of cleansing balm and if I do I will add an addendum here with the results, so check back now and then and read old blog posts for new updates. I do add addendums as things I make work out, don’t work out, have to be adapted, etc. 

Before I made this, I had to educate myself on the differences, chemically, between oils and butters. I can retype everything that I read, but that’s plagiarism, so I’m sending you to a fabulous blog post to learn all about it. It’s interesting stuff and it will help you understand why you can wash your face using the Oil Cleansing Method using mango seed butter and a wee bit of cocoa butter. Check her out here: The difference between oils and butters.I

Now for the recipe:

 OCM “Oil Cleansing Method” Cleansing balm

14g mango seed butter.  (buy mango butter from Bulk Apothecary) (buy mango butter at Amazon: Mango Butter)

12g castor oil (buy castor oil from Bulk Apothecary -Castor Oil) (buy castor oil from Amazon-castor oil)

6g avocado oil (buy avocado oil at your local big box store or Wal-Mart for compatible pricing, otherwise, buy from Bulk Apothecary – Avocado Oil or even Amazon – Avocado Oil)

6g grapeseed oil (Grapeseed is another you should be able to find locally. Otherwise, but from Bulk Apothecary – grapeseed oil or try Amazon- grapeseed oil)

8g cocoa butter (buy cocoa butter-both regular and deodarized – from Bulk Apothecary – cocoa butter. You can also get regular cocoa butter from Amazon-raw cocoa butter and processed cocoa butter from Amazon-deodorized cocoa butter)

10 drops tea tree (buy tea tree essential oil from Bulk Apothecary – tea tree. Buy tea tree essential oil from Amazon- tea tree). 

20 drops rosemary (buy rosemary essential oil from Bulk Apothecary – rosemary. Buy rosemary essential oil from Amazon – rosemary). 

30 drops lavender (buy lavender essential oil from Bulk Apothecary – lavender all varieties. I use 40/42 for things like this but have a bottle of Bulgarian set aside for times when I’m going to be using lavender alone. You can also buy lavender essential oil from Amazon -lavender.

Possibly 10-20 drops rosemary oleoresin? Future experiment! You’ll have to do a search where to buy it, I can’t get it from my old supplier and don’t know what I will do when this bottle is gone. 

Makes one 2 oz tin, or if doubled, store in 4 oz jelly jar or 4 oz jar (I buy double walled jars from Bulk Apothecary for projects like this or use small mason jars, but I dislike having glass in my bathroom because of safety. Bell jars rarely break, but they do sometimes. Broken glass and small children are a bad mix. Buy jars from Bulk Apothecary – plastic jars. You can get mason jars at Wal-Mart and Target, and craft stores. You can also get 2 oz tins at craft stores and I believe on Amazon, a quick search should turn them up.

I don’t get any kind of kick back for “promoting” Bulk Apothecary or Amazon . I happen to shop there because I like their products and prices, and every Bulk Apothecary item I listed I have personally used, and every Amazon item I listed has prime shipping (and many of them I’ve used: I currently have that very mango butter). As for the essential oils, I get some from Bulk Apothecary, I buy some NOW brand, and if I’m buying them to use in soap, I buy the very cheapest (usually the Sun brand) because I have to buy 2-4 oz at a time and that can get expensive.

So give this cleansing balm a try. It took off make up easily, and was gentle when I rubbed it around my eyes. I didn’t do the thing where you use a hot washcloth and cover it with a towel. I just massaged in the balm, then wiped it off with tissues to see if it was removing make up (it was). After that, I got a washcloth wet with the hottest water that I could stand and wiped my face down. I did this a few times, rinsing the washcloth out well each time. Finally I splashed my face with warm water and parted it dry. It was clean, but still soft. I still used my moisturizer (it’s packed with healthy skin goodies and anti aging benefits so I never skip it) and I was pretty happy with the results. I don’t use the OCM every day, but I think this balm will work great for the times when I want to cleanse my face with oil; probably when I wear make up (in particular eye make up). I’m excited to have a little jar of it on hand. 



Thighs like Velcro…in November

Last spring I shared my creation for beating off thigh and under boob chafing, and it worked fine for the most part. It’s literally nothing but carrier oil and starch (wheat, corn, arrowroot), and it’s effective. The problem I had with it was that it separated-way too easily-into a oil layer and a starch layer, forcing me to either shake the container very, vry, very vigorously or get a fork and agitate the mixture up until it was somewhat homogeneous. It’s messy and inconvenient, and a good product shouldn’t be either of these things. 

I got to thinking of a recent face moisturizer I made, that’s mostly  mango butter with arrowroot starch and works as a silky smooth face primer before applying mineral makeup. It’s light and dry because of the mango butter and oil absorbing because of the arrowroot. It got me to wondering; could I turn my thigh chafing stuff into an actual balm? How would I do that? I still wanted a large percentage of liquid oils, and I didn’t want to use beeswax because it gets hard and too sticky and hard to rub in. I needed something that would merge with the liquid oils and make a nice, soft, creamy ointment like balm. I needed….Emulsifying Wax NF! 

Emulsifying Wax is a cosmetic emulsifying ingredient. The ingredient name is often followed by the initials NF, indicating it conforms to the specifications of the National Formulary.  It is made out of Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG 150 Stearate, and Steareth 20. It has the characteristics of cetyl alcohol (a fatty alcohol) combined with the viscosity building effect of steAryl alcohol as an effective thickener and helps form stable emulsions. 

Other uses? Well, when mixed with a liquid carrier oil, 50/50, it makes a fantastic soft balm that’s firm enough to handle some high temperatures and getting battered in a tin, but pliable enough to still be scooped out and rubbed on in any conditions. I made some bug off balms with sunflower oil and Emulsifying Wax NF, and Citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, and Pennyroyal. They were useful for purses and pockets, and the diaper bag and car. Spillproof and leak proof, the balm rubbed rubbed in smoothly and warded off noxious bugs. I wish we had remembered it more often and gotten more use out of it, but it will take some getting used to, relying on a balm instead of a spray. 

Back to the anti chafing ointment. 

So I had only ever measured my original recipe by volume, which meant my first step was converting everything from tbsp to grams. I knew I wanted to make a very small batch-a few tablespoons of each ingredient -and now I had to weigh them as they went into the double boiler for future reference. 


2 tbsp= 20g Emulsifying Wax

2 tbsp mango butter= 25g

2 tbsp grapeseed oil= 22g

Add weights of mango butter and grapeseed oil. You will need that much cornstarch or arrowroot powder. 47g let’s round down to 45g! 

I want to use part corn starch and part arrowroot as they have different properties. 

20g cornstarch

25g arrowroot powder

30 drops essential oils of choice (I use 10 each lavender, tea tree, and rosemary as all three are good for skin)


Melt mango butter over v low heat, hold for 20 min. Add Emulsifying Wax and melt pastilles. Add grapeseed oil. Add starch and mix well. Beat or whisk vigorously. Add eos as desired.

Makes about 2.5 oz
Final recipe for 4 oz jar

 (tweaked slightly after using balm a few times)

35g Emulsifying wax 

40g Mango butter

35 g grapeseed oil

35g arrowroot 

40g cornstarch. 

2g essential oils (I actually used 15 drops each lavender, tea tree, and rosemary, which is slightly more than 2 grams but close enough)

Follow directions as above.
So far working it’s  working well but weather got suddenly cool before I could really try it out under a dress all day in hot weather. When I go braless around the house it helps with underboob chafing and doesn’t sweat off easily but once again, not sweating overly much right now while braless. It does help thigh chafing at the gym the couple times I’ve used it there while J was in Canada this last time. 

I like that it’s a balm and that it doesn’t seperate. I’m debating swapping the mango butter, which is dry and silky, for shea butter, which would be more oily and slick. I had hoped using mango butter and a fast absorbing oil like grapeseed would be a good combo and compromise, but I’m wondering if perhaps I need to flip that and try a fast absorbing oil like castor for part of the oil, and maybe even cocoa butter (which absorbs fast imo) for part of the butter. If I used cocoa butter, I could reduce how much Emulsifying Wax I need by a few grams. So many possible combinations and so much potential! 

Well, there’s the base recipe, and ideas on how to personalize it just for you. I firmly suggest picking up some Emulsifying Wax or possibly Ecomulse (Ecomulse is an ECOCERT emulsifying wax that I actually prefer for lotions and creams over Emulsifying Wax, and you can buy it at Lotioncrafter’s right here.) You’ll find all kinds of great things at Lotioncrafters. Have fun shopping! I hope to publish some lotion recipes very soon, so be prepared with your ingredients! 


Made a new batch with mango butter, fractionated coconut oil, and BTMS 225. The texture is very silky and it absorbs almost instantly.