You may have heard your grandma talk about how she used castor oil for constipation (can we say - “Thank you, granny, for always being so open and honest”?). And you’ve probably read that castor oil can induce labor. So it may come as quite a shock when you learn that castor oil also has many beauty benefits. Is there something this oil cannot do?
I discovered castor oil in my late teens. Somewhere between putting some finishing touches on my school project and late-night web searches on “ways to grow back my eyebrows,” I came across castor oil. Yes, it’s true - I grew up in the 90s, where overplucked eyebrows were “the thing to do,” and now I had to find a way to undo the thing that I so carelessly did.
While researching how castor oil works as a brow treatment, I discovered the very many other uses and benefits it offers in the realm of beauty. From treating an itchy scalp to moisturizing dry, cracked heels, this unique oil works to beautify from head to toe (quite literally).
Now, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share my discoveries with you?
Here are six beauty benefits of castor oil:
Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids that, when massaged into the scalp, help increase circulation, and enrich the scalp.
In a 2003 study, castor oil increased hair luster, explaining why it’s a perfect treatment for those looking for shine and glossiness. When applied to the scalp, it has shown to alleviate dry scalp and dandruff as well.
Improved Hair Growth
Although castor oil is commonly used for hair growth, there are no studies that support the claim that it does, in fact, increase hair growth.
However, there is evidence that ricinoleic acid, which makes up 85-90% of castor oil, may help reverse hair loss and improve hair growth.
I found that my hair does appear to grow faster when I make castor oil part of my regular hair care routine. The reason? Although castor oil may not play a direct role in hair growth, it does improve overall hair health. In turn, you can experience reduced hair loss and improved hair growth.
My favorite way to use castor oil is as a lash treatment. My naturally thin, straight, and barely-there lashes require many coats of mascara for visibility. I’ve long debated whether to get lash extensions, but I usually steer clear of treatments that are “quick fixes” and do more damage than good.
Like its effects on hair growth, castor oil improves the overall health of lashes, increasing their lifespan and leaving you with healthier, longer lashes naturally.
I started this article by sharing how I struggled to grow back my eyebrows after years of overplucking. I’m happy to report that my eyebrows did grow back, and I am now extremely cautious when it comes to shaping my eyebrows. I continue to use castor oil on my brows, and I believe it has made a visible difference in their overall appearance.
Here’s the thing - castor oil won’t magically make new hair appear overnight.
There isn’t a product on the market that will do that; if there is, I’d like to know about it, please! However, what it will do is improve your hair’s health, which will give it a chance to grow to its fullest, boldest potential! That said, hair growth of any kind takes time. It won’t happen overnight or even in a week. It will take months. I know that can be discouraging in itself, but keep in mind that visible results require time and patience.
Hair aside, castor oil also has a lot of excellent benefits for the skin. If you’re constantly fighting against breakouts, this might be a treatment worth trying. Mind you, I would not recommend applying castor oil undiluted directly to your skin.
If you’re unfamiliar with castor oil, it’s a naturally thick and extremely sticky oil, one that requires patience and practice. There are many different ways to use castor oil, which we’ll get to in future articles, but a general rule of thumb is to dilute it with another carrier oil, like jojoba or argan oil.
Castor oil has natural antibacterial properties that make it the perfect partner-in-crime when it comes to fighting acne. It’s also rich in ricinoleic acid, which can inhibit bacterial growth, thereby preventing future breakouts caused by bacteria.
Fatty acids are essential for good skin health, and as we know, castor oil is rich in fatty acids. Thanks to its chemical composition, castor oil works well in improving skin hydration and moisture.
It also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals, which are responsible for speeding up the aging process. In doing so, castor oil is an effective treatment in preventing fine lines and wrinkles.
As previously mentioned, it’s not recommended that you apply castor oil alone directly to the skin. Instead, consider mixing it into a current skincare product or diluting it with another oil, such as squalane or rosehip oil.
You’re not limited to just the face! Castor oil works wonders on all parts of the body, including cuticles, elbows, legs, and even heels!
There’s no doubt that castor oil really does offer a wide variety of beauty benefits. It’s a matter of deciding how you’d like to incorporate into your beauty regimen. If you’re like me and want to keep things simple, I recommend that you start using it as an eyelash and eyebrow treatment. This way, you get to discover its unique features without feeling overwhelmed (there’s nothing worse than having a head full of oil that you just can’t seem to wash out). If you’re a seasoned castor oil user, then the world is your oyster - you can experiment with different uses and mixtures to find a castor oil cocktail that’s just right for you and your beauty needs.