Castor oil can often be found on the list of ingredients for so many things – soap, perfumes, and even paint. But don’t let that scare you! Used since ancient Egypt on skin conditions like acne, stretch marks or sunburns, castor oil is a thick, heavy carrier oil that helps cleanse your skin and also provide a layer of moisturizing protection. Its detoxifying properties make it a favorite in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe tummy troubles and digestion complaints.
8 ways to use castor oil
Castor oil is an incredibly versatile oil that can be used for practically anything – if you want to use it at home, here are 8 great recipes to start with:
1. Add shine to lips
Castor oil is the secret to a silky lip gloss that moisturizes and gives plenty of shine. A naturally-made gloss is a great alternative to regular lip balms, which usually contain petroleum and other synthetic ingredients.
Both jojoba and castor oil are incredibly effective at getting rid of chapped lips, keeping them super lush and super moisturized. A rich natural emollient, castor oil easily absorbs into the the skin, leaving it feeling soft and nourished while creating a barrier to prevent water loss for dry skin.
A unique combination of plant oils and a beeswax derivative is what makes the formula perfect for DIY – it dries solid, but melts easily with your own body temperature for a rich, glossy lip tint. Try a gorgeous wine-colored tint for a subtle berry shade, taking the look from just a simple glossy lip to something a little bit extra!
2. Stimulate hair growth
Supporting hair growth is what castor oil is most well known for – so it’s only natural that it’s one of my favorite hair mask ingredients. Castor oil’s ricinoleic acid balances the scalp’s pH while its omega-6 and 9 fatty acids and vitamin E strengthen your strands and the hair root at the scalp.
Oils like castor oil can be hard to rinse out so remember that a little goes a long way. Wash out after 15 minutes or use it as an intense overnight treatment to help hair grow faster, prevent breakage and tame split ends.
Recipe to try: Castor Oil Hair Growth Mask
3. Strengthen lashes + brows
Known for its proteins and mild texture, castor oil has long been used to improve hair thickness and strength. Your lashes will love this treatment!
It’s perfect for using just once a day at night, or even instead of mascara for a natural look. I prefer as nightly treatment because it’s a great way to ensure that castor oil gets on your bottom lashes too (there’s the tiniest bit of transfer when you close your eyes!).
Just as castor oil strengthens your eyelashes, this DIY treatment is also perfect for any of us that fell victim to overplucked eyebrows. For growing out eyebrows, you can use the same tube of product or have a separate eyebrow serum – it’s up to you. Either way, making sure that you’ve brushed that nurturing combination of plant oils through your brows is a surefire way to grow back sparse, over-plucked brows.
Recipe to try: Castor Oil Lash Strengthener
4. Reduce bloating
Do a castor oil pack to soothe menstrual cramps, cleanse the liver, sleep better, beat bloating, and even smooth stretch marks. Combining a hot water bottle with the naturally soothing qualities of castor oil is a perfect recipe to soothe almost any upset. Talk about versatility!
If you’re sitting there thinking “Huh? What’s a castor oil pack?” it’s basically the method of soaking a muslin cloth in castor oil, applying it to where you need relief, and snuggling with a hot water bottle over it for about twenty minutes. It’s an incredibly relaxing and soothing ritual – do it a few nights a week to calm persistent discomfort, or once a week as a relaxing treat.
Recipe to try: How to Do a Castor Oil Pack
5. Cleanse the skin
Oil cleansing is an amazing and minimally-irritating way to remove makeup. Oil cleansing works on the idea that like dissolves like – a lot of makeup is oil or silicone-based, so an oil-based remover is perfect for gently dissolving away any traces of makeup and grime from the day. It’s also perfect for naturally helping to soften and decongest skin – remember, a lot of congestion is due to sebum, our skin’s natural oil.
Depending on your skin type, sudsy castor oil can be mixed with any other nourishing carrier oil, like coconut, argan or olive, to name a few. Massage the mixture gently on your skin, taking special care to melt away waterproof makeup, or focus on any congestions. I like to massage for up to a minute, then use a warm, wet muslin or microfibre cloth to wipe away the oil. Now, your skin’s perfectly prepped for your regular skincare routine!
Recipe to try: Like-Dissolves-Like Cleansing Oil
6. Nourish cuticles
Your nails and cuticles need some TLC too – and a great DIY way to keep them gorgeous at home is by using castor oil as a cuticle oil. My favorite mess-free (yep, mess-free!) way to use them is to use cuticle pen refills like these. Pure castor oil is fine, or you can create your own blend with nail-nourishing essential oils.
I like to fill up a bunch and keep them stored in strategic locations – one for my desk, one for my bag, one for my nightstand… Literally everywhere, so I have no excuse for dry cuticles.
Castor oil will do more than just keep your cuticles looking gorgeous, though! It can help rescue nails that have been damaged from picking off gel polish – btw, please stop doing this! I know it’s tempting but it totally wrecks your nails. A good oil like castor oil can help strengthen brittle, peeling nails, leaving you with gorgeous nails to work with when you head to the nail salon.
Recipe to try: Healing cuticle oil blend
7. Lighten age spots
Castor oil has many beauty benefits, including reducing skin pigmentation to lighten pesky age spots. Rub a little oil on the spots once in the morning and once in the evening. Let the oil absorb into the skin before going to bed, and you’ll start to see results in about a month.
8. Smooth calluses
Castor oil will get you sandal-ready by erasing thick, stubborn calluses. The heavy concentration of ricinoleic acid in castor oil softens tough, callused skin while also reducing swelling and inflammation in the skin tissues. Apply castor oil to callused skin and then cover with a bandaid. Wear overnight then wash off the oil and give the callused area a gentle scrub to remove dead skin. Repeat daily until skin is smooth and soft.45