Castor oil is extracted from seeds of the castor oil plant. It is colorless to very pale yellow in color with an unpleasant odor.
This oil has traditionally been used topically for skin and hair benefits. Today, the cosmetic industry uses castor oil as a main ingredient in many beauty care products.
Most of the beauty benefits can be attributed to its high ricinoleic acid content. Ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid and a hydroxyl acid, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
The oil is also high in vitamin E, minerals, proteins and other nutrients that are beneficial to skin and hair.
To reap the beauty benefits of castor oil, always opt for organic castor oil. It should be cold-pressed and pure, virgin castor oil.
Before using castor oil topically, always do a patch to rule out the possibility of any allergic reaction.
Here are the top 15 castor oil beauty benefits for skin and hair.
1. Nourishes Dry Skin
Castor oil works as a great moisturizer for dry skin. As it penetrates deep into the skin, it is effective at treating dry, flaky skin patches.
The high concentration of fatty acid also promotes healthy and glowing skin and helps with skin conditions like dermatitis, which can cause severely rough, dry skin.
Also, this oil promotes the production of elastin and collagen, which help delay the appearance of aging signs and keeps your skin looking youthful.
- Mix equal parts of castor oil and coconut oil and massage it into the dry skin area. Wait 20 to 30 minutes, then take a shower. Repeat daily.
- After removing your makeup and washing your face at night, apply a few drops of castor oil on your face and massage gently for a couple of minutes. The next morning, you will have a hydrated and refreshed look.
2. Reduces Wrinkles
This natural emollient can reduce the appearance of crow’s-feet, wrinkles and fine lines.
As this oil easily penetrates the skin layers, it will not clog the pores. In fact, it can reach deep into the skin to nourish it. It also helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars on skin.
Gentle massage your skin with a few drops of castor oil in circular motion daily at night before going to sleep. Continue doing this for at least 4 to 6 months to get the desired results.
3. Promotes Hair Growth
Apart from skin, castor oil is also good for your hair. It helps deep condition and thicken the hair strands to give you a beautiful and shiny head of thicker hair.
The ricinoleic acid in it helps balance the scalp’s pH level. This reduces the risk of dandruff, split ends and hair breakage.
- Massage warm castor oil into the roots, scalp and hair before going to bed. Wash it off in the morning. Do it twice a week.
- For those with oily hair, mix castor oil with coconut oil or sweet almond oil in equal proportions and use as described above.
4. Thickens Eyebrows and Eyelashes
If you want thicker eyebrows and eyelashes, your solution is castor oil. This follicle-stimulating and nourishing oil can help thicken the hair of your brows as well as lashes. It contains protein, vitamins and fatty acids that nourish the hair follicles and promote hair growth.
Plus, it helps fight micro-organisms that hamper hair growth.
- Dip a cotton swab in castor oil and rub it into your eyebrows each night before you go to bed. Repeat until your eyebrows reach the desired thickness.
- For thicker eyelashes, close your eyes and gently apply castor oil on your lashes. Do it daily at night before going to bed. Continue for at least a couple of weeks to get naturally longer and thicker eyelashes.
5. Prevents Stretch Marks
When used during pregnancy, castor oil prevents the formation of stretch marks. Basically, it works as a humectant, helping your skin retain moisture and maintain elasticity.
In addition, the fatty acids in it maximize the ability of the skin to regenerate tissues to improve the skin strength and texture.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Apply the mixture daily on stretch mark prone areas, such as the stomach, thighs and breasts, to prevent the ugly marks from developing.
- To fade stretch marks, massage the affected area with pure castor oil for 10 minutes and then cover the area with plastic wrap. Apply heat using a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat once daily.
6. Softens Calluses
This thick oil is an excellent moisturizer that helps soften calluses by treating dry, rough skin. When applied to the affected area, it helps restore the moisture and adds softness.
Also, its anti-inflammatory property helps alleviate the pain and swelling that can make walking difficult.
It is also effective for treating corns as well as dry and cracked heels.
- Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Using a pumice stone, scrub the area to get rid of thick and hardened skin.
- Rinse off your feet and pat them dry.
- Next, soak a cotton ball in castor oil and place it over the callus or corn.
- Secure the cotton ball with a small piece of tape and leave it for several hours.
- Repeat daily until you are satisfied with the result.
7. Treats Brittle and Cracked Nails
This thick oil is also effective at treating brittle and cracked nails. The various vitamins and minerals in castor oil promote nail growth and make them strong. Plus, its antifungal properties reduce the risk of fungal infection.
You can choose from any of the following remedies:
- Put a drop of pure castor oil on each nail and massage it into your nails for 1 minute. Do this daily before going to bed.
- Another option is to mix castor oil with olive oil in equal proportions and use it as a night cream for your nails as well as hands.
8. Heals Chapped Lips
For dark and chapped lips, castor oil is highly beneficial. The moisturizing property of this thick, viscous liquid keeps the lips moisturized and properly nourished. It can help treat as well as prevent chapped lips.
Plus, it helps keep your lips soft and pink. In fact, it is found in a several commercial lip care products.
- Make a lip mask with 1 teaspoon each of castor oil and glycerin and a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Mix it well and apply it on your lips before going to bed. The next morning, wipe it off with a cotton ball dipped in lukewarm water. Repeat daily until your lips are healed.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of castor oil and almond oil. Massage it into your lips a few times a day until your lips are soft and smooth again.
9. Repairs Split Ends
For controlling split ends, deep conditioning is a must. It helps restore moisture and improve the overall health of your hair. Castor oil is a good choice for deep conditioning.
- Apply a few drops of warm castor oil directly onto the ends of your hair.
- Wait 30 minutes, then shampoo your hair as usual.
- Repeat a couple of times a week.
10. Soothes Sunburn
The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil are beneficial in treating sunburns. The ricinoleic acid in it will protect any sunburn-induced blisters.
Plus, the omega-3 fatty acids in it help keep the skin hydrated as well as stimulate growth of healthy tissue.
Along with sunburn, castor oil is even effective at treating hyperpigmentation and clears the skin of spots and marks.
- Mix the contents of 1 vitamin E capsule and 5 drops of castor oil in a bowl. Apply it on the affected skin before going to bed. The next morning, rinse it off with cool water. Use this remedy daily until you are satisfied with the result.
- Alternatively, mix castor oil with coconut oil in equal proportions. Apply it to the affected area, massaging gently so that it penetrates into the skin.
Repeat a few times daily for a couple of weeks.
11. Castor Oil as a Preservative
The anti-fungal property of castor oil has been put to good use in the food industry. Many dried grains and pulses are given a coating of the oil when they have to be stored for a long time. Castor oil also seems to repel insect pests that spoil them. A typical example is cowpea smeared with the oil. It washes off when these dry foodstuffs are soaked in water and rinsed before cooking.
If you’re hoarding survival foods for potential emergencies, you have to protect them against spoilage by microbes as well as macro pests. But you may not want to use chemical preservatives, especially if your focus has been on stocking organic products. Using castor oil may be the best option for you.
12. Castor Oil as a Lubricant
Castor oil works almost as good as grease in lubricating moving parts of machines. It works equally well in high and low temperatures, and is often used in racing cars. Unlike other oils, castor oil does not spoil rubber, so it can be safely used in devices like cycle pumps that have rubber seals.
Castor oil is safe to be used on kitchen appliances that need lubrication. Use it on kitchen scissors and hand-cranked meat grinders.
13. Safe, Natural Laxative
Well, this use of castor oil needs no introduction, but there’s a myth–probably promoted by pharmaceutical companies–that it is not safe to ingest the oil for its laxative effect. The truth is that, it is not only safe, but also suitable for even small children.
The castor oil plant, including the castor bean, contains a highly potent toxin ricin, but it is deactivated during the oil extraction process. There have been deaths due to castor oil ingestion, but they were from force-feeding it in large quantities to political enemies and dissidents in the past. The deaths resulted from dehydration, and not from any toxic substances.
When the oil is used as a laxative, the dosage can be easily adjusted as its effect is directly proportional to how much oil you are using. The usual dosage is 1 to 2 tbsp for adults and 1 to 2 tsp for children 2-12 years old. Children under 2 years shouldn’t have more than a teaspoonful at a time. You can mix the oil with orange juice to make it more palatable.
Unlike other laxatives that act in the colon, the action of castor oil starts in the small intestine. You can expect a complete clean out of the bowels within 2 to 5 hours of taking the oil.
14. Soothes Joint Pain
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of ricinoleic acid which constitutes almost 90% of castor oil have been well documented. A major part of it comes from its decongestant action on the lymphatic system.
The lymph vessels that form a wide network all over the body collect waste from the tissues and carry it to the blood for elimination. Congestion in these vessels and accumulation of toxic wastes is implicated in many autoimmune diseases like arthritis which causes pain and inflammation in the joints.Castor oil eases up the congestion and gets the lymph moving freely.
It acts directly on the immune system by stimulating the thymus gland and increasing the count of a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. What is amazing is that mere topical use is found to bring about these internal changes. If you want to use cayenne pepper for arthritic pain relief, castor oil is excellent for making a potent mix for local application.
15. Enhances Hair Color
Castor oil can be used to enhance the natural color of your hair and make it look rich and thick. This oil is a humectant, locking in moisture. When applied on the hair, it preserves the moisture in the hair shaft and makes each strand thicker and darker.
After washing your hair, towel dry it. Slightly warm one tablespoon of castor oil and dip your fingers in it. Run the fingers through the hair to get the oil on to as many strands as possible. If you have long hair, divide it into sections and gently rub each section between your palms to coat all the hair strands.
Note: Make sure your face is free of any makeup before using these remedies. Take necessary measures to prevent castor oil from getting into your eyes.
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