Woman holding pipette of oil.

Castor oil is one of Cleopatra’s beauty secrets, and now it can be found in thousands of beauty and wellness products. Known primarily as the secret to long, beautiful hair (as well as a potent elixir for detoxifying stomachs), castor oil was first cultivated 1,400 years ago and is one of the oldest crops in history. It’s no surprise it has made its way from grandma’s medicine cabinet to your #topshelfie. 

Castor oil is a thick, sticky oil (thicker than olive oil and coconut oil) that is clear and light yellow in color. The oil is produced from pressing the beans of the castor plant. It is known to be high in fatty acids, 90 percent of which is ricinoleic acid, a humectant that draws moisture to the skin and keeps skin well-hydrated. It also has a low comedogenic score, which means it’s not likely to clog the pores or cause breakouts. 

Benefits of Castor Oil on Skin

Castor oil is known to deliver many benefits, and can be used to nourish and moisturize the skin, hair, and even your cuticles. Here’s why you should give this tried-and-tested oil (by no less than the Queen of the Nile herself), a shot.

It’s a potent moisturizer.

The ricinoleic acid in castor oil makes it an effective humectant. It draws moisture to the skin and prevents moisture loss. It’s a skin-conditioning agent, which means it makes skin softer. It also allows the skin to absorb other products better. It is a popular ingredient in anti-aging and stretch mark creams. Add a couple of drops of castor oil to your favorite lotion and massage onto clean, still-damp for best results.

For everyday moisturization, use POND'S Bright Miracle Day Cream, which has niasorcinol for bright, clear, and protected skin.

It calms the skin and promotes wound healing.

Ricinoleic acid is also an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that decreases inflammation and improves the appearance of dry skin. Castor oil also promotes tissue growth on wounds, creating a barrier that protects the wound from infection and allows it to heal uninterrupted. 

It hydrates dry cuticles.

Dry cuticles are not only unsightly, they’re also a nuisance (all that snagging!). When applied to cuticles and nail folds, castor oil can help hydrate and repair them, as well as keep these sensitive areas healthy. Use a pea-sized amount and massage all over.

It can help get rid of dandruff.

Scalp is skin, too, and oftentimes it’s just as problematic. Those suffering from dandruff can use castor oil as a hair and scalp mask before showering. The antifungal properties in castor oil can help calm flaky skin and prevent buildup. As an added bonus, it’ll also make your . Don’t forget to rinse thoroughly!

It promotes hair growth.

Castor oil is known to promote faster hair growth and even treat hair loss. Use it as a hair mask, mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil for easier application. Apply to hair and scalp and leave on for 30 minutes. Follow with your usual shampoo and conditioner. This works on eyelashes and eyebrows, too! For eyelashes, use a clean mascara wand to apply a small amount of castor oil on your lashes (avoid getting it in your eyes). Leave it in overnight if you can. You can also brush your eyebrows with castor oil for trendy, bushy brows. 

Embraced by Egyptian royalty, grandparents, and your hippie oil-bularyo friend, castor oil is an ingredient used in many skincare products for its moisturizing, repairing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Have you discovered how great it is yet? Share your experience with castor oil benefits in the comments!