Ingredient To Know: Castor Oil


Yes, there is an oil for everything. And yes, you may be sick of reading about it. But hear me out on castor oil for a moment. Here, I’ll even list some of the great uses for castor oil that are completely and totally unrelated to beauty, just to switch it up. Buy a bottle of castor oil and you can:

  • Lubricate scissors!
  • Repel moles in your yard! (Apparently, “moles hate castor oil as much as children do.” Thank you, internet.)
  • Perk up ferns!

It also might be good to know that, chances are, you’re already using it. Castor oil is commonly added to shampoo, moisturizer, lipstick, the Balm Dotcom, you name it—to provide gentle hydration without adverse reaction. (Castor oil is not known to cause allergic reactions and deemed safe by the International Journal of Toxicology.)

In pure, bottled form it’s thick, cough syrup-like, and perfect to smear on lips and cuticles as an all-natural solution for anything chapped. It's also said to promote hair growth, and as such, I’ve been using a little on my brows daily. Though it’s too soon to confirm personal results, the stuff immediately grooms and dampens them as well as any brow gel. For thin, brittle hair take Andreea Diaconu’s family remedy: mask your hair in olive oil + castor oil + vitamin A (liquid capsule) oil mix with some petroleum jelly. Or, for lashes like a Kardashian, apply using a clean mascara wand lightly dipped in castor oil. Some say castor oil treats acne, but in my experience, results vary. But, maybe it works for you! If so, do tell. I’m looking for more ways to finish this bottle…

–Alexis Cheung

Photographed by Tom Newton.