The Complete Guide To Castor Oil In Skincare: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

by beautifulwithbrains
is castor oil good for skin

Is castor oil good for skin?

This vegetable oil has a bit of a mixed rep. Used for centuries for its soothing and moisturising properties, it never got as popular as Argan or jojoba oils in the eyes of skincare fanatics.

There’s a reason for that. Its unique composition makes it very versatile, but also a pain to use. Blame it on the texture.

Don’t know what I mean? Here’s everything you need to know about castor oil in skincare, including its benefits, uses, and “side effects”:

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is the vegetable oil derived from the seeds of the Ricinus Communis, a thorny and tough shrub. The seeds are cold-pressed to make a shiny, pale yellow oil.

Like most oils, it’s loaded with moisturizing fatty acids. Ricinoleic Acid makes up a whooping 89% of the all the fatty acids in the oil.

It also also linoleic (4.2%), oleic (3.0%), stearic (1%), palmitic (1%), dihydroxystearic acid (0.7%), linolenic acid (0.3%), and eicosanoic acid (0.3%).

FYI, castor oil IS sticky. It’s ok when used as a base in creams and lotions, but I wouldn’t use a bottle of pure organic castor oil and use that on my skin.

It may put you off using castor oil on your skin. A real shame. This oil can do a lot for you, if you let it.

Castor Oil Benefits For Skin: What Does It Do?

Castor oil has plenty of benefits and uses for your skin. Here’s everything it does:

  • Anti-bacterial: The triglycerides in castor oil can help reduce the bad bacteria on your skin. It may even help reduce P. Acnes, the bacteria that gives you acne, but we need more research to be sure.
  • Anti-inflammatory: It helps to soothe sensitive skin and relieve irritations.
  • Cleansing: It works thanks to the “like attracts like” principle. It melts the oil in your makeup and sunscreen + excess sebum on your skin and takes them on a trip down the drain. I recommend you mix it with olive oil or another oil to reduce the sticky feel.
  • Moisturising: Its fatty acids create a protective barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in. The more moisture your skin has, the softer and suppler it becomes. If your skin’s dry, castor oil helps to nurse it back to health. If it’s already soft and smooth, it keeps it that way.
  • Penetration-enhancer: It helps active ingredients better penetrate your skin, so they can work better and faster.
  • Skin-protectant: The protective barrier it creates doesn’t only keep moisture in. It also keeps germs and bacteria out and helps skin better withstand the attacks of cold weather, sun exposure and pollution.

Related: How To Strengthen Your Skin’s Protective Barrier (And Why It Matters)

does castor oil thicken hair

Will Castor Oil Clog Pores?

Good news: castor oil is very low on the comedogenicity scale, so it’s very unlikely to clog your pores and give you pimples.

Personally, I don’t recommend oils (including castor oil) to anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. The risk of a breakout may be low, but with your skin type, you never know.

Fungal acne? Don’t take the risk. Anything with fatty acids (and castor oil HAS fatty acids) will feed malassezia, the fungus that’s making your life miserable.

Translation: castor oil may be safe for bacterial acne, but it can aggravate fungal acne.

Related: How Do You Know You Have Fungal Acne And How Do You Deal With It?

Does Castor Oil Has Any Side Effects?

Tha main side effect is the sticky feel. That should tell you how safe castor oil is. 😉

Sure, castor oil can cause irritations in some people, but this is rare. Unless you’re allergic to it, there’s no reason not to use it.

How Do You Use Castor Oil?

You can go to a natural health shop, get a bottle of castor oil and slather it on your face. If you don’t mind the sticky texture, that’ll work. If you do mind (I do!), get a moisturiser with castor oil.

I recommend pure castor oil only for cleansing. Even then, mix it with other oils to dilute the stickiness.

Don’t know how to get started? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive my fave “Oil Cleansing Method Recipes” with castor oil:

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What Are The Best Skincare Products With Castor Oil?

Is Castor Oil Good For Skin?

Yes. Castor oil is a wonderful moisturiser that cleanses, soothes, and protects skin. It does it all! Just be careful if you use pure castor oil alone. It’s really sticky!

How do you use castor oil for skin? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below.

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Anastasia September 13, 2008 - 1:45 pm

People are constantly asking us in my store if we sell this. We don’t, but it’s supposed to be very good to hair. Much like olive oil (not the cooking version) or sweet almond oil, you rub it into your hair, wear a showercap overnight, shower it off and it makes yer hair all soft and whatnot.

beautifulwithbrains September 14, 2008 - 11:46 am

yes, castor oil is great for hair. It makes them all soft and silky. I also heard that it is supposed to make your hair grow faster but unfortunately that is not true.

Cat September 8, 2015 - 8:44 pm

hello! so this is 500 years later, but i figured i’d drop a word. from what i understand, castor oil coats the hair (doesn’t penetrate it like coconut oil) and because it’s so persistent, helps prevent damage, which results in better length. not much else can control the speed at which hair grows though! genetics and food play a huge part, and whatever else we do to keep it as damage free as possible while it grows.

Gio September 9, 2015 - 12:37 pm

Cat, that’s so true! Castor oil is a great moisturizer, but t doesn’t do miracles. Making hair grow faster is not as simple as coating your hair in castor oil, unfortunately!

Sandra Craig March 31, 2009 - 3:05 am

Is castor oil carcingenic

beautifulwithbrains March 31, 2009 - 1:45 pm

Sandra: no, it isn’t.

emily April 2, 2013 - 1:09 am

Actual beautifulwithbrains. Castor oil does make your hair grow fast. I actually use it. My hair had grown an inch in 3 weeks. You should research it a little more.

beautifulwithbrains April 3, 2013 - 9:58 pm

Emily, thank you for your comment. I did research it and I couldn’t find any scientific studies that proved castor oil can make hair grow so, until then, I’ll remain sceptical. Anecdotal evidence is important too, but it is not as accurate because there are so many variables to consider. It may be that there are other factors that are contributing to your hair growth. Without a proper scientific test, we can’t know for sure. In any case, I’m glad castor oil works so well for you.

Claretha Moore April 17, 2013 - 3:16 am

Castro oil is good for whats ails you. It does stimulate the hair and it does help it grow faster.

beautifulwithbrains April 17, 2013 - 5:32 am

Claretha, thanks for your comment. I believe there is some anecdotal evidence that castor oil makes hair grow faster, but until I see a scientific study confirming it, I’ll remain sceptical. It’s still a wonderful and very beneficial oil though.

emily April 17, 2013 - 7:08 pm

Why don’t you try it then

beautifulwithbrains April 17, 2013 - 8:06 pm

Emily, because at the moment, I’m not interested in making my hair grow faster. In fact, I’m thinking of cutting it! 🙂


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