For many of us, castor oil might drum up images from vintage movies or advertisements in which an ailing child is given a big spoonful of the stuff as a cure for digestive issues. Horrified, they purse their lips as they force down the vile-tasting liquid.
Although it may have developed a negative reputation thanks to its taste, the truth is, castor oil is an excellent ingredient in modern beauty products. It is used for cleansing the skin, to skin hydration and everything in-between. In this article, we’ll discuss what castor oil is, what skin types it’s good for, 10 castor oil skin benefits, and answer some frequently asked questions about castor oil.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ingredient Category: Oil, Humectant
Main Benefit: Castor oil moisturizes your skin, not only because it contains triglycerides, but because it draws moisture from the air. It also features ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid that helps to smooth the skin.
What Is Castor Oil? Where Is It From?
Simply put, castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean, or ricinus communis. Generally found in Eastern Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, and parts of Asia, the castor bean is also grown in tropical regions around the world. When pressed into oil, it has a slightly yellow-ish color.
Used as far back as 4000 B.C., castor oil was thought to have been used by ancient Egyptians to fuel lamps. In fact, Cleopatra --one of the greatest beauty influencers of all time– was said to have been one of castor oil’s first champions, using it to brighten the whites of her eyes. Since then, castor oil has been used in everything from motor lubricants to paints, but don’t let that scare you off for reaping the benefits of using castor oil for your face.
Castor Oil: 10 Benefits for Skin
Although castor oil is currently enjoying a reputation for encouraging scalp health (we’ll get to that in a minute), there are many, many other castor oil benefits for skin. Here are 10 castor oil skin care benefits you should know about:
1. It smoothes the skin.
Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid. When applied to the skin, castor oil smooths the appearance of your skin.
2. It moisturizes the skin.
Castor oil is a triglyceride, which helps moisturize the skin– making it great for people who need a little extra moisture in their skin.
3. It hydrates the skin.
Castor oil acts as a humectant, which means that in addition to providing moisture to the skin, it also draws water from the air to hydrate the skin.
4. It protects the skin.
As an antioxidant, castor oil helps protect the skin from environmental stressors that harm it.
5. It has a calming sensation on the skin.
The fatty acids in castor oil replenish moisture, which in turn combats temporary discomfort and irritation.
6. It is low on the comedogenic scale.
That means it won’t clog your pores, making it ideal for pores that clog easily.
7. It promotes an even skin tone.
The fatty acids in castor oil will help keep skin healthy, which, in turn, balances your skin and evens the tone.
8. It can be used as a cleanser.
Not only can you cleanse your face with castor oil, it will help remove eye makeup.
9. It can encourage optimal scalp health.
Your scalp is skin, too! It will receive all the above benefits when applied to your scalp. And with a healthier environment, your hair growth can improve.
10. It gives your hair that extra shine.
Bonus benefit: Castor oil gives your skin—and your hair—and instant shine, so treat your hair with a bit of castor oil to add glossiness.
What Skin Type Is Castor Oil Good For?
One of the best aspects of using castor oil skin care is that it has a use for every skin type and age. Let’s take a look at how castor oil works for each skin type.
For Dry Skin
As we mentioned above, the triglycerides in castor oil helps pull moisture from the air into the skin, keeping it hydrated, making it great for dry skin on the body as well as the face and lips. For this reason, we use it in our lip treatment.
For Oily Skin
Scoring low on the comedogenic scale, castor oil won’t clog pores, and its antioxidant properties help protect the skin.
For Skin Experiencing Discomfort
As mentioned above, castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid which replenishes moisture to combat temporary discomfort.
For Aging Skin
Castor oil’s ability to hydrate the skin helps prolong a more youthful appearance as it nurtures and moisturizes the skin. It also features anti-aging benefits from its antioxidant properties.
For Uneven Skin
Again, castor oil’s over-achieving fatty acids help even out uneven skin tones by keeping it healthy.
For Sensitive Skin
Castor oil has a gentle effect on the skin, leaving skin feeling smoother and calmer. It’s also an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from environmental stressors that affect sensitive skin.
For Combination Skin
Combination skin is all about balance, which is why castor oil is so great for combination skin. Its ability to hydrate the skin combined with its low comedogenic score makes castor oil perfect for combination skin.
For People That Prefer Natural Ingredients
Even a natural ingredient can irritate the skin and castor oil is no exception; but if you have a skin type that reacts better to natural products than those with a lot of artificial ingredients, castor oil might be a great choice for you. If you’re not sure if castor oil will irritate your skin, spot test in one small area on the skin before using it on your entire face.
For Dry Scalps
Not only is castor oil good for dry facial skin, it’s great for dry scalp. If you have a dry, itchy scalp, try massaging a little castor oil for a healthier head on your shoulders!
How to Use Castor Oil for Skin
Now that you know some of the castor oil skin benefits and what skin types castor oil is good for, let’s talk about how to use castor oil for skin as part of a regular skin care routine.
1. Cleanse the skin - The first step in any good skin care routine is cleansing the skin. As we mentioned, castor oil is a natural cleanser, cleansing dirt, oils, and impurities from the skin, so look for cleansers that contain castor oil, like So Clean! facial cleanser.
2. Tone the skin - After cleansing, use a soothing toner that will lock in moisture.
3. Apply serum - A facial serum, targets specific concerns and treats the skin. Try a vitamin C serum for brightening, a hyaluronic acid serum for hydrating, or a retinol serum for smoothing.
4. Apply eye cream - The skin around the eye is incredibly delicate and doesn’t produce much oil, so give it a little extra TLC with a dedicated eye cream.
5. Moisturize the skin - Lock in all the above and protect your skin with a facial moisturizer.
6. Treat your lips - We’ve included castor seed oil in our vegan lip treatment, One Lip Wonder, to effectively hydrate and smooth dry, chapped lips.
Frequently Asked Questions about Castor Oil
Is castor oil good for your skin?
Yes! Although we recommend testing it on a small patch of skin before using it on your entire face, castor oil is definitely beneficial for your skin. Containing ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid, castor oil is a great non-chemical skin moisturizer.
It’s also great for skin prone to clogging as it’s low on the comedogenic scale which means it’s unlikely to clog pores.
Is castor oil safe for skin?
Yes, definitely! Not only is it safe, there are many great castor oil benefits for skin, as we’ve outlined above.
What does castor oil do for skin complexion?
Castor oil can help smooth the skin, even the appearance of skin tone, and moisturize to promote healthy skin.
Is castor oil a good moisturizer?
Yes! The fatty acids in castor oil help keep skin hydrated, helping to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Is castor oil good for your hair?
Castor oil not only encourages scalp health, it can give your hair a gorgeous shine.
We hope this look at all the castor oil benefits for skin has been enlightening. We’ve included it in our So Clean! facial cleanser to help you incorporate this amazing natural ingredient into your skincare routine, but don’t be afraid to use pure castor oil on your skin and scalp!