If you were force fed spoonfuls of castor oil as a child you’re probably not thrilled that the pale yellow liquid is enjoying a resurgence of popularity. This time though it’s less about its bowel-inducing powers and more about what it can do for your skin.
Over the past couple of months the ingredient has been gaining ground among beauty editors and brands have been highlighting its presence in skincare and hair care products. The benefits of the latter are yet to be scientifically proved, but it’s safe to say that castor oil is definitely making its way back into our bathroom cabinets.
So, what is castor oil?
Derived from castor beans, this vegetable oil is rich in fatty acids, in particular ricinoleic acid which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and skin moisturising benefits, as well as relieving constipation. It’s sometimes referred to as ricinus communis on ingredient lists.
What do you use it for?
The possibilities are (almost) endless. Castor oil as been used in the medical world as a strong laxative, but it is also championed as a holistic therapy to help hydrate and soothe skin. It’s also regularly combined with other vegetable oils in solid and liquid soaps.
If you battle with acne and breakouts, castor oil could be worth exploring as a tonic due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. It also helps to remove any dead skin to prevent blocked pores. Just apply a tiny amount of the oil – try Organic Castor Oil by Pukka Herbs – to the area before you go to bed and rinse in the morning.
Edgar Cayce was one of the first to highlight the holistic and healing benefits of castor oil in the 1930s. The Edgar Cayce Association continues to promote the use of castor oil packs to soothe skin ailments, ease abdominal pain, help alleviate allergies and help with general aches and pains.
How do you make a castor oil pack?
If you’re intrigued by the powers of castor oil packs and want to put them to the test you’ll need castor oil, a flannel, a hot water bottle and a bin bag. You lay the flannel on the bin bag, which covers the hot water bottle and drench the fabric with castor oil.
Place the pack on the chosen area and relax – Edgar Cayce recommends using the pack for between one to 1.5 hours. It’s also worth laying a plastic sheet over your bed or sofa as the oil does drip.
What about the hair growth rumours?
While its hair growth abilities have yet to be proven, castor oils hydrating skills can be of use for your hair and can boost its shine. Use it as a conditioning treatment on wet hair and massage into the mid-lengths and ends before rinsing.
If you’re looking for something to help improve your scalp health and boost hair growth, we recommend exploring more researched ingredients, such as silica and biotin. Both Bamboo Extract and Superior Hair could help improve the quality and strength of your hair.