Castor oil isn't just for your inner health. Here's how to use it in your beauty routine, with the added benefits of avoiding that nasty taste
Coconut, rose, argan, jojoba... how long have we been hearing about the multiple beauty benefits of oils? They're said to improve everything from our skin to our hair to our gut, oils are no longer just for frying up your dinner. Just a couple of years ago, the coconut oil fad had taken the world by storm, but as amazing as coconut is, there's a new oil in town. Well, not exactly new. You probably have been forced to consume it for years whenever you head to your nana's house. But with its vitamin-rich formula, fatty acids and thick consistency, castor oil is about to become your new best friend for your beauty routine.
The beauty of castor oil is that it can be used for so many purposes, but we've rounded up our favourite ways to make it work for you. To the health food store...
Because much of its nutritional content is made up of fatty acids, vitamin E and minerals, castor oil is the perfect ingredient to nourish hair and to encourage growth. About 90% of the fatty acid content in castor oil is ricinoleic acid, which has been shown to help inhibit the hormones associated with hair loss and balding. As well as this, the simple act of massaging castor oil into your scalp stimulates blood flow and replenishes the skin. But if long flowing locks aren't your bag, the oil has also been praised for lash and eyebrow growth. Since long lashes and thick brows have been on trend for a while now, it's worth your while picking some up. As oil is often a great substitute for eye makeup remover, a good tip is to remove your mascara with castor oil and allow it to coat the lashes and brow hair, letting it get to work.
Repairing split ends
Castor oil is full of omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, which are great for replenishing hair and keeping it as strong as possible. This leads to less breakage and damage to the hair, which means less of the dreaded split ends. You can use it as a finishing oil in the tips of your hair for a quick fix or combine it with our old friend coconut oil for a complete hair mask. Wait for an hour or so before washing it out in the shower and your hair will look a lot shinier and stronger.
Fending off wrinkles
Wrinkles can't be pinned down to any one cause, but luckily, castor oil protects us from a few. The oil contains antioxidants, which are great for protecting against pesky free radicals that degenerate your skin. It's also a brilliant moisturiser due to its emollient properties, and massaging it into your skin encourages collagen production, which keeps skin looking bouncy and youthful. It's sometimes advised to leave the oil on your skin overnight and cleanse off in the morning, but for those of us with oilier skin, this might not be the best way to go about it. Castor oil is slightly comedogenic (meaning it clogs pores), and even though it's less pore-clogging than its coconut counterpart, it still makes sense to just leave on for an hour or two before cleansing off.
Although not exactly a beauty use, if you're comfortable and healthy on the inside, it definitely shows on the outside. Let's just say, your skin isn't the only thing that can get clogged up (ahem). Thanks to its main ingredient of ricinoleic acid being a natural laxative, castor oil has been used to relieve constipation for years. This isn't something that you want to take recklessly though; always check with your GP or a pharmacist how much you should take to relieve the discomfort.
The fact that ricinoleic acid is naturally anti-inflammatory and antibacterial means that its a great way to soothe irritated skin and bring down inflammation. Thick, rich oil on dry skin is a match made in heaven, and it just takes a small amount on dry patches to make a difference. But if you do suffer from chronic skin inflammation or a particular skin condition, it's worth consulting your doctor to see if castor oil is the best option.
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