Updated: Apr 13
Transcending age, race, and gender, the product that everyone is vouching for these days is castor oil. This inexpensive at-home beauty treatment can be found at your local supermarket or chemist and brings with it a host of amazing benefits for skin and hair.
Not to be confused with the oil for your car, castor oil is derived from castor beans and has been used both internally and externally for thousands of years due to its many wonderful health benefits. This is why it is an ingredient that I use in both my body and shampoo bars.
Castor oil is awesome for hair
Castor oil was used for centuries as a beauty treatment and has been replaced over the years by more conventional products. It is an affordable oil that blends well with other oils to form a wonderful hair and skin treatment.
One of the uses of Castor oil is on the scalp as a deeply moisturizing hair treatment. The reason is it so effective is that it is naturally rich in ricinoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids. Using it as a leave in treatment will lock in moisture, soften, add shine and also protect hair against heat and other damage.
Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties give it healing properties for conditions like folliculitis and scalp infections. But that is not all, as it can also darken hair and prevent premature greying! This makes me want to start right away!
Skin Benefits of Castor oil
The antibacterial property of castor oil also makes it very useful as a form of skincare. Castor oil benefits the skin on many levels but primarily does so by deeply moisturizing the cells. Known as 'wonder olie' in the Netherlands, castor oil is a good lubricant that can be used as a soothing emollient to treat conditions like dry skin, dermatitis, sunburn, and open sores among others. Due to its high omega-3 content, using castor oil can effectively diminish moles, warts, and stretch marks. Castor oil benefits the skin by moisturizing the cells.
Castor oil contains Ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid that possesses anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic, or pain relieving, properties. This acid, as well as both linoleic and oleic acid, are also highly moisturizing. Castor oil is such an effective moisturizer and emollient that it is also used as an anti-wrinkle treatment. When applied regularly, castor oil will increase skin’s elasticity, make the skin appear more supple and diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Many people have also found castor oil effective in lightening age spots and getting rid of stretch marks.
In soap, castor oil adds a rich and creamy lather even when used for as little as 5 % of the total recipe. It’s also a humectant (attracts moisture to your skin) oil.
How To Use Castor Oil For Skin Problems
Now that you know the benefits of castor oil for your skin, let’s look at how it can be used to yield the best results.
Moisturizer: Mix it with another vegetable oil like olive oil or jojoba oil in a ratio of 1:3 and apply to skin.
For dry and scaly skin: Mix castor oil with coconut oil and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing off.
For acne: Wash your face with warm water first and then massage in a little castor oil with your fingers. You can leave it overnight and rinse it off in the morning.
Castor oil is one of the must-have oils in your pantry because of its many proven health benefits. However, do not ingest it without supervision as it has been found to lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Pregnant women and lactating mothers too should not ingest it. So with a little care, you can achieve soft, beautiful skin.
Now you know why in Holland we call it wonder olie!