Does Castor Oil Grow Eyelashes?
Does castor oil grow eyelashes? Maybe a friend of yours with amazing lashes recommended it, or maybe you heard about it online. Either way, using castor oil is one of the most common suggestions when people ask about improving their lashes or brows.
Despite a major lack of scientific evidence, this affordable plant-based ingredient is one of the most popular products for eyelash growth. But does it really work? In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using castor oil for lashes.
Table of Contents
- WHAT IS CASTOR OIL?
- WHAT BENEFITS DOES CASTOR OIL HAVE?
- WHERE DOES CASTOR OIL COME FROM?
- IS IT SAFE TO USE CASTOR OIL ON LASHES?
- DOES CASTOR OIL ACTUALLY HELP GROW THE EYELASHES?
- HOW TO APPLY CASTOR OIL ON LASHES
- ALTERNATIVES FOR EYELASH GROWTH
- CASTOR OIL CONCLUSIONS
WHAT IS CASTOR OIL?
Castor oil is an oil pressed from the seeds of the castor plant. It’s a thick yet dry-feeling oil that’s rich in a unique fatty acid called ricinoleic acid. Because of this fatty acid, castor oil has a unique texture and unusual skin benefits. It’s frequently used in skincare, makeup, and DIY beauty treatments.
WHAT BENEFITS DOES CASTOR OIL HAVE?
There are quite a few castor oil benefits, especially regarding skincare and health!
- Lubricant: As an emollient, castor oil creates a sleek layer over skin and hair, preventing friction and keeping skin and hair feeling soft.
- Hydrating: Uniquely, castor oil has some humectant properties. That means it can absorb moisture from the air and deliver it to the lashes or lash line, potentially helping the lashes swell temporarily.
- Gloss: As with most oils, castor oil has a bit of a natural sheen that can make the lashes look nice when you’re not wearing makeup.
- Conditions skin: Castor oil nourishes the skin along the lash line as a moisturizing ingredient.
- Soothing: Castor oil is made primarily with ricinoleic acid, a unique fatty acid with soothing effects.
- Laxative: Castor oil can help alleviate constipation, although over-consumption can lead to negative side effects.
- May help with hair/lash growth: Finally, the benefit that this post is all about. Unfortunately, whether castor oil can grow lashes or not is unclear, as we’ll discuss in even more detail below.
WHERE DOES CASTOR OIL COME FROM?
Castor oil comes from the castor plant's seeds, also known by its Latin name Ricinus communis. Those who’ve seen Breaking Bad may know that the castor seeds contain a lectin called ricin, which can poison humans.
The castor plant originally came from Eastern Africa, India, and the Mediterranean Basin, but nowadays, it grows in many countries with warm or tropical weather.
During production, the seeds are first pressed to extract the oil. Then, the oil is processed with heat to deactivate the ricin, which renders the castor oil somewhat safer. Castor oil is primarily grown and pressed in India, but there is also robust production in Mozambique and China.
IS IT SAFE TO USE CASTOR OIL ON LASHES?
While castor oil does have some side effects, they’re usually only relevant to ingestion. In general, topical application of castor oil isn’t associated with any side effects. There is a minor risk of allergy, which can lead to redness, irritation, or stinging.
That said, you should be careful when using anything near the eyes. Avoid letting oil enter your eyes, as it may temporarily impact your vision or irritate your eyes. If it does, however, you can always use eye drops to help clear your eyes. We wouldn’t expect long-term issues since research suggests that castor oil can actually be beneficial for the eyes.
DOES CASTOR OIL ACTUALLY HELP GROW THE EYELASHES?
Now’s the time for the million-dollar question: Can castor oil grow eyelashes? The answer depends on whether you like seeing real science or you buy into personal anecdotes. From a scientific standpoint, the evidence is minimal.
For the most part, castor oil’s beneficial effects are simply attributed to its moisturizing abilities. However, one study - not on castor oil, but on its key constituent, ricinoleic acid - showed that ricinoleic acid could inhibit an enzyme that breaks down prostaglandin inhibitors, which suggests some potential as a hair growth remedy.
However, this study was done in silico, meaning on a synthetic model, and using isolated ricinoleic acid, not the oil. It’s definitely not sufficient evidence that castor oil would improve hair growth in humans, let alone lash growth.
Another study on rabbits showed that a lotion with 35% castor oil was able to improve hair growth in 50% of the rabbits. However, a lotion with 40% castor oil didn’t show the same results. Again, it’s impossible to say how this applies to using pure castor oil on humans, especially for lash growth.
On the internet, you can find many accounts of people who’ve used castor oil on their eyelashes or brows in an attempt to grow hair. The results are mixed, with some users claiming it helped improve their lash growth within weeks, others suggesting it takes months of diligence or that it’s subtle, and others who see no difference.
Your chances of success are about 50/50. Since castor oil is cheap and easy to use, there’s no harm in trying it anyway. That said, if you want guaranteed results, using a clinically-tested lash serum is better.
HOW TO APPLY CASTOR OIL ON LASHES
Always start with clean eyes and lashes before applying anything! Then, apply a thin layer of castor oil to your lashes and lash line using a cotton bud or clean mascara wand. The best time to do this is at night, before bed. Be careful not to use too much oil, which may get in your eyes. By morning, no castor oil residue should be left on your lashes, but if there is, you can wipe it off.
ALTERNATIVES FOR EYELASH GROWTH
The evidence behind castor oil is tenuous, but there are other methods to improve lash growth that are far more likely to work:
- Instead of castor oil, use a lash serum backed by clinical testing with ingredients proven to improve lash length or density.
- Treat your lashes carefully, and try to minimize rubbing or friction against them.
- Make sure to follow a complete and nutritious diet that’s rich in vitamins, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
- Consider speaking to your doctor about supplements if you think a nutritional deficiency impedes your lash growth.
- Limit how often you wear mascara to avoid damaging your lashes when you remove them.
- Try DIY lash extensions for an affordable way to have longer-looking lashes. Lilac St. lashes can stay put for up to ten days!
CASTOR OIL CONCLUSIONS
While castor oil is a lovely oil that can be highly beneficial to the skin, it’s probably not the lash growth miracle many believe it to be. This oil can nourish and moisturize the lashes, but the evidence that it can improve their growth is tenuous at best.
While there’s no harm in trying it anyway, other methods to enhance your lashes offer more promise. Consider using a proven lash serum or try eyelash-enhancing cosmetics like mascara or DIY lash extensions for guaranteed results.