What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is a vegetable oil cold-pressed from the seeds of the castor plant. Its known use dates back to Ancient Egypt, where it was used both in cosmetics and as a fuel for oil-burning lamps. In Ayurvedic tradition, castor oil is a key ingredient in both hair and skin care, as well as for making soothing castor oil packs to be applied topically. Aura Cacia castor oil comes from India, which is currently the world's largest producer of castor.
For the Hair
Castor oil has been used as a hair and scalp treatment for thousands of years. The oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, making it moisturizing and nourishing, and can be easily incorporated into your haircare routine. Because castor oil is so thick and sticky some people may prefer to dilute it with another carrier oil, like jojoba or avocado oil, to make it easier to work with. Simply blend two parts jojoba to one part castor for a luxurious hair and scalp serum.
- To make an easy hair serum blend 1.5 oz of jojoba oil with 0.5 oz castor oil. Add 12 drops of rosemary essential oil and 12 drops of peppermint essential oil. Massage into hair and scalp, and leave on for 30 minutes before shampooing (course, thick or extremely dry hair can leave on for several hours or overnight). Repeat once weekly.
- To apply castor oil to eyebrows: wash face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Dip a clean brow brush or Q-tip into castor oil and let the excess drip off (tapping brush will help excess drip off). Gently run the brush over each eyebrow, making sure none drips down into the eyes. Leave on for 20-30 minutes, then gently wash face with warm water.
- To help calm frizz, massage a few drops of castor oil into damp hair before drying
For the Skin
Castor oil is rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) that make it wonderfully soothing, balancing and moisturizing for the skin. Even though it feels very thick, castor oil has a low comedogenic rating of 1, making it appropriate for all skin types. Even so, the sticky feeling of castor can make it challenging to work with, so blending it with other skin care oils before applying is often recommended.
- Blend 1.5 oz argan with 0.5 oz castor for a luxurious and moisturizing facial serum
- Blend 1.5 oz almond oil and 0.5 oz castor oil for a body oil, applying to still damp skin after the shower to lock in moisture
For the Body
Castor oil packs can be wonderfully soothing for parts of the body in need of a little care. Finding time to rest with peaceful music, a good book and a castor oil pack can bring some much needed self-care into your wellness routine.
To prepare a castor oil pack:
- Prepare a piece of cloth (ideally flannel or similar) by cutting it to a size large enough to cover the body part you’re wanting to work with
- Pour castor oil into a medium-sized bowl
- Dip the piece of cloth into the castor oil until it’s fully saturated, letting the excess drip off back into the bowl
- Place the cloth over part of your body (ie abdomen), and cover with a piece of plastic wrap
- Place either a heating pad or hot water bottle on top of the plastic
- Rest with the castor oil pack in place for 45 min-1 hour