Organic castor oil can do wonders for hair growth, dermatologists say. Here's how to use it for longer strands, eyebrows, and eyelashes.
There are more products than ever promising to help you grow longer eyelashes and thicker brows, not to mention hair vitamins for fuller, healthier strands. But one of the best over-the-counter products for hair growth is actually incredibly affordable, 100% natural, and has been around since... forever. Enter: castor oil.
Castor oil for hair growth: How it works
Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from castor seeds (sometimes referred to as castor beans) that has been used as a beauty treatment for centuries.
Although there's not a lot of scientific research to support it, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence from people who say applying castor oil to their scalp, eyelashes, or eyebrows helped them grow thicker and longer. Which makes sense, since castor oil is a rich source of proteins and vitamin E, "which helps to trigger hair growth," says Shari Sperling, DO, a dermatologist at Sperling Dermatology in New Jersey.
In addition to hair growth, you'll also notice that hairs feel softer and more manageable with regular use. "It's extremely moisturizing," adds New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. "Castor oil stimulates hair growth and deeply conditions hair with its high concentration of fatty acids."
Castor oil can be massaged directly into your scalp to stimulate the hair follicles there, says Dr. Jaliman. For your eyebrows, she recommends putting a few drops of castor oil on a cotton swab and gently combing it in. You'll want to be a little more careful around your eyelashes (the ingredient should not get into eyes, notes Dr. Sperling), so use a new, clean mascara brush to apply castor oil to lashes. (You can buy cheap disposable packs on Amazon that work well for this.)
The best castor oil for hair
There are countless formulations of castor oil out there, but even though the ingredient lists all look relatively straightforward, they're not necessarily created equal. When using castor oil on your eyebrows and eyelashes in particular, the most important thing to look for is a product that contains castor oil and *only* castor oil. "Watch out for other chemicals or ingredients that can cause allergic or irritant dermatitis," says Dr. Sperling.
Dr. Jaliman also says your castor oil should ideally be certified organic, cold-pressed (this process helps preserve the plant's benefits), and hexane-free. "Those three properties are key," she says.
Below, we rounded up the best castor oils that fit these criteria.