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castor oil in bottles for use on hair and skin

Benefits & uses of castor oil

25 Apr 2023 • 14 min read

There are few things out there as dynamic as castor oil.

Wondering what makes this humble plant-based oil so useful? Read on to discover castor oil’s benefits and why it deserves a place in your bathroom cupboard.

First of all, what is castor oil?

Castor oil is essentially a vegetable oil derived from a plant native to Africa and Asia.

It contains high amounts of fatty acids – including omega-6 and ricinoleic acid – and has been used as a natural remedy for specific skin issues for centuries.

In its purest form, castor oil is a colourless to pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and odour. It’s typically used in the likes of soaps and perfumes.

6 ways to use castor oil

Wondering how to use castor oil as part of your routine?* Here are 6 different ways you can benefit from its properties. 

*We recommend that you test it on a small patch of skin first to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction. 

  1. Moisturiser Mix: it with equal parts olive, almond or coconut oil to create a moisturiser.
  2. For problem skin: Dab some on your face or apply it with a warm flannel to reduce the appearance of problem skin.
  3. Oil pulling: Try oil pulling with castor oil.
  4. Scalp soother: Massage it directly into your scalp to soothe irritated skin and reduce dry skin.
  5. Brow/lash growth: Put a small amount of castor oil on your brows or lashes to promote hair growth.
  6. For split ends: Comb some through split ends.

1. Get shiny, healthy hair

Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids, which – when massaged onto the scalp – can help increase blood circulation and improve hair growth.

It also moisturises and conditions your hair naturally, leaving it shiny and healthy.

2. Helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles

Speaking of moisturising, the essential fatty acids of castor oil can help restore the skin’s natural moisture balance. It penetrates skin and boosts the production of collagen, which helps soften and hydrate the skin.

3. It has antifungal properties

Some studies show castor oil’s high-fat content makes it great at protecting the skin from spot-causing bacteria. Castor oil is, therefore, a great option if you’re a fan of oil pulling, plus it may help alleviate the appearance of problem skin if used as a cleanser.

4. It’s moisturising

Last but not least, castor oil is incredibly moisturising, which makes it a great natural alternative for soothing your skin, softening your nails or even nourishing your eyelashes!

It can also be used in place of conditioner, especially if you have a dry scalp or have brittle hair.

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Last updated: 25 April 2023




  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/castor-oil 
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319844 
  3. https://homesteadwishing.com/the-many-uses-castor-oil/

Janine Aquino


Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager

Joined Holland & Barrett: October 2018

BSc (Hons) in Cosmetic Science

Janine started her career as a Technical intern at Superdrug while studying for her Cosmetic Science degree at the London College of Fashion, assisting Product Technologists in their roles by progressing NPD from initial concept through to post-market launch analysis and complaints.

Her experience spanned all categories sold at Superdrug, including colour cosmetics, toiletries, accessories and electrical goods.

After graduating her degree, Janine took up the Technical specialist role at Morrison’s leading the cosmetic and toiletries category from a Regulatory angle, including visiting manufacturers and attending and carrying out audits. Afterwards she moved onto become the lead Regulatory specialist for cosmetics at 151 Products.

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