In the spirit of finding natural ways to create effects as profound- or more excellent- than lab-engineered beauty products, I have made myself a test subject for many folk remedies and beauty treatments from the pantry and the health-food-store aisles. One major discovery of the year that I now use daily with astonishing results: hexane-free castor oil.
Castor oil has trumped most every other oil I have tried for skin, hair and even nail beauty. My eyebrows and lashes even thank me!
I used to think castor oil was a horrific punishment. I remember my grandmother threatening to give it to us as kids if we didn’t eat our vegetables. Traditionally, this oil which is high in ricinoleic acid (anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial) has been used as a potent laxative. Be warned: it irritates the lining if the digestive system tremendously and its side effects are unpleasant and at times dangerous. (you can read the Mercola information on castor oil and its health benefits and dangers HERE) I luckily evaded even a single dose from my grandma….!
That said, castor oil applied topically is highly-absorbable and when used topically it can do wonders as a beauty treatment. Only use hexane-free castor oil. Lots of the commercially processed oils have been stripped of their beneficial properties. I get mine from WholeFoods, and you can also find it HERE, or at a local health-food store.
My 8 Beauty Secrets Of Castor Oil
1. Lips! I put a tiny bit of castor oil on my lips when I moisturize my face in the morning and at night. I have found that a drop soaks in quite quickly and I can feel the difference in plumpness and smoothness after this tiny drop of oil.
2. Hands & nails: Once I do that drop on my lips, I typically rub the excess oil into my hands and cuticles. It is wild how fast my hands drink it in, and my manicures tend to last longer due, I believe, to the softening power of the oil on my cuticles.
3. Facial Cleanser: Once a day, I do oil cleansing. THIS POST explains the traditional way to do oil cleansing. I have refined this a bit for myself. Now, I slather on a mix of castor and olive oil at night ( stored in the mason jar you see above!) and wipe it off along with any makeup that I might have on, depending on the day. I then use a natural oatmeal soap on a Clarisonic brush to cleanse over my face without adding extra water. The results for me a 5X what I experienced with oil cleansing alone, but if you haven’t tried oil cleansing, you might want to give it a go and find your best way.
4. Full Eyebrows! While I can’t guarantee that this will happen for you, I discovered this one accidentally. In my nightly regime of oil cleansing, I realized that some oil was being left on my brows. Over the course of a month, they were fuller than before. I couldn’t understand it- was it my diet? green smoothies? the weather?- until I did a bit of research and learned that this is one way that castor oil can be used- to regrow over-plucked, sparse brows. Now, I deliberately put a drop on my brows at night and yes, I do notice the difference for myself! (I hope you do , too! It’s so cool!)
5. Fuller eyelashes. This one I read as I was researching my brows, and again, I incidentally had less lash breakage using castor oil mixed with olive oil to take off eye makeup and the occasional fake lashes. Some beauty websites advise applying the oil straight to your lashes. That scares me: so close to my eyes, sleeping with this sticky stuff on my lashes. I let the residual oil from the oil cleansing (#3) do its thing for my lashes without applying it straight to my eyes like that! This should be HEXANE-FREE castor oil.
6. Castor Oil Packs. You can read how to make a castor oil pack right HERE. This has been my PMS salvation, and a major go-to when I feel my immune system is rocky. Ladies: you have fibroids, endometriosis or bad PMS, you might want to ask your doctor about this natural treatment. While the jury is out as to how much this can make a difference, I have found it to be completely therapeutic for a number of reasons!
7. Hot Oil Treatment: As I have been recently immersing myself in a weekly trip to the Korean spa filled with various saunas, a hot oil treatment was in order to make all this heat and sweating beneficial for my hair. Let me say this: Castor oil put into your hair without being diluted is not something I recommend. I do love mixing a bit of it with some raw coconut oil and massaging that through my hair before I hit the heated rooms for a few hours. You can put on a shower cap, wrap your hair in a towel or even lay in the sun with oil on your hair once a week. I have heard that coconut oil can penetrate the hair shaft, as does the castor oil. I am not sure of the mechanics, but my hair has not looked this great in ages! Of course, shampoo out the oil and use a rinse of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts water (comb through damp hair, let sit for a moment and then rinse) before the shampoo if you want to really remove the oil!
8. Grow Your Hair: This is awesome. People use castor oil as a hair-growing agent for a reason. The coconut oil/castor oil mix is favored, heavy on the coconut and light on the sticky castor oil. At night, part your hair and massage a small amount of the mix in your scalp, part in a new place and repeat. Keep going until you’ve added just a touch t your whole scalp. Let it penetrate your scalp – do it at least an hour before bed- and don’t overdo it or you’ll wake up with oil all over the place. Wash it out in the morning. Some people do this nightly to stop hair loss and regrow hair.
Castor oil is something that is so rich and concentrated that just a drop goes a long way. Anything in excess ceases to be excellent. That said, it has been excellent to me, and I am so excited about the discovery!
Expanding the scope of natural ways to treat yourself well can only enhance your life. When you drop some of the toxic load that your body has to process on a daily basis, you have more energy for other things… things you love! xoxo Dana
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