Castor Oil For Face: Benefits, Risks, And How To Use It

Written by Ramona Sinha

You might have used castor oil for scalp massages. You might have also used it as a laxative. But have you ever used castor oil for face and skin? Castor oil is extensively used in commercial skin care products. While research is extremely limited regarding castor oil’s topical benefits, anecdotal evidence shows that it might contribute to your skin health. This article digs deeper into the skin care benefits of castor oil and how you can use it for maintaining skin health. Keep reading.

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. The seeds are also called castor beans and contain high levels of ricin, a type of toxic enzyme. However, ricin is removed from the oil when it is processed. Processed castor oil is safe for use. This oil has been used for ages in traditional therapies. Ancient Egyptians used castor oil to prevent eye irritation (1).

There are several benefits of the topical application of castor oil. Let€™s take a look.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Castor Oil On The Face?

1. May Moisturize The Skin

While there is no scientific proof for this claim, anecdotal evidence suggests that like any other plant oil, castor oil may keep the skin moisturized.

2. May Prevent Acne

The protein extracts from castor seeds were found to have antibacterial and anti-proliferative properties. They inhibited the growth of S. aureus, the acne-causing bacteria (2).

3. May Help Reduce Fungal Infection

Castor oil was found to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans (3). This fungus can cause oral infections, nail fungus, athlete€™s foot, diaper rash, and jock itch.

4. Can Soothe Inflamed Skin

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of ricinoleic acid helped inhibit inflammation in mice. Similar effects were also observed in guinea pigs (4). Gels containing ricinoleic acid can reduce inflammation and help in pain management (5). However, further human studies are needed to understand the scope of castor oil’s benefits.

5. May Help Soothe Sunburn

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the moisturizing properties of castor oil can help soothe irritation and pain associated with sunburn. The anti-inflammatory property of castor oil is also believed to be responsible for this property.

Castor oil is thick in its natural state, which is why most of us often experience difficulty in applying it smoothly to our skin. Here is how you can apply castor oil to your skin without any hassles.

How To Apply Castor Oil

You may use it as an ingredient in DIY face masks. You can also apply the liquid directly to your skin:

  1. Soak a piece of cotton ball in castor oil.
  2. Gently dab it all over your face and neck.
  3. Massage the oil for 3-5 minutes in circular motions.
  4. Wash your face with a mild face wash.

You may mix it with other vegetable oils and plant butters before application. Here are a few more ways to use castor oil for your face.

Castor Oil For The Face: DIY Recipes

1. Castor Oil Makeup Remover

You Will Need 

  • 2 tablespoons of castor oil
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 8 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil (optional)


  1. Mix the ingredients and let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer it to an airtight bottle or container and store it in a cool, dry place.
  3. Use as required.

2. Castor Oil Face Mask

You Will Need 

  • 2 teaspoons of castor oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of honey


  1. Whisk the egg yolk until it turns frothy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to it and mix well.
  3. Apply the mixture to the face and leave it on to dry.
  4. Wash off with water.

3. Castor Oil Lip Balm

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of castor oil
  • 1 teaspoon of canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • 1 drop of lemon essential oil (for fragrance)
  • 1 drop of frankincense essential oil (for fragrance)
  • A 10-millimeter roller bottle


  1. Mix all ingredients and pour the mixture into the roller bottle.
  2. Screw the lid on.
  3. Shake well and apply as and when required.

In the following section, we have discussed a nighttime skincare routine with castor oil that you can follow.

How To Include Castor Oil In Your Skin Care Routine

1. Remove Your Makeup

A castor oil makeup remover can gently lift the dirt, dust, and makeup from your face. Oil cleansing prevents clogged pores and reduces the chances of breakouts. Gently massage the makeup remover all over your face and neck, and then wipe with a damp cotton pad. Follow up with a mild foaming face wash.

2. Apply A Face Mask

Once you have finished cleaning your face, apply the castor oil face mask. This helps tone the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Spread the face mask evenly on your skin and let it dry. Wash off with lukewarm water. Follow up with a toner and moisturizer.

3. Moisturize Your Lips

Your delicate lips need moisturization to stay plump and healthy. Use the castor oil lip balm on your lips before sleeping to keep them soft and supple.

Before using castor oil, you must be aware of the side effects.

Side Effects Of Using Castor Oil For The Face

Castor oil may cause skin irritation. In a study, castor oil (undiluted) caused severe irritation on rabbit skin. However, it caused mild irritation on guinea pig and rat skin (6).

Human trials found that castor oil was not a skin irritant. However, those who have occupational dermatoses (a type of skin inflammation) may experience skin irritation (6).

Castor oil may also cause eye irritation and mild discomfort if it enters the eye (6). Hence, you need to be cautious while using castor oil on your skin.

Precautions To Follow Before Using Castor Oil

  1. Do A Patch Test: People can be allergic to castor oil. Hence, a patch test is mandatory before using the oil.
  1. Consult A Doctor: If you have skin issues, allergies, or inflammation, consult a doctor before using castor oil as it may aggravate your condition.
  1. Check The Label: The preservatives in castor oil can also cause irritation. Read the label and check the list of ingredients. Go for oils from reputed brands or use cold-pressed organic oil without additives. Also, check the expiration date before buying.

Note: If you are pregnant or lactating, consult your doctor before using castor oil.

Closing Thoughts

Though a lot of people are reaping the skin benefits of castor oil, medical research is yet to verify many of these claims. Castor oil is being used in a wide range of cosmetics, but more studies are required to establish the benefits and safety of castor oil for the face. Hence, exercise caution while using castor oil. If you develop any irritation or reaction, consult the doctor immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use castor oil daily on my face?

Yes, you may use it daily on your face. However, do a patch test, and if you develop an allergic reaction, discontinue using castor oil.

Can castor oil remove dark spots?

There is no scientific evidence to show that castor oil can effectively remove dark spots.

Does applying castor oil on the face increase facial hair?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that castor oil can promote the growth of eyebrows and eyelashes, but there is no evidence to show its effects on the growth of facial hair and beards.

Can I use black castor oil on my face?

Yes, you can use black castor oil on your face.


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