The Truth About Castor Oil and Lash Growth: Expert Dermatologists Weigh In

May 21, 2023
The Truth About Castor Oil and Lash Growth: Expert Dermatologists Weigh In

Enhancing our lash line has become a common desire, leading many of us to explore various serums, supplements, and ingredients that claim to promote lash growth. Among these options, castor oil stands out due to its reputation for stimulating hair and eyebrow growth, although its efficacy remains largely anecdotal.

Nevertheless, when it comes to applying castor oil near the delicate eye area, extra caution is necessary. To shed light on the potential benefits and risks of using castor oil for lashes, we sought the insights of two dermatologists and an oculoplastic surgeon. Dive into the following paragraphs to discover the truth behind the use of castor oil in fostering lash growth.


  1. Dr. Raymond Douglas is a highly regarded oculoplastic surgeon and specialist in thyroid eye disease (TED). With board certification in aesthetic and reconstructive oculoplastic surgery, he practices in the renowned Beverly Hills, California.
  2. Dr. Rebecca Marcus is a respected dermatologist and the founder of Maei MD. As a board-certified dermatologist, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the field of skincare and aesthetic treatments.
  3. Dr. Craig Ziering is a board-certified dermatologist known for his expertise in hair restoration. He is a leading specialist in transplant surgery and the founder of the esteemed Ziering Medical Group.

What Is Castor Oil?

What Is Castor Oil?-Lash Growth

According to Ziering, castor oil possesses remarkable versatility as a remedy for numerous ailments and has a long-standing history of use in various cultures as a natural solution for skin issues. The production of castor oil involves the pressing of seeds from the castor oil plant, typically obtained from India. Its significance lies in being the sole commercial source of hydroxylated fatty acid, making it indispensable to the global specialty chemical industry. 

Marcus further elucidates that castor oil is abundant in ricinoleic acid, a beneficial fatty acid known for its skin moisturizing properties. Ziering concurs, emphasizing that the oil derived from the plant contains substantial levels of ricinoleic acid and other vital fatty acids that promote detoxification.

In order to comprehend the potential advantages of castor oil for eyelashes, it is crucial to grasp its interactions with the skin and hair. Marcus explains that castor oil functions as an emollient, working to inhibit the evaporation of water from the skin. Ziering adds that the fatty acids present in castor oil serve as natural humectants, which are substances utilized to moisturize the skin by preventing the loss of water. This particular effect can contribute to maintaining healthy skin, alleviating dryness, enhancing structural integrity, and soothing skin inflammation.

Does Castor Oil Help Lashes Grow?

Ziering affirms that there is no evidence supporting the notion that castor oil stimulates the growth of new eyelashes. Marcus further explains that while castor oil can moisturize your lashes and reduce the likelihood of breakage, it does not possess the ability to accelerate or enhance lash growth beyond the normal rate or density.

Ziering elaborates that there is a scarcity of substantial scientific or clinical evidence regarding the effectiveness of castor oil in stimulating hair growth or activating metabolic functions within hair follicles to promote the anagen phase or prolong the growth cycle. While past studies conducted on rabbits suggested a potential impact of castor oil on hair regeneration, the available research on humans is limited. Only one study indicated that the ricinoleic acid present in castor oil can penetrate the skin and act as an inhibitor of prostaglandin D2 synthase (PGD2), which is believed to contribute to androgenetic alopecia.

Related: Beauty Advantages of Castor Oil for Skin and Hair

Although castor oil does not directly stimulate new lash growth, all three experts concur that it can indirectly impact lash growth by enhancing the overall environment and the health of existing lashes. Douglas clarifies, “Castor oil contains abundant terpenoids and a tocopherol-related compound called glycerol, which, when combined with fatty acids, promote healing and improve the health of the skin and existing lashes.” In fact, castor oil possesses several properties that are beneficial for lashes, making it a valuable addition to your current beauty regimen.

  • Deeply hydrating: Marcus explains that castor oil contains an abundance of ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid known for its skin moisturizing properties. According to Douglas, these fatty acids possess advantages for promoting skin and lash health and facilitating the healing process.
  • Prevents transepidermal water loss: Marcus states that castor oil functions as an emollient, effectively reducing water loss from the skin. Douglas affirms this and adds that castor oil forms a protective barrier, sealing in moisture. Ziering further emphasizes that this quality of castor oil aids in maintaining, safeguarding, and enhancing the growth of lashes.
  • Prevents breakage: Ziering explains that eyelashes are frequently overlooked, resulting in dehydrated keratin protein that becomes weak and prone to breakage, ultimately leading to lackluster, shorter, and thinner lashes. Douglas suggests that castor oil can aid in preserving moisture, enabling you to maintain more luxurious-looking lashes. Additionally, he mentions that castor oil has the potential to enhance the tear film and shield the eyes from excessive dryness, which is advantageous on its own. Douglas further emphasizes that dry eyes often prompt rubbing, posing a risk of damaging the delicate lashes or causing breakage or premature shedding from the follicle.
  • Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties: Douglas highlights that castor oil possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Research has provided evidence for the germicidal and fungicidal effects of castor oil, with the presence of ricin and ricinoleic acid in the oil offering protection against fungal and microbial infections for both the scalp and the hair shaft.

Is it Safe to Use Castor Oil on Lashes?

Douglas affirms that when a small amount is applied, castor oil is generally safe for the eyes. He explains, “Castor oil is an occlusive product with a high density and viscosity, which can pose challenges for the eyes and skin. However, it is commonly found in beauty products, and in some cases, it can be used successfully on the hair and skin by itself.” He does caution that using large amounts of castor oil may lead to the clogging or blocking of follicles or pores, but when applied in small quantities to the lashes, this is generally unlikely.

Regarding potential side effects, Marcus and Ziering mention that skin reactions such as itching, swelling, and redness are possible. Ziering recommends conducting a patch test by applying a small amount behind the ear, on the upper lid close to the brow, or near the hairline before applying it to the lash line. Douglas adds that temporary blurred vision may occur if a significant amount of castor oil enters the eye. He explains, “This effect is short-lived, lasting only a few minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes.”

To prevent any avoidable issues, Douglas advises using clean hands or a clean applicator when applying castor oil. It is also important to ensure that the castor oil product is not expired or showing signs of spoilage. “Typically, castor oil has a shelf life of about one year,” Douglas notes. 

“Cold-pressed castor oil can last longer (2-4 years) when properly sealed and stored. It is recommended to store this ingredient in a cool, dry place such as a kitchen, pantry, or shelf with temperatures around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Any change in color, consistency, or smell indicates a compromise and should be discarded without using it on or near the eyes or skin.”

Top Castor Oils for Lash Growth on Amazon

  • Sky Organics Castor Oil: Cold-pressed and 100% pure, this organic castor oil is a popular choice for lash care and growth.
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  • Kate Blanc Cosmetics Castor Oil: Cold-pressed and USDA-certified organic, this versatile castor oil is suitable for lashes, brows, and hair, providing moisturization and nourishment.
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  • Handcraft Blends Castor Oil: This pure and natural castor oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids, ideal for nourishing and enhancing lash growth.

How to Apply It

Ziering advises applying castor oil every night for optimal results. Douglas and Marcus suggest using a disposable or single-use mascara wand or eyeliner brush to ensure no contamination occurs during application. Douglas provides a step-by-step guide for applying castor oil:

  1. Dip your chosen applicator into the castor oil and carefully apply it along your upper and lower lash lines, making sure to coat each lash thoroughly. Take care to avoid getting the oil in your eyes or at the waterline.
  2. Leave the oil on overnight while you sleep.
  3. The following day, remove the oil either during your shower or by washing your face with an eye-safe micellar water.

In summary, castor oil is a highly moisturizing oil that is often associated with promoting hair growth. While there is no scientific evidence directly linking castor oil to new eyelash growth, our experts agree that it can have positive effects on the overall appearance and health of lashes. Castor oil can help maintain lash thickness, promote darker color, strengthen the lashes, and contribute to a denser appearance. In conclusion, it is worth considering as part of your efforts to achieve lush lashes.

Photo: Pexels/ Kindel Media

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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