Best Castor Oil

Updated January 2021
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best castor oil

You’ve likely heard of the wonders of plant oils – they have remarkable health benefits for your heart, skin, brain, hair, and just about every other part of your body. But because superstars like coconut oil and olive oil hog most of the spotlight, you might not have heard of another, lesser-known plant oil that also offers big benefits: castor oil.

If you think of castor oil purely as something grandma used to keep herself “regular,” you’re missing out on the many other uses of this clear yellow oil. Pressed from the beans of the castor plant (Ricinus communis), the oil has a wide range of uses and benefits for your body, both inside and out, and it has been used for centuries for many health and beauty purposes.

Because many people are unfamiliar with castor oil’s multitude of uses, we’re providing this helpful guide to choosing and using this oil that’s high in healthy fats.

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Castor oil has a wide range of health and beauty benefits, including sore muscle relief, acne treatment, and relief from occasional constipation.

Castor oil features to consider

When shopping for castor oil, stick with organic, pure, cold-pressed oil from a reputable brand. Cold-pressing doesn’t use any heat in the extraction process, so it doesn’t break down or alter the beneficial fats and nutrients of the castor oil. As with all plant-based oils, it’s best to choose an oil packaged in a dark glass bottle. If your oil comes in a clear container, you can either transfer it to a dark bottle or keep it stored in a dark, dry, cool cabinet.

You may also find Jamaican black castor oil on your store’s shelves. This oil is from the same plant as regular castor oil but processed differently. Instead of cold-pressing the raw beans, the beans are first roasted, then pulverized and boiled to concentrate the oil. The result is a dark brown oil with a somewhat strong odor. While some beauty enthusiasts feel Jamaican black castor oil has more potent health and beauty benefits, there is no proof of this, so the choice is up to you.

Health benefits of castor oil

Castor oil can be used in several ways to improve your health. The oil contains a high concentration of ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, stimulating, and hydrating qualities.

Constipation cure: Grandma wasn’t wrong. Castor oil is an excellent remedy for occasional constipation. It works by stimulating muscle contractions in the large intestine, which helps push stool through your digestive system. The usual dose is one tablespoonful taken by mouth. You’ll generally have results within a few hours.

Skin protection: Castor oil has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and it has been shown in studies to both protect broken skin from infections and help clear up infections that have already set in. Just apply a few drops of castor oil to a cut or scrape or irritated skin and then cover the wound with a bandage or gauze. Repeat as necessary until your skin heals.

Muscle soreness: When a too-vigorous workout leaves your muscles aching, it’s castor oil to the rescue. Pour a little bit of oil onto a washcloth or other soft piece of fabric, lay the oil-dampened cloth over the affected muscles, and place a heating pad on top for up to 20 minutes. The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties will increase the healing power of the heat.

Arthritis relief: Castor oil can help reduce the aching misery of arthritic joints. Gently massage the oil into the affected areas once each day for the most benefits.

Ringworm treatment: Despite the name, ringworm is not a worm but rather a skin infection caused by a fungus. You can treat a mild case of ringworm by applying a few drops of castor oil to the spot three times per day. You’ll have to keep it up, however. Ringworm is persistent, and it generally takes four to six weeks before the infection disappears.

Beauty benefits of castor oil

Castor oil’s rich fatty acids are not only good for the inside of your body but also helpful for beautifying and healing the outside of your body.

Healthy hair: Turn dry, dull hair into a healthy, glossy mane by running a few drops of castor oil through your locks at bedtime, then shampooing in the morning. If dandruff is a problem, rub the castor oil into your scalp at least half an hour before your shower and then shampoo as usual.

Acne treatment: Pimples getting you down? Let castor oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities help heal your blemishes. This low-comedogenic oil (meaning it won’t clog your pores) clears away pimples with daily application directly to the sore spots.

Soothe sunburn: After a day of too much sun, mix together equal parts castor oil and coconut oil and apply the salve to reddened, achy skin. You’ll quickly feel relief as the oil reduces the inflammation.

Moisturize skin: If you have dry, scaly patches of skin, apply a few drops of castor oil once a day to hydrate and rejuvenate your complexion. Use the oil at night, then wash it away in the morning so you won’t have to face the day with shiny skin.

Oil cleansing: Oil cleansing effectively removes makeup, air pollution, skin oils, sweat, and other irritants from your skin, leaving behind a clean, healthy, and hydrated complexion. Castor oil works well for oil cleansing, which is a simple procedure: massage a few drops of the oil over your face, let the oil work its magic for a minute or so, and then use a washcloth and warm water to cleanse the oil from your face. Now your skin is prepped for your favorite serum or moisturizer.

Eyelash thickener: Castor oil is said by many to thicken eyelashes and eyebrows, but using any oily product near your eyes is risky. If you are determined to give it a try, however, use a clean cotton swab or spoolie to apply a very thin coating of the oil to your eyebrows and the tops of your eyelashes once per day before bed.

Castor oil prices

Don’t expect to spend a lot on your bottle of castor oil.

Typically, a 16-ounce bottle costs between $10 and $20.

A bottle that large should last a long time, making castor oil a cost-effective beauty and health treatment.

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Castor oil is used both externally as a topical treatment for skin and scalp irritations and muscle soreness and internally for relief of digestive system issues.


Q. What does castor oil taste like?

A. Ask a group of people what castor oil tastes like and each person will likely give a different answer. For many, the oil has no flavor at all. Others describe it as tasting like soap or having a flavor reminiscent of strong cooking oil. Still others say it tastes like petroleum. Most agree, however, that the oil has a thick and somewhat unpleasant texture when taken by mouth.

If the flavor bothers you but you want the benefits of the oil for health reasons, go ahead and follow the spoonful of oil with a strong-flavored juice, such as grape or orange, to help wash the taste out of your mouth.

Q. Should I store my castor oil in the refrigerator?

A. There’s no need to refrigerate your castor oil, but it should be kept out of sunlight and away from any heat source. Ideally, you should store the oil in a dry, dark cabinet where it won’t be exposed to humidity or temperature fluctuations. As a general rule, your oil will stay good for up to six months once opened.

Q. Is castor oil safe?

A. For most people, castor oil can be taken internally or used externally without bothersome side effects. However, overdoing internal use of the oil can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. There is one strong exception, though: if you are pregnant, you should not use castor oil without the approval of your doctor because the oil can stimulate labor. In fact, this was one of the primary uses of castor oil in centuries past.

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