Why you need to add castor oil to your beauty shelf
In a world where coconut oil reigns supreme on Pinterest boards and Instagram tutorials, castor oil is like the overachieving cousin that everybody chooses to ignore.
You've heard on the grapevine that it helps grow lashes, but you don't know much else about it.
Castor oil is a non-volatile fatty oil that comes from the seeds of the castor bean. Also called ricinus oil, it has a very thick consistency with a colour that ranges from clear to amber, or somewhat green. The oil is very unique because of its close-to-90 per cent fatty acid content and it contains a rare compound called ricinoleic acid.
Modern discovery cannot take credit for castor oil though, as it has been used for generations to boost immune function, whether consumed orally or applied topically.
In India, the oil is prized for its skin-healing, digestive-soothing, antibacterial properties, and it is commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicinal practices.
Applied topically, castor oil can help inflamed skin caused by sunburns, acne and dry skin.
It also works great as a moisturiser, with the highly concentrated fatty acids penetrating the skin easily.
Whether you put your tresses through heat styling, or you are always sweating it out at the gym or hot yoga, it is time to drench your hair in intense hydration.
It also helps hair growth so if you have a haircut you are dying to grow out, massage the oil into your roots regularly. Also, there are dry shampoo mists that moisturise and condition.
Bonus tip: Save dry, brittle hair with a mask made of olive oil, castor oil and vitamin A (liquid capsule) oil mixed with some petroleum jelly.
Fight nasty fungal infections deep within your nail beds and ragged cuticles, or even help resolve brittle nails with this concoction: Castor oil, with one part Epsom salt and three parts water.
Soak for about 15 minutes and repeat daily if you can. Castor oil's anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties will help strengthen your nails.
This article first appeared on Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)