Jamaican Black castor oil
Made from roasted castor beans, Jamaican black castor oil is dark in colour and has a slightly burnt smell that dissipates once it soaks in.
Benefits: Used as a scalp oil, hair growth stimulator and skin moisturiser, the black oil is said to help thicken eyebrows and eyelashes and has even been used to treat acne.
Just be sure you don't accidentally use a scented Jamaican black castor oil. You need the pure stuff with no essential oils added.
Organic castor oil
Benefits: said to be a panacea for all things from hair loss to an unhappy liver, one iherb.com.au customer had great results after using it to thicken her eyelashes.
After using Sky Organics Castor Oil she said, "I should have taken a picture of my eyelashes before. I was getting worried about them. Really short and thin. I've only been using this for about 3 weeks and I'm noticing they are longer and thicker. I'm so happy!"
Castor oil packs
Benefits: for years this thick, yellow oil has been used to help reduce inflammation, moisturise skin and improve the appearance of scar tissue.
A common way to use it is by making a castor oil pack with warmed oil and a flannel that you use as a compress. But there are ready made packs available such as the Palma Christi Castor Oil Pack Kit.
According to the Palma Christi website, “Castor Oil is rich in a unique concentration of fatty acids and, when applied topically, works as an anit-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.”
They add; “Ancient Egyptians were the first to record the use of Castor Oil for medicinal purposes.” Seems like it never went out of fashion.
Castor oil for eyes
Benefits: cold pressed castor oil is used by some to maintain eye health, even to prevent cataracts.
A reviewer said: “I purchased this to put in my eyes to reduce my chances of cataracts. From what I understand, you want to use organic, cold-pressed, hexane-free castor oil. For anyone worrying about 'Can i put this in my eyes?' I can assure you, yes, you can."
"It's a very thick oil, when you drip it in your eyes, you will feel nothing. It doesn't sting, burn, or otherwise feel strange, except your eye is oily and you will not be able to see all that great. I do it when I lay down to sleep at night.”
Warning: this could happen
Castor oil has been used for centuries in India as a smoothing and glossing oil for hair. However, on rare occasions it can create the opposite: matted hair that can't be saved.
An article published in the International Journal of Trichology reported a case of hair felting after using castor oil.
"The whole scalp hair matted immediately after using coconut oil and castor oil following washing," says the report.
The 20-year-old patient had apparently used the oil as part of an annual hair treatment as part of a regular Diwali celebration ritual. However, the result was "a compact hair mass resembling a bird's nest."
Unfortunately as there is no cure for hair felting, the young woman in question had to cut off her locks.
But you'll be pleased to know, cases like this are extremely rare.