If you’ve been searching for a substitute for essential oils, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of castor oil. Castor oil has a very, very long history, and it’s for everything from treating acne to regrowing eyelashes. Of course, many of its benefits are anecdotal, and scientific results remain inconclusive.

So does castor oil work as well as some people say? Will it give you the results you’re looking for? Or is this a case of a product failing to live up to its hype? Most importantly, is it safe? These are a few questions you need to ask before you give castor oil a try.

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a vegetable​​ oil that comes from the Ricinus communis plant. It’s a common ingredient in several household items. However, many people also use it for a very wide range of different benefits. These are mostly related to hair and skin care. While these benefits are largely anecdotal by nature, many people swear by them.

There are a vast number of castor oil products available online, and each has their own particular characteristics. For example, this product from Handcraft Blends, which costs $ to $, is available in a variety of different scents. These include almond, coconut, grapeseed, or unscented varieties. Please be aware that this product is not safe for ingestion. It has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Other Useful Facts

Of course, there’s a lot to learn about castor oil before you try it. Here are a few other things you might be wondering.

What are some common uses for castor oil?

As mentioned before, castor oil has a wide range of potential benefits. One of its most popular uses is hair hair and treatment. Castor oil has been shown to promote hair growth in people with thinning hair. It also makes your hair look stronger, thicker, and shinier. On a similar note, castor oil can also aid in the growth of eyebrows and eyelashes.

People also use castor oil for skin care. It helps moisturize your skin, and it also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. With that in mind, you can use castor oil to treat acne, reduce signs of aging, heal minor wounds, and fade stretch marks. Furthermore, you can also use it to relieve sore muscles and aching joints.

How does it work with essential oils?

Castor oil can also be used in combination with essential oils. Of course, some have similar benefits and applications. Doing so enhances the benefits of both. To do this, simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to an ounce of castor oil before applying it to your skin. In this case, the castor oil acts as a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil. That's an excellent choice if you want to combine the effects of both.

Does castor oil work?

Most custom​​ers have been very happy with the benefits they’ve received from castor oil. In particular, many of them were impressed with its hair care properties. They saw a very noticeable growth in their eyelashes and eyebrows. They also felt it made their hair look thicker. That was especially promising for aging women with thinning hair.

Most complaints about castor oil have to do with its consistency. Several customers noted that it tends to be very thick and greasy. However, even most of these customers were happy with their results. So although most of castor oil’s benefits are largely anecdotal, it seems it might really work as well as it claims.

Is it safe?

Again, castor oil is not safe for ingestion. Although people occasionally recommend using it as a laxative, this is a potentially dangerous practice that can have several harmful consequences. These could include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or labor inducement.

You should also note that some people may have an allergic reaction to castor oil. In these cases, you may experience rashes or skin irritation. It’s best to test castor oil on a small portion of your skin before you do any serious application. Of course, these are not typical situations. In the vast majority of cases, castor oil is perfectly safe.

How Much Does It Cost?

Handcraft Pure Castor Oil 16 fl. oz- 100% Pure and Natural - Premium...
  • 100% PURE & NATURAL CASTOR OIL unfiltered, undiluted without any additives or fillers. Rich in vitamins and fatty acids...
  • CASTOR OIL FOR HAIR can be used to enhance the natural color of your hair and make it look rich and thick. This oil is a...
  • HELPS GROW EYELASHES castor oil is jammed packed with fantastic nutrients that promote natural lash growth. This thick...

The cost of castor oil tends to vary depending on the brand and the size of the container. That said, a 16-ounce container of castor oil will typically cost between $ and $$. That is a very small price to pay when you consider all of its potential benefits. It’s also very comparable to the price of essential oils and other natural products. When buying castor oil, make sure you always buy from a reputable source. This will help you ensure the quality and safety of the product.

How We Reviewed

Our opinions of the following products were largely informed by customer reviews from sites such as Amazon. We also used various other websites to research the benefits and uses regarding each product. When reviewing these oils, we looked at aspects such as benefits, results, price, and safety concerns.

How Does It Compare to Other Natural Products?

Of course, there are a few alternatives to castor oil out there. Let’s see how it compares to other natural oils. Please be aware that these products are not safe for ingestion with one exception.

Sky Organics Coconut Body Oil 16oz
  • Contains: 1 x 16 oz. tub of Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Sky Organics.
  • 100% Pure Organic Coconut Oil: Our Organic Coconut Oil is 100% pure and cold-pressed so it retains all of its...
  • Moisturizes Hair and Skin: Sky Organics Coconut Oil provides intense moisture and supports softer skin and hair –...

Coconut oil is another natural product that’s sometimes referred to as a miracle oil. Like castor oil, it has an incredibly wide array of uses. Many people use it as a conditioner for their hair. It’s also a skin moisturizer. In this capacity, it’s believed to treat eczema and protect your skin from the sun. Some people even use it to whiten their smiles. Unlike the other items on this list, you can also ingest it safely. You can use it as an ingredient in a variety of different dishes, and it’s often a substitute replacement for butter.

Most customers who used coconut oil have been absolutely in love with the smell. They also said it really works as well as it claims. In particular, a large number of people had success using it as a moisturizer for their skin. On the downside, it tends to mold rather quickly. In these cases, the sweet smell can turn sour very fast. It’s also very sensitive to temperature. It melts when it gets hot, and this can cause it to go bad.

A 16-ounce container of coconut oil will typically cost between $ and $$. That is very comparable to an average container of castor oil. Unlike castor oil, you can safely use coconut oil with your food. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something that smells good and tastes good. However, you might get annoyed with how quickly it spoils. If you think this will be an issue, you might want to go with castor oil instead. 

Almond Oil (16 oz); Sweet Almond Oil for Skin or Almond Oil for Hair,...
  • NATURAL BODY OIL FOR SOFT SKIN & IMPROVED COMPLEXION – If you’re looking for an almond body oil for dry skin,...
  • FAST-ABSORBING & NON-GREASY SWEET ALMOND OIL – Sweet almond oil for skin (aka aceite de almendras) is one of the most...
  • SWEET ALMOND CARRIER OIL PERFECT FOR DIY BEAUTY BLENDS – Pure almond oil makes the perfect carrier oil for essential...

Almon​​d oil is also popularly believed to have a wide variety of potential benefits. Many of these are skin-related. Some people use it to treat eczema and psoriasis. They also use it to fight signs of aging. You can even use it as baby oil. Furthermore, almond oil can remove dandruff and make your hair stronger and healthier. Or you can use it as a massage oil to relieve aches and pains. Please be aware that this product cannot be ingested safely.

This product has received many rave reviews from its customers. People have used it in a variety of different ways. Some of these include massage, removing stretch marks, and removing makeup. Almost everyone was happy with the results. Most of the complaints have been fairly minor. Some people didn’t like the fact that it has virtually no smell. There were also customers who didn’t care for its watery consistency.

A 16-ounce container of almond oil will cost between $ and $$. Again, this is very similar to what you’ll pay for castor oil. The quality is also very similar. That said, castor oil generally has a wider range of benefits and comes in scented varieties. Because of this, castor oil could still be considered the better choice.

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Jojoba Oil is often used as a carrier oil for essential oil, but many believe it has several benefits in its own right. People often use it in their skincare routines. Some use it to treat acne and psoriasis or remove wrinkles. Many believe it to be a safe way to remove makeup as well. In addition to this, people use jojoba oil to fight hair loss due to alopecia. It also makes your hair softer and shinier. It’s even used to fight infections. Please note that this product is not safe for ingestion.

A great number of customers used jojoba oil successfully to treat many different kinds of skin issues. It did an excellent job of clearing up acne, wrinkles, and psoriasis. It worked wonders in all of these cases. Unfortunately, many customers also complained about the smell. This oil can have a very strong odor. Also, there were some complaints about customers having an allergic reaction. If you use it, you’ll want to test it to make sure you’re not allergic with a spot test before you commit to it.

A 16-ounce container of jojoba oil will usually cost between $ and $$. That is only slightly more expensive than castor oil. Overall, it might be worth trying if you’re dealing with stubborn skin issues. However, you want to make sure the smell is something you can deal with. You also want to make sure you’re not allergic to it. Otherwise, it might be better to stick with castor oil.

PURA D'OR Organic Moroccan Argan Oil (4oz / 118mL) USDA Certified 100%...
  • DAILY PROTECTION: Common toxins such as pollution or sun exposure can cause further damage to skin and hair....
  • SALON-LIKE TREATMENT: Argan Oil for hair locks in natural moisture by boosting superior hydration levels. Its...
  • SKIN NOURISHMENT: Helps reduce redness and skin irritation with its anti-aging properties. A non-comedogenic facial oil...

benefits is another popular natural oil product. Many people believe it has some useful benefits when it comes to hair and skin care. It moisturizes your skin and fights irritation and inflammation. It also prevents wrinkles and dry skin. Additionally, many believe argan oil has the power to make your hair healthier as well. It makes it look thicker and shinier. Like most of the products on this list, argan oil is not safe for ingestion.

Most customers have been very happy with this product. In particular, many have used it successfully to treat dry skin. They also liked what it did for their hair. It takes away the frizz and makes it look healthier in general. However, there were also several customers who didn’t like its greasy consistency. Also, it quickly develops a very pungent odor when it gets too old.

A 16-ounce container of argan oil should cost between $$ and $$$. Again, this is a little more expensive than castor oil. It might be worth buying if you’ve been dealing with dry skin and other oils aren’t doing the trick. But once again, the smell could be an issue. Castor oil doesn’t have this problem, and it has a potentially wider range of benefits. Pura D’or Moroccan Argan Oil has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Castor Oil Pros and Cons

For the most part, castor oil does everything it claims to do. It helps stimulate the growth of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. It also has numerous skin benefits, including the reduction of acne and wrinkles. And you don’t have to spend much money either. On the downside, it does have a very thick, greasy consistency. That's a minor issue overall. More importantly, people with allergies can experience certain side effects when using it.


  • Promotes hair growth while making it look thicker and healthier
  • Grows eyelashes and eyebrows
  • Has numerous skin care benefits
  • It’s cheap


  • Promotes hair growth while making it look thicker and healthier
  • Grows eyelashes and eyebrows
  • Has numerous skin care benefits
  • It’s cheap

Is Castor Oil Right for You?

Some bottles of Castor Oil

Image by monicore via Pixabay.

At the end of the day, castor oil can be a very effective alternative to essential oils. It has a great number of potential benefits, and it does everything it claims. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for from your current oils, then castor oil is something you should consider.

Of course, you want to make sure you’re not allergic first. Again, it’s a good idea to try it on a small patch of skin before any serious application. If you experience any irritation, then it might not be for you. Aside from that, castor oil is an excellent choice for those looking for something different.

Featured image by monicore via Pixabay.

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