The 10 Best Organic Castor Oils
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in January of 2017. Few topical products offer as many potential benefits as castor oil, which can thicken and strengthen eyelashes and brows, soothe acne outbreaks, moisturize thirsty skin, and even help a masseuse give a soothing and therapeutic massage. We only considered 100 percent organic selections for this list, so you don't have to worry about unsafe chemicals or additives of any type. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 14, 2019:
Before discussing our selections, we want to stress that while castor oil doesn't present any adverse side effects to most people, it's still extremely important that you perform a patch test on yourself before administering it topically. This will help you ensure that you won't experience itching, redness, or irritation (which could lead to hair loss, the very thing you may be trying to counter). We also urge consumers not to take any of our recommendations orally without the express permission of a trained health official.
For this update, we removed products that had "organics" in the name or otherwise implied they were organic without having labels explicitly stating themselves as such. Although the USDA has not approved our #7 choice, Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black, we still felt it warranted inclusion on our list, since it is hand-processed using traditional Jamaican methods and is extracted from wildcrafted organic beans. Every other selection is certified by the USDA.
And while we stand by our previous #10 Wild Wild Nest, its unavailability led us to supplant it with Shiny Leaf Growth, an excellent budget option that comes in a generous 16-ounce bottle.
We prioritized cold-pressed and eco-certified options, as well as vegan and cruelty-free products. After that, we considered price, bonuses such as applicator brushes, and containers that made dispensing easy. We also wanted to include formulas with satisfaction guarantees, in the event that the purchaser does find they are allergic to castor oil and requires a refund.
Briogeo B. Well Rich in humectants, omega fatty acids, and vitamin E, Briogeo B. Well is ideal for nourishing hairlines, brows, cuticles, and thirsty skin. It's fair-trade certified, naturally cold-pressed, and ethically sourced, as well as vegan and cruelty-free. It's packaged in a compact bottle that's easy to pump, and safe for colored and chemically treated hair. briogeohair.com
The Many Benefits Of Castor Oil
While it’s not recommended for chronic issues, it does the job in a pinch — however, it does have some unpleasant side effects.
From its use as a lubricant in the Allied aircraft of World War I to its employment as a cruel punishment administered by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, castor oil has built up a dynamic and sometimes troubled resume over the ages. Since humans started extracting it from the seeds of the castor plant thousands of years ago, it has been put to use by people from all walks of life. In this article, we’ll focus on some of the medicinal and cosmetic advantages this pale yellow liquid can bring to your daily routine.
If you suffer from a dry or flaky scalp, ashy elbows, or even parched cuticles, you’ll be thrilled to discover that castor oil is an incredibly powerful moisturizer. It boasts monounsaturated fatty acids with humectant properties, which means it’s excellent at sealing in moisture. A small amount, when applied topically with a cotton ball or pad, will penetrate deep within the skin. The most opportune time to do this is straight out of the shower while your body is still damp, as your skin is more inclined to rapidly absorb anything you put on it. It’s also particularly handy for treating the occasional red patch, and if you have almond or coconut oil lying around, feel free to combine them to create a potent DIY hydrator.
Do you find yourself consistently incurring small cuts and scrapes? Whether it’s from shaving or that sharp dining room table you always seem to bump into, putting a thin layer of castor oil over a shallow wound will help speed up the healing process. It does this by stimulating the tissue and promoting its growth, which quickly creates a barrier between your cut and the environment. Not only does this decrease the chance of it getting infected, it also helps to prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, so they won’t complicate or otherwise obstruct its healing.
Because it’s a stimulant laxative, castor oil has also long been used as a natural remedy for constipation. When consumed orally, a small dose that’s been measured out based on your weight and age can quickly get your intestines moving, effectively stimulating a bowel movement. While it’s not recommended for chronic issues, it does the job in a pinch — however, it does have some unpleasant side effects. Cramping, nausea, and diarrhea are just a sampling of the unfortunate hazards you may encounter, and taking too large of an amount can be a serious detriment to your health. It's always best practice to consult a physician or other medical authority before administering this treatment to yourself or others.
Why Go Organic?
One of the main reasons consumers choose organic items is that by definition, they lack the many toxins and chemicals that non-approved products may contain. This includes questionable ingredients such as harmful preservatives, synthetic dyes and fragrances, additives, fillers and in the case of certain oils, hexane.
One of the main reasons consumers choose organic items is that by definition, they lack the many toxins and chemicals that non-approved products may contain.
Whether you're consuming it, applying a small amount to an open wound or massaging it into your skin (where it's promptly absorbed into your bloodstream), knowing what’s in your castor oil is vital. A great starting point is to check that it’s USDA-certified organic. This means that a trained agent from the United States Department of Agriculture has regularly inspected the harvesting and manufacturing process, and deemed the resultant product in compliance with their standards. These rigorous rules cover everything from ensuring that a crop never uses synthetic fertilizers, to practicing sustainable farming techniques and using transparent labels so consumers aren't intentionally misled. In addition to keeping you informed and safe from hazardous chemicals, these practices also help to promote biodiversity, healthier soil and improved air quality — not to mention they hold companies accountable.
To really go the distance in guaranteeing that you’re being a responsible consumer, try to nab oils that are cold-pressed. This technique involves extracting the oil without the use of any heat or solvents. Not only does applying heat destroy valuable nutrients, but the added chemicals introduce unwanted impurities. The cold-press method takes a bit longer and tends to be more expensive for both the manufacturer and the customer, but the end result is a product that has retained the bulk of its beneficial compounds while sidestepping detrimental toxins.
A Brief History Of Castor Oil
It seems as though many of the ingenious substances we use today were first employed by the ancient Egyptians or Romans, and castor oil is no exception. Castor beans have been found in Egyptian tombs that date as far back as 4000 B.C.E. They were also known to use the slow-burning oil to fuel lamps, while Cleopatra allegedly relied on it to brighten the whites of her eyes. The Ebers Papyrus, a medical text that detailed herbal knowledge, described it as a powerful laxative. Greek scholars like Herodotus thought it useful for improving the texture of hair, and Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote about the toxic properties of castor plant seeds, in addition to the benefits of using its leaves to cure various ailments.
It’s also been said that iconic revolutionary Thomas Jefferson planted castor beans in his garden in order to deter gophers and moles.
Civilizations across the globe quickly recognized just how versatile castor oil was. It's been documented in India for the last 4,000 years, and the seeds have cropped up in Chinese medicine, having been used in dressings for centuries. The plant is also known as Palma Christi, or Palm of Christ, a name most likely attributed to it because of its healing abilities and large, hand-like leaves.
During the Middle Ages it was popular in Europe for its skin-healing properties. It’s also been said that iconic revolutionary Thomas Jefferson planted castor beans in his garden in order to deter gophers and moles. According to folklore, one of his subsequent plants reached a whopping 22 feet in height. Years later, early pioneers in the United States recommended it for everything from dysentery to inducing labor, and by the 1800s, traveling salesmen were hawking a concoction of oil and alcohol to sufferers of constipation and heartburn. Fast forward to modern times, and castor oil is still a supremely important component of daily life that's manufactured and utilized across the globe.