If you love an at-home remedy to fix baaasically anything (hi, it’s me), you’re probs familiar with castor oil for hair. Castor oil is a very not-new DIY hair-growth solution that has been around for literal centuries. So it would make sense to wonder whether or not castor oil for eyelash growth is also possible, right? But just like most home remedies, whether or not it’s truly effective is a little murky. While castor oil does have some benefits (think: keeping your lashes soft and hydrated), there isn’t much science to back up all of its claims. But DW, that’s why I’m here: to clear up exactly how castor oil helps eyelashes grow, with the help of some medical experts. Ahead, all your questions about castor oil for eyelashes, answered.
Meet the experts
- Mona Gohara, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist in Hamden, CT. Dr. Gohara is an associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine and president of the Women’s Dermatologic Society. Her areas of expertise include medical and surgical dermatology and skin of color.
- Ilyse Haberman, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist at NYU Langone Health, and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
Does castor oil actually grow out eyelashes?
Tl;dr, nope, castor oil won’t grow your lashes. Sorry. But it’s not all bad news. “Castor oil moisturizes your eyelashes and can make them appear thicker and look like they have more luster,” Dr. Haberman explains. “It’s also possible that it can help prevent lash breakage which, in turn, can lead to healthier growth.” The bad news? Castor oil isn’t going to give you the super-long lashes of your dreams.
“There is no evidence that conclusively demonstrates that castor oil causes eyelashes to actually grow,” says Dr. Haberman. Dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, agrees: “Castor oil may help your lashes look thicker, denser, or fuller, but it won’t help them grow.” Womp, womp. But Dr. Haberman does add that some studies suggest that castor oil may reverse hair loss, which means it might, possibly, maybe could help your current lashes stick around longer before falling out. But if you’re looking for concrete science, there just isn’t any here.
For actual eyelash growth, your best option is Latisse, the only FDA-approved, prescription-strength eyelash serum that actually slows down the “growth phase” of the hair cycle, making it so your lashes grow for longer before shedding. And if you’re after more instant long lashes, lengthening mascaras, false eyelashes, lash lifts, and lash extensions are some good alternative options.
How long does it take for castor oil to grow eyelashes?
You’re gonna hate me, but I have to remind you again that castor oil doesn’t actually encourage growth, it just moisturizes and gives your lashes a coating that can make them appear thicker. If you start brushing on castor oil with a spoolie every night, in two to three weeks, you’ll notice soft, hydrated lashes that aren’t as prone to breakage—which is great! But knowing what to expect will help avoid more frustration and disappointment.
Can castor oil damage your eyes?
Listen: You have one set of eyes, so it’s always a good idea to be extra, extra cautious when you’re applying anything around them. Just like you wouldn’t want your eye cream or your moisturizer to get in your eye, you don’t want castor oil there either, because it will definitely cause irritation, says Dr. Haberman. The best way around that? Be very careful when you apply castor oil (more on that below) and take it slow.
Is castor oil safe for eyelashes?
In general, yes, castor oil is safe for eyelashes, according to Dr. Haberman. But here’s the thing: Because you’re putting it so close to your eye, you still need to be super careful. “There’s always a risk of irritation,” says Dr. Gohara. She advises patch-testing the castor oil first by dabbing a small amount on your neck below your ear, and then waiting a full day before using it near your eyelids to make sure you won’t have a reaction.
How do I apply castor oil to my eyelashes?
If you’ve accepted the fact that castor oil won’t work to grow your lashes, but you still want to try it out for conditioning purposes, here’s how to do it: Grab a clean spoolie or a cotton swab and swipe a very small amount of oil along your lash line (again, being careful not to get it in your eye). Do it before bed, then remove it in the morning with warm water when you wash your face.
Is castor oil better than lash serum?
Whether you go with a lash serum or castor oil depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for actual eyelash growth, stick with Latisse, but if you’re looking to condition your existing lashes and keep them healthy, it won’t hurt to give castor oil a try—but only if you promise you’ll be careful not to get it in your eye. Or, you know, get your hopes up for actual lash growth.
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