Does Castor Oil Really Help Your Eyelashes Grow?

Castor oil has long been used as a natural hair treatment. Proponents claim that it stimulates hair growth, reduces dandruff, and prevents hair loss (per Verywell Health). Unfortunately, there isn't enough evidence to support these uses. "While it does have antimicrobial properties which may be useful in terms of fighting off bacterial or fungal overgrowth on the scalp that can lead to hair-damaging inflammation, there is zero evidence [showing] it is helpful for hair growth," Dr. Adam Friedman, program director at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, told Allure.

However, this natural product may benefit your skin. Due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, it can soothe irritated skin and reduce acne. At the same time, it moisturizes and cleanses your skin (via Medical News Today). However, more research is needed to assess its safety and effectiveness. Some people even use castor oil on their eyelashes, saying that it makes them grow stronger. But does it really work?

Should you apply castor oil to your eyelashes?

Castor oil is relatively cheap and can be found in most health stores. Insider explains that ricinoleic acid, one of its active compounds, inhibits prostaglandin D2, a lipid mediator that contributes to hair loss. Therefore, castor oil may keep your lashes from falling out. This natural remedy also acts as a conditioner, moisturizing your eyelashes. 

However, there is not a single study showing that castor oil can actually stimulate lash growth. And even reports of it preventing lash loss are anecdotal. Still, you can use it to condition your eyelashes, ophthalmologist Ilyse Haberman told Cosmopolitan. She recommends applying a small amount of oil below your ear before using it near the eyelids. If you don't have any known allergies, pour a few drops on a Q-tip and apply it along your lash line at bedtime. Rinse with warm water in the morning. 

While castor oil won't make your eyelashes grow, it may improve their appearance. "It makes the lashes glossier, so they appear fuller and lusher. It gives off the visualization of improved growth or healthier lashes," dermatologist Harold Lancer said in an interview with The Cut. He suggests using an organic brand with no additives or other fillers. However, Dr. Lancer warns that castor oil or any other product that isn't specifically formulated for the eyes may not be safe.