Castor Oil for Eyebrows: How to Use for Brow Growth

How to Use Castor Oil for Eyebrows

We dont have to explain why eyebrows are among the biggest beauty concerns. The shape of your brows defines your face and helps determine the direction of your look. So its no shock to us that when something promises to help them grow thicker and faster, people are all for it.

When you Google "castor oil to grow eyebrows," you may find mixed reviews. Some people rave about the hair-growing benefits of the fatty-rich oil, while others scoff at the claims. So which camp is in the right? We spoke with board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, trichologist Gretchen Friese, and brow expert Sabah Feroz to find out.Read on for what they told us.


What Is Castor Oil?

"Castor oil is a vegetable oil pressed from castor beans," says Friese. Adds Feroz: "Castor oil is filled with vitamins that our hair and skin need to support itself. It is high in omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and many other beneficial minerals that moisturize and support healthy hair growth."

Purported Benefits For Brows

When asked about the benefits of castor oil, Jamé Heskett, holistic doctor and author of The Well Path, oncetold us the following: it improves circulation; stimulates the lymphatic system; works to kill fungi, inflammation, and dermatitis; heals acne and injuries by reducing the bacteria and healing wounds; reduces cellulite and acts as a powerful emollient. Not a single one mentions anything to do with hair growth. But some people swear by the stuff for getting bold, bushy brows or long, luscious lashes.

So, whats the truth? Friese says castor oil "has been used for years to treat a variety of conditions, including hair loss. While there havent been scientific studies that prove that castor oil can regrow hair, its a low-risk remedy that may help you get thicker/fuller eyebrows." King echos this: "Castor oil is not damaging to the hair and can provide some conditioning that improves the flexibility of the hair fiber," she says.

In short, theres a lack of scientific research about the topic, but there may be anecdotal evidence that suggests castor oil works for hair growth.

Does Castor Oil Work For Brow Growth?

"Currently there is no real evidence that castor oil affects eyebrow growth," says Friese. "However, there is evidence that ricinoleic acid, which is a chemical compound that makes up [the majority] of castor oil, may treat hair loss."

King expounded upon this: "The thinking is that the ricinoleic acid in castor oil activates a prostanoid receptor and has been shown to increase [the] synthesis of prostaglandin e2 in some tissues in vitro, and we know that prostaglandin analogs can be helpful for hair growth (Latisse), so this could be a possible mechanism of action," she explains. "But there is no scientific evidence showing that castor oil stimulates hair growth. Castor oil has been shown in a study to increase hair luster, but there are no studies that show that castor oil directly causes hair growth.1

There are plenty of anecdotal stories, but there is no scientific evidence."

How to Apply Castor Oil to Brows

Castor oil can be used daily, according to Friese. It might be a good idea to perform a patch test if youve never used the ingredient before to ensure you dont react. Also, only pure castor oil should be used for this purpose.

"Make sure your eyebrows are clean and free of makeup. Use a cotton swab or clean mascara wand to wipe a small amount of castor oil over the eyebrows and massage the oil into the eyebrows. Avoid contact with eyes," recommends Friese. She likes Pure Body Naturals Castor Oil for Eyelashes and Eyebrows with Applicator Kit ($10).

When is the best time to use castor oil? "Before bed is a good time so that the thick oil can remain on the brows while you sleep, and you can wash it off in the morning and it will not affect your makeup application," says Friese.

Alternatives to Castor Oil for Brow Growth

We asked King to share a few alternatives for cultivating more robust brow hair.

Latisse: "The gold standard for lashes remains Latisse, and it is safe and effective for eyebrows as well," says King. "Its active ingredient is bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analog, which has been shown in clinical studies to make eyelashes grow longer, thicker, and darker. It works by lengthening the time the follicle stays in the growth phase." In some people, Latisse can cause irritation or a change in eye color. Additionally, "Latisse is pregnancy category C, meaning that it has caused adverse effects in animal studies but has not been tested in humans."Rogaine:"Another option would be Rogaine (minoxidil): One study looked at the efficacy of minoxidil three percent for eyebrows and compared it to Latisse in a 0.03 percent concentration," says King. "After 16 weeks, about 50 percent of participants saw hair regeneration nearly equally with both products. Based on this one study, Rogaine appears to modestly increase eyebrow growth and is comparable to Latisse.2"Researchers also concluded Rogaine was safe and effective for eyebrows in a placebo study.3That said, it does come with potential downsides. Along with irritation, "side effects from applying Rogaine to the eyebrow area include burning, dryness, itchiness, redness, and scaling," she notes. "Its also possible to inadvertently get the product on other parts of your face, [resulting] in increased hair growth in these areas, which may not be desirable."Over-the-counter products:"[Several] OTC cosmetic products are advertised to increase the length, fullness, and/or darkness of eyelashes and brows," says King. "These products contain various ingredients such as proprietary peptides, natural extracts, vitamins, and prostaglandin analogs. As cosmetics, the efficacy of these OTC products has not been critically evaluated, and their safety has not been fully studied. Most are applied to the skin of the upper eyelid margin, and the mechanisms by which they may affect eyelash growth are largely unknown and unproven. These products also vary in the quality and comprehensiveness of patient/consumer education regarding proper use."

The Final Takeaway

"Castor oil can be a safe and affordable and natural home remedy," says Friese. It may not be a miracle cure for over-plucked or naturally thin brows, but at the very least, it is moisturizing—and hey, maybe nightly application will beef up your brows. As with any new skincare regimen, start slow and monitor how your body reacts. When in doubt, check with a dermatologist before using, and discontinue immediately if you experience irritation, hair loss, or discomfort.

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Article Sources

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  1. Phong C, Lee V, Yale K, Sung C, Mesinkovska N. Coconut, castor, and argan oil for hair in skin of color patients: a systematic review. J Drugs Dermatol. 2022;21(7):751-757.
  2. Suwanchatchai W, Tanglertsampan C, Pengsalae N, Makornwattana M. Efficacy and safety of bimatoprost 0.03% versus minoxidil 3% in enhancement of eyebrows: a randomized, double-blind, split-face comparative study. J Dermatol. 2012;39(10):865-866.
  3. Lee S, Tanglertsampan C, Tanchotikul M, Worapunpong N. Minoxidil 2% lotion for eyebrow enhancement: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, spilt-face comparative study. J Dermatol. 2014;41(2):149-152.
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