Chicago, IL

Castor Oil: The Miracle Worker in the Back of Your Cabinet

Sherry McGuinn

It's not just for BMs, anymore

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yebrows and lashes are a thing these days, no? Especially since they’re the focal point of our faces, what with masks and all.

Our eyes are the “windows to our souls” more than ever, so I thought, instead of my usual rants and the darker material that many readers have come to expect from me, the topic of “natural beauty” popped into my feverish brain and I figured, “Why not?”

When it comes to health and beauty, I like to use products that are as natural and chemical-free as possible. Oh, like everyone else, I sometimes fall prey to glitzy packaging and product descriptions with such adjectives as “glowing” and “radiant” but for the most part, I try not to slather myself in a lot of crapola.

Considering that no one except my husband and from time to time my sister, really sees me, my beauty routine has scaled down considerably. But I do like to feel good in my own skin and for me, that means, smooth and refreshed. And yes, “glowing.”

The same goes for my hair. I’m a wash and air-dry type of gal. No blow-dryers for my wavy, virgin, and somewhat fragile locks. A little mousse or spritz of volumizing spray and I’m good to go.

I became interested in castor oil when I read how African American women use it to moisturize their hair and stimulate growth. And, after experimenting with the sticky stuff, I found out that it’s legit!

Historically, castor oil has been used to treat constipation. Frankly, I’ve never given that a whirl as I prefer my “Smooth Move” tea, if I’m in a bind, so to speak.

But the goo in the unassuming bottle has a lot more going for it.

For example, castor oil plumps up your skin and stimulates hair growth. Why? Because it contains ricinoleic acid and omega 6 essential fatty acids, both of which get the blood circulating to your scalp.

Castor oil is anti-viral, as well, which makes it ideal for eliminating dandruff and filling in those pesky bald patches many of us experience as we age.

A few years ago, I noticed that my once-perfect eyebrows were thinning out. After reading about castor oil’s purported benefits for growing thicker, more lustrous locks, I decided to try it on my eyebrows and lashes.

Bam! My eyebrows are now back to their glory days and my eyelashes are longer than ever. In other words, castor oil works.

And I found an easy way to apply it: I found an organic castor oil on Amazon that comes in a roll-on bottle. Every night I roll it on my brows and eyelids. No mess and it goes exactly where you want it.

For my hair, I use Jamaican Black Castor oil a couple of times a week. I slather my hair and scalp with it, slap on a plastic cap and let it sit for a few hours. Then I wash and condition my hair. (The stuff is surprisingly easy to wash out, by the way.)

You may be wondering what the difference is between Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the regular version. Other than the most obvious difference, which is the color, the Jamaican version is heat-processed.

According to naturalhairrules.com, both yellow castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil are made from the castor bean, but yellow, or “plain” castor oil is cold-pressed, meaning it’s made by pressing fresh castor beans. So no heat is used during processing.

When no heat is involved, there is a lower risk of degrading the oil. With Jamaican black castor oil, the bean is roasted, first, resulting in a darker color and to me, a somewhat pleasant, “burnt” smell from the ash of the roasted castor beans. This is how those savvy Jamaicans do it.

Apparently, the ash found in the castor oil produced in Jamaica, results in a higher pH (alkaline) product that is believed to have more clarifying properties. And it is also believed that alkaline pH levels can help open cuticles.

All that said, any castor oil you choose, whether it be JBCO or the kind you can pick up at your drugstore, will work. (By the way, if you’d like to try this one, the oil produced in Jamaica is readily available online and in many stores.)

From stylesalute.com, there are ten solid reasons castor oil deserves a spot in your health and beauty regimen:

Moisturizes skin
Tames frizzy hair
Enhances and maintains hair color
Reduces the appearance of stretch marks
Soothes razor burns (men, listen up)
Makes brows and lashes longer and fuller
Soothes sunburn
Relieves joint pain when used as a massage oil

And yes…castor oil helps you “go,” but we won’t get into that. To top it off, it’s dirt cheap.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I hope I’ve encouraged you to give this multi-use, easy-to-find oil a shot. With all the extra time we now have on our hands, “self-care” doesn’t have to be an afterthought. Nor should it be.

Try castor oil and yeah, you might say I’m a “stickler” for the stuff.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.

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My goal is to educate, entertain, make you laugh, and above all, make you think. I will be running the gamut as far as my articles go because I have a restless mind and I allow it to ramble where and when it wants. I hope you enjoy what I'm looking forward to sharing with you. If so, I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL
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