Castor Oil for Hair Growth? Maybe. Castor Oil for Beard & Face? Meh!

Black man with healthy beard reading a book

Derrick has always been meticulous about his skin and the products he uses. And when he decided to grow his beard, he chose to go with natural beard care products, including the popular SheaMoisture Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Beard Balm. 

However, one day he noticed tiny, itchy red bumps on the skin underneath his beard after using beard balm. It was a recurring problem, and he didn’t know the cause of the beard itch or bumps

After speaking to us, we asked, “What’s in your beard balm and beard products.” Upon a quick search of SheaMoisture Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Beard Balm, the first ingredients on the list — Ricinus Communis Seed Oil or castor oil — raised immediate concern. 

While castor oil is popular for hair and skin care products, it’s also notorious for causing skin irritation, especially on the face. Fortunately, Derrick switched to our 100% natural Citrus Crush Beard Oil and Citrus Crush Beard Balm made with premium ingredients. Since making the switch, he has enjoyed healthier skin and beard growth. 

Let’s take a closer look at castor oil to learn why you should steer clear of this common cosmetic ingredient. 

Need help deciding which product is best for you? Take a quick quiz for personalized suggestions based on your unique hair, skin, and beard goals

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil and seeds of the castor plant

Castor oil is a prevalent multipurpose vegetable oil that was once used by Ancient Egyptians to ignite their lamps. Today, castor oil is a very cost-effective solution used by several makeup and skincare brands as a moisturizer. 

Does Castor Oil Contain Ricin?

Yes, castor oil does contain ricin, which is a very dangerous enzyme. It’s manufactured by extracting oil from the seed of the Ricinus communis plant. Fortunately, the ricin is deactivated during the manufacturing process. 

Is Castor Oil a Natural Moisturizer?

All natural skin care moisturizers with aloe, shea butter, tumeric, natural oils

Castor oil is loaded with ricinoleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that can moisturize your skin. These fatty acids double as humectants, which help your skin retain moisture by preventing moisture loss from the top skin layer. 

Is Castor Oil Safe for Skin Care Products?

Castor oil is believed to have significant moisturizing, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and a host of other useful properties. Although castor oil offers a host of promising benefits, it's important to understand that all scientific evidence about these claims is inconclusive. And most of the evidence is more anecdotal than scientific. In other words, these studies are more about one instance instead of a wide-ranging expanse of accurate data. 

While castor oil can be safe for some people, it is known to cause allergic reactions, especially when it's applied to sensitive areas, such as the skin, face, and beard areas. These allergic reactions can include:

  • Itching
  • Swelling 
  • Skin rashes, such as tiny red bumps

Should I Use Castor Oil If I Have Sensitive Skin?

Black woman with natural curly hair scratching her arm from castor oil irritations.

If you have sensitive skin, you should be cautious about castor oil. In addition to itching, swelling, and rashes, some individuals have reported hive outbreaks. While the International Journal of Toxicology reports that castor oil is considered safe, animal studies have shown it to be severely irritating when exposed to the skin. 

Is Castor Oil Safe for the Beard?

White man touching beard that has been conditioned with beard oil

The skin on your face and chest is significantly more sensitive and thinner than the skin on the rest of your body. Because of this, your face requires products that are non-stripping and gentle. And while castor oil is generally good for Type 3 and Type 4 natural hair, it may not be good for your face. 

Why Is Castor Oil Not Good for Skin, Face, and Beard?

Even though castor oil is non-comedogenic by most measures, it is extremely thick. And this means it can potentially clog your pores. Once this happens, it can exasperate acne outbreaks. In some cases, this oily layer on your face will attract grime and sweat, which is never a good idea. Because of this, those with dermatitis or sensitive skin should avoid using castor oil or castor oil-based products on the beard and face. Instead, look for natural beard products made with jojoba oil, rosehip oil, and other light oils that can provide the benefits of castor oil without the potential downsides. 

Is Jamaican Black Castor Oil Good for Hair? 

Whether you have high porosity or low porosity hair, Jamaican Black Castor Oil is believed to offer a host of benefits for hair, such as:

Jamaican Black Castor Oil is denser and thicker than other types of castor oil. It’s believed to help healthy hair growth by supplying key nutrients to hair follicles and increasing blood flow to the scalp. 

Does Castor Oil Grow Hair? 

While castor oil is good for your hair, there is little to no scientific evidence that suggests castor oil will grow hair. According to the cosmetic chemist and author of Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry, Perry Romanowski, there is no scientific theory or evidence that castor oil will grow your hair. He continues "'s a total myth." However, the ricinoleic acid found in castor oil can improve circulation and may promote stronger and healthier hair. 

Shop Premium, All Natural Products That Are Safe for the Hair, Face, Beard & Body

Two happy black women with natural hair smiling

We get it — castor oil is a very popular skincare additive. In addition to its long list of reported benefits, castor oil is extremely cheap. And this may be one of the reasons so many skin care lines use castor oil in their products. 

However, at Butter by Q, we manufacture 100% natural, plant-based products for those with sensitive skin, dermatitis, or those who just want the best products and ingredients. Instead of using cheaper oils like castor oil, we spare no expense and opt for premium oils like jojoba oil and rosehip oil. At Butter by Q, we only use the best 100% natural ingredients Mother Nature has to offer because you deserve nothing less. 

Shop all Butter by Q products today

Need help deciding which product is best for you? Take a quick quiz for personalized suggestions based on your unique hair, skin, and beard goals