|What is it?
|A thick, glossy oil pressed from castor beans.
|A clear, viscous oil.
|Thick, viscous, and pretty sticky (for an oil, at least).
|Nothing terribly noticeable—a bit “oil”-like.
|Why do we use it in formulations?
|In soap, castor oil (USA / Canada) adds an amazing rich, bubbly lather in low percentages (5–20%). In lip products like glosses or lipsticks, it adds a bit of a glossy sheen. In cleansers it helps amp up the cleansing power and pull gunk out of your pores. Applied neat (or close to it), it helps boost hair growth over time. In the Oil Cleansing Method it is the primary cleansing oil—it’s so potent that using more than 20% can be very drying!
|Do you need it?
|I’d say so! It’s inexpensive and has lots of uses, though if you aren’t making soap or lip gloss you can likely get away without it.
|Refined or unrefined?
|It doesn’t really matter, I usually choose whichever is cheaper.
|It’s a rare thick, glossy oil and impossible to replace in soap.
|It can make products sticky if you use a lot of it.
|Alternatives & Substitutions
|None, really—it’s pretty darn unique. You might be able to get away with using another slow-to-absorb oil like oat or avocado in lip gloss, but in cleansers and soap it has to be castor oil (USA / Canada)
|How to Work with It
|Include it in recipes as called for—I don’t recommend adding extra unless you’re looking for and extra thick/glossy/potentially sticky final product.
|Storage & Shelf Life
|Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, castor oil (USA / Canada) should last up to two years.
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks
|Try combing some through sparse eyebrows or lashes to help them thicken up.
|Recommended starter amount
|100mL (3.3fl oz)
|Where to Buy it
|Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.