How to Use Castor Oil for Skin: Easy DIY Recipes

woman squeezes castor oil into brown glass jar for skin moisture

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Castor oil is a superstar of the clean beauty industry because it is rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamin E, and unsaturated fatty acids. It also absorbs easily and repels water, which makes it very efficient at locking moisture in the skin.

At home, you can use castor oil in a variety of applications, including facial cleansers, moisturizing serums, body scrubs, and massage oils.

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is made by crushing the beans of the Ricinus communis plant and extracting the oil that's inside. The product is relatively thick, compared to other vegetable oils, and it has a warm, yellow color to it.

Castor oil is very stable, so it has a long shelf life, and it stays liquid at both high and low temperatures, making it useful in beauty products as its consistency is dependable.

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Castor Oil Facial Cleanser and Makeup Remover

woman uses green washcloth to wipe face after cleansing with castor oil

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Since castor oil is very thick, when using it on your face you'll want to dilute it with another lighter oil.

To create an oil cleanser, mix a tablespoon of castor oil with a tablespoon of grapeseed or sweet almond oil.

To remove makeup, use your fingers to spread the oil mixture over your face, working as much as you need into your skin. Be generous, but try not to let it get drippy.

Then, using the moist corner of a washcloth or organic cotton makeup remover pad, sweep it over your skin. Repeat this process until all the makeup is gone and the washcloth or pad comes away clean.

Oil cleansing should remove all the dirt and makeup from your skin. You can then wash your face if you'd like to, or skip right to toning and moisturizing.

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Castor Oil Nighttime Facial Serum

woman applies homemade nighttime serum with glass dropper to side of face

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic


  • 1 tablespoon argan oil
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 1 teaspoon rosehip seed oil
  • Geranium essential oil


To create a simple and highly moisturizing facial serum, mix argan oil, castor oil, and rosehip seed oil in a small container and shake well.

Add a couple of drops of geranium essential oil and mix again for a light, fresh scent.

Massage serum into facial skin after cleansing and toning before bed.

Since this is a heavier serum, it's best for nighttime use as it may be too heavy during the day or under makeup.

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Sugar Body Scrub With Castor Oil

hand uses glass dropper bottle full of castor oil to add to brown sugar for diy body scrub

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Those pricy sugar body scrubs are easy to make at home with castor oil and a couple more ingredients.

Fill a pint-sized mason jar or another container with a cup of plain white granulated sugar (or, if you have it in the cabinet, you can use brown sugar—just don't use powdered sugar).

Then, slowly add 1/4 cup of castor oil and mix it into the sugar as you add it. This should be enough to saturate the cup of white sugar, but if you want it to be more liquid, you can always add more oil. If you want it a bit "dryer" use less oil (or add a bit more sugar).

When you have the consistency you want, add your favorite essential oils to the mix. Orange or lemon are uplifting, and lavender or ylang-ylang will be more relaxing.

Make sure to keep a cover on your sugar mix—if water gets into the jar in the shower it will just dissolve the sugar and you'll be left with a sweet, oily liquid mess.

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Simple Relaxing Massage Oil

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic


  • 3 tablespoons castor oil
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Bergamot essential oil
  • Chamomile essential oil


You can make a calming massage oil for tight shoulders and a sore neck by simply combining castor oil with 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil, 3-4 drops of bergamot essential oil, and 3-4 drops of chamomile essential oil. Mix together in a bottle and shake well.

To use, rub a few drops of the aromatic oil between your hands and apply to shoulders and neck to ease tension before going to sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is castor oil comedogenic?

    On the comedogenic scale, which ranges from zero to five, castor oil is rated one. It poses a slight risk of clogging pores and is best when used on oily and mature skin types.

  • How do you know which castor oil is sustainable?

    Castor oil is completely natural and biodegradable, but the Ricinus communis plant is sometimes treated with chemical pesticides that contaminate the air, soil, and water. Make sure you're buying sustainable castor oil by buying organic and non-GMO.

View Article Sources
  1. Patel, Vinay R., et al. "Castor Oil: Properties, Uses, and Optimization of Processing Parameters in Commercial Production." Lipid Insights, vol. 9, 2016, pp. 1-12., doi:10.4137/LPI.S40233