Beauty and charm, mysteries and tormented loves, a life always lived with the heart, this is the image consigned to the history of the great queen of Egypt Cleopatra. Her baths with donkey milk, her beauty masks with Nile clay and her aloe vera ointments are famous. But today we will reveal a new beauty secret of the wonderful Egyptian queen, castor oil! Cleopatra used this oil to remove make-up, to prepare hair compresses, as an anti-aging face mask and... for a slightly strange use. It seems, in fact, that Cleopatra used castor oil to make the whites of her eyes even brighter. Apart from this last use that, as well as being strange, is also quite dangerous as castor can irritate the eyes, we can once again draw inspiration from Cleopatra's secrets to take care of our beauty. So, all that remains is to close our eyes and imagine a woman, Cleopatra, wrapped in soft flowing linen robes, as she sits at her dressing table. Her fingers run over the alabaster jars while her nostrils capture the aromas of herbs and extracts, such as myrrh or saffron, which embellish the lotions. The woman finally finds what she is looking for, a precious vial that she opens, pouring a little of its contents into the palm of her hand. A dense, light yellow liquid comes out, castor oil! Today we too are Cleopatra, let's go into history and legend and see how to use castor oil.
Castor oil as a cosmetic, what science says
Castor oil is obtained by cold pressing the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, of the Euphorbiaceae family. This oil contains fatty acids, among which ricinoleic acid stands out, followed by stearic acid. Castor oil is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, therefore useful against acne. Not only that, given the high percentage of fatty acids, castor oil, if applied externally, makes the skin soft and smooth, as well as cleansed and hydrated (Goyal et al, Molecules, 2022). Castor oil can also be applied to the hair and scalp, hydrating the skin, combating dandruff and hair loss and giving shine to the hair (Goyal et al, Molecules, 2022 - Phong et al, J Drugs Dermatol, 2022). Finally, castor oil is also used for treatments in case of brittle nails (Verheyden et al, Cosmetics, 2017).
Castor oil, beauty recipes
As we explained in the previous paragraph, castor oil lends itself to many uses and applications on skin, hair and nails. Here are some ideas on how to use it. Remember that castor oil is very thick and therefore it is best mixed with other oils, such as jojoba oil. For the evening, you can prepare a serum by pouring 50 ml of jojoba oil into a small bottle, add two teaspoons of castor oil, mix. Here, the serum is ready, you can apply a couple of drops in the evening on a clean and slightly damp face, useful for both acne-prone skin and mature skin. Then, as we have seen, you can also use castor oil for hair masks. In a small bowl, mix a spoonful of coconut oil melted in a bain-marie and a teaspoon of castor oil. Apply to damp scalp and hair, leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with shampoo. Instead, for the health of nails that break, try, in the evening before going to sleep, applying a light layer of castor oil on the nails, put on protective gloves and leave it to act overnight. As regards the eye area, it is true that castor oil can be a make-up remover and a useful product for strengthening the eyelashes, as is often read, but it is also true that, with this use, if particular attention is not paid or you use too much product, it can run into your eyes and cause irritation. Therefore, for this delicate area, the advice is to avoid castor oil and opt for specific products.