If you're a devout Cosmo reader (and, um, you should be), you already know all about the benefits of using castor oil for your hair to make it extra hydrated and strong. But what about your eyelashes? Castor oil has long been rumored to be a miracle DIY conditioning lash serum and even an eyelash growth treatment, but how effective is it at actually making your eyelashes grow longer?
Look, I've already got a pretty extensive bedtime routine that includes double cleansing and flossing, so before throw another step into that process (and it's a process, lemme tell ya), I need to know for sure that it's worth my time. So I turned to Ilyse Haberman, MD, an ophthalmologist at NYU Langone Health, to give me the low-down on applying castor oil to your eyelashes.
Does castor oil really make your eyelashes grow?
Let's cut to the good stuff: Does castor oil work or not? "Castor oil moisturizes your eyelashes and can make them appear thicker and have more luster," Dr. Haberman explains. "It's also possible that it can help prevent lash breakage which, in turn, can lead to healthier growth." Buuuut castor oil is not going to change your life.
"There is no evidence that conclusively demonstrates that castor oil causes eyelashes to actually grow," she says. Cue the disappointment. But Dr. Haberman does add that some studies suggest that castor oil may reverse hair loss, which means it might, possibly, maybe could help your current lashes stick around longer before falling out. But, again, no real evidence here.
Is castor oil safe for eyelashes?
In general, yes, castor oil is safe, according to Dr. Haberman. But here's the thing: Because you're putting it so close to your eye, you still need to be super careful. Not only could you have an allergic skin reaction to the castor oil, but Dr. Haberman says it could also cause eyeball irritation, so it's v. important that you don't get it in your eye. And always, always test a product first on your neck below your ear before using it near your eyelids.
How do I apply castor oil to my eyelashes?
If you've accepted the fact that castor oil won't work to grow your lashes, but you still want to try it out for conditioning purposes, here's how to do it: Grab a clean spoolie or a Q-tip and swipe a very small amount of oil along your lash line (again, being careful not to get it in your eye). Do it before bed, then remove it in the morning with warm water when you wash your face.
Is castor oil better than lash serum?
So what's the final verdict? Should you go with an eyelash serum or swap it out for a bottle of castor oil? Well, that's up to you. If you're looking for actual eyelash growth, stick with Latisse (the only lash growth serum that's been approved by the FDA), but if you're looking to condition your existing lashes and keep them healthy, give castor oil a try—but only if you promise you'll be careful not to get it in your eye. Or, you know, get your hopes up.
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