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Ricinus Communis Seed Oil

Ricinus Communis Seed Oil

Also-called-like-this: Castor Oil
What-it-does: emollient, perfuming
Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 0-1

Details

Castor oil is sourced from the castor bean plant native to tropical areas in Eastern Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. It is an age-old ingredient (it’s over 4,000 years old!) with many uses including as a shoe polish, food additive and motor lubricant. You would be reasonable to think that putting shoe polish on your face wouldn’t be the best idea, but it turns out castor oil has some unique properties that make it a stalwart in thick and gloss-giving formulas (think lipsticks and highlighters).

So what is so special about it? The answer is its main fatty acid, called ricinoleic acid (85-95%).  Unlike other fatty acids, ricinoleic acid has an extra water-loving part (aka -OH group) on its fatty chain that gives Castor Oil several unique properties. First, it is thicker than other oils, then its solubility is different (e.g. dissolves in alcohol but not in mineral oil), and it allows all kinds of chemical modifications other oils do not, hence the lots of Castor oil-derived ingredients. It is also more glossy than other oils, in fact, it creates the highest gloss of all natural oils when applied to the skin. Other than that, it is a very effective emollient and occlusive that reduces skin moisture loss so it is quite common in smaller amounts in moisturizers. 

While it is very unlikely (and this is true for pretty much every ingredient), cases of reactions to castor oil have been reported, so if your skin is sensitive, it never hurts to patch test. 

Show me some proof

  • A. Dweck, “Use of Botanicals in Cosmetics” in Harry’s Cosmeticology, 8th ed., Ed. M.M. Rieger, Chemical Publishing: New York, NY, USA (2000).
  • “Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Ricinoleate, Glyceryl Ricinoleate SE, Ricinoleic Acid, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Zinc Ricinoleate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Ethyl Ricinoleate, Glycol Ricinoleate, Isopropyl Ricinoleate, Methyl Ricinoleate, and Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate.” International Journal of Toxicology, vol. 26, no. 3_suppl, May 2007, pp. 31–77.
  • Pascoe, David, et al. “Emergent and Unusual Allergens in Cosmetics. [Review].” Dermatitis, vol. 21, no. 3, June 2010, pp. 127–37. Journals@Ovid

Products with Ricinus Communis Seed Oil

AMAZING COSMETICS Hydrate Concealer Absolute New York Intense Lip Polish Aesop Protective Lip Balm SPF30 Akar skin Pure Lip Restoration Akar skin Ruby Lip Restoration Akuna Castor Makeup Eraser Balm Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly Alterra Classic Lippenpflege Alterra Day 'n' Night Lip Mask Honeybee Alterra Day 'n' Night Lip Mask Strawberry Alterra Hello Magnolia Lip Oil Alterra Lip Balm Alterra Lippenbalsam Bio-Minze Alterra Lippenöl Bio-Erdbeere Alterra Lippenöl Bio-Himbeere Alterra Lippenöl Intensive Pflege Alterra Nagelöl Bio-Magnolia Anne Pampering Rose & Oud Oil Antipodes Lipstick Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil Ashley & Co Lip Punch Aveda Feed My Lips™ Pure Nourish-mint™ Lip Gloss Aveda Feed My Lips™ Pure Nourish-mint™ Lip Treatment Aveda Feed My Lips™ Pure Nourish-mint™ Lipstick Aveda Lip Saver™ Avene Cold Cream Lip Butter Avene Cold Cream Lip Cream Avene Spf 30 Lip Balm BOSCIA Cherry Blossom & Bakuchiol Resurfacing Lip Repair Babylove Sensitive Sonnenstick Lsf 50+ Baims Batom Lipstick Balea Hautrein Pickel Abdeckstift Balea Lippen Pflege Peeling Hanf & Banane Balea Lippen Pflege Rosé Balea Lippenpflege Peeling Cocos Balea DM Cover Stick (no 10) Balea DM Med Lip Balm Ultra Sensitive Balea Med Ultra Sensitive Lippen Pflege Beauty Bay Hydrating Lip SOS Mask With Castor Oil And Borage Seed Oil Beauty Kitchen Natruline Natural Lip Treatment Beauty Made Easy Love U Summer Lip Balm SPF 15 Beauty Made Easy Natural Lip Balm Raspberry Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm Beauty Pie Superluminous Genius Eye Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector Bell HYPOAllergenic Rich Creamy Lipstick Benefit Boi-ing Hydrating Concealer Bepanthol Lipstick Bite Beauty Agave + Nighttime Lip Therapy Bite Beauty Creamy Matte Lip Crayon