Castor oil for eyelash growth: does it actually work?

Experts explain the facts around castor oil for eyelash growth, as well as dispelling some of the myths

close up of spoolie brushing castor oil for eyelash growth through eyelashes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Using castor oil for eyelash growth has long been touted as a method for getting long and luscious natural lashes. But whether it actually causes your lashes to grow, or is something that you should try for yourself, is less of a clear-cut answer. 

While mascara can go a long way in making our lashes look longer temporarily, many of us wonder if there are ways we can make our natural lashes grow stronger and longer to resemble the kind you'd see on a beauty commercial. Castor oil is found in some of the best eyelash growth serums and many mascaras, so clearly, there is something in applying it to your lashes.

To get to the bottom of the castor oil conundrum, we spoke to a couple of the industry’s leading lash experts to provide you with an in-depth guide to how it works and to help you decide if it’s something you should try. 

Castor oil for eyelash growth, explained by the experts

Does castor oil make your eyelashes grow?

Despite the two often being linked, there’s actually no scientific proof that castor oil actually causes your eyelashes to grow longer. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial to them in any way. As makeup artist and eponymous brand founder Trish McEvoy notes, it’s "very good for conditioning and strengthening the lashes". If you're wondering are eyelash extensions bad for your eyes and want to focus on keeping your natural lashes healthy, castor oil can do just that.

Nima Pourian, lash specialist and founder of UKLASH, adds: "Castor oil, like many other oils, can help to keep the eyelashes moisturized which, in turn, can then help your natural eyelashes last longer, as dry eyelashes are a common reason for lash fall-out." Expect to start reaping the conditioning benefits after around two to three weeks of use. 

How is castor oil linked to eyelash growth?

As with other so-called growth-boosting oils, such as mustard oil for hair, there's no proven causal relationship between castor oil and eyelash growth. However, healthier and stronger lashes are far less likely to prematurely fall out or break and, therefore, are likely to grow longer. It's much the same theory as using scalp oil for hair growth, you are creating the conditions for healthy growth rather than directly stimulating new hairs to grow. 

“As with brows, castor oil can help to protect the hairs from breakage and promote growth,” celebrity brow and lash expert Shavata Singh explains. “The oil contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that can repair follicles and condition the lashes. It also contains ricinoleic acid, otherwise known as omega-9 fatty acid, which can help to thicken the lashes and promote growth.” This means it's also a good idea to use castor oil as a reparative treatment after having lash enhancements, such as hybrid lash extensions, as these can compromise the quality of your natural lash. 

How to use castor oil on eyelashes

Want to give castor oil for eyelash growth a go? It goes without saying that it's important to apply castor oil carefully to your lashes to avoid getting it in your eye and causing any irritation. 

"It’s best to brush it onto the eyelid at the base of the roots, using a clean mascara wand, and leave it on overnight, removing it the next morning," McEvoy advises. You could also use a teeny tiny eye makeup brush, similar to those you might use to apply your best eyeliner, provided that it's completely clean. 

As with any new ingredient or product that you're hoping to introduce to your beauty routine, you should also do a patch test 24-48 hours before applying castor oil to your lashes to check for any adverse reaction. If nothing pops up within that time, you should be good to go!

Our beauty editor recommends...


Pukka Herbs Castor Oil | RRP: $12 / £8.50
Cold-pressed, 100% organic and cruelty-free, this great value bottle of castor oil will last for months. 


Beauty Bay Spoolies| RRP: $4 / £3 for 4
Cleanly and quickly apply castor oil for eyelash growth with these eco-friendly reusable bamboo spoolies. 

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.