Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2017
*I bought this to use on my brows and lashes, so my review will pertain to that.*
Various things can lead to loss or thinning of your brows and/or lashes: genetics, pregnancy, certain diseases, over-plucking, you're the Mona Lisa or Whoopie Goldberg, or - in my case - just simply getting older. Naturally, there are products out there that supposedly help regrow lashes and/or brows; products that range between $20-$200. But regardless of price, you know what the main ingredient is in those products? Yep, castor oil. Personally, I'm not going to pay even 20 bucks, let alone 200, for something I can get for much less. Especially if I don't know for sure if it'll work. But I'll gladly spend $9 plus free shipping to find out if it does.
Of course you're wondering, "Well? Did it work?" Let me back you up a bit. Here's how you're supposed to use it. After washing your face at night, use a clean spooly brush to coat your brows and lashes. Leave it on overnight, wash it off when you wash your face again in the morning. Easy, right? Sure, until you realize you need a more convenient way to store the castor oil than the big bottle it comes in, because you don't want to risk contaminating or spilling it. Also, not all of us have an extra spooly brush just laying around to dedicate to this use. Thankfully, those things are easy to overcome. As for storing the oil, I poured a small amount in a shot glass and put the shot glass in a Ziploc bag, keeping it clean and secure. The rest of the oil is stored in a cabinet. And you can pick up a good quality spooly brush from Target or Walmart. I like the brushes from e.l.f. Their spooly costs $2.
The first night, after washing, toning, serum-ing, but before moisturizing my face, I dipped my brush in the shot glass, scraped the excess oil off on the edge, then applied the oil liberally to my brows; sparingly to my lashes since I didn't know if it would irritate my eyes if the oil got in them. I then moisturized the rest of my face and went to bed. Thankfully, I sleep mostly on my back, sometimes on my side. If you're a front sleeper...well, I dunno what to tell you except you'll end up with oil all over your pillows.
Next morning, I washed my face. And OMG! My brows and my lashes looked fuller and thicker! I'm not kidding!! I stood there staring in the mirror in shock! How the...??
Then I thought about it. Just like quality hair conditioner, castor oil is full of vitamins and EFAs, the stuff that nourishes your hair, gives it fullness and shine. And while we condition our hair regularly (I do, at least, since I have thick, curly, course, multi-racial hair) we don't condition our brows or eyelashes. In fact, we strip them of natural oils every time we wash our faces. And the lotions and moisturizers we use on our faces aren't designed to also nourish the hair on our faces. The castor oil infused my brows and lashes with EFAs, causing each hair to sort of plump up, making them look fuller and thicker. So much so, that when I did my face, the usual light coating of mascara I use made it look like I had false eyelashes on. And my brows didn't need as much filling in with brow powder as usual. And that was after just one application of castor oil.
Now, while it definitely made my brows and lashes fuller and thicker, it doesn't answer the question, does it actuality regrow them? I will hazard a guess though. If it's just a matter of kick-starting lazy hair follicles, I think it's possible the nutrients in castor oil can do that. In time. However, if the follicles have been damaged somehow (i.e., I have a scar that runs through the end of my left eyebrow, been there for decades) then I doubt it. I mean, damaged follicles aren't magically fixed by anything. Also, if your brows/lashes have thinned due to disease or medication due to disease, it's equally doubtful, except in cases such as cancer/chemotherapy, where it's possible for hair to grow back after. But again, it would be AFTER the disease/medication has run its course.
All that said, I purchased and used this castor oil on my brows and lashes in hopes of improving how they look, wanting them to appear fuller and thicker, and was completely successful in that. I'll be continuing to use it regularly. If it also causes the hair to regrow in that scar of mine, I'll be thrilled!!
Oh! I forgot to add, it did not sting or irritate my eyes - beyond feeling a little weird - when the oil got in them on the third night I used it. Tells me there really aren't any chemicals or additives in this product. One caveat though, my order arrived in a bubble envelope, but without any additional padding or protection. Many other reviewers complained that their bottles cracked and/or leaked during shipping. I can totally see how that might happen. It's a valid drawback to ordering stuff like this online.
UPDATE (many months later): It actually has helped the follicles in that scar through my eyebrow to grow hair again! It's not completely filled in, but it's getting there. 😊
Now, here's something else to know about using castor oil for brows and lashes: just like with the hair on your head, if you stop conditioning it, giving it the nutrients and EFAs it needs to look full and healthy, it will begin to go back to how it looked before. So consistency is key. I stopped using the castor oil for awhile and my brows went right back to looking thin and sparse. But soon as began using it again, they became fuller, thicker, and healthier.
And yes, my scar is getting less noticeable every day.