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The Easiest Way to Make Your Lashes Healthier

Brigitt Earley
Photo credit: Solstizia

From Oprah Magazine

If you recently tried to remove your extensions at home, those once full and luscious lashes are probably looking a bit stubby and thin. The quickest way to spiff 'em up is to swipe on some volumizing mascara, but if you're on the hunt for a more long-term solution, besides a growth serum, there's a drugstore product that might just do the trick: castor oil.

"One of the best oils for eyelash growth is castor oil," says Dr. Manish Shah, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Denver. But what exactly is castor oil? And how does it help facilitate growth? This oil, which is derived from the bean of the castor tree, is both safe to use and extremely moisturizing due to its high concentration of fatty acids and vitamin E, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

Castor oil is not an overnight solution, but there are benefits.

This nourishing oil is a completely safe way to make your natural lashes healthier, fuller, and more voluminous, but it might not necessarily lengthen them, says Jaliman.

Scientific evidence examining castor oil's effect on eyelash growth is minimal, adds Shah. The overall premise, though? It coats the lash hairs to thicken and seal the shafts to prevent dehydration, which can ultimately lead to breakage. Additionally, castor oil contains ricinoleic acid—something that's been shown to reduce the effects of proteins in our bodies associated with hair loss, says Shah.

So just how long does it take to see results?

With regular use, lashes should have less breakage and have more luster in two to three weeks, says Dr. Sonia Batra, a board-certified dermatologist and co-host of The Doctors. For maximum results, you'll have to be more patient, though—it can take as long as a few months, cautions Shah.

For safety and efficacy, choose product carefully.

Castor oil comes in two varieties, a clear oil and a darker Jamaican black oil. Both are safe to use near the eyes, but the product you choose should be certified organic, cold-pressed, and hexane free, says Jaliman.

Application is as easy as 1,2, 3.

Castor oil can be irritating if it drips into the eyes, says Batra. And, rarely—as with any product—it can trigger a skin allergy. If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test prior to the first application: Put a small amount to the jawline for five nights to test for a reaction.

Once you're ready to go full steam ahead, apply it the way you would a lash serum. Grab a clean spoolie or cotton swab before bed. Dip it in the castor oil, then swipe a small amount of oil along your lash line, starting at the base of your lashes. Let sit overnight; wash off with warm water in the morning. For best results, do this daily.

Bonus: Try it on other areas of your body, too.

Castor oil can help any hair growth whether it's your eyelashes, eyebrows, or your tresses, says Jaliman. Massage it on your eyebrows to stimulate the hair follicles for fuller, healthier brows. Alternatively, the occasional castor oil DIY hair mask can treat dry scalp and dandruff.

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