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Castor Seed

castor seeds

What is castor seed?

The castor seed or bean comes from the tropical shrub sometimes known as Christ's Palm, or, Palma Christi. The fruits of the plant are poisonous if eaten but the seeds can provide many skincare benefits.

You'll often find castor seed oil or sodium castorate in cleansing products. It's a very stable oil in natural beauty formulations because it never congeals and cannot freeze so can withstand temperature variations. 

Where does castor seed come from and how is it processed? 

Palma Christi is a plant that's native to the African tropics. The hotter the environment, the bigger the seeds. Once picked, the seeds are left to dry out and open up before being cold pressed. 

Sometimes solvents are used in mass production. Generally castor oil is clear but it can appear darker if it has been boiled in water. This is a technique that originates in the West Indies and is called black castor oil. 

How is castor seed used in natural skincare?

Extracts from castor seeds come in different forms in natural beauty products:

  • Castor seed oil: a natural ingredient which is the oil from cold pressed castor seeds
  • Sodium castorate: a naturally derived ingredient which is the sodium salt of the fatty acids derived from castor oil

What are the benefits of castor seed in natural beauty products?

Castor seed oil has a high ricinoleic acid content which helps to reduce inflammation. It's also packed with natural vitamin E to help maintain healthy skin and hair. 

Castor oil is a carrier oil because it can be easily absorbed into the skin as well help other ingredients penetrate deeper. Castor oil can be suited to many skin types as it's very gentle and rarely linked to allergic reactions, however, in some cases it can cause dermatitis.

In natural haircare products, castor seed can help smooth the hair shaft. 

INCI Names

Ricinus Communis Seed Oil

Shop the ingredient

Sources
Winter, Ruth. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, 7th Edition (p. 472). Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. Kindle Edition.  
Milady Skincare and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary 4th Edition; M. Varinia Michalun, Joseph C. Dinardo
An Atlas of Natural Beauty: Botanical ingredients for retaining and enhancing beauty L'Officine Universelle Buly
Whilst we hope the pages are informative it’s important to remember we’re organic beauty enthusiasts not scientists so the information is detailed here to the best of our knowledge or research we have conducted from third parties.  Whilst we are continually updating our content based on new research, it may not always be up to date and as such it is the readers’ responsibility to conduct their own research in order to independently verify the information and make an informed decision on their beauty regime/lifestyle. Any opinion expressed on the efficacy of a product is based on tests performed by our team. As everyone has different skin types and concerns, please be advised that what works for them might not work for you but we try to give as much subjective information as possible which we hope you will find useful. If in any doubt, please consult a medical professional.