Antibacterial, conditioning and soothing
Castor oil is derived from the seed of the Ricinus communis plant. It is antibacterial, well tolerated by the skin and used as carrier oil. It is also a conditioning and soothing agent for hair and skin.
Castor oil has been used medicinally around the world for 4,000 years and is featured in Indian and Chinese herbalism. It was used to treat skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, and also burns, cuts or acne.
Mixed with sodium hydroxide along with other vegetable oils, it creates a thick and stable soap base that will be embellished with fresh ingredients, perfumes and vibrant colours.
The evergreen castor bean shrub is considered native to eastern Africa. However, Lush buy the oil from a supplier who works with a network of 830 organic growers in the Kutch region of India. It is produced by cold-pressing the seeds and goes through a clarification process by heating before use. The oil is a colourless, odourless and tasteless pale yellow liquid.
The oil is mainly made up of ricinoleic acid and undecylenic acid. In 1961, in the Journal of American Oil Chemists’ Society, A.F. Novak documented the antimicrobial properties of the two main derivatives of castor oil: ricinoleic and oleic acids. He found that these two substances were superior in their activity against several species of bacteria, yeasts and moulds.