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The web is full of claims that castor oil grows hair, from your eyebrows to your eyelashes and even the hair on your head. Is this nonsense, or does castor oil really induce hair growth? To find out, I put it to the test.

Around 15 years ago, when thin eyebrows were all the fashion, I had my eyebrows waxed a few times. I fully intended to keep on having my brows waxed regularly, because I simply wasn't very good with tweezers, but it turned out that there was no need: the waxed hairs simply didn't grow back. 

As you can see from my profile picture, I have almost-black brown hair. Despite my dark hair, my eyebrows became nearly completely invisible. That wasn't a problem while I was having my brows dyed at the salon every time I got my nails done, but then I moved to a country where dying your eyebrows apparently simply wasn't a "thing"; several beauticians offered to color my brows with hair dye, but made it clear that they had no specific brow dyes. Hair dye turned out to fade within days, making it a useless solution.

You've guessed it — I've been "drawing" my eyebrows on for the last decade or so, and it isn't a look I particularly enjoy, especially now that more bushy, natural eyebrows are all the rage. So, what can be done?

Now that seemingly everyone wants full eyebrows, it is possible to get eyebrow extensions, laser therapy to stimulate follicle growth, and even eyebrow transplants. (Before you think the latter is a wonderful solution, you may like to be aware that the hairs are transplanted from your head, and like the hairs on your head, they will keep on growing, and growing, and growing. This means you have to trim them regularly for the rest of your life. Not to mention that eyebrow transplants aren't exactly cheap.)

Is there no simpler, more natural, and less pricey option for those who want to grow their eyebrows? As it turns out, there might be — Google "grow eyebrows naturally", and you'll be offered 642,000 search results on how to do exactly that. Most of them recommend massaging castor oil into your brows every night. What's more, the same sites that claim castor oil can be used to induce eyebrow regrowth also tell you that thicker, more luscious eyelashes can be yours if you use castor oil. You can even, according to some, get a thicker head of hair or reduce male pattern boldness using castor oil. 

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Can you really induce hair growth using nothing more than a very modestly-priced bottle of castor oil, or are the claims nothing but nonsense?

What Is Castor Oil?

Obtained from the seeds of Ricinus communis, the castor oil plant, castor oil is a very thick colorless to pale yellow vegetable oil that has been used in herbal medicine for a very long time. Castor oil is used as a laxative, as a means to induce labor in post-term pregnant women by midwives, and to cure a variety of cysts. It's also incorporated in many allopathic medications, including the antifungal drug miconazole and the HIV drug Nelfinavir

In addition, castor oil is widely used as a food preservative, especially in South Asian countries, to repel mold, and in the Polyurethane industry as a coating agent. 

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