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Huile de ricin et poux.

Castor oil, a natural method to get rid of lice?

A renowned ingredient in hair and skin care, the benefits of castor oil are well established. Hydrating, antioxidant, stimulating hair growth... To these various qualities, some people add the ability to combat head lice. Learn more in this article.

Published February 14, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What is vegetable castor oil?

The use of castor oil dates back to ancient Egypt, around 4,000 years BC. It was then used as fuel for oil lamps but also for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes, as it exhibited laxative and makeup removing properties. In India, its use was also widespread to soothe arthritis, according to Ayurvedic medicine. Considered as a vegetable oil to always have on hand, castor oil is a fairly viscous and thick liquid extracted by cold pressing the seeds of the common castor. The numerous benefits it brings to the skin and hair make it a key ingredient in several cosmetic treatments under the INCI name Ricinus Communis Seed Oil.

Castor oil is particularly acclaimed for its moisturising, nourishing, and antioxidant properties, both for hair and skin. Its use as a hair treatment helps to strengthen hair, as well as stimulate its growth. It also protects the skin by reinforcing the hydrolipidic film on its surface. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are also attributed to it, explaining why castor oil is also used to soothe irritations and eliminate dandruff.

Castor Oil: A remedy against lice?

Today, there is not enough scientific research that has studied the effect of castor oil on lice to be able to comment on its effectiveness against these parasites. Only a few testimonials from people who have used castor oil in synergy with other oils, essential or vegetable, to fight against lice and claim to have achieved results exist.

Regarding the mechanism of action of castor oil against these parasites, it is hypothesised that the viscous and thick texture of this vegetable oil allows it tosuffocate the lice, by obstructing their respiratory pathways. Once again, this is only a supposition and we currently lack scientific evidence to confirm this.

How to naturally eliminate lice?

If you are seeking a natural solution for lice, we cannot recommend castor oil. However, there are other natural ingredients that have proven efficacy against these parasites due to their neurotoxic properties. This is particularly the case with true lavender essential oil. It contains linalool and terpinen-4-ol, molecules that inhibit acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme found in lice that leads to the degradation of their acetylcholine neurotransmitter. You can also use lemon hydrosol, which also contains linalool.

True lavender essential oil or lemon hydrolate: method of use.

To combat head lice, apply a drop of pure or diluted true lavender essential oil in a vegetable oil or a drop of lemon hydrosol behind each ear and massage. You can also use these two ingredients in synergy. This treatment can be done as a preventive or corrective action.


  • YEBOAH A. & al., Castor oil (Ricinus communis): a review on the chemical composition and physicochemical properties. Food Science and Technology (2021).


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