Castor oil is touted to be the modern day, natural cure for seemingly every ailment under the sun.
Got joint pain – castor oil.
Need sleep – castor oil.
Want to make your crush notice you – cast… wait, what?
Okay, so it might not be able to solve all your life’s problems, but this impressive oil certainly packs a punch.
Where does Castor Oil come from?
Castor oil is extracted from the seeds that grow on the castor oil plant. These shrubs grow wild in hot parts of the world, but are native to East Africa.
It’s been around since ancient times, being used for many medicinal uses. In more recent times, castor oil has been growing quite a cult following for its ability to seemingly perform hair ‘magic’.
How Can Castor Oil Help?
Castor oil can benefit hair, skin and nails. It’s an incredibly nourishing oil, popular with skin fanatics all around the world.
In this article though, we’re all about our locks.
Before we get carried away, gushing about how castor oil can completely transform your crowning glory, here a just a few of the reasons why:
Making an appearance time and time again, vitamin E truly has special powers. This antioxidant can slow down the aging of your body’s cells thanks to its anti-ageing properties.
A reason castor oil is popular in skin care regimes and products is down to its antibacterial properties. However, these work for the hair too. Fighting off any bacteria that threaten the skin and even the scalp.
As well as actively fighting the bacteria, castor oil is able to soothe inflammation that comes with it. Any redness, itching and sore spots are instantly cared for when castor oil plays its motherly role.
Humec-what? Don’t worry, all this means is that castor oil preserves moisture. Our skin and locks need to stay hydrated and luckily castor oil can lock the moisture in both!
Benefits for Hair
Okay, so castor oil is already shaping up to be our new favorite product. Anything that can defy the ageing process, and can be described with the word ‘antioxidant’, has us reeled in!
Keeps Scalp Healthy
Those anti-inflammatory properties look after hair follicles, keeping them in tip-top shape.
It’s particularly important to pay extra special attention to your scalp if you suffer with folliculitis – when hair follicles becomes inflamed due to a bacterial or fungal infection.
Luckily, castor oil is both anti-fungal and antibacterial too. Making it the perfect antidote for sufferers of this painful skin condition.
Dandruff is also a result of scalp inflammation – so if you suffer with the white stuff castor oil is your new go-to.
Makes Hair Grow
This is not a drill! Castor oil is well-known as being a hair growth miracle! Its ability to keep the scalp healthy plays a role in promoting hair growth.
Ricinoleic acid can be found in abundance in castor oil and this boosts blood circulation to the scalp (6). A better blood-flow encourages the hair follicles to become more active, and you know… grow more hair!
If you’re fed up of your hair breaking and looking limp and lifeless, you need some castor oil in your life. Vitamin E, along with some super hair-nutritious omega-6’s, make for a perfect healthy hair recipe.
The vitamin E enriches the hair and the omegas repair – a match made in heaven!
Brittle hair and split-ends are a problem of the past once you start using castor oil.
Protects Against Damage
The sun, pollution, straighteners, hair dryers… just some of the ways our hair gets subjected to damage on the daily.
Fatty acids shield the hair strands from heat and color loss as a result of sun exposure. Ultimately your hair will be healthier and shiner!
Types of Castor Oil
There are 3 types of Castor Oil on the market, however all three vary. As we want you to get the most out of this oil, here’s a run down of the different types:
Cold-Pressed Castor Oil
To extract the oil from the seeds, mechanical processes press them without the use of heat. This ensures that all those benefits haven’t been meddled with, producing a pale yellow liquid.
This type of castor oil is recommended to those with a sensitive scalp, as it isn’t as alkaline as other kinds.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
As the name states, this type of castor oil is black. This is due to the manufacturing process. The seeds aren’t cold-pressed for this oil, instead they are roasted before the oil is extracted.
However, the ashes left behind are also added into the oil – giving way to the color.
This is a much more alkaline castor oil in comparison to cold-pressed versions. Therefore, it’s recommended to those with already healthy, non-sensitive scalps.
Hydrogenated Castor Oil
The final type of castor oil is in fact a wax. Processed in a way that turns the initial liquid waxy, the final product is often hard and brittle. As a result, this type of castor oil is used in cosmetics, to thicken and stabilize.
How to Use Castor Oil
If you’re now sold on castor oil, here are a few ways you can apply it to your hair to let all those benefits absorb into your locks!
Who doesn’t love a hair mask? It’s such an easy way to get that luxurious hair treatment feel at home. This one is super simple:
Step 1: Take a small amount of castor oil and warm it up by rubbing it in your hands. Then gently massage the oil, first into your roots, and then down the length of your hair.
Step 2: Cover your hair with a towel and leave overnight and wash out in the morning.
The perfect way to add some life into your locks, boost shine and improve your scalp’s health. In a dark bottle (so the light doesn’t alter the oil) mix 3 tbsps of castor oil with 1 tbsp of argan oil.
When you’re hair needs a helping hand, add a few drops to the scalp and massage in. Also use on the ends of your hair to reduce the appearance of frizziness and split ends.
Hot Oil Treatment
Using the same recipe as the above hair serum, you can make a incredibly nourishing hot oil treatment. The heat of the oil allows it to penetrate the hair more effectively than a standard hair treatment.
Place the bottle containing your oil mixture into a larger bowl and pour boiling water into it, so it surrounds the bottle and heats up the oil in a safe way.
Leave to heat up for 3 minutes and then pour the oil into a small bowl to make it easier to apply to your hair.
Lightly dampen your hair and then apply the oil from your scalp down to the ends, using small amounts and adding more as necessary – a little goes a long way.
Cover your hair with a shower cap, topped with a warm damp towel to keep the heat working its magic.
Leave for around 2 hours before washing out, making sure to get all the oil out of your hair – this may add extra time to your usual hair washing routine.
Q: Are there any side effects to using castor oil?
A: It’s always important to make yourself aware of any side effects, as even natural products can pose a risk if not used correctly.
Some people find that castor oil can irritate their skin, so whether you are particularly sensitive or not, always carry out a patch test at least 24 hours before wider use.
Q: Will castor oil help my eyebrows grow as well?
A: Yes! Just as castor oil can boost hair growth, it can do the same for eyebrow hairs – and even eyelashes.
Q: How quick will castor oil make my hair grow?
A: Everyone is different, so it’s impossible to give a number. Be consistent with your use of castor oil, using it at least once a week and up to four times and you should hopefully start seeing results.
Q: Where can I buy castor oil?
A quick search online will bring up lots of websites you can order the oil from. If you prefer to go to the shops, then check out your local health stores and chemists.