Castor Oil for Hair: Castor Oil for Hair Growth, Its Uses and Benefits

Now almost everyone uses oil in their daily or weekly hair and skin care maintenance. Remember when people used to think “oil-free” was a good thing? Not anymore. We now know how important oil is for keeping our hair and skin in balance when it comes to moisture. But, it’s hard to know which oil we should use for what purpose.

One oil that people have used for centuries is castor oil. Don’t worry—we’re going into detail about its properties as a laxative! Instead we’ll be diving into hair-related castor oil uses.

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is created from the castor bean (which is not truly a bean but actually a large, hard seed). The plant is a hardy shrub that when cared for and trimmed properly can grow into a small tree. Not to be digested, the oil is readily available commercially and is used for a variety of household purposes like as a machine lubricant or a muscle relaxant.

castor oil plant

Photo Credit: Katja Schulz

Some people even apply it externally to babies’ bellies to relieve colic and gas! Just remember—it is not to be ingested. One old wives’ tale is that it will help a woman go into labor, but as this is poisonous in large quantities, it is simply not worth the risk.

Hair Problem Uses

Of the many benefits of castor oil, one of its most famed is reversing hair loss. It has been known as a natural remedy to promote hair growth for generations. Castor oil for hair growth has even been documented by historians as being used in Ancient Greece!

The main reason people use castor oil for hair is because of its high triglyceride level. When it comes to cholesterol and diet concerns, we’re taught to fear high triglycerides. But for hair and beauty uses, the very fatty nature of the oil makes it a luxurious and thick product that can help with just about anything.

People who have very dry scalps, dandruff, and psoriasis find that their conditions drastically improve when they apply this rich oil.

If you’re wondering how to apply castor oil for hair, one of the popular tips is to warm it on the stove or in the microwave, so it is warm (but not hot). This not only combats the natural thickness of the oil, it also helps the scalp and hair follicles to open up and better take in the properties of the plant.

Next, simply use your fingers to rub the oil into the scalp. If you want to boost hair growth in finer, smaller areas, like the eyebrows, or if you only want to apply it to one spot, dip a cotton swab into the oil and apply it that way.

Hair Protection Uses

As for how to use castor oil for hair that is not experiencing loss or growth problems, simply use it like a mask.

Many women notice that their hair becomes softer and healthier when they get in the habit of doing weekly hair masks. For a castor oil hair treatment, you can spread the pre-warmed oil from the scalp and roots to ends.

Then wrap hair in a towel and leave in for at least 30 minutes. If you have enough time, extending the treatment to two hours will condition hair very deeply. It’s not hard to keep it in that long if you plan ahead of time!

castor oil

Photo Credit: Sarah Murray

In homeopathic trends, castor oil is considered to be a “carrier oil,” meaning that it magnifies the properties of other oils it is mixed with. It is more affordable than other oils that benefit the hair (like argan, for example). To use it as a carrier, mix it in equal parts with another oil—such as coconut or argan. Or you can go with equal parts of castor, coconut, and argan.

Often times, hair products containing argan oil are very expensive. Or if they are cheap, they have harmful chemicals and only trace amounts of argan oil (just enough for the sake of marketing). Using castor as a carrier and mixing it with pure argan creates a hair treatment that is both affordable and effective. You get the benefits of both!

In addition to using the mixture as a warm hair mask, it can also be applied in small amounts every day. If you have a problem with split ends, rub a few drops of pure castor oil in your palms and then apply it to the ends of your hair.

Oil can also work to combat flyaways and noticeable breakage. Don’t be tempted to use castor oil as a heat protectant, however. Because it heats up very quickly, if you have traces of it in your hair when blow drying or curling, you will cause more heat damage to your hair than using nothing at all.

The New Favorite on the Block

One version that is becoming increasingly popular is Jamaican black castor oil, which is offered by a variety of trendy brands. This oil is created specifically from Jamaican castor seeds (or beans) and is touted as being especially helpful for dry hair and itchy scalps.

bottle of castor oil

Photo Credit: Pete Markham

All kinds of castor oil are nourishing, but many find that this type of oil is richer and so creates a more lustrous effect on hair.

Suitable for all hair types, Jamaican castor oil is especially helpful for repairing damage due to heat and coloring.

Where Can You Find Castor Oil?

To know where to buy castor oil, you won’t have to look too far. Because of the many castor oil uses, lots of traditional grocers carry it. If you struggle to find it at your typical market however, you can go to a natural food store or organic food co-op.

The product is a favorite with those who prefer to live a natural lifestyle, so nearly all health food stores offer the product.

Once you fall in love with castor oil’s effects on your hair, you will likely be curious about the other ways you can use it around the home. For now, experiment with using it on your scalp, your roots or both. Use it in combination with other oils or all on its own to experience an instant moisture boost and long term hair growth.