In recent years, more and more beauty lovers have begun to praise castor oil as a natural remedy for hair growth. Castor oil is said to be an ancient remedy used for a long time in traditional medicine, it also moisturizes the scalp, relieves dander and it makes your hair soft and shiny.
Castor bean derivative (Ricinus communis), castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid — a type of fatty acid found to combat inflammation. When applied to the scalp, it is suggested that it improves the health of the hair follicles and in turn promotes hair growth (and also protects against hair loss).
As castor oil gains popularity in the world of natural beauty, proponents suggest that the use of oil can significantly increase the rate of hair growth. Some even claim that monthly application of oil can increase hair growth up to five times the normal rate.
There is currently no scientific evidence that castor oil can promote hair growth.
Recently, there are no studies that test the effects of castor oil on any type of hair-related problem. However, some previous studies (including a study published in Cosmetic Science in 2003) show that castor oil can improve the appearance of hair by increasing its shine.
How to use it
If you are interested in using castor oil for hair growth, try rubbing only a few drops of oil on your scalp. You can also rub a few extra drops of castor oil into the middle and ends of the hair, which can protect against brittleness and improve the texture of the hair.
Although the ideal time for castor oil-based hair masks is unknown, it may be helpful to allow the oil to settle for about two hours. To prevent oil droplets from getting your clothes and other items dirty, consider covering your head with a shower cap until it’s time to wash your hair.
Many hair care professionals recommend using castor oil no more than once a week. With more frequent use, castor oil can cause buildup and lead to matting problems.
Because castor oil is extremely heavy and often difficult to remove from hair, recipes for treating hair usually require diluting it with other vegetable oils (such as coconut or jojoba oil). The combination of oils can also soften the smell of castor oil, which many people find unpleasant.
What to look for
Castor oil advocates often recommend choosing cold-pressed organic products. Cold-pressed oils are said to be of higher quality and richer in nutrients than oils processed at higher temperatures.
When it comes to using castor oil as a hair care product, one of the most popular varieties is Jamaican black castor oil. Jamaican black castor oil, made from roasted castor beans (and the ashes produced during the roasting process), is said to be especially beneficial for people with thick, dry and/or hard hair.
There is some concern that the use of castor oil as a hair care product may lead to acute hair loss, a rare disease in which hair is entangled in a solid mass. Because this condition is permanent, the only solution is to cut the affected hair.
It should also be noted that consuming large amounts of castor oil can be extremely harmful and cause a number of side effects, including:
- Abdominal cramps
- Shortness of breath and chest pain
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat
Precautions and problems
Because castor oil can cause staining, when applying castor oil to your hair, it’s best to wear an old t-shirt (or any garment you don’t mind staining). Castor oil can also stain towels, so make sure your hair is thoroughly washed before drying it with a towel. Keep in mind that your hair may need two shampoo applications to completely remove castor oil.
If you are considering using castor oil as a remedy for hair loss, remember that hair loss can be a sign of an underlying health problem. Therefore, it is very important to talk to your health care provider as soon as possible if you experience unexplained hair loss.