Certain oils known for hydrating and strengthening hair have gotten the limelight in recent years: coconut, jojoba, and almond, just to name a few. But others hide under the radar. One of them? Castor oil. But take a look at some of your favorite haircare products, and chances are they contain castor oil. Applying castor oil on the scalp has been shown to promote hair growth effectively, improve circulation, combat bacterial infections, increase absorption of other products, attract dirt and oil to cleanse the scalp, and nourish the scalp.
What Is Castor Oil?
Made by extracting oil from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, castor oil is a multipurpose, nutrient-packed vegetable oil that has been commonly used in natural beauty products for so many reasons. When it comes to skin, castor oil is great for healing wounds and, due to its antimicrobial properties, may help fight bacteria that can cause acne. But its powers in hair health make it a winner in that department as well. It contains vitamin E, omega fatty acids, and ricinoleic acid, which are essential nutrients that contribute to strengthening hair follicles, and nourishing hair, scalp, and brows.
The unique cold-pressed-extraction method preserves key nutrients present in the castor seed after harvest allowing for the most potent fatty acid– and mineral-rich formula. Since castor oil is thick, you'll want to mix it with other skin-friendly oils like olive or coconut oil for an effortless addition to your hair or skincare routine.
How to Apply Castor Oil to Your Hair
"Castor oil can be applied directly to the scalp, especially if you want to promote hair growth. However, it is a very dense oil, so use it during a time when you don't have many plans since it will make your hair look very oily," says Kiku Chaudhuri, co-founder of haircare line Shaz & Kiks. "You can also mix it with other lighter oils to cut down on the density and to add in other nutrients as well—amla, moringa, sesame-seed, argan, and coconut oils are all good options. To maximize the benefits, you will want to avoid over-shampooing to rinse it out and instead gently wash it out, and if any residue remains, leave it be."
Castor-Oil Benefits for Hair
1. Balances Scalp Health
"As a natural humectant, castor oil helps retain moisture in your hair," says Chaudhuri. "We chose to include castor oil as an ingredient in our prewash because it is an all-natural ingredient that contains countless benefits to your scalp and hair health." As a company rooted in Ayurvedic beauty practices, Shaz & Kiks's main focus is preventing and encouraging the maintenance of health through balance in one's life through diet, lifestyle, mental connectedness, and the use of natural herbs and ingredients.
The Back to Your Roots Scalp + Hair Prewash is the first step to healthy hair. The creamy plant-based hair mask nourishes your follicles to balance your scalp and strengthen dry, frizzy, or curly hair.
2. Strengthens Thinning Hair
The Harklinikken styling paste is carefully formulated to heal, protect, and hydrate your hair while providing a matte finish with a firm yet flexible hold. Containing castor-seed oil among a few other oils (Abyssinian-seed oil, cinnamon-leaf oil, clove-leaf oil, and nutmeg oil), the powerful, botanically based formula is non-greasy and ultra light, making this a must-add to your daily routine.
3. Acts as an Alternative to Shampoo
The shampoo bar from Meow Meow Tweet is a plastic-free solid shampoo that cleanses, softens, and conditions hair. Along with castor oil, the bar contains rich avocado oil and aloe vera to condition and soften, and rosemary and hops flowers to promote shiny, bright hair. Since the soap doesn't lather, look out to see if your hard water needs to be demineralized in order to rinse out the shampoo.
4. Seals in Moisture, Detangles, and Reduces Frizz
The Fable & Mane hair oil is meant as a reset for hair that can use some TLC. The divine hair-and-scalp treatment contains strengthening and nourishing ashwagandha, a powerful adaptogen that leaves hair moisturized from scalp to tips and tames frizz. Before showering, massage the oil into your roots, and leave it on for as long as possible (even overnight) before cleansing.
5. Protects Colored Hair From UV Damage
This gentle yet effective product absorbs oil and eliminates impurities. It also smooths frizz and flyaways and protects against environmental damage.
6. Restores Damaged Hair From Water and Heat
This hair mask is rich in proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants to restore dry and damaged hair. Pressed castor oil contains hydrating fatty acids that penetrate the hair shaft in this deeply conditioning mask. Massage into the scalp and leave for five to 10 minutes, or 20 minutes for deeper hydration. Used weekly as a deep moisturizing treatment or as a temporary substitute for conditioner, the formula softens and smooths without bringing down bounce.
7. Moisturizes Chemically Processed Hair
Packed with nutrient-rich Jamaican black castor oil and certified organic shea butter, this mask replenishes moisture and strengthens hair. Peppermint and apple cider vinegar restore strength and resilience to damaged, brittle, or chemically processed hair, leaving hair soft, manageable, and shiny. Jamaican black castor oil is loaded with reparative omegas that reduce breakage and promote healthy hair, while shea butter deeply moisturizes and conditions the hair and scalp.
8. Thickens Lashes and Eyebrows
Naturally high in vitamins and omega fatty acids, boosting antioxidants, and elastin, castor oil is an easy way to get your fullest lashes and brows. Before bed, brush through with the little applicator and a dot of oil, which helps in circulation and thickness of hairs.
9. Brings Shine to Each Strand
Heritage Store's castor oil is definitely a one-ingredient wonder. It helps impart shine and lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage, making it the easiest thing to rely on for healthy hair.