The Magic of Castor Oil for Hair Growth


If you have fine hair that won’t grow past a certain length, you’re likely up for trying anything that promises longer, thicker, healthier hair. And if you’ve ever struggled with split ends or thinning hair, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about castor oil's alleged miracle hair growth properties. Originating in tropical east Africa, this age-old beauty secret has been used widely for centuries in India and the West Indies on the scalp to moisturize the skin, reduce dandruff, and improve hair smoothness, strength, and shine. But can it really make your hair grow faster? We’re breaking down everything you need to know about this nourishing oil ahead, including the science behind it and how to use castor oil for hair growth.


The Science of Castor Oil for Hair Growth

Castor oil, also known as Ricinus communis, is nutrient-rich vegetable oil from castor beans. Although it originates in tropical east Africa, it is widely used in India and the West Indies for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Castor oil is usually clear or pale yellow unless derived through roasting or boiling, known as black castor oil. Because the method of starting with roasted beans was developed in Jamaica, black castor oil is often referred to as Jamaican black castor oil. Castor oil contains 90% of ricinoleic, a long-chained fatty acid that has the ability to provide vitamins, omega 3, 6, and 9 and proteins to your hair follicles. This increases blood circulation, promoting overall skin, scalp and hair health. So while castor oil itself likely can't make the hair grow, adding it to your hair care routine creates a healthier environment on the scalp for hair to grow. Keep reading for more on how to use Jamaican black castor oil for hair growth.


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The Benefits of Castor Oil for Hair

Castor oil boasts a slew of benefits for your hair, including promoting growth and strengthening strands. Below is a breakdown of all the benefits of castor oil for hair.


Nourishing and strengthening

Castor oil has a nutritional makeup composed of a powerful mix of proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants. This is the holy grail of hair nutrition ingredients, and the reason castor oil has increasingly become a key ingredient in hair products.


It could help with hair loss

While there's no direct scientific evidence on castor oil helping with hair loss, it actually may. Castor oil’s potent antioxidant properties keep free radicals from damaging the body's healthy cells. This destructive process is called oxidative stress, and it's been linked to hair loss.


Antimicrobial properties

When it comes to scalp care, castor oil’s antimicrobial properties make it useful in fighting off bacterial or fungal overgrowth, helping to combat dandruff and manage infections of the scalp.


Fights scalp flaking

Castor oil makes an effective method of cleansing the scalp. Because it's polarized, castor oil attracts dirt and debris, making it ideal for exfoliating dry, flaky skin. Use castor oil to rid your scalp and hair of any flakes.


Protects against breakage

Castor oil’s high content of ricinoleic acid improves circulation to the scalp, leading to stronger hair and less breakage. Plus, castor oil is a humectant, which means it locks in moisture for hair that's' less likely to split at the ends.


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Increases absorption of other products

Castor oil increases the absorption of other products. If used regularly in your hair care routine, castor oil will keep your scalp clean and clear so your other products can penetrate more effectively.


How to Use Castor Oil for Hair Growth

Looking to nourish strands, tame frizzy hair, or detox your scalp? We’re breaking down how to use black castor oil for hair growth below.


Choose the right type of castor oil

When it comes to castor oil for hair growth, go for Jamaican castor oil. Because it opens up the hair's cuticle, using this on your scalp has the best absorption of the growth-happy ingredient ricinoleic acid.  


Apply the oil to your scalp

It's best to dilute caster oil with a carrier oil, like jojoba oil or coconut oil, to thin the consistency and make it easier to use. Warm the mixture in your hands and use your fingers to massage it into your scalp. 


Apply the oil to your hair

Next work it through your hair from the root to the tip, squeezing it into your strands with your hands. Wrap your hair in a silk scarf after smoothing the castor oil onto your hair for deeper penetration — and to protect your surroundings. Castor oil has the potential to stain anything it comes in contact with.


Leave the oil in

How long you leave castor oil in your hair depends on your hair type. Fine and medium hair should smooth castor oil through their mid-lengths and ends, leaving it on for up to 30 minutes before shampooing. Coarse, thick, and ultra-dry hair types, on the other hand, can leave castor oil in as an overnight treatment or smooth it over their ends as a leave-in. 


Wash your hair

Shampoo your hair and wash the oil mixture off. You’ll likely need to shampoo multiple times to get it all out. Once it’s out, use a hair towel to gently squeeze the water from your strands. Avoid using heat styling tools immediately after.


Make castor oil work better

Tips for Enhancing Castor Oil’s Hair Growth Benefits

Make the most of your hair treatment with these stylist tips and tricks to enhance castor oil’s benefits for hair. 


Use a scalp massager

Using a scalp massager right before applying your castor oil is ideal. Your blood vessels are more dilated when circulation is increased and this helps your scalp absorb more efficiently. Using a scalp massager exfoliates, loosens debris and dandruff, and increases follicle stimulation. It also helps relieve stress and tension.


Add essential oils

The effects of castor oil can be easily enhanced by adding a few drops of an essential oil For hair, there’s no better essential oils than rosemary and peppermint. Make a hair nourishing blend by mixing 7 drops of rosemary and 5 drops of peppermint into an ounce of castor oil. Massage into the scalp and apply to sections of hair before washing thoroughly.  


Use a steamer

Sitting under a hair steamer for 20 to 30 minutes will all enhance castor oil’s benefits for hair. Steaming helps improve blood circulation to the scalp and helps moisture to penetrate the hair cuticle, strengthening strands boosts their overall health. Afterwards, shampoo if your hair is fine or thin, or let it sit until your next wash day if your hair is coarse, dry or damaged.


Maintain a healthy diet

Our bodies require a diet high in plant-based foods, fiber, antioxidants, and protein for optimal hair growth, so maintaining a healthy diet can help castor oil work to its maximum potential. Consuming foods high in vitamin C, E, D, biotin, and zinc all play a role in hair growth. These are the best foods for hair growth:


  • Grilled chicken
  • Avocado
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Chia Seeds
  • Collagen
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Citrus
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs


The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to add shine, smooth flyaways, and condition your hair, try adding castor oil to your hair care routine. This age-old Jamaican beauty secret has been used for centuries to moisturize the scalp, reduce dandruff, and improve hair smoothness and strength. But if you’re wondering how to use castor oil for hair growth, it won’t make your hair grow on its own. Castor oil can however nourish and strengthen your strands, combat dandruff and manage infections of the scalp, detox and exfoliate, protect against breakage and hair loss and make your other products work harder. These things all lead to a healthier scalp and the ideal environment to encourage hair growth. The bottom line is that with consistent use of castor oil, you should start to notice smoother, softer, stronger hair. To speak to a professional about adding castor oil to your routine, book an appointment with a Davines stylist. And remember to use only high quality hair products to care for and style your hair.


by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor


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