Hair, Skin & Nails 3 MIN READ 81 VIEWS November 18, 2021

Castor Oil for Hair Growth: Does it Really Work?

Written By Garima Bahal
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Castor oil for hair growth
Castor Oil Benefits for Hair
How to Apply Castor Oil Topically
Other Benefits of Castor Oil
Side Effects of Castor Oil
Bottom Line

The buzz around castor oil for hair growth is never-ending. While some people swear by it as an elixir for healthy hair growth, others say that it is just like any other hair oil that does its job decently. So, what is castor oil and how is it beneficial for your hair growth?

Castor oil is derived from the castor bean, whose scientific name is ‘Ricinus Communis’. Castor oil contains Ricinoleic Acid, which is a kind of fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties. The oil is pale yellow in colour and when derived from boiling or roasting, it is referred to as Black Castor Oil. The origins of castor oil can be traced to Tropical East Africa. 

Commonly applied topically on the scalp, castor oil has also found its place in traditional medicine as a laxative. Some people also prefer using castor oil after pregnancy to stimulate breast milk or is also reportedly used to induce labour. 

Castor Oil Benefits for Hair

Ideally, the preferred variety of castor oil is Jamaican black castor oil. 

  • Prevents Scalp Inflammation: Due to the presence of Ricinoleic Acid, castor oil imparts proteins and nutrients to the follicles. This prevents follicle inflammation. 
  • Can Stimulate Hair Growth: Although some people have claimed that castor oil has been instrumental in aiding faster hair growth, yet there is no scientific evidence to prove that castor oil is good for hair growth.

How to Apply Castor Oil Topically

How you should apply castor oil and in what quantity completely depends on your hair type:

  • For Straight hair (fine-medium): Use castor oil as a pre-shampoo treatment. You can nourish the 2-3 inches of end hair tips. 
  • Straight/Wavy Hair (medium-thick): Before shampooing your hair, you can apply castor oil throughout your scalp and tips. For extra penetration to the deeper layers, you can steam your hair with a towel.
  • Curls (wavy-loose): Humid weather makes wavy or curly hair swell up and look frizzy. To tame your hair, you can mix a few drops of castor oil into your conditioners. 

Additionally, castor oil is quite thick. Before you apply castor oil on hair, you will have to mix it with a carrier oil . Some common carrier oils that people prefer include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil 

Other Benefits of Castor Oil

Castor oil can also be applied to your face and skin. You can either leave it overnight like a serum or wipe it off with cotton pads after a couple of minutes. You can also mix some shea butter for shiny and supple skin. When it comes to your skin, castor oil can:

  • Prevent wrinkles 
  • Fight acne 
  • Reduce puffiness 
  • Soothe sunburn 
  • Moisturise dry and chapped lips 
  • Improve skin health overall

Castor oil for hair growth is highly recommended but is it as effective when taken orally?

  • Castor oil can reduce symptoms of constipation 
  • It can be beneficial during childbirth, acting as a stimulant for labour 
  • Castor oil supplements can benefit people with knee osteoarthritis

Side Effects of Castor Oil

When consumed orally, people may also witness some of the side effects:

  • Diarrhoea 
  • Nausea 
  • Abdominal cramps 

Bottom Line

The question if castor oil is good for hair growth is debatable. But castor oil contains fatty acids and antioxidants, which provide a host of benefits for healthy (if not faster) hair growth. Most importantly, castor oil gives you hair nourishment and moisturisation, which is highly essential to make your hair feel soft and shiny.

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