We all know castor oil is having a comeback (if you need proof: look at shampoos, hair masks, and body washes), but we will be the first to tell you that it is by no means a new ingredient. We bet you can find castor oil in almost every house (including mine), even if it’s relegated to the back of the pantry.
But even though our parents have told us over the years that castor oil is the secret to long, thick hair, we’ve never really been convinced. That’s why we contacted three hair experts to get a definitive answer finally: does castor oil help hair growth?
What is castor oil?
First things first: Castor oil is a vegetable oil extracted from castor beans, which have been around for centuries. It’s usually colorless, though you’ve likely seen yellow or black versions on Amazon or at your local grocery store. Jamaican castor oil is one of the most popular variations – it has a thicker consistency as it is boiled with ashes, giving it a warm, roasted aroma. Castor oil is loaded with vitamin E, fatty acids, and minerals, says Hadley King, a certified dermatologist. And thanks to its emollient properties, castor oil is an ideal ingredient for conditioners and ultra-hydrating masks.
It’s also a super popular choice for treating the irritated scalp, excess oil, and dandruff, thanks to the fact that “it’s not only anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, but it also helps maintain moisture in the skin,” says Michelle Blaisure. , a Bosley Professional Strength Certified Trichologist.
How effective is castor oil for hair growth?
The excellent news: castor oil is a super affordable treatment if you’re looking to add shine, smooth hair, and condition, says stylist Courtney Foster. The not-so-good news: Although there are many stories about castor oil and hair growth, there is no scientific study or evidence that castor oil does grow your hair. We know, the truth hurts. But there is still a good reason why people use it, which leads us to …
How is castor oil used for hair growth?
Again, there is no concrete evidence that directly links castor oil and hair growth, but it does not mean that all hope is lost. Listen to me, the ricinoleic acid in castor oil helps retain moisture while promoting a clean and healthy scalp, all of which are essential for hair growth. So if the goal is to have super long hair, there is no reason why you should NOT use castor oil.
According to professionals, it’s best to use castor oil about once or twice a week, massage a coin-sized amount into your scalp and let it sit for 15 minutes or up to a couple of hours before rinsing it off. For a weekly ultra-hydrating treatment, cover your hair with castor oil, put on a bathing cap before going to bed, then wash your hair and condition. As a reminder, black castor oil will make your hair thicker.
Keep in mind that hair growth does not happen overnight, regardless of the products or treatments you are using. “There is no standard as to how often you should use the oil, but I would recommend once or twice a week for at least three months, as that is usually the time before you see new hair appear,” Blaisure says. And hey, if after three months you’re still not seeing a significant change, at least your hair will be hydrated and shiny.