Why is castor oil so popular in the natural hair community? This is a questions I kept asking myself when I realized that every other natural hair blogger has talked about Castor Oil. This obviously tells you that I did a lot of research on Castor Oil before incorporating it into my 4C hair care routine.
What are the benefits of castor oil on 4C hair? In summary below are the benefits of Castor oil:
- Promotes Hair Growth
- Protects hair from damage
- Prevents hair loss
- Used to treat dandruffs
- Conditions hair
- Improves the appearance of hair
In this article I will cover: What research says about Castor Oil, Benefits of Castor Oil on Natural Hair and I will also share my tried and tested Recipes for using Castor Oil on my 4C hair.
What is Castor oil?
Castor oil is a multi-purpose oil that is derived from the beans of the castor plant. Due to the hydroxyl groups in castor oil, it has a unique combination of physical properties such as a relatively high viscosity compared to other oils and the oil is soluble in alcohols in any proportion.
What does research say about Castor oil?
According to CasChem Castor Oil is unique among all fats and oils because of the following reasons:
- It is the only source of an 18-carbon hydroxylated fatty acid with one double bond
- Ricinoleic acid (12-Hydroxyoleic Acid) comprises approximately 90% of the fatty acid composition
- The a naturally occurring oils, product uniformity and consistency are relatively high
- It is a nontoxic, biodegradable and most importantly renewable
Castor oil has many medicinal, industrial and pharmaceutical uses. In ancient Egypt, the oil was burned as fuel in lamps and was also used as a natural remedy for ailments such as eye irritation. Interestingly, the oil was given to pregnant women to stimulate labor, this is according to NCBI.
In modern day, Castor oil is used as a natural treatment for skin ailments, common conditions such as constipation and in the natural beauty industry.
Castor Oil for Natural Hair Growth
Castor oil has intense moisturizing properties making it a favorite among the natural hair community. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that prevent dandruff and scalp infections. It contains Ricinoleic acid that helps increase circulation of blood to the scalp and thus improved growth. The acid also helps balance the scalp PH which in term helps to replenish the scalp’s natural oils and reverse the damage by harsh chemical contained in many hair products
I started using castor oil one year after returning back to natural. During the period of experimentation (I usually experiment with a product before incorporating it into my natural hair care routine), I dedicated 2 months of using Castor Oil and loved the results.
Benefits of Castor Oil on 4C hair
1 – Promotes Hair Growth
Castor oil contains Ricinoleic acid and both Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids. When applied to the hair, Castor oil penetrates the hair and nourishes the roots, restoring the health of the hair and stimulating growth.
2 – Protects hair from damage
The fatty acids present in castor oil form a protective layer on the hair and protecting it from damaging elements such as the such or harsh chemicals contained in environment or hair products. Castor oil also helps to replenish natural oils and protects the scalp from damage.
3 – Prevents Hair Loss
Applying and massaging Castor Oil to the scalp improves blood circulation in the scalp. This leads to increased nutrient flow to the hair follicles and scalp thus minimizing hair loss. Castor Oil also strengthens hair making it less prone to breakage. Here is a detailed article by hairguard on what science has to say about Castor Oil and hair loss.
4 – Used to treat Dandruffs
Castor oil has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that makes it effective in treating dandruff. Ricinoleic acid is also known to balance the pH of the scalp, which makes the environment unfavorable for dandruff
5 – Conditions Hair
Castor oil penetrates the outer layer of the hair and fills the damaged spots of keratin. This process, by itself, softens the hair by restoring the hair cuticles. It also makes shafts less prone to moisture loss.
6 – Improve the appearance of hair
Castor oil increases the hair ability to reflect light, this is as a result of the oil’s ability to form a protective layer along the shaft and seals the moisture on its surface creating a silky appearance.
Types of Castor Oil- Which is the best for hair growth?
1 – Organic Cold Pressed Castor Oil
This type of Castor oil is extracted directly from the Castor seeds without the use of heat through a process called, cold-pressing. The method of extraction ensures there is no destruction of any of the nutrients present in the seeds. This oil is also less alkaline compared to the other types hence recommended to use if you would like to rip the maximum benefits from the oil. The appearance of this oil is pale yellow. This type of oil is better for curlier hair types
2 – Jamaican Black Castor Oil
The process for extracting the Jamaican Black Castor involves roasting the seeds and then pressing them. The ash obtained from the roasting process is mixed with the oil giving it the black color. This type of oil reaps better results in people with straight hair and a healthy scalp. This oil is also better at penetrating and cleansing. It is more alkaline that the cold-pressed type making it a more clarifying oil that can help open cuticles.
3 – Hydrogenated Castor Oil (castor wax)
This type of oil is also known as castor wax. The oil is extracted by hydrogenation of pure castor oil with the help of a nickel catalyst. Castor wax is insoluble in water, brittle and odorless. Hydrogenated castor oil is mainly used in cosmetic products.
How to use Castor Oil in your Hair Care Routine
To prevent Dandruff
- 1 Tbsp Castor Oil
- ½ Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil
- Mix the three oils, warm in on indirect heat for better absorption
- Apply to a clean scalp 2 times a week.
As a Deep Conditioner
- 1 Tsp Castor Oil
- 1 Tsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Fenugreek Powder
- ½ cup Water
- Soak the Fenugreek Powder in water for 5-10 min until it forms a thick paste
- Add the Castor and Olive oil into the Fenugreek Paste
- Warm the mixture in indirect heat for better absorption
- Apply to damp sectioned hair. Cover the hair and let the deep conditioner sit for 30 minutes.
- Rinse off and proceed to moisturize.
(You can vary the quantities of the ingredients depending on what works best for you, the quantities used are the ones I have experimented with on my Natural 4C Hair)
If you want to learn more about oils for natural hair growth, be sure to check out my other articles linked below: