What is Castor Oil?
If you are on the hunt for natural remedies to sort out daily issues with your hair, then you have probably already heard about castor oil. This alleged hair growth miracle oil is fondly accepted by people all over the world lately. Castor oil, scientifically known as Ricinus communis is a nutrient-dense vegetable oil that is made from castor beans. Though castor oil was Originally cultivated in Tropical East Africa, it is now widely available and used in India and the west indies. Castor oil remains a popular natural remedy for common problems of the body, skin and hair. It can be safely consumed and also used over the skin and hair. This multipurpose oil has been used for thousands of years for a number of medicinal, industrial and pharmaceutical purposes.
Castor oil is usually clear pale yellow in color. However, if derived by roasting or boiling, the castor oil turns out to be black in colour (Jamaican black castor oil|). Cold-pressed yellow castor oil is the best to be used on the hair. Nevertheless, you can use black Jamaican castor oil also. However, make sure to use it only on the scalp and not on the hair strands.
Benefits of Using Castor Oil on Hair
Castor oil is a long chained fatty acid, that provides essential nutrients and proteins to hair follicles. It also helps in prevention of hair follicle inflammation. In short, castor oil is one of the best things that you might come across while dealing with problems of the hair. But what exactly are the benefits of castor oil uses for hair? Here are some of them:
Provides Moisture and Hydration for the Hair
Since castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, it is essentially a monounsaturated fatty acid. These fats are humectants that help to provide moisture. By preventing water loss by creating a barrier, humectants help to retain moisture in the skin and the hair. Castor oil when used in combination with other oils makes up for an ultra-hydrating moisturize for the hair.
Keep Away Fungus and Infection from the Scalp
Castor oil has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties. As a result, it helps in treating scalp infections and dandruff within a short period of time. Nonetheless, major changes can only be observed upon regular use. Since Castor oil contains the biochemical agent called undecylenic acid, it is highly efficient in stopping fungal growth on the scalp.
Balances Scalp pH
The ricinolein acid content in castor oil is extremely helpful in balancing the ph. on your scalp. What does that mean? The Ph balance of the hair and the scalp is between 4.5 to 5.5. Any hair product that is too acidic or alkaline disrupts this balance and hence, either causes the hair cuticles to open or to contract. Either way, it results in damage to the hair and scalp tissues. Castor oil is just perfect for balancing the Ph level in your hair and scalp.
Protects Hair from Harsh Chemical Products
One interesting thing about castor oil is that it is reparative. Yes, it can almost effectively repair the damage done to the hair as a result of harsh chemicals or treatments. Moreover, the thick texture of castor oil is great for protecting your damaged hair ends from becoming overly parched due to strong chemical shampoos or even from the harshness of water.
Makes Hair Stronger and Smoother
Castor oil has plenty of antioxidants that favor in the health of your hair. They help to support the keratin in hair and thereby makes the hair stronger, smoother and less frizzy. Moreover, castor oil is a wonderful conditioner for the hair since it creates a protective film on your locks.
How to Best Use Castor Oil for Hair
The age-old beauty treatment of castor oil is by far the best when it comes to dealing with the mess in your hair. In fact, it is largely being replaced over fancy beauty products and treatments that demand chemical ingredients and comes with a higher price tag.
However, at least a few complaints about using castor oil for the hair. This is mainly because they haven’t figured out the best way to use it on the hair. Castor oil is a natural ingredient that has fewer side effects than expected. Nonetheless, you may not get the best results if you don’t use it in a way that best suits your hair type and texture.
Here are some methods for castor oil uses for hair. You can give thought to many of the methods and find out what best suits your hair.
As a Pre Shampoo Treatment
Pre-shampoo is the technique of providing that extra oil to your hair before shampooing. Shampooing your hair may result in stripping off too much sebum from the scalp which is the hair’s natural moisturizer. The extra oil in pre-shampooing helps the hair to remain healthy and smooth, as it may be prone to breakage when coming in contact with shampoo and water.
Pre-shampooing with castor oil is equally important as using a conditioner after a shower. A water-repelling coat is created on your hair strands when you apply castor oil before shampoo. This prevents any damage that may occur to the hair while in the shower.
Take only a few drops of castor oil as the oil is comparatively thicker than other oils and will result in a greasy mess in the hair if used in excess. Apply the oil all over your hair for at least 4 to 8 hours before washing your hair with shampoo. If possible, you can also apply the oil overnight and wash it off in the morning.
If you find castor oil too thick to be applied directly onto your hair, you can also use it by mixing it with a few drops of coconut oil. This will loosen up the oil and create a mixture that will penetrate deep into your scalp and hair.
With Hair Conditioners
Well, there is no right or wrong way to use castor oil on hair. In fact, you can add it to your hair care routine in any way that suits you. For example, you can also add a few drops of castor oil to your favourite hair conditioner. This way, the castor oil acts as an emollient in your deep conditioner. This will help to add a slip to your conditioner, thereby preventing any breakage of the hair strands. Moreover, the benefits of castor oil in combination with that of the hair conditioner works wonders in strengthening your hair.
However, when you are adding castor oil to the conditioner there is one thing that you must be careful about. Always ensure to use only a sparing amount of castor oil as the oil residue may cause greasiness in the hair afterwards. Castor oil has a thick consistency and often weighs down the hair if used in excess.
Using castor oil with your hair conditioner will also reduce the problem of frizziness in the hair. Also, it leaves your hair looking and feeling smooth in texture.
In Combination with Other Oils
Castor oil works great for the hair when mixed with other carrier oils. It stimulates hair growth as it contains vitamin E and fatty acids. The benefits of castor oil can further be enhanced by mixing it with some essential oils or carrier oils like coconut oil or olive oil or both. An effective oil mixture can combat problems like dryness, frizziness and dandruff of the hair.
Apart from common oils like olive oil and coconut oil with castor oil, you can also try essential oils like tea tree oil, argan oil, peppermint oil and lavender oil. Each of these essential oils has unique properties that further amplify the goodness of our castor oil. For instance, the antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of tea tree oil when mixed with a few drops of castor oil, serve well for people with problems like scalp infections. Lavender oil in turn helps in reducing stress, balancing mood and preventing hair fall. So, an oil mixture of castor oil and lavender oil is great for the occasional hair massage on weekends to relax!
You can take a few drops of castor oil in a small bowl and add a few drops of some other oil. Heat up the oil till mildly warm. Apply this mixture onto the scalp and massage for a few minutes. You can leave it on for a few hours or even overnight. Wash with a shampoo and rinse off with water. You can repeat this procedure weekly or as required.
In a Hair Mask
Looking for a deeply nourishing hair mask for the tough strands? Then you better try to include castor oil in your hair care routine as you can thoroughly see the benefits within a short period. Hair masks are a great way to nurture the hair and can be customized as per your need. The ricinoleic acid in castor oil has great healing benefits and gives a smooth and glossy shine to the hair.
Here is a simple yet effective hair mask that helps in growing thicker hair. Castor oil when combined with egg makes for a deeply nourishing hair mask. This mask is a powerhouse of proteins and also has an abundance of vitamins A, D, E and B 12. This prevents hair loss and hair thinning immensely. Moreover, the amino acids keep split ends away and make the hair smoother and shinier.
**To make this mask, you will need 2 tbsps. of castor oil, 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp of raw honey. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whip them together well until combined. Massage this mask onto the scalp and the hair. Leave it on for at least 30 to 60 minutes. You can wash off the mask with a natural shampoo and let your hair dry naturally.
Tips to Remember While Using Castor Oil for Hair
Many people are resorting to natural remedies like castor oil for hair care. New age hairstyling techniques involve either high heat or harmful chemical ingredients. Hence, in order to prevent further damage and to restore the natural health of the hair, castor oil uses of hair are fairly impressive. However, before you indulge in using this miracle oil, we insist that you take time to understand that the usage of the oil could turn out counterproductive if not used correctly.
No, don’t jump to conclusions and think that castor oil isn’t just for you if you don’t have a happy experience about using it in the past. Here are some tips that you ought to watch out for as you could be doing something wrong then!
Dilute the Oil As It Is Thick in Viscosity
Don’t like the idea of walking around with a greasy head? We understand! Castor oil is probably way thicker than other commonly used oils like coconut oil. So, it is best to use in sparing quantities or in combination with other thinner oils. This will help reduce the viscosity of the oil when applied directly onto the hair.
Test the Oil Before Using It for the First Time
It has been observed that at least for a minority of people, castor oil has turned out to be the opposite of what they had waited for. Some people may seem allergic to the contents in castor oil and hence may undergo a negative experience while using them. Hence, to be on the safer side, always ensure to do a patch test on a small area of your body before using it.
Combine Castor Oil with a Suitable Carrier Oil for Best Results
Frankly speaking, castor oil has a rather unpleasant smell that many of us may not like. In order, to avoid getting a headache because of the smell, you can instead add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to mask the unpleasant odor of the castor oil.
Castor oil creates a healthy environment for hair to grow. But ultimately, a clean and healthy scalp is what will be the determining factor in regards to hair growth. In the case of extreme hair loss, it's best to see a dermatologist, as castor oil shouldn't be used as a primary remedy. Still, castor oil can be an effective part of your hair care routine.