There are a variety of hair products- both natural and synthetic- available in the market for our use. However, our bodies our unique; this means that what works for one person may not work for another. Hence, it is important to know exactly what your body needs in order to make the best possible choices for your health and well-being.
In this article, we shall be illustrating the various benefits of using castor oil for your hair’s nourishment, the different methods of application, side effects and so on.
What is Castor Oil?
It is an odourless vegetable oil that is obtained from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, found in a few regions of Africa and Asia.
Did you know? India is the largest producer of castor oil!
Benefits of using Castor Oil
Castor oil is one of the most popular natural methods for accelerating hair growth and for remedying hair loss. It contains ricinoleic acid, which stimulates blood circulation and encourages hair growth from bald spots. Castor oil strengthens the roots of our hair strands and thus goes a long way in preventing hair fall. It also has omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, which provide nourishment to hair follicles and reduce inflammation.
Its anti-inflammatory nature helps treat dandruff and gets rid of an itchy scalp. In addition to all of this, castor oil also acts as an extra layer of protection against pollution. It is used as a natural conditioner by many, especially in the case of damaged hair.
Types of castor oil
There are generally 2 types of castor oil. Although both of them are made from the same castor seeds, what makes them different is how they’re processed.
Yellow castor oil
This is made by cold pressing the seeds and extracting the oil. This means that there is no heat involved in the process and that the oil will more or less retain its purity. It has a slight yellow tinge. The more transparent the oil is, the purer it is.
Black castor oil
This variety of castor oil originated in Jamaica, so sometimes it’s also referred to as Jamaica black castor oil. The castor beans are allowed to dry so that the seeds pop out on their own after sometime. The seeds are collected and roasted, then pounded. The pounded material is slowly heated in order to extract the oil. The oil is skimmed off the top of the mixture and then it undergoes a few cycles of purification before it is ready. Black castor oil is amber or dark brown in color due to the presence of ash in it, which it collects during the roasting stage.
It is important to note that the two oils are different in a couple of ways. First off, the color is, as already mentioned before, not the same. Secondly, black castor oil is more alkaline than yellow castor oil because the processing it undergoes alters its pH just slightly. Thirdly, while yellow castor oil is odorless, black castor oil has a smokey fragrance.
Now that we know a little bit about castor oil, lets look at the various simple ways with which we can put it to use!
Hair masks made with castor oil
Hair masks are very easy to make and provide a lot of nourishment to our hair. Following are some hair masks you can make with ingredients that are readily available at home-
Castor oil and coconut oil
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, which enhance the growth of your hair and repair any existing damage. It also helps add some extra shine to your hair.
How to use-
- Add 4 tablespoons of coconut oil to 2 tablespoons of castor oil and mix.
- Apply to your hair, starting from the roots and working your way down to the tips.
- Cover your hair with a towel/cloth/cap and let it sit for a couple hours. You can even leave the oil on overnight.
- Wash your hair with a mild shampoo and rinse well till the oiliness is gone.
Note: Coconut oil on its own is safe to apply every day. However, castor oil shouldn’t be used more than once a week on its own. So, this hair mask should be used a maximum of 3 times every week.
Castor oil and aloe vera
While aloe vera is mostly known for its usefulness in the skincare industry, you’ll be surprised to know that it’s also a boon for haircare. It consists of proteolytic enzymes which help in hair growth and repair scalp damage. Its cleansing action also rids the scalp of impurities so that our hair follicles can absorb nutrients faster. Aloe vera can be used both as a pre-shampoo treatment and as a conditioner. When mixed with castor oil, an enriching hair mask is created.
How to use-
- Mix half a teaspoon of aloe vera gel with 2 teaspoons of castor oil.
- Mix it with a teaspoon of basil powder and another of fenugreek powder.
- Blend to form a paste.
- Apply it to your scalp and work your way till the end of your hair strands.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel and let the paste sit for a couple of hours.
- Rinse off with lukewarm water and a mild non-abrasive shampoo.
Note: You can add an essential oil of your choice (rosemary and jasmine both have strong fragrances) in order to make the mask smell good.
Castor oil and onion juice
Onion juice prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth by providing sulfur and making your hair thick and strong. It also aids in collagen production, which helps in the growth of healthy skin cells on the scalp. It also helps avoid breakage of hair and reduces hair fall.
How to use-
- Mix 2-3 tablespoons of castor oil with an equal amount of onion juice.
- Blend the two well and apply on your hair in generous amounts.
- Massage your scalp to make sure it is soaking in the mixture.
- Leave it on for a couple hours then shampoo your hair. Rinse well with lukewarm water.
Honey and castor oil
Honey provides a lot of nourishment to your hair. It prevents hair loss and encourages hair growth. It makes hair silky and soft and is also a great moisturizer for it. Honey helps lock in shine and moisture in our hair and thus helps preserve its luster.
How to use-
- Mix 3 tablespoons of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of honey.
- Blend the ingredients together to make a smooth paste.
- Apply this mixture to your hair and massage well.
- Leave it on for a couple hours and then wash off with shampoo. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Note: You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to the paste. It’ll boost the vitamin C content, which is good for treating brittle hair and for fighting dandruff.
Olive oil and castor oil
Olive oil is rich in fatty acids, which are useful for healthy hair growth. Olive oil also has a major moisturizing effect on our hair, helps add shine and makes our hair strong. It also acts as a natural conditioner.
How to use-
- Add around 4 tablespoonfuls each of the two oils to a bowl and mix.
- Heat the mixture on low flame for a couple minutes.
- After it cools slightly, apply to your hair and massage thoroughly.
- Wrap your head with a towel or shower cap and leave for a couple hours.
- Wash off the oil with shampoo and then rinse with lukewarm water.
- Repeat this procedure once every week to see results.
Castor oil and glycerin
Glycerin is one of the best natural conditioners out there. It acts as a humectant (which means that it retains moisture) and thus helps hydrate your hair. It can be mixed with a variety of hair products without fear of negative effects. Mixing castor oil and glycerin makes a great hair mask.
How to use-
- Mix 4 drops of glycerin with 2-3 tablespoons of castor oil.
- Apply to your scalp and let it sit for 2 hours before washing it off with shampoo. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Note: This hair oil can be used up to 3 times a week.
Side effects of castor oil
While it undeniably has a lot of benefits, it also has quite a few side effects you should be aware of in order to project yourself against any unfortunate mishap.
Castor oil is astringent in nature, meaning it can cause skin cells to contract slightly. It is because of this that castor oil can sometimes cause irritation on your scalp. In extremely cases it can lead to extreme dryness and even loss of hair. To check whether or not your skin type is compatible with castor oil, test a little bit of it on another part of your body, like your arm.
To conclude, just be careful while using these remedies and know what works best for you before experimenting.
Which hair masks did you try out? Which one was your favorite? Share your experience with us down below!