Growing up and seeing Disney princesses and dolls with thick long hair, it’s only natural that you’d want the same. However the reality is that growing healthy long hair, can be tougher than Rapunzel makes it look. Hair breakage, heat and colour damage, plus hair fall, all make it very difficult to maintain or grow long hair. But worry not, we have a hair saviour for you - Castor oil.
Castor oil has for centuries been known for its health benefits, but it isn’t the first to come to mind when we think of hair growth. It is packed with nutrients such as ricinoleic acid, Omega-6, antioxidants, vitamin E and minerals. It’s extracted from castor seeds and is usually pale yellow in colour. Since it is sticky and thick, most companies sell their versions of castor oil mixed with lighter oils in a blend.
Many times, hair fall is due to an unhealthy scalp. Whether you have a skin condition, or dry scalp, all these reasons can cause hair to fall. Castor oil has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which makes it very effective to treat different scalp issues. Additionally, if you’ve got a condition called folliculitis, which causes inflammation of the hair follicles, castor oil can help. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Ricinoleic acid helps to improve blood circulation; castor oil has a high content of this acid. When applied to the head, it can immediately improve the blood circulation of the scalp which in turn helps boost hair growth. It’s because of these reasons, that some believe that castor oil can increase the growth rate of hair 3 times more compared to normal. But just having long hair isn’t enough - healthy, thick and beautifully long hair is better.
While there are many varieties available, there are three types of castor oils that can be found in products - Organic castor oil and Jamaican Black castor oil can be used on hair; hydrogenated castor oil (castor wax) is mostly used in beauty products.
Organic castor oil, is extracted directly from the seed by cold pressing, and hence it is the most pure form of the oil. This castor oil is especially good for dry hair as it is a humectant. This means that it retains the moisture in the hair by sealing it in to really bring that much needed hydration to dry hair. Thus, also making it the perfect companion for damaged hair or itchy scalp.
The Jamaican black castor oil has the same extraction process, but the seed is first roasted and then pressed. The ashes of the roasted castor seeds are then added to the oil which is why it is black in appearance. It’s more alkaline based compared to pure castor oil, hence ideal for normal hair types.
As mentioned before, castor oil is thick, therefore making it hard to wash off. There are two ways to apply castor oil to hair. These methods can be used with either the organic or the Jamaican Black castor oil. If you do use the JBCO, make sure to wear old clothes while applying as it tends to stain the clothes.
Take a few tablespoons of castor oil, depending on how thick and long your hair is. Using a little bit of the product at a time, work it into the scalp and hair. Do this, till the whole head and hair is oiled. Cover your hair with a shower cap and keep for one to two hours. If you want more intense conditioning, you could keep it overnight. Wash your hair after applying, you might have to rinse and repeat a few times till the oil is finally out of the hair.
Another great way to get your hair growth going, is to use other oils that are also known to enhance hair growth and reduce hair fall. We suggest:
4 teaspoons virgin Coconut oil
4 teaspoons Bhringraj oil
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons Castor oil
Mix all these oils together and apply to hair and scalp. If you want a bit of a spa feel to this home treatment, warm up these oil and then apply thoroughly. Keep for 1 hour and then rise as you would normally. You could also make this mixture in larger quantities and store it for later use. Add a capsule of vitamin E into the mixture, just to boost hair growth.
As with any oils, just one time use isn’t going to show results, Have a regular routine, twice a month if you’re too busy or once a week, if you have the time and energy. You will start to see stronger and longer hair in a few months time.
Natural ingredients are always preferable when treating hair, especially if you’re putting your hair through heat styling tools and colouring chemicals. Give the castor oil time to work on your system. So, the next time you see a bottle of castor oil in the beauty racks, opt to purchase and let us know how effective it has been for your hair.
As a bonus, apply castor oil to your lashes and brows too, and then just watch the luscious magic unfold!