Yes, castor oil can help with hair growth, but it isn’t a direct result of applying castor oil to your hair or scalp. There have been tests and studies done, but none have been able to prove castor oil does impact hair growth, but castor oil does work to set the stage for it.
The tests may have failed because the standard for a treatment to be effective is to grow hair more than 1 cm per month, and the studies were focused on a specific type of alopecia for men. But with people touting castor oil for hair growth for so long, there has to be something behind this home remedy. So lets look at how castor oil may be able to help your body have the right environment to grow hair. It all starts with where castor oil comes from and what it is made of.
Castor oil comes from castor beans and can be either yellow or black. The yellow color means the castor beans were pressed fresh, and black means they’re roasted. The bean is rich in numerous nutrients that can be good for hair including (source):
- Omega 6 fatty acid
- Omega 9 fatty acid
Many of these elements are used to moisturize and lubricate your scalp, nourish your follicles, and some of the antimicrobial properties may help to reduce dandruff. There are lots of studies on this which you can read here, here, and here to start.
These may not directly impact hair growth, but if your scalp is dry and has dandruff, you’re more likely to scratch it. And scratching your scalp can rip out hair and make it appear you’re suffering from hair loss. If castor oil is soothing your scalp so you don’t scratch it, it may appear that the castor oil is helping hair growth vs. preventing you from pulling your hair out.
A healthy scalp and strong follicles will help create an atmosphere where you may be more prone to hair growth. And with the moisturizing capabilities (you may see it listed as a type of coconut oil on your favorite shampoos and conditioners) it can be a way to help get your scalp healthy. But you also have genetics, age, your diet, and other factors at play. And castor oil may help bring more blood to your scalp helping create an environment for growing your hair.
This interview with licensed dermatologists and hair professionals shares some thoughts on how castor oil can help with blood flow through your scalp and provide nutrients to your hair follicles.
If you're ready to give this oil a try, here a few ways based on your hair type and length. Your stylist or barber will know your hair history, so you can always check with them if you don’t like the ideas below. And if you want a medical opinion, talk to your dermatologist and ask them for a routine specific to your needs and goals.
How To Use Castor Oil On Your Hair
Fine to Medium Straight Hair
- Add castor oil only to the ends to avoid making your hair look oily.
- Leave in for at least 30 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate the hair shaft.
- Shampoo like you usually would.
Medium to Thick, Straight, or Wavy Hair
- Apply castor oil 30 minutes before you wash it.
- Pull your hair up into a shower cap.
- If you have a lot of hair, pull it into a loose ponytail with a spiral hair tie first (to get all of your hair in the cap) and then cover it with a shower cap.
- Spiral hair ties may cause less damage than elastic if the material is smooth and doesn’t fray or rip like elastic ties.
- Shampoo like you usually would.
Wavy Hair To Loose Curls
- Mix a small amount of castor oil with your regular conditioner in the palm of your hand.
- Shampoo your hair like usual.
- Apply the mixture to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair.
- Leave the mixture on your hair for a few minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with water.
Curly, Coarse, or Tightly Coiled Hair
- Massage castor oil into your head and work your way down the length of your strands.
- You may need a hair clip to create sections to make this easier.
- Use a hair clip or tie to pin up your tresses, put a shower cap on, and leave it on for at least two hours to allow the oil to penetrate the hair shaft deeply.
- Wash out with shampoo and follow up with your regular conditioner.
To avoid making your hair look greasy, only use castor oil once a week since frequent use can cause oil buildup.
Women have sworn by castor oil for centuries, and Cleopatra even used castor oil to maintain her healthy hair! There is no scientific way to prove castor oil will help with hair growth, but if your doctor and dermatologist give the ok, why not give it a try? If you do, come back and let us know how it worked for you!