For a lot of men, that downhill spiral begins with Hair thinning. There are so many reasons why hair begins to thin that have nothing to do with genetics.
The most common cause of thinning hair is an unhealthy scalp. Throughout the day, your scalp is exposed to all manner of things from bacteria, dirt, and dry air that ends up soaking up all the natural moisture.
When all these elements combine, your scalp is bound to get itchy, and as a result, inflammation occurs. Naturally, it’s hard for hair to grow in that kind of environment, which causes bald spots or hair thinning in that area.
Thinning hair is not the biggest confidence booster especially in a man. Worry not, however, because there is a solution. Castor oil (the so-called miracle cure for constipation) might be the answer to all your owes.
Castor oil is one of the most versatile products that you should start using if you are to improve your hair’s health and growth.
What Is Castor Oil for Hair Growth
When hair and skincare manufacturers talk about castor oil, they make it seem like it’s a miracle cure for every ailment out there, which gives it a bit of exaggerated reputation. As such, like all products passed on as miracle solutions, you might feel like the best option is to stay away from it.
If you have thinning hair, however, you might want to rethink that decision. For thousands of years, castor oil has been used in many cultures as a hair enhancement product cum moisturizer.
Although the earlier iterations were not as pure as what you find today, it’s hard to dispute this oil’s reputation over the years. Castor oil is extracted from the titular castor bean and the reason it continues growing in reputation is due to a type of fatty acid (ricinoleic acid) it contains.
Ricinoleic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, but other uses such as reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth have been discovered. The reason why it works well in cases of inflammation is because of the antifungal and antibacterial properties that result from its acidity.
Contrary to popular belief, castor oil, when used on thinning hair, doesn’t cause a supercharging effect that causes hair to increase. Rather, castor oil improves hair growth by soothing the scalp to reduce inflammation and irritation. What this means is that it improves the environment on your scalp enough to facilitate healthy hair growth.
Additionally, it eliminates fungal infections and excessive bacteria on your scalp so that new hair can grow. The ricinoleic acid found in castor oil inhibits a hormone called Prostaglandin D2, which can occur in excess in some men causing slower and weaker hair growth.
Castor oil also happens to be packed with omega-six fatty acids that work to improve blood circulation. Naturally, the scalp plays an important role in determining how your hair grows and the speed and better blood circulation is the leading cause of healthy hair.
Another role of castor oil that is often overlooked is that it works well as a moisturizer. How does this work? The polyunsaturated fatty acids in the oil attach themselves to the hair strands, which helps lock in moisture. As such, for people who have naturally dry hair or whose scalps tend to dry out quicker than normal, castor oil is a great solution.
When it comes to using castor oil, it’s not a product that you apply to your hair like other oils but one that you rub into your scalp to be effective. At the end of the day, better hair growth can only result from a healthy scalp. Castor oil tends to be a thicker oil and comes in different colors depending on how it was extracted.
The oil doesn’t mix as easily with water as other oils and therefore, it is often used as a carrier oil in several oil products, including beard oil. It also has an intense “earthy” fragrance.
Benefits of Using Castor Oil for Hair Growth
Castor oil has gained a lot of popularity worldwide in terms of improving scalp health to improve hair growth. In fact, some people claim that applying it on the scalp monthly boosts hair growth by up to five times.
Whether this is true or not, one thing that remains is that the oil has an effect on hair growth and should be the go-to product for men who have thinning hair. Here are the known benefits of using castor oil for hair growth.
Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that acts as a humectant and can be used as a moisturizer. Humectants normally work by retaining moisture in the skin. As such, castor oil can be used as a natural alternative to store-bought lotions and moisturizers.
Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent
The ricinoleic acid found in castor oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve irritated scalp. As mentioned earlier, our scalps are exposed to so many things, from dirt to bacteria, which can cause the scalp to get inflamed. This inflammation causes unhealthy skin on the scalp, leading to either weak or thin hair.
Fights Fungus Infection
Castor oil is one of the most versatile products. Besides being used to improve hair growth, it has antifungal properties that help fight off Candida albicans, a type of fungus that leads to so many dental issues. Due to this, castor oil can also be used to fight fungus on the scalp that may cause hair to grow unevenly.
For hair to grow fuller either on the head or the face, proper blood circulation is needed so that nutrients reach the hair follicles. This improved circulation is essential, especially if your hair grows thin or in patches.
How Does Castor Oil Work
As mentioned, Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil obtained from the seed of the castor oil plant. The oil is pale yellow and happens to be loaded with plenty of antioxidants.
It is a versatile product with plenty of uses and one of those uses is to boost hair growth. If you are using it for this purpose, just rub a few oil drops into the scalp. Additionally, massaging a few drops into the midsections and ends of the hair follicles helps improve hair texture and protects against breakage.
Although it’s never clear how long you should leave the oil on the scalp for it to work, letting the oil sit for at least two hours will do the trick.
Castor oil has been known to stain clothes; therefore, it would be in your best interest if you covered your head with a shower cap until you are ready to wash the hair.
How often should you use castor oil to see results? According to a majority of hair experts, once a week is enough. When castor oil is used more frequently, it leads to buildup, which causes matting.
Naturally, castor oil is extremely heavy and can prove difficult to remove from the hair after application. As such, I would recommend diluting it with jojoba or coconut oil.
This combination can also help tone down the strong scent of castor oil that most people describe as unpleasant.
Pros and Cons of Using Castor Oil for Hair Growth
- Castor oil contains moisturizing properties that contribute to a healthy dandruff-free scalp that promotes healthy hair growth.
- Just like hair clay makes your hair look thicker, castor oil has been known to stimulate better blood circulation, which helps strengthen the hair follicles and causes hair to grow thicker and stronger.
- Like other oils applied to the scalp, castor oil adds to curbing dandruff and fighting dryness.
- According to most experts, there is no correlation between using castor oil and hair growth. While castor oil can help condition the hair, the idea that it helps hair grow longer is completely anecdotal, so you might want to remember that before you buy it for hair growth. Alternatively, use a derma roller for facial hair growth and combine that with castor oil to aid in healthy hair growth.
- Another disadvantage is that castor oil can prove difficult to work with mainly because it is highly occlusive and very thick and might not be easy to wash off. It is also viscous, which means that it blocks the pores, which is the last thing you want. The better alternative is to combine it with essential oils before use.
Types of Castor Oils
Castor oil products are usually extracted from the same plant. However, there are three major types of castor oils with different effects when applied to the hair.
The three types result from the extraction processes of castor oil that alter the final product’s chemical composition.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
The Jamaican Black Castor Oil is the most famous of all the varieties of castor oil. As a result, it is normally found in many hair care products, having been added as a subsidiary ingredient or carrier oil.
The extraction of the oil involves first roasting the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. Once roasting is done, the seeds are pressed to extract the oil using different tools and machines. The ashes that result from the roasting of the seeds are added to the oil, which is why this oil has a distinct dark color.
Compared to other castor oil varieties, the Jamaican Black Castor Oil has higher alkalinity but the same nutritional value as the other oils.
This castor oil is believed to yield better results for dry and thick hair, although no research has been done to verify the claims.
Organic Cold-Pressed Castor Oil
This is another castor oil variety that you are likely to find in so many hair care products. In fact, you are more likely to hear people talk about cold-pressed castor oil than other varieties.
The oil is extracted through a cold-pressed process whereby high pressure is used to extract the oil rather than roasting the seeds.
While there is no scientific research to verify this, the cold-pressed process is believed to yield oil of better quality. Even if that is not the case, the oil is still of high quality mainly because manufacturers go to great lengths to extract as much oil from the seeds as possible.
The oil that results from this extraction process is pale yellow in color and tends to retain all the nutritional properties.
Hydrogenated Castor Oil
The third category involves extracting the oil through hydrogenating the oil that has already been extracted with a nickel catalyst creating a thicker substance that is similar to wax.
The resulting oil is odorless, insoluble in water, and breaks quickly under pressure. This type of oil is used in cosmetic products and polishes.
If you are looking for a product for your hair, you are better off going with the other two castor oil types.
How to Choose the Best Castor Oil for Hair Growth
You have heard all about castor oil and what it can do for your hair and have decided to give it a try.
Like you would when choosing the right beard wax, balm or oil, before you make any purchase, here are a few things that you need to consider if you want to get the desired results.
As mentioned earlier, Castor oil comes in three varieties that you need to be aware of because they all have different effects. Organic Cold-Pressed Castor Oil is what you will come across mostly whenever you search for castor oil.
Cold-pressing is the process in which this type of castor oil is extracted, in which case the oil is extracted with just pressure rather than heat.
While heat pressing is a common extraction process, it degrades the nutrients present in the castor oil seed. With cold pressing, all the nutrients are retained in the oil, and the oil that results after is pale yellow in color.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil is extracted by roasting the seeds and pressing them to extract as much oil as possible. The ashes from the roasted seeds are then added to the oil, which gives this category of oil a distinct black color. Because of that, the Jamaican Black Castor Oil retains the seeds’ nutritional value like in cold pressing, only that the oil that results is more alkaline.
The last type of castor oil is Hydrogenated Castor Oil. This is the oil that comes from the hydrogenation of pure castor oil by using a nickel catalyst.
Also referred to as castor wax, hydrogenated castor oil tends to be thicker than normal, is odorless, breaks easily, and is insoluble in water. As a result, oil is used mostly in cosmetic products, polishes, and varnishes.
In your search for castor oil to aid in hair growth and thickness, the next factor you need to pay attention to is the purity of the oil you are about to purchase. Why? Naturally, some oil hair care products tend to blend different types of oils, while others are more concentrated.
You never have to worry about it being concentrated with castor oil since it is usually a carrier oil rather than essential oil.
This means that castor oil doesn’t irritate the skin after use or cause any other issues associated with concentrated oils.
Some people believe that using pure castor oil will have more benefits on the scalp than using blended hair products. Yet, others believe that combining castor oils with other essential and carrier oils will provide better results. In whatever form you want to use castor oil, purity is very important. And purity doesn’t just refer to whether the castor oil is combined with other oils or not.
Purity, in this case, refers to how pure the castor oil solution in the bottle is. Some castor oil products will have artificial ingredients added to either change the outcome or enhance the product’s effects after use.
Some of the artificial ingredients that are commonly added include alcohol and fragrances. This results in a product that has a pleasant smell (like the pleasant smell of hair wax) and has anti-greasing effects.
However, at the end of the day, the benefits don’t outweigh the potential cost. When you buy castor oil for your scalp, 100% castor oil is much better since there is little risk of it irritating your skin or causing the scalp to be drier than normal.
At the end of it all, it’s all about the quality of the castor oil you are about to buy, and 100% castor oil is of a much higher quality and will give you the most value for your money.
Castor oil is also categorized in terms of grades.
AA Standard or “pale pressed” is the first grade and comes from the first pressing of the seeds and it’s what results in virgin oil. This oil may be thin and diluted, so for the best quality, ensure you go for a cold-pressed one. There are castor oil products with a mediocre grade, which is still as effective and retains the same nutritional value, but it’s not of high quality as the AA Standard grade castor oil.
Industrial grade is the final grade of castor oil. This is obtained when castor oil is mixed with the next batch of seeds several times to get different nutritional saturation levels. Industrial grade oil is of lower quality and thus much cheaper than the AA Standard grade.
As such, if you are on a budget, this might be the right oil for you. At the end of the day, whatever grade you decide to use, it all comes down to your personal preferences and budget.
Closely related to the grade is another factor that you might want to consider – organic! USDA certified castor oils contain only organic ingredients that haven’t been touched by pesticides or other synthetic elements. This doesn’t matter too much if the castor oil is organic, but if you are like most people, you might be more comfortable using a product that you know doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
When you are buying castor oil, you need to check whether the oil contains any hexane. Hexane is a chemical solvent that manufacturers use when extracting oil from the seeds. The solvent makes the extraction process easier.
You need to go for hexane-free castor oil because, during extraction, the solvent causes chemicals and impurities to remain in the oil after bottling. This can affect the overall quality of the castor oil by changing the stability and chemical composition. Any oil that is compromised in any way will be less effective on the hair and, therefore, will not give you value for your money.
Castor oils containing hexane will always be cheaper, but I would rather go for hexane-free products.
Finally, it’s good to check how much oil you are getting for the price before you commit to a purchase.
A majority of people will use a tablespoon or larger amounts of the oil every time they apply. What this means is that you might end up burning quickly through a whole bottle without even realizing it.
You want to ensure that the amount you are spending collates with the amount of oil in the bottle. If you plan to use castor oil every once in a while, you might get away with buying higher quality oils that are more expensive but tend to come in smaller bottles. If you are on a budget and need a lot of oil, there are so many cheaper options that come in large enough bottles for a few months of use.
Overall, whatever amount of castor oil you go for will depend on your budget and needs at the moment.
How to Apply Castor Oil Properly
Like you would learn to use beard scissors by yourself or removing hair using a clipper, you need to learn how to apply castor oil the right way.
With that said, there is no right or wrong way of applying castor oil, but here are the general steps that you need to follow.
Step 1 – Protect your clothes and working area
Castor oil comes in different colors, which can end up messing up your clothes during application. As such, ensure that you start by placing paper towels on your working area and cover your shoulders with old towels. Do this every time you use castor oil, especially if you are using it for the first time. Things can get really messy if you are not careful.
Step 2 – Dampen your hair
While you can still apply castor oil on dry hair for better absorption, you are better off dampening the hair first. The easiest way is to use a spray bottle. Before you start any application, brush or comb your hair using the world’s best laser combs to get rid of any snags and tangles, a simple comb or brush will also do.
Step 3 – Getting your oil ready
When you are using castor oil, you need to remember that a little will go a long way. In this case, a few tablespoons are more than enough so that your bottle can last you for a long time. Before you apply, heat the oil a little to draw out its beneficial ingredients and make application easy.
Step 4 – Mix the oil with another oil
A good strategy for castor oil is to mix it with another oil like coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado oil. Doing so makes it easier to apply since castor oil can be thicker than normal oils.
Additionally, you are also better off adding a few drops of essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, or tea tree oil to mask the strong castor oil smell. For instance, try and create a mixture of 3 tablespoons of castor oil, one tablespoon of jojoba oil, and coconut oil and then shake the ingredients to mix.
To heat the oil, fill a large bowl with hot water, place your jar of castor oil inside, and make sure no water gets inside the jar. When the oil has warmed up well, place it in a small bowl for easier application. You can also use an eyedropper to draw oil from the jar when applying.
Step 5 – Apply the oil
Now onto the application process. Dip your fingers inside the bowl with the oil and massage it into your scalp for about 3 to 5 minutes.
While you don’t need to use a lot of oil, ensure that you spread it evenly between your scalp and the hair roots. You can use small circular motions to massage the oil into your scalp. If you are using an eyedropper, apply a few drops in various scalp and massage areas for 3 to 5 minutes with your fingers.
Step 6 – Leave the oil to sit for a couple of minutes
Avoid washing your hair immediately when you apply castor oil. Instead, you want the oil to remain on the scalp for 15 to 20 minutes if it is to be effective. If you wish, you could also leave the oil on overnight but remember to protect your pillow or wear a shower cap on the head.
How to Remove Castor Oil From Your Hair
Naturally, castor oil is sticky and thick, and washing it off your hair requires a little bit of effort.
Step 1 – Use warm water
If you don’t want to damage your hair and the oil to come out effortlessly, use warm water. This opens up the pores to release any dirt and leftover grime.
Step 2 – Use hair shampoo
Work your favorite hair shampoo into a good lather and then massage it gently into the scalp before rinsing with lukewarm water. You would also be working to get rid of dandruff using shampoo if you have a dry scalp.
Other Oils Used for Hair Growth
Besides castor oils, there are other oils you can use on your hair to promote a healthy scalp and they include;
Just like castor oil, coconut oil has several benefits, and for a good reason. For one, it is packed with lauric acid and other essential fatty acids that supply nutrients to the hair, which results in strong hair that doesn’t break easily.
Coconut oil is full of vitamins and has antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it very effective for fighting itching and dandruff. By regularly massaging it into your hair, you will improve the hair follicles’ health and keep the hair and the scalp well moisturized.
Argan oil is extracted from trees that are only native to Mexico and has for years been used for various reasons, including improving the health of hair and the quality of most cosmetic products.
Like castor oil, argan oil is effective if it has been cold-pressed. In terms of health benefits, it is very effective in fighting obesity and cardiovascular diseases. For hair growth, it contains vitamins and nutrients that help increase blood circulation to the scalp.
Argan oil also works like most premium leave-in conditioners in that it is a great moisturizer that helps strengthen the hair follicles. Just like you would resolve your skin issues using face cream, argan oil helps reduce hair damage by protecting it against harmful UV rays.
It also shields the follicles from damage by chemicals that are used in other hair care products. Due to its moisturizing properties, argan oil also helps protect the scalp against itching and dandruff that result from a dry scalp.
While argan seems to offer the same benefits as castor oil, if you have a sensitive scalp, you are better off sticking to castor oil.
Argan also works well when it is combined with shampoos that can help your hair grow and exfoliate shampoos to help unclog the pores so that oil can be absorbed better.
Jojoba oil is used in many hair and skin care products like conditioners and shampoos. When used on the hair, it acts as a carrier oil to aid in absorption and the delivery of essential oils to the scalp.
However, there is more to jojoba oil than meets the eye. For one, jojoba oil is a great moisturizer that resolves dryness without leaving any residue as other moisturizers do. Due to this quality, using jojoba oil on hair helps strengthen the hair follicles, which results in healthy hair that is resistant to hair loss.
A convenient way to use jojoba oil is to mix a few drops of it with your conditioner or shampoo. You could also use it after shampooing the hair but be warned- too much can leave your hair feeling or looking too greasy.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil contains oleic acid that helps regenerate hair follicles and moisturize the hair. The oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and mixes well with sebum, which is the natural oil produced by the skin.
Sesame oil contains linoleic and oleic acid and helps regulate the sebum to prevent an excessively greasy appearance. It contains vitamins B and E and fatty acids, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and iron contribute to a better quality of hair.
Avocado oil contains fatty acids that help repair damaged hair as well as improve hair quality. If you have split ends and frizzy hair, you might benefit from avocado oil. Like olive oil, it helps inhibit the production of the enzyme by-product DHT, which is believed to be the leading cause of hair loss in most men.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
Like with other hair and skincare products, more spending means more quality when it comes to castor oil. The quality of castor oil is determined by several factors that include the extraction process.
Cold-pressed castor tends to retain most of the nutritional values and will therefore be of better quality and therefore expensive. In that regard also, Jamaican Black Castor Oil is extracted by roasting the seeds and adding the ashes to the final oil, which ensures that the nutritional value is retained.
This oil will also be of high quality and will cost you more. Another thing that determines quality is the grade of the castor oil you are buying.
AA Standard grade is the highest and the most expensive, while the industrial-grade is of much lower quality and will cost you less.
Pure and high-quality castor oils will be packaged in smaller bottles, but the quality and value for money are undisputable. Just like you can make your own beard oil at home, you can also make your own castor oils and there are tons of guides for that on the internet.
Do’s and Don’ts With Castor Oil for Hair Growth
- Do ensure that you cover your working area and shoulders before you begin applying castor oil.
- Do mix castor oil with other oils like coconut and jojoba to eliminate the potent smell of pure castor oil.
- Do ensure that you buy castor oil of the highest grade to be more effective in helping thicken your thinning hair.
- Don’t use too much castor oil in the hope that it will work better. A little castor oil used at least once a week will go a long way.
FAQ About Castor Oil for Hair Growth
How often should I use castor oil?
You can use castor oil as often as you want, but this will only mean burning through your bottle in a short period of time. Generally, once or twice a week is enough, but this depends on how dry your scalp is and how irritated it gets. If the first application works as you intended, you are free to use the oil more frequently, but this will mean buying more every couple of months.
What is an essential oil vs castor oil?
You have heard about essential oils and how they can improve the health and thickness of your hair. But what are they? First of all, castor oil is not an essential oil. Essential oils are usually derived from the non-fatty parts of plants like the roots, barks, leaves, and stems. As such, essential oils have heavy fragrances and are prepared most of the time in concentrated forms.
Concentrated oils are effective, although they can also lead to inflammation and skin irritation. As such, essential oils are blended with carrier oils. Carrier oils are thinner and weaker and are derived from the fatty parts of plants like the seeds. As such, castor oil is a carrier oil.
How long will your hair grow with castor oil?
There is no scientific backing as to whether castor oil causes the hair to grow. Its benefits are more of a side effect of the oil’s ability to reduce irritation and inflammation on the scalp. This creates a more conducive environment where healthy hair can thrive.
\As such, if you have thinning hair, you might notice your hair getting thicker because your scalp is healthier. Therefore, it’s hard to determine how long your hair will grow after using castor oil. I guess it will depend on your hair growth rate and how much thinning there was initially.
Can castor oil make your hair fall out?
Whether or not you will start losing hair after using castor oil is unclear. In case the hair starts falling, it may or may not be due to the oil. In some way, maybe the castor oil could be triggering the hair to fall. Additionally, maybe your hair loss can be due to the castor oil irritating your scalp or suffocating the hair follicles when you use too much. When hair is robbed of hydration, it becomes dry, brittle, and thus prone to breakage.
How long does it take for castor oil to work?
There is no standard as to how often you need to use castor oil before you start seeing the results. This differs from one individual to another. However, using the oil once or twice a week for about three months should start yielding results.
For decades, castor oil has been used to treat so many things, from constipation to promoting healthy hair growth. Hair thinning can be a nightmare to many men because it makes you look older than you are. Castor oil is extracted from the castor plant’s seeds and has been known to improve the environment on the scalp so that hair grows thicker and healthier.
The only thing you need to ensure is that you go for the highest quality castor oil, which will be determined by the extraction process and grade of the oil. Also, since castor oil has a strong scent that you may find unpleasant, you are better off using other oils like coconut, avocado, and jojoba oil.
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