Natural oils are very popular these days for hair care. They offer a chemical free, natural alternative for healthy and lustrous hair. They are used for their properties of stimulating hair growth and reducing further hair loss.
One of the oils that has received considerable attention is Castor oil. It has been used over centuries in many cultures of the East for its various health benefits.
What is castor oil?
Castor oil is a colorless to pale yellow, thick oil that is obtained from the seeds of the castor plant. The oil has a high viscosity and feels rather sticky to touch.
The medicinal usage of castor oil dates back to ancient Egyptians, Indians and Chinese. Apart from its use as a hair tonic, it was also used to remove warts, boils and for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Castor oil is rich in Vitamin E and minerals and is one of the few sources of a unique fatty acid called Ricinoleic acid. This unique fatty acid has a potent anti-inflammatory property. Who applied to the skin with a gentle massage, castor oil penetrates easily across the skin without occluding pores of the skin.
How castor oil works in hair loss?
The root cause of hair loss is inflammation of the hair follicles. The potent anti-inflammatory activity of topically castor oil reduced the inflammation and helps to promote hair growth.
Castor oil also has a humectant property which means that it absorbs moisture. This unique property of castor oil also helps it to act as an excellent moisturizer when applied to hair.
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of castor oil protect the scalp from any infections that may lead to hair loss and thinning of hair.
How to use castor oil?
Although castor oil has many benefits as a hair tonic, it can be a bit difficult to apply. For best results it should be applied as a hair mask.
- First and foremost, it is too thick to be applied on its own. It needs to be diluted with some other less thick oils such as coconut oil or olive oil. The best proportion is roughly 50:50.
- Sometimes, warming up the mixture a little is also good as it enhances the rate of absorption of castor oil into the scalp
- The best way to apply the mixture of castor oil on scalp is by using fingers to massaging the oil in circular motions.
- Massage the scalp for about 20 minutes to ensure that all the oil is absorbed into the scalp
- Once all the oil has been applied, it is beneficial to wrap your hair for a few hours with a warm towel to allow the deeper penetration of the oil into the scalp
- Make sure to rinse off all the oil with a mild shampoo
Frequency of application
The most recommended frequency of application for getting the best results is about once a month. It takes a long time for the effects of castor oil to show.
However, long term daily use of castor oil is not recommended. Although Castor oil is regarded as a generally safe oil, excessive use of castor oil, especially pure oil, can cause some irritation. A recent study reported in the International Journal of Toxicology has found that repeated application of castor oil to animals can result in mild to moderate irritation.
Also, if you are prone to allergies, a daily use of castor oil can exacerbate your allergies.
What castor oil to use?
The best grade of castor oil to use on hair is cold pressed cosmetic or therapeutic grade oil. There are two types of castor oils available in the market-Cold pressed variety and Jamaican variety. The Jamaican variety is extracted by lightly roasting the seeds before pressing them. This grade is thicker and darker in color compared to the cold pressed variety.
Although both varieties have been used with positive effects, the Jamaican variety works the best for hair growth.
Castor oil is a good agent if you want to promote hair growth naturally. However, a long term daily is not a very good idea for this particular oil. Once a month application seems to work quite well if the oil is properly applied. We hope that this article served to shed some light on the usefulness of castor oil for hair growth.