Anyone who has ever struggled with excessive hair loss has probably heard about the miraculous (but not certain) properties of castor oil. There are dozens of positive reviews on YouTube that say that even the thinnest eyebrows can be turned into arcs like Cara Delevingne’s. But is there any scientific evidence that castor oil stimulates hair growth? To find out, we spoke with the experts who delivered their verdict.
What is castor oil and what are its health benefits?
Castor oil, also known as ricinus communis, is a nutrient-rich vegetable oil that is made from the seeds of the castor plant (annual palm). By the way, the plant itself is very poisonous, but in the process of oil production, all toxic substances evaporate, and the product takes in all the best that is in the castor oil plant.
Castor oil is a viscous yellow liquid with an extremely rich and incredibly valuable composition. Castor oil contains:
• a large amount of triglycerides of ricinoleic acid;
• fatty acids (about 15%) – linoleic, oleic, palmitic and others.
At the molecular level, castor oil is a fatty acid: it provides essential proteins and nutrients to the hair follicles and prevents inflammation.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil has other noteworthy properties. Experts say it enhances the natural shine and flexibility of the hair shaft.
Does castor oil stimulate hair growth?
According to Natalia Karpova, dermatologist-cosmetologist at the Sky Estet clinic of aesthetic medicine, castor oil is widely used to treat skin, improve the condition of eyebrows, eyelashes and hair. It perfectly restores damaged cells of the scalp and the structure of hair follicles and bulbs.
Most often, girls use castor oil as a hair mask. Its composition penetrates deeply into the pores of the head, thereby nourishing and moisturizing the skin, eliminating itching, seborrhea, dandruff and other problems. Castor oil qualitatively moisturizes the hair along its entire length, even if it is very weak or dry, – the expert notes.
Also, castor oil perfectly retains moisture at the ends of the hair, preventing the appearance of split ends.
Natalia is sure that castor oil affects the rate of hair growth, as it activates blood circulation, thereby strengthening the hair and stopping the process of hair loss. In addition, when applying the product to the scalp, it is best to massage it so that the active ingredients begin to activate blood circulation.
In fact, there is no research showing that castor oil can increase hair growth by more than 1 cm per month (this is the FDA hair growth standard – an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services). However, numerous reviews on the net say otherwise. Perhaps this is because castor oil is 90% ricinoleic acid. It is known to stimulate the prostaglandin E2 receptor, which can cause blood vessels to dilate. When applied to the scalp, the oil increases the flow of oxygen, blood and nutrients to the hair follicles and roots. Therefore, the conclusion is this – castor oil indirectly contributes to the growth of curls.
Can castor oil be applied to eyelashes and eyebrows?
On the eyebrows, yes (it can act as a great conditioning serum), but be careful with your eyelashes. If, after testing in a small area, castor oil allergy does not appear, then it can be safely applied to the eyebrows. However, there is no evidence of its effects on the eyes, so experts advise consulting an ophthalmologist.
How should I apply cold-pressed castor oil to hair and scalp?
According to professionals, it is best to use castor oil about once or twice a week – just apply a small amount of the product to your scalp and let it soak for 15 minutes to several hours before rinsing off. There are nuances for each type of hair. Castor oil has a cumulative effect. Remember: the results will not be immediate, the effect can be seen after at least three months of regular use. Even if after this time you still don’t notice any significant changes, you will at least have moisturized and shiny hair.
Fine to medium straight hair: castor oil can be used to protect the ends. Apply it before using shampoo.
Medium to thick straight or wavy hair: apply all over your scalp for an intensive care before shampooing.
Wavy hair: Mix drops of castor oil with your usual conditioner, this mix will save hair in the hot and humid summer months.
Curly hair: Experts advise using castor oil as needed – before shampoo, as a complementary treatment, or as a weekly moisturizer.
But for those who have dandruff, it is better not to experiment. Oil can only make the problem worse.
Kristina Zyryanova, dermatologist, cosmetologist at the Le Colon Institute of Cosmetology, skin mentor of Biologique Recherche, shared her beauty hacks on the use of the oil.
Do not apply castor oil to clean hair
Wash it out of your hair then oh, how difficult it is. To comfortably remove the oil, after the procedure (mask), apply a deep cleansing shampoo to your hair, give it a small massage, then rinse it under running water. If the roots still feel greasy after rinsing, rinse them with cool lemon water.
Use a warm product
To enhance the effect, it is recommended to warm up the product a little before use – in your hands or in a water bath.
Pay attention to the technique of applying the oil
If the goal is to accelerate hair growth and provide nourishment, it is necessary to apply castor oil exclusively to the scalp. In cases where you want to enhance the shine and smoothness of the hair, it is recommended to distribute the product along the entire length.
Provide additional effect
After applying the castor oil formulation to the hair, it is important to create the so-called “greenhouse effect”. For this purpose, it is recommended to wrap your head in a towel (you can also use a film) or put on a special hat. Next – leave the composition for 1-2 hours, then rinse under running water using shampoo.
In any case, in order to get the best effect from the use of castor oil, it is worth consulting with a trichologist about its complex application and effective stimulation of hair follicles. The doctor will individually prescribe the number of applications per week, so as not to “overload” the curls.