Argan oil, coconut oil, kukui seed oil… We’re pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing between the perfect hair oil to keep our lengths soft, nourished and manageable. Frizz and flyaways? No thanks. But it looks like more of us (40% more according to Google Trends) are being swayed by the benefits of castor oil — and with heaps of claims that it has the ability to strengthen, glossify and make hair grow faster, it sounds pretty ideal, right?
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of castor oil for hair.
What is castor oil and where does it come from?
Before we get to the good bit, it pays to know your stuff.
“Castor oil is obtained by the crushing and pressing of castor seeds,” explains stylist and founder of My Hair Doctor, Guy Parsons. “It is an essential amino acid (Ricinoleic Acid, to be exact) and is rich in Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. Years ago, kids growing up would have probably had a spoonful or two of castor oil when they didn’t feel well,” he laughs, “but it actually has many amazing properties for hair.”
What are the benefits of using castor oil for hair?
Shampoo-ad shine? Tick. Parched ends? See ya. “Castor, like many other natural oils, will act to trap moisture in the hair, smoothing the cuticle,” explains Zoë Passam, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, which makes it the perfect ingredient for those with excessively frizzy, coarse or curly hair, as it typically lacks moisture.
“Its moisturising properties will also significantly help surface shine,” adds Zoë, but that’s not all.
“Castor oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Guy, “so it’s good for scalp maintenance and balance. As well as this, it could play a part in improving blood flow and blood circulation in and at the scalp,” he adds, and a healthy scalp = healthy hair.
Will castor oil make hair grow faster?
“If you have difficulty growing your hair long due to the hair breaking when it reaches a certain length, applying something like castor oil to improve the condition may allow the hair to grow longer without snapping,” says Zoë, but what’s the catch?
“Castor oil cannot, however, make hair grow”, she adds. “It doesn’t really have any effect on the actual growth in the follicle.”
How to use castor oil for hair:
Still intrigued? Here’s how to incorporate castor oil into your hair-care regime for strong, smooth and glossy lengths.
“I’d suggest using castor oil in minute quantities,” says Guy, “and if you use it neat beware, as it is very difficult to rinse out of the hair and remove from the scalp.”
Instead of applying castor oil all over, massage it into the mid-lengths to ends, where hair tends to be drier and more prone to breakage and split ends.
“To avoid making your hair feel coated and weighed down, fuse castor oil with other ingredients,” adds Zoë. “Castor oil would be more suitable combined into an emulsion, in combination with oils that are more penetrating, such as olive oil and almond oil.”
But remember — “With hair masks like these, it is important to wet the hair first, as the mask will help trap the moisture within the hair,” she advises.
Don’t fancy applying it neat? Here are 5 of the best hair products that harness castor oil:
– Philip Kingsley swimcap
Compatible with all hair types, Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap harnesses castor oil, olive oil and vitamin E to shield hair against the drying effects of chlorine, salt and UV without ever making it feel greasy.
– Klorane mango leave-in creme
Applied to towel-dried strands, this banishes frizzy bits, smooths fuzzy ends and makes hair insanely soft. It’s brilliant for thick hair types.
– Onira organics The serum
As a pre-shampoo treatment, this locks in moisture while you wash your hair, but it can be applied on clean, dry lengths to revitalise parched, fluffy ends. One pump is ample.
– My hair doctor volume-ise growth boost
Active ingredients like niacinamide and creatine fortify fragile hair from the inside out, while castor oil provides a surge of moisture to banish brittleness.
– Aveda damage remedy intensive restructuring treatment
Combining castor, jojoba and meadow foam seed oils, this daily leave-in lotion hydrates even the driest of hair types and provides protection from heated tools.
How to use castor oil on your eyelashes and eyebrows
Castor oil isn’t just great for keeping the hair on your head in tip top condition. It’s also beneficial for your eyelashes and eyebrows, keeping them soft and conditioned, which means they’ll be less prone to brittleness and inevitably breakage.
“Castor oil is very nutritious and packed full of ingredients that nourish the lashes and promote natural lash growth including fatty acids, antioxidants and proteins to strengthen and create a naturally full lash line,” explains bareMinerals‘ International Education Director Lee Etheridge.
So, how do you apply it?
“To fully coat the lash, I would recommend to apply the castor oil with a mascara wand,” says The Eyelash Emporium’s Lead Lash Technician, Joanne McGovern. “Sweep through the brows and lashes before you go to sleep. This will help to nourish the eyes, lashes and brow hairs.”
Or you could always try…
– bareMinerals’ lashtopia mega-volume mineral based mascara
This brand spanking new mascara is formulated with castor seed oil to stop lashes from feeling dry, crispy and uncomfortable, even after hours of wear. It thickens and lengthens in one swipe. We love.
– Charlotte Tilbury legendary brows
Super-fine pigments suspended in this nourishing brow gel cling to existing hairs and beef up scant-looking brows, while the added castor oil grooms and softens without stickiness.
From: ELLE UK