Should you use castor oil for hair?

Should you use castor oil for hair?

Should you use castor oil for hair?

July 13, 2020

Educational program Health

Due to oil masks, a “crow’s nest” may appear on the head.
Photo by Ekaterina Komissarova

Ekaterina Komissarova

Lifehacker medical journalist

Should you use castor oil for hair?


Castor oil receive from castor seeds (the scientific name of the plant is Ricinus communis). Its main element is ricinoleic monounsaturated fatty acid. It is she who makes castor oil thick, viscous and sticky.

Most often, castor oil is used as a laxative – and in this role it has a pronounced and scientifically confirmed effect.

Castor oil is also used as a hair regenerative agent. popular. It is applied to the hair in the hope of accelerating their growth and coping with alopecia (fallout). However, in this case, the benefit of this tool is not so clear.

Benefits of castor oil for hair

Castor oil definitely has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Thanks to them, it can be used to treat a variety of skin infections caused by microbes.

That is, if the scalp is affected, for example, by a fungus, lubricating it with castor oil is, in general, a good idea. But when it comes to growth rate and hair quality, castor oil seems to be powerless.

There is no evidence that castor oil can be beneficial for growth. hair.

Adam Friedman
program director of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Public Health, for the online publication Allure

Clinical studies on this subject simply do not exist.

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Why castor oil can be harmful

It is unlikely that castor oil is useful, but its harm has not been proven either. Although there is at least one official documented a story when a mask based on castor oil hopelessly ruined the hair.

A 20-year-old girl with long dark hair decided to enhance it with a mixture of castor and coconut oils. She kept the mask on her hair for a while, then washed it off with warm water and got what is called a “crow’s nest” on her head – very tangled hair. It was impossible to comb them.

The problem was so serious that the girl went to the doctors. They found out that such an unexpected effect was given by viscous and sticky castor oil. It was it, in combination with soapy movements and warm water, that compressed the hairs into a single dense, felt-like mass. The curls could not be saved, the girl had to cut them off.

The conclusion of the trichologists: if the patient had used only coconut oil, without the addition of castor oil, there would have been no catastrophic consequences.

However, this sad story does not mean that castor oil can harm your hair. Doctors generally call the case with the “crow’s nest” extremely rare, the first in history.

If, despite the lack of confirmed data on the benefits of castor oil for hair growth and restoration, you still want to experiment, they are not forbidden. But still, before applying a mask with castor oil to your head, consult a trichologist. This will save you from mistakes.

How to use castor oil for hair

Experts of the popular medical resource Healthline called simple and safe way.

What you need

  • an old T-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty;
  • rubber or plastic gloves;
  • a bottle of castor oil;
  • pipette or applicator;
  • comb;
  • shower cap;
  • paper towels.

How to apply castor oil

  • Put on an old t-shirt.
  • Comb your hair so that it can be easily parted.
  • Wear protective gloves.
  • Apply castor oil to the scalp and hair roots using an applicator or dropper.
  • Gently massage the oil into the scalp with your fingers.
  • Using a comb, distribute the oil throughout the hair.
  • Blot your hair and scalp with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Put on a shower cap, making sure all hair is tucked under it.
  • Leave the hair under the cap for at least 2 hours.
  • Wash your hair with your favorite shampoo. Use conditioner afterwards.
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Cover: Zigres/Shutterstock
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