Castor Oil for Hair Growth - Complete Guide
Castor Oil has been used for thousands of years to treat various health conditions throughout history. In ancient Egypt it was used for nourishing skin and hair as well as for treating eye irritations. Ancient Egyptians are known to have used castor oil lavishly for hair growth and maintaining the strength of hair follicles. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical science, castor oil is used in a variety of cleansing and detoxyfying processes ranging from skin and hair treatments to treating vaginal irritations and yeast infections.
Castor Oil is extracted from the castor seed (Ricinus Communis). It is a pale yellow, foul-tasting liquid with a thick consistency. It is used both internally (most commonly as a home remedy for constipation) and externally (most commonly to heal tissues deep under the skin, hair and scalp). But some people get severe allergic reaction to it so you should be very cautious in using castor oil.
Castor Oil - History
The use of Castor Oil for hair growth is said to be initiated in ancient Egypt. In Egyptian culture hair symbolized wealth, status, beauty and in some references, motherhood and fertility. No wonder Egyptian women went great lenghts to nurture their hair and beauty. They used Castor Oil warps and Castor Oil scalp massages to enhance the hair growth and maintaining the hair strength.
Ayurveda has known the benefits of castor oil (also known as Gandharvahasta or Eranda taila) since ages and recommends castor oil to stimulate hair growth, restore the hair’s lost nutrients and to increase hair thickness. Also known as 'Arandi Tel' in hindi, it is used widely in naturopathy and ayurvedic treatments.
Becuase of its wonderful therapeutic, cosmetic and medicinal properties it is being used now-a-days in a variety of cosmetic products. It is now widely considered as an effective remedy for hair growth, strengthening the hair shaft and nourishing the roots. So instead of using a fancy and costly beauty solution for your skin and hair, you can try out the inexpensive castor oil which can then become your best friend for life.
Castor Oil - How it Stimulates Hair Growth
Castor Oil is comprised of following fatty acids -
Ricinoleic Acid ~90%
Palmitic Acid 1%
Stearic Acid 1%
Oleic Acid 3%
Linoleic Acid 3-4%
The main component of Castor Oil responsible for promoting hair growth is a fatty acid named Ricinoleic acid. As you see, approximately 90% of castor oil's fatty acid content is made up of Ricinoleic Acid which is said to be a major contributor towards hair growth and regeneration of hair.
Castor Oil helps in retaining moisture, keeping the scalp well hydrated and infection free.
Ricinoleic Acid is an anti microbial agent which means that regular application of castor oil on hair keeps the scalp infection free. The thickness and stickiness of the castor oil, attributed to the presence of Ricinoleic acid, helps in forming a thick coating on hair which results in high volume and healthy shiny hair free from split ends.
Apart from Ricinoleic Acid, the other fatty accids present in castor oil are Omega fatty acids which help in retaining moisture and keeping the scalp well hydrated. They also help in strengthening the hair follicles and smoothening the hair which means stronger and less frizzy hair.
Castor Oil - Which type?
Benefits of castor oil are numerous and indisputable but we should be careful in selecting the castor oil for purchase. The processing and refining of castor oil can degrade the oil making it less effective. So it is best to use unrefined and cold pressed castor oil as this method of processing is known to retain the greatest concentration of nutrients.
Cold Pressed In cold pressed variety of castor oil, heat or chemicals are not applied to extract the oil from the castor seeeds. Rather natural methods are applied to press the seeds and extract oil hence the name cold pressed. Cold pressed castor oil retains most of its nutrients, and doesn’t lose its important skin care properties, or medicinal value. Cold pressed castor oil can be used internally as well for a number of illnesses.
Hexane Free Apart from unrefined and cold pressed, hexane free is another thing to look out for in choosing a castor oil. Hexane is a volatile liquid found in petroleum and is usually added as a solvent while extracting the oil from the castor seeds. It is not considered good for skin and hair so look out for hexane free castor oil.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil Usually castor oil is pale yellow in color but there is one variety of castor oil which is dark brown. It is called Jamaican Black Castor Oil and is prepared by first roasting the castor seeds. Apart from the color there is not much difference in the properties of regular cold pressed castor oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil. You can choose any of them.
Castor Oil - How to apply
Castor Oil work wonders for an array of hair related problems like loss of hair, stunted growth, split ends, hair thinning, follliculitus, dandruff and other scalp infections. To get the full benefit of this wonder oil, we need to know the correct way to apply it on our hair.
Dilute with another oil Because of the extremely thick consistency of castor oil, it is a common practice to mix equal amount of another oil like coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc into castor oil. This makes the oil less viscous and allows for a better and thorough application.
Warm it up Heat the oil to make it slightly warm. This will allow for better absorbtion of oil. Please ensure that the oil does not get too hot - you should feel comfortable in touching the oil.
Dampen your hair Spray some water to make your hair and scalp damp. This will make the scalp soft and allow for better absorbtion of oil.
Massage Thoroughly Always start applying the oil at the roots and across the scalp. Part your hair in various sections and handle them one by one. Massage gently for 5 minutes. After massaging the scalp move downwards towards the ends of hair.
Cover Your Hair Cover your head with a shower cap for few hours. Let the oil get penetrated fully into the scalp and hair follicles.
Wash your hair after this and get thicker, smoother and shinier hair. Wishing you thick and healthy locks!