Castor Oil for Healthier Hair

Hair oils are incredibly popular these days and castor oil specifically is one of the most commonly used oils right now. Many people believe castor oil to have countless benefits such as increased hair growth, thicker and stronger hair, and that it can even make your hair darker.

In this article, I’m going to take a closer look at castor oil benefits and try to find out whether it can really help with hair growth and thickness. Continue reading or jump straight to the sections about hair growth, hair darkening and other castor oil benefits or how to apply castor oil.

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a very thick vegetable oil that is extracted from castor beans (which are not real beans, actually) that are part of a plant that grows in India, China and parts of Brazil. This oil is used in a variety of industries and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and laxative effects. That’s right, I said laxative, as in it can cause digestive problems, diarrhea and nausea in some individuals (but only when used in very large amounts or ingested). Castor oil has a very low molecular mass which allows it to penetrate deep into the skin.castor oil plant

The American Cancer Society notes that castor oil should never be used by women who are pregnant of suffer from chronic digestive problems. Under normal conditions castor oil is considered to be completely safe and should not cause any issues.

Castor Oil for Hair

Castor oil, just like many other oils, is often used as a leave in scalp and hair treatment. Just like with coconut oil, not all types of hair and scalp like castor oil and the only way to find out whether it will work well for you is to give it a shot. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using castor oil for hair.

Castor oil for hair growth: While many articles online claim that using this oil regularly can help to speed up normal hair growth and even spur new hair growth, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever showing that castor oil has a direct influence on how fast hair grows. This doesn’t mean that using castor oil to help with hair regrowth is pointless, though.

Now, a lot of times slow hair growth happens due to issues with the scalp or the fact that hair strands grow weak and break off early. Another common factor is improper use of hair care products or bad hair care in general. Since castor oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, applying it to your scalp can help treat dandruff, flaky scalp, dryness, and itchiness. There are no guarantees that it will work for you though, but it is definitely worth trying, especially with so many people reporting amazing results when using castor oil.

Castor oil for hairAnother (indirect) reason why using castor can help with hair growth is improved blood circulation in the scalp due to stimulation with fingers when applying the oil. It is well known that scalp massages are good for hair health and the process of applying castor oil (or any oil for that matter) to the scalp is like a mini-massage.

Castor oil for hair darkening: Some people say that using castor oil can make hair darker. While there is no scientific evidence of this, I have actually seen this happen (although the effect was very small and temporary) so there’s definitely something to it. Most experts believe that since castor oil is extremely thick, it actually coats the hair and makes it look slightly thicker and darker than usual. This effect is temporary, because natural hair color is not changed. So, if you have blond or light colored hair, keep this in mind when using castor oil. And again remember that the darkening effect is very, very mild and might not really be noticeable at all in some cases.

Castor oil for thicker eyebrows/eyelashes:
This oil is commonly used to make eyelashes appear thicker and grow longer. While I don’t believe that it can actually make eyebrows/eyelashes grow faster or longer, it can definitely add some (temporary) thickness and make them look darker and “fuller”. Some beauty experts say that castor oil used on eyebrows kills off bacteria that hinders hair growth and can actually help increase length and stop shedding.

Do note that castor oil should not be allowed to get into your eyes! Use very little oil and apply it carefully.

Castor oil for hair shedding and itchy scalp: Some people say that castor oil stops hair shedding and can cure various conditions that cause itchy scalp and dry, flaky skin. Others have tried using castor oil but had to stop due to increased shedding. This just goes to show that everyone’s scalp is different and there’s no way to tell exactly how your hair/scalp is going to react to castor oil without giving it a try.

How to Use Castor Oil On Hair

The process of applying castor oil to scalp/hair is very simple. Do remember that most people use it as a leave in treatment for scalp and hair strands. Castor oil is rarely applied to hair length/ends. Here are some tips to get your started:

  • Castor oil is very thick. Applying it undiluted can be problematic – you should either get your scalp/hair wet before using the oil or mix (50/50) castor oil together with a different oil such as coconut, avocado or almond. This will make it easier to spread the oil out nicely and should help to prevent buildup.
  • Castor oil doesn’t smell nice. Add a few drops of rosemary, peppermint or a similar essential oil to help with the smell.
  • Use very little oil. When applying castor oil to your scalp you should avoid overuse to prevent having to deal with greasy hair afterwards. Plus, if you put too much of it on your head, it can be very difficult to wash out!
  • Spread it evenly. While many people like to use a dropper bottle to drop oil directly onto the scalp, I prefer using my fingers instead. Put your castor oil mix into a small bowl, dip your fingers in the oil and then apply it gently to your scalp. This may not seem like a big deal, but it does help to reduce problems with greasy/oily hair post-treatment.
  • Warm it up. If the oil feels extremely thick you can warm it up a little to make it more fluid. Don’t microwave it though – fill up a bowl with hot water, then add a smaller bowl with some castor oil into it and wait 2-4 minutes.
  • Shampoo or conditioner? If you find that your regular shampoo just doesn’t get all of the oil out of your head, try using a conditioner instead (and skip the shampoo). Apply some conditioner to your head/hair, wait for 10-20 minutes and then wash it out.
  • How long? Leave the oil in for at least 30 minutes and then wash it out. Some people like to leave castor oil in overnight which is also fine. I don’t think that going any longer than 2-3 hours has any added benefit, but choose whatever method is the most convenient for you.
  • How often? Just 1-2 treatments per week should be enough to see good results. Give it about four weeks and if you aren’t seeing an improvement in how your scalp/hair feels – try something different.

As you can see, castor oil is a superb scalp treatment that you should try at least once, especially if you have problems with itching, dry scalp and shedding. Just remember this:

  • Dilute the oil using coconut, almond or some other oil. Use very little oil.
  • Add several drops of your favorite essential oil (rosemary, peppermint) to make it smell better.
  • Warm it up a little (don’t microwave!).
  • Apply it evenly to your scalp and leave in for at least 30 minutes.
  • If shampooing doesn’t get it all out try using a simple, cone-free conditioner instead.

That’s it! Let us know how it goes and feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

About Marina

22 Responses to “Castor Oil for Healthier Hair”

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  1. Angie Diego says:

    Marina, why would you write an article about castor oil if you do not believe it will do anything or have any benefit? I have been using castor oil to repair my thinning hair and I see a HUGE difference. I massage in with a makeup wand pure castor oil into my scalp. Within DAYS, dark, healthy hairs are growing out. My hairline has thickened and I am growing my eyebrows fuller. I apply to my eyelashes and they get so long that I can barely put on mascara without it blinking all over my lids like falsies. So before you bad-talk a natural product, maybe you should try it…

    • Blossom says:

      Hey angie…js read abt your exp…i had awesome thick hair n everyon use to envy me. We moved and i am exp terrible hairfall whch hs resulted in unimaginabl thinning. I tried several things nothng seems to work. U think castor oil can cure it??

    • Sumera says:

      Hi Angela..

      How often you use the castor oil? and you have european hair or afro?

      Thank you!

    • Elizabeth Schultz says:

      Right Angie. I completely agree with you. She sounds more like a doctor trying to discourage people from natural remedies. Making them feel as if the results are all in their head. Now I do realize not everyone may have the amazing results from castor oil or coconut oil. It does help many and if those oils don’t work for sone their are many other natural oils that will work for people. I’ve had absolutely amazing results with coconut oil and I’ve tried so many things for my black heads, white heads,acne, very oily skin, and large pores nothing worked for very long and made my blackheads worse. I also started using a very small amount of castor oil at night mixed with coconut oil on just my face for a (few hours only) it made my pores even smaller looking. It’s comical also people are going to you for better more informed information than. The “expert” writing this “article” Lol. when i was researching castor oil I would come across many forums of people asking questions about castor oil yo doctor most we’re negative and literally telling people to use vaselin on their eye lashes versus castor oil. Um seriously vaseline is not organic made from a petroleum which is bad for you and the environment. I used to use vaseline for my skin when i was younger its super greasy takes a long time to soak in make blackhead way worse. I would wake up with swollen eyes from it Soaking in when i wa using i as a wrinkle cream around my eyes. Vaseline didn’t burn to badly if it had gotten in my eyes but it was very uncomfortable so I don’t know how a doctor can say it’s safer to have vaseline get in you’re eyes versus castor oil. Not that I’m say you should put either in you’re eyes but with castor oil (organic cold pressed by the way as you should buy with any essential oil) it has gotten in my eyes never causef me any irritation or swelling and I can pretty much blink it out versus trying to get vaseline out of my eyes.

    • Diya says:

      is it always necessary to wash off the oil?? how many times should we apply the oil to see difference in hair growth? should it be once or twice a week or daily?does castor oil help premature graying?

    • Casey J says:

      It could be some people are losing hair from castor oil because they aren’t using genuine products? Just a guess

    • Ariana Garcia says:

      How do you apply it to your hair? What ingredients and method you use? I’m new to trying this but don’t know how.

  2. Yasmeen says:

    my hair hair is really thin you can see the skin through the hair and also my hair gets grease within 2 days after washing my hair

    i have used castor oil seen hair grow little and also it also lose my hair after using castor oil is that good sign or bad

    please help me out

    • Pari says:

      Use castor oil with coconut oil or jojoba oil, see tht coconut oil or jojoba is more than castor…. leave it for 4 hours or over night and rince it off with good herbal shampoo…..see tht oil and shampoo are off you hair and scalp is clean….. if you see greazy scalp after 2 days , dont worry, tht fine, ourbody generates oil for protection itself….. do this twice weekly! Take care

  3. cookielover says:

    I have relaxed hair and I just recently started using castor oil on my hair. I used it once a week and leave it on my hair. I noticed that when ever I take a nap with castor oil in my hair it gets soft. I having been trying to grow my hair for a long time and it usually ends up breaking. Why? Well that’s because I used way too many hair products and I frequently relaxed my hair. BAD IDEA. Though that was a long time ago. So like I said I started using castor oil because I heard that it works miracles on d hair. I just wanted to give it a go. My hair is just neck length and I really want it to get to armpit or waist length. So I was just wondering if there is anything wrong with what I’m doing now. I stop using petroleum products for now because I felt like it’s weighting my hair down. So I just applied castor oil to my hair. Only castor oil nothing added and I just wanted to see if that will work. I apply it after I shampoo my hair as a leave in conditioner. Note I do not rinse it off. I leave it in until d next week or until I get it shampooed again then start all over. I just started this last week and wanted to ask if its is Vaseline on d hair OK?
    Just wanted to know and I’m sorry for d long story I had to give u even though it might seem unnecessary.

    • N says:

      Warm the oil, dip your fingers in it, rub them together and massage on scalp. Leave it overnight and wash off in morning. Initially there might be some shedding–this is normal, it’s just the unhealthy hair falling off. Over time ur scalp will be nourished and healthier hair will grow. Since the oil is very thick, it is better to apply before washing. Otherwise hair will become greasy.
      I have been using it on eye lashes & hairline, and i see a difference. My lashes r really longer 🙂 !! So I have begin to use it on my hair too. Be patient, it will take at least 6-8 weeks to show results. Best wishes!

      • Diya says:

        is it always necessary to wash off the oil?? how many times should we apply the oil to see difference in hair growth? should it be once or twice a week or daily?does castor oil help premature graying?

    • Fiona says:

      Hey, I just wanted to say you should stop using petroleum straight away. Petroleum is a mineral oil so it gives the effect of moisturizing your skin and hair but actually it just coats them and stops them from functioning correctly (eg. being able to moisturize themselves properly) with long term use. It forms a barrier which stops moisture from escaping, yes, but in doing that it stops toxins that need to be released through the skin from getting out and also any moisture from getting in.

    • Pari says:

      You should apply castor oil with warm coconut oil or jojoba oil before wash….. leave it for 4 hours and wash the oil off, use conditioner after shampooing.. see tht you clean all ur hair, and see that there is no oil, shampoo or conditioner on your hair, scalp and hair needs to be free for a while, it needs oxygen. Just do this twice a week and you will see te difference! This will be more better than leaving it on after shampoo….

  4. Mandy says:

    Marina, can you tell me what you use on your hair as it looks so full and thick. I am reading too many articles on home remedies and supplements and now am extremely confused. My hair is thinning and I have lost patches. I have had 2 sessions of corticosteroid injections and am not certain this is helping as it seems my hair has worsens since the injections. Can you please direct me to website that will give real facts? I am kind of depressed over this.

  5. siva says:

    Hi…. I have been using castor oil for past one month … My eyebrows n eyelashes are little bit long… But no improvements in my hairs… Help me to recover this problem…

  6. jennifer says:

    Can castor oil be used on oily scalp?

  7. kd says:

    Is this gold for growing an afro?

  8. amy says:

    i have applied castor oil only two times as of now and i am greatly relieved. it has controlled my hair fall upto 30 percent and now i am very hopeful that it will stop my hair shedding completely. it made my hair supersoft and shiny too. i have tried so many products and wasted a lot of money but finally i have found my hair care regime, thnks to the good reviews i read on net. its true that it is very sticky and i found it frothy too but mix it with coconut oil and apply. best would be to leave it overnight. must try product

  9. Antonio says:


    Since I am black and washing my hair is done at absolute most once a week, is it okay to just massage with coconut, jojoba and rosemary oil and just leave in my scalp? Kind of like a hair dressing?

  10. Cindy says:

    Hello there,
    “Castor oil” is really good for you!!! Your hair gets thicker, darker, and grows faster. It takes care of boldness!!!You even get your eyelashes and eyebrows back!!! 100% proved!!!!

  11. Bushra says:

    the article is too nice or informative to read specially ur question answer. thanx to have all things in one article:)

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