The benefits and uses of castor oil for hair growth

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Ah, the eternal struggle between wanting long hair and wanting healthy hair continues. In my quest to get mermaid hair less yards of split ends, I’ve looked at probably every product that claims to help with hair growth. Biotin? It’s done. Scalp massage? Why not. Avoid the heat? Ahah of course.

If you’ve ever had trouble restoring your edges, excessive shedding, or thinning, chances are you’ve heard of the alleged hair growth miracle properties of castor oil. A quick YouTube search yields dozens of positive testimonials that show eyebrows restored to Cara Delevingne’s status and edges that even Alicia Keys would envy. But is there any scientific evidence to support the claim of castor oil growth stimulation? To find out, we spoke to two hair experts: a certified dermatologist and a hair restoration expert. Dr Nikki Hill and certified trichologist (he’s a hairdresser, if you didn’t know that) and colorist Bridgette hill.

What is castor oil and what are its benefits?

Castor oil, also known as Ricinus communis, is a nutrient-rich vegetable oil obtained from castor seeds. Although it is native to tropical East Africa, it is widely used in India and the West Indies for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Castor oil is usually clear or pale yellow, unless it is derived from roasting or boiling, known as black castor oil.

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At the molecular level, castor oil is a long chain fatty acid. “Fatty acids provide essential protein and nutrients to hair follicles and prevent inflammation of hair follicles,” explains Bridgette Hill.

Besides being anti-inflammatory, castor oil has a few other notable properties. “Some benefits of using castor oil include increased shine or shine of the hair, increased flexibility of the hair shaft by coating the hair shaft, [and] providing antimicrobial properties, ”says Dr. Hill.

Does castor oil stimulate hair growth?

“No studies exist showing that castor oil can increase hair growth> 1cm / month, which is the FDA standard for hair growth,” says Dr. Hill. “However, patients tell me differently all the time. Plus, 90% of castor oil is ricinoleic fatty acid. [It] is known to stimulate the prostaglandin E2 receptor, causing blood vessels to dilate. When applied to the scalp, the increased dilation of blood vessels increases the flow of oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood to your follicle’s powerhouse, dermal papilla, or hairline. “

Bridgette Hill agrees that castor oil indirectly promotes hair growth. “Due to the nutrients in castor oil, it protects the hair follicle from external cellular and tissue invaders that destroy the health and vitality of the hair follicle.”

Is castor oil safe to use on eyelashes and eyebrows?

The short answer: yes to the eyebrows, but watch out for the eyelashes. “If there is no allergy to castor oil after a patch test, it can be used safely on the eyebrows,” says Dr. Hill. “There is no safety data on castor oil and eye health, so I would be careful and speak with an ophthalmologist about the application of castor oil near the eye.”

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How to apply castor oil to your hair and scalp?

Although castor oil is widely used, it is not for everyone. Therefore, the importance of a patch test comes into play before you apply it to your scalp. “Apply a small amount behind the ear or the inner part of the arm for a week,” says Dr. Hill.

Once you’ve determined that castor oil is compatible with your scalp, Bridgette Hill has a few suggestions for each hair type:

Fine to medium straight hair: Castor oil can be used as a deep treatment to protect the ends of your hair fiber, the last 2-3 inches of hair. Use it as a pre-shampoo treatment to help keep tangles out. Make sure you don’t overdo it – shampoo and style as desired.

Medium to Thick Straight / Wavy Hair: Apply all over the head for an intense pre-shampoo treatment. Add heat or steam for deeper penetration into the hair cuticle.

Loose wavy curls: I suggest mixing drops of castor oil in conditioners during those hot, humid summer months.

Curly to tightly coiled: I suggest using castor oil as needed throughout your diet, [as a] pre-shampoo, add-on treatment, or as a weekly moisturizer. Proper monthly detox shampoo is essential when using heavy oils like castor oil.

What is the best castor oil to use?

Our two hair experts recommend cold pressed castor oil.

“Cold pressed castor oil can be used on the hair shaft. However, black castor oil should only be applied to the scalp, ”says Dr. Hill. “If black castor oil is applied to the hair, a cuticle sealing technique should be used afterwards. Both forms will provide sufficient ricinoleic acid components.

When should you avoid castor oil?

It is best to avoid using castor oil on your hair if you suffer from dandruff. Our two experts say this may make the situation worse.

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