Hair loss – many are ashamed by it, many more are troubled by it. Hair loss or alopecia affects 2/3rds of American males aged 35 and above. And it’s not just men; women experience hair loss from a number of reasons, too. And while surgery such as hair implants exist, they can be far too expensive for something that can be considered as vanity.
Fortunately, there are some promising alternative solutions to regrow thinning hair. The most popular of these is castor oil, a thick, viscous bean oil that had been used for centuries for beauty rituals. But what exactly is castor oil and how do you use it for hair growth?
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil comes from the beans of the castor plant. Its color can range from pale yellow to colorless, and it has a distinct smell and taste. It has been used in many areas in as early as 4000 B.C., but recently it has gained popularity for its hair growing and thickening effects.
The ancient Egyptians used castor oil for medicinal and utilitarian purposes. According to a medical text dated 1500 B.C., the Ebers Papyrus, castor oil was used as a facial oil, to protect the eyes from irritation, and as fuel for oil lamps.
In the 1800s, castor oil was also used as a laxative. American doctors at the time prescribed it to cure anything from heartburn, constipation, and dandruff. It was also given to women with overdue pregnancies to induce labor.
Nowadays, castor oil is mostly used in making soaps, as a food preservative, and as a beauty oil for the hair and face.
There are two types of castor oil. One is the regular, colorless to pale yellow castor oil. The other is Jamaican black castor oil, which is black in color.
The difference is in the process. Regular castor oil is made by pressing castor beans, which is why the resulting oil is normally clear. Jamaican black castor oil roasts the beans first before being pressed. The combination of small traces of ash makes the resulting oil black.
What are the Benefits of Castor Oil?
Regular castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil have the same effects, though some say that the Jamaican black castor oil is more effective than the regular kind because of the added roasting to the beans.
Here are the benefits castor oil can give to you skin and hair:Moisturizing
Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a humectant. Humectants are substances that attract and bind to water molecules. What this means is that if you massage castor oil to your skin or hair, it will draw moisture from the humid environment to your skin or hair. Castor oil will also facilitate better and faster water absorption, making sure your skin and hair are both hydrated.
Castor oil is also an emollient. Emollients are occlusive substances that form a layer or barrier over the outermost layer of skin. This barrier effectively traps all the absorbed moisture in your skin or hair, keeping them moisturized for a longer time.Anti-Inflammatory, Antifungal, Antibacterial
Castor oil is often mixed in ointments and balms that are used to treat wounds because of these properties. For skincare, castor oil can be used in oil cleansing by those with acne-prone skin.
As for the hair, castor oil is said to relieve and treat itchy scalp caused by dryness and dandruff, especially one that is caused by an inflammatory skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.
Increased Hair Growth
It should be noted that there is currently no scientific research that proves or disproves castor oil’s claim to fame. However, you will never run short on testimonials from people all over the world who attest to its efficacy. Men and women have tried it, and almost all are amazed by the results.
That being said, you should also understand that castor oil can’t create miracles. Don’t expect your bald patch to be bushy again in a week or two. Likewise, don’t expect your thin, sparse hair to be as thick as a lion’s mane after treatment. The results will take time, anywhere from months to a year. You need to be patient and diligent in your treatment.
Regular Castor Oil or Jamaican Black Castor Oil?
Some people say that only the Jamaican black castor oil can regrow hair, but testimonials have been positive to both the black castor oil and the regular one. As a friendly tip on what to purchase, you can go by your hair type.
If your hair is coarse, extremely dry and frizzy, and with thick but brittle strands, the Jamaican black castor oil will work better for you. This black oil is thicker and heavier than the regular oil, which means more moisture can be trapped in your hair follicles.
If your hair is fine, leaning on oily, and with thin but brittle strands, the regular oil might be better for you. It’s a bit lighter than the black oil, so your hair won’t be dragged down by the excess weight.
DIY Castor Oil Beauty Recipe
Are you ready to try the much-praised effects of castor oil? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Castor oil (regular or Jamaican black), 3 tbsps
- Other lighter carrier oil (Jojoba, argan, sunflower oil, coconut oil, etc), 1 tbsp
You might be asking why another kind of oil is needed. This is so you can dilute castor oil with a carrier oil that’s lighter and more fluid. Castor oil is super viscous and sticky, so applying it unmixed might make things too messy.
The other carrier oil you choose is up to you. There are many kinds to choose from, though make sure to check for your own allergies before purchasing a carrier oil. The best one to get is jojoba oil, which is actually a liquid wax, and is the closest in structure to the sebum produced by skin and hair. Argan oil is another great choice especially if you’ll be using the recipe to thicken and nourish your hair.
If you live in a place with unforgiving winters, coconut, avocado, or olive oil will be great to dilute with your castor oil. If you live in the humid tropics or a place where the air gets dry, light oils such as sunflower and rice bran oil are good choices.
Now, after choosing your oils and mixing them, here’s how to use your DIY beauty oil:
- Use a dropper (like the ones given with kid’s liquid vitamins), or put your oil inside a dark-colored glass bottle with a dropper cap. A dropper is to ensure precise and even application.
- Mix before using.
- Dampen your hair and scalp. Make sure your hair is damp, not wet. You can do this by spritzing your hair with water a few minutes before application.
- Part your hair to show the roots and scalp. Apply a few drops of your beauty oil directly to the scalp.
- Repeat parting your hair and applying a few drops of oil until your whole scalp is coated.
- Massage your scalp with your fingertips for 5-10 minutes. Don’t rake with your nails, as this could damage your scalp and roots.
- Run your fingers through the bottom half of your hair, focusing on the tips. You can massage a few more drops of oil on your palms if you think you need more, but remember that the more oil you put, the heavier and greasier your hair will be.
- You can choose to wrap your head with a towel (or wear a shower cap) and leave it overnight. Wearing a towel or cap will prevent oil staining your pillow and mattress.
- Do your regular shower routine the next day. You might need to shampoo twice.
Apply this beauty oil recipe 1-2 times a week and keep track of your progress throughout the weeks!
You don’t need expensive hair transplant for your hair loss. You can grow your hair back using nature’s natural remedy – castor oil. Why don’t you try applying castor oil and see for yourself?