The Ultimate Guide to Castor Oil For Hair Growth

The Ultimate Guide to Castor Oil For Hair Growth

Although Castor Oil has been around for thousands of years (it's believed Cleopatra was using it as a beauty treatment in ancient Egypt), thanks to TikTok, it's made its way back into popular favour.

Raved about for its hair growth benefits, beauty lovers and experts alike cant get enough of Castor Oil. But does it live up to the hype? And what are the differences between the different varieties? Here we delve into this popular natural ingredient to find out more.

Shop Castor Oil


What is Castor Oil?

Castor Oil is derived from the seeds of the Castor Plant (or Ricinus Communis if you want to get technical). It's most commonly used in soaps, lubricants and pharmaceutical products thanks to its high content of essential fatty acids and nutrients.

Exactly how Castor Oil is extracted from the plant will depend on the type you're looking at. There are two main variations, and these are their key differences and benefits:

Cold-Pressed Castor Oil

  • Rich in fatty acids, minerals and vitamins.
  • Extracted from the plant by physically crushing the seeds.
  • No roasting or high temperatures used.
  • This process helps retain the purity and nutrients of the oil.
  • Often considered the less processed version of Castor Oil.
  • Beneficial for hair growth as well as treating inflammation.
  • Try for yourself with the Fushi Organic Castor Oil.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

  • Rich in essential fatty acids and contains a number of minerals and vitamins. 
  • The production method involves roasting the seeds before extraction (this is what gives it its distinct dark colour and nutty aroma).
  • A clarifying process is then used to remove any sediments, which some believe lessens the purity of the final product.
  • Thicker in consistency which makes it best for those with coarse, dense hair.
  • Beneficial for hair growth, but also as a treatment for nails and cuticles.

 How To Apply Castor Oil

To promote hair health and stimulate growth, apply your Castor Oil directly to hair and scalp. You will need to work the oil in to ensure maximum coverage and absorption, we recommend doing a scalp massage for around 5-10 minutes. For best results, use a scalp massager to really stimulate those follicles. Leave the oil in overnight if possible, but if short on time we'd recommend a minimum of an hour before washing out. Ensure you use a clarifying shampoo regularly to avoid too much oil buildup. We recommend this Castor Oil-infused shampoo from Jason, or this triple cleanse shampoo from Fekkai.

    Benefits of Castor Oil for Hair Growth

    The main reason Castor Oil is so beneficial for hair growth is that it's rich in fatty acids (ricinoleic acid to be specific). A 2015 study suggested that ricinoleic acid may help reverse hair loss. However, there was no specific scientific evidence. Instead, the belief is that the components of Castor Oil help boost circulation and reduce inflammation in the scalp which in turn can support healthier hair growth. Castor Oil is also incredibly antimicrobial, antifungal and deeply moisturising - all of which help to promote a healthy scalp. 


    Side Effects and When to Avoid Castor Oil

    As with many treatments, there can be side effects if used improperly. While considered safe for topical use, it can cause reactions on some skin types. The first thing to remember is to always patch test before use, especially if this is your first time using Castor Oil. The second thing to be mindful of is how long you apply it to skin or hair. If new to this form of treatment, the recommendation is to use it intermittently to begin with. On your first use, only leave on for a couple of hours maximum and build up to overnight use over time.

    To prevent bad reactions, avoid using Castor Oil on broken skin or scalp. If suffering with any other conditions or illnesses, always speak to your doctor before using Castor Oil. 

      Castor Oil vs Other Hair Care Oils

      So how does Castor Oil compare to other natural oils commonly used on hair? Let's look at the effectiveness, suitability and end results of two popular alternatives - Argan Oil and Coconut Oil.

      Argan Oil

      • High in antioxidants, vitamin E and fatty acids.
      • Like Castor Oil, the fatty acids in Argan Oil help lock moisture into hair and boost shine.
      • Due to its high antioxidant content, it's great at strengthening and protecting hair against damage caused by heat or the environment.
      • However, the cons of Argan Oil include the fact it's unsuitable for those with tree nut allergies.
      • It can also be overly greasy on fine or already oil hair types.

      Coconut Oil

      • High in fatty acids.
      • Contains lauric acid, a saturated fat that benefits hair by protecting against protein loss.
      • Like Castor Oil, Coconut Oil has antifungal benefits and helps support scalp health.
      • Cons include its thick consistency - this makes it harder for it to be absorbed by the hair follicle.
      • Its heavy texture means it can also buildup on hair easily, making it greasy and weighed down.

      Does Castor Oil Really Work for Hair Growth?

      While there is no concrete clinical evidence that proves the link between Castor Oil and hair growth, as Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist points out“Anecdotally, people have noticed improvement, and since it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties and helps to strengthen the hair and nourish the scalp, it promotes a healthy environment for hair regrowth.” 


      All in all, there is plenty of evidence to support Castor Oil's benefits as a hair treatment. Healthy hair often starts in our scalp, so taking the time to properly care for this part of our body is a must. Considering the varieties available, we recommend a high quality cold-pressed Castor Oil to ensure optimum results. Remember to start off slow and gently introduce to your routine to minimise potential reactions. A scalp massager is also your best friend for stimulating hair growth.

      Found this useful? Sign up to our newsletter for more beauty tips and exclusive offers.

      Shop our range of natural and organic Castor Oils below. 

      Shop Castor Oil

      Shop all Health & Wellness

      Back to blog

      Guides & Stories