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Ultimate Castor Oil Guide For Hair Growth
Through the years, we have seen a resurgence of using plant oils externally to help combat certain physical ailments, both internal and external. You’ve heard of using coconut oil or almond oil, but what about organic cold pressed castor oil? If you’ve dabbled in using this oil, you’d know that it’s a non-comedogenic multi-tasking miracle that boosts hair, skin, and nail growth. We make the most of this potent elixir with the traditions of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian practice that is still used today! Ayurveda is rooted in holistic care, which is why castor oil is amazing since its benefits work for head-to-toe use. Combining Ayurvedic principles with modern-day medical practices to deliver wow-worthy results to you!
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil that is made from castor beans, originating from tropical East Africa, near present-day Egypt, with heavy use in Asia and Africa. Castor oil is also known as “Ricinus Communis'', and it has been especially popular for centuries in India and the West Indies for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Castor oil typically has a clear or pale yellow appearance. The varieties produced by roasting or boiling may have a black appearance though. At its most basic level, castor oil is a long-chained fatty acid -- making it extremely beneficial for building up your hair’s barrier and protecting it from outside irritants. Castor oil doesn’t only work on the hair, it also has a long history of working on the skin, internally, on open wounds, etc. Our favorite way to utilize organic cold pressed Castor oil is by mixing it with one or multiple essential oils by WOW Skin Science. Since these 100% pure essential oils are quite potent, diluting a few drops in 10 mL of castor oil, will create a custom, skin-safe massage oil for head-to-toe use. These are some of our favorite essential oils to combine with WOW Skin Science Castor Oil:
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Lemongrass Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
How Does Castor Oil Work?
This lucrative plant oil is naturally rich in fats, mainly ricinoleic acid (85-96%). Not only is this oil incredibly viscous to deliver soothing nourishment and seal in your skin’s moisture, but the ricinoleic acid in castor oil also features considerable activity to maintain a healthy level of bacteria on the skin. This keeps your skin barrier strong and improves its ability to fight against outside irritants!
In Ayurvedic philosophies, energetics explain that castor oil has a sweet, pungent, and astringent taste and is cooling when applied externally (The kinds of tastes are also a pillar of Ayurveda). The sweetness gives nourishment while the pungency and astringency help clear away natural toxins. The cooling nature also helps ease pitta, calm skin irritations, the mind and hair irritations.
What is Ayurveda?
The term Ayurveda is derived from Sanskrit words “ayur” (life) and “veda” (science or knowledge), thus the word Ayurveda meaning “the knowledge of life.” Its roots are in India-- just like us, and is actually considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science, developed more than 5,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that overall welfare-- our health and wellness, depend on a delicate balance between the body, mind, and spirit. This health system’s main goal is not to fight diseases, but to help promote overall good and consistent health.
There are still a lot of ways that Ayurveda can improve your life, like by paying close attention to your life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle, and the use of different herbs. The general idea behind Ayurveda is that balance is the natural order-- if something is unbalanced, then it is disordered, and that is why diseases can occur. It is important to understand the disorder (whatever may be triggering the disease/symptoms) to properly re-establish order.
Another principle in Ayurveda is the need for proper rest. A full night’s sleep is integral to keeping your body and mind healthy. In addition to all the wonderful benefits that it has on your brain and overall feeling of fatigue, it also can help to promote a good skin appearance. That is why we call it beauty sleep! In addition to the beauty that you can “gain” by getting a full night’s sleep, there are also a lot of ways in Ayurveda that promote using certain oils, supplements, masks, etc. while you sleep to continue on the nourishment.
Why Does Ayurveda Matter to Us?
Why do we even mention Ayurveda? Well, our brand stems from India and has a lot of Ayurvedic principles that we try to bring to the Western world. We have a long-standing history of using certain kinds of ingredients or certain practices that are integral to the Ayurvedic way of thinking and have long had a lot of positive results. We thought that it was only right to bring that way of thinking and access to ingredients to a bigger audience because everyone deserves to have a way to try to fix some of the things that really bother them.
The Ayurvedic way includes principles like using oil on and around your entire body for various skin, hair, and wellness woes. One of the most popular things you can do in Ayurveda is trying to improve your ailment by using oil on it. In our case, we want to focus on Castor Oil and how to best use it while considering the principles of Ayurveda.
Castor Oil Benefits
Castor oil has earned a reputation for being able to promote hair growth, but the beauty benefits don’t stop there! If you want your hair to grow, using castor oil to treat underlying issues is a great step in the right direction. Here’s how castor oil works to promote hair growth:
- Castor oil helps boost blood circulation thanks to ricinoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. Massaging castor oil into your head helps to stimulate the Prostaglandin E2 receptor, increase blood vessel dilation, and help boost the flow of oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood to your scalp-- thereby promoting hair growth.
- Castor oil is a natural emollient that provides slick shine, and nourishing moisture to your hair. Packed with vitamin E and minerals, castor oil is an amazing conditioning ingredient to smooth and strengthen your hair strands. Strong and healthy hair is likely to grow faster than weak and damaged hair, which is repaired by castor oil!
- Castor oil can soothe irritation, dryness, and fight flakes. Castor oil has soothing and cleansing properties that can calm any irritation and fight-dandruff-causing fungi that cause those pesky flakes. If you want your hair to grow, then getting to the root of the problem (pun intended) is paramount! All the itching and irritation your head takes can damage your hair follicles, making it difficult for your hair to grow, and can even lead to hair loss if not treated appropriately.
Who Should Use Castor Oil?
Castor oil and its positive beauty benefits are for everyone! How many products can claim that? For many people experiencing dry hair, oily hair, dull hair, colored hair, etc., castor oil can really help a multitude of conditions. This is not limited to only people with dry or dull hair, however, this oil in its unadulterated form, might be too thick and viscous for thin and flat hair. You can still use it, just diluted with a thinner oil and strategically placed.
Castor Oil For Hair
Do you put castor oil on wet or dry hair? You can apply it using the tips below on dry, or damp (not soaking wet) hair. Here’s our quick guide to using castor oil for your hair type:
- If you have fine to medium straight hair, concentrate the castor oil at the ends of your hair to nourish, and help mend split ends until you can get a proper trim at the hair salon.
- If you have medium to thick, straight, or wavy hair, try castor oil for a great pre-shampoo treatment. Using castor oil before shampooing might sound counterintuitive, but it can really work wonders to hydrate and detangle it before your shower. How long should I leave castor oil in my hair? All you need to do is apply it to your dry hair and scalp 30 minutes before you shower, thoroughly soaking it and massaging your head in circular motions. Tie your hair away, and wrap it in a hot towel pin to allow the hair oil to penetrate better. Then shampoo like usual and rinse thoroughly to get out all the product.
- If you have wavy hair to loose curls, try castor oil by combining a drop or two with your usual conditioner during the summer. This can hydrate hair to tame your curls and keep them frizz-free, no matter how humid it is outside!
- If you have curly, coarse, or tightly coiled hair, try castor oil as a conditioning hair mask. Start by massaging the castor oil into your hair and head and work down the length of your hair, letting it thoroughly soak your strands along the way. You may need to section off your hair to make this process easier. After application, pin up your hair, put a shower cap on, and leave it on for at least two hours before you wash your hair out with shampoo and following up with the conditioner.
While castor oil works wonders for all kinds of hair types, castor oil and its texture will always show up the best for those with curly or coily hair. Due to its viscous consistency, it is more able to penetrate the hair cuticle and helps to further seal in moisture when you apply oil on your hair. With curly or coily hair, you can apply this oil all throughout the length of your hair and up to the base of your hair strands to smooth frizz, hydrate, strengthen locks. If you have thinner hair, it is recommended that you try to localize the oil towards the ends to avoid that greasy look. Although using it as a deep conditioning treatment for 30 minutes and washing with shampoo and conditioner would give you the same benefits!
How Long to Use Hair Oils
Whether you’re using castor oil, or any of our other hair oils, it’s important to use it for a proper amount of time to get the most beauty benefits out of these nourishing plant extracts. So, how should castor oil be applied to your hair and scalp? The one-size-fits-all approaches for using hair oil won’t work to best suit your needs.
In fact, there are several different ways that you can apply hair oil depending on what you’re trying to achieve for your hair. So here’s a quick guide on a few different ways that you can use hair oil to benefit your hair whether it’s fine, curly, or damaged:
- Apply hair oil 30 mins before you wash and condition your hair in the shower. Using it as a hair treatment will condition your strands, and giving it enough time to soak and really work. Better yet would be to leave it on overnight! Just apply to dry hair by saturating the length of your locks, and massaging extra into the scalp using your fingertips in circular motions. Then, pin your hair up, and wrap with a hot towel (or go workout), and allow the heat to open the hair cuticles for optimal oil penetration, deep into your scalp and strands. Then wash and condition as usual! If you still feel oil residue, go for a second wash.
- Apply hair oil to damp hair. This is a particularly effective method for those with curly hair types as it is a step in the curly girl hair method to apply oil before cream, scrunching your strands, using a cotton or microfiber towel to scrunch and soak up excess water, and letting dry naturally. This can help to boost the natural curls and let them dry into flawless frizz-less curls that everyone will envy. Be careful not to apply too much, or your hair will take ages to dry properly!
- You can also apply hair oil to dry hair. This works well for those who deal with split ends, frizz, or flyaways. Applying a bit of hair oil to problem areas can help improve the appearance of these annoying hair issues and leave you with perfectly shiny and sleek hair. If you find the oil too viscous to use easily, warm a few drops in between your palms for a few seconds before running your hands through your hair, focusing on the ends and areas of frizz. Remember, less is more!
How Often Should You Use Castor Oil?
The majority of us want to have really strong locks. As we age, we see physical effects like hair loss, and balding worsened by external factors that have contributed to the thinning of the hair strand. The thicker our hair, the stronger and fuller it will not only appear but actually be. Hair loss will be less of an issue and so will other issues like breakage and frizz.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “how long does it take for castor oil to grow hair?” There is no definite answer that applies to every single person that uses castor oil because of so many variables that make each person’s experience different. However, it is estimated that you will start to see and feel differences in your hair quality after 3 to 4 months of use, and within 1 to 2 years of consistent use, you will see considerable change.
What does consistent use mean? Can I put castor oil in my hair every single day? Well, the answer to this question also depends on what other kinds of hair conditions you are working with. It will be best to use castor oil every single day if you have really curly or coily hair. The thinner and more straight your hair is, the more we recommend that you use the product more sporadically to avoid that greasy scalp look. If you are using it to treat bald spots, then it is recommended you massage castor oil into these areas using your fingertips in circular motions about 3 times a week, or before every hair wash day. If you are using castor oil to just nourish and hydrate your strands, then we say that you can use it every other day on the ends of your hair, or whenever you’d like to touch up your strands.
Castor Oil For Hair Growth Everywhere
A question that is commonly asked; “Is castor oil safe to use on the eyelashes and brows?” The answer to that is, yes, castor oil for hair is a tried and tested routine! It is recommended you use an old (but clean) mascara wand or spoolie, and apply a drop (less is more!) of castor oil onto the wand. Brush this through your eyelashes and/or brow hairs to help promote healthy hair growth there!
Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth
Castor oil for hair growth isn’t the only oil that can visibly improve the look and feel of your locks! These potent elixirs called essential oils are pure extracts of beneficial botanical, loaded with essential nutrients and minerals that can benefit your hair, skin, and wellness. Due to their intense concentration, it is always recommended to use these oils with a carrier oil, which will dilute the intensity to skin-safe levels while still delivering the benefits. A great one to use is castor oil, since it is non-comedogenic it will not clog your skin or scalp pores, and is nourishing enough to handle the strongest of essential oils.
For the most effective hair growth routine, why not custom-create your hair oil to tackle the concerns you have. You’re worth it! So don’t want to just stop at using the pure castor oil on its own, when you can mix in a variety of essential oils to help different hair conditions. Let’s look at the best essential oils for hair growth:
- Lavender Essential Oil - Derived from the lavender flower, this essential oil is unique for promoting hair growth with its antibacterial properties. Its soothing effects help calm irritated hair follicles to promote an environment for healthy hair growth.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil - What lemongrass essential oil brings to the game is the ability to fight dandruff. As a natural astringent, it helps to strengthen follicles when combating dandruff. By fighting flakes with this cleansing nutrient, you will cultivate a strong, healthy root system for new growth to occur.
- Thyme Essential Oil - Thyme is much more than an aromatic used for roasting delicious chicken. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, which aids in soothing scalp irritations and fighting bacteria that can cause or worsen this irritation, including scalp acne. If it hasn’t sunk in yet, here’s your reminder - healthy hair growth is heavily dependent on a healthy scalp!
- Tea Tree Essential Oil - What makes tea tree essential oil stand out against the others is its powerful properties like cleansing, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties, which aid in creating the best possible environment for your roots to thrive in. Tea tree is a popular ingredient to help fight dandruff. It is a true multitasking must-have to help heal and restore a damaged scalp.
- Rosemary Essential Oil - A must-have for hair growth. Rosemary essential oil has a uniquely high concentration of anti-inflammatory properties that nourish hair follicles to soothe scalp irritation, making this essential oil truly beneficial to aiding in hair growth.
- Ylang Ylang Essential Oil - The magic of this flowery essential oil is its ability to help stimulate sebum production. Ylang ylang can help correct and promote the correct balance of sebum production, making for just the right amount of oil for strong, nourished hair. Additionally, its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties make ylang-ylang essential oil a powerful healer to help fight pesky irritants and repair your scalp to promote healthy hair growth.
- Peppermint Essential Oil - The benefits go beyond flavoring your favorite gum, the refreshing qualities you love work wonders for boosting healthy hair growth. Peppermint essential oil works to stimulate the scalp by increasing blood circulation. The high dosage of menthol in this minty essential oil helps increase blood flow, sending more nutrients to the scalp to promote healthy hair growth.
How To Do Hair Oiling + Scalp Massage
Mixing any one of these essential oils with castor oil for hair growth (1 palm full plus 1-2 drops of 1 or a mix of essential oils) is a wonderful way to really boost the benefits of this hair oil to your strands. One of the other principles of Ayurveda is the use of oils to help facilitate different kinds of massages. Shiro Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic practice of massaging (abhyanga) the head (shiro) with the use of Ayurvedic oils mixed with herbs. By applying this oil mixture to different pressure points (marmas) on your scalp and doing so for a total of 15 minutes will also really help to facilitate hair growth and proper hair health. A couple of pressure points to keep in mind:
- Four fingers from your hairline is an important pressure point that needs to be massaged.
- Eight fingers from your hairline-- this is also a very important pressure point.
- Four fingers from your hairline from the base of your neck-- another important pressure point.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, these three pressure points (marmas) are points on our bodies that receive the least amount of blood flow and attention, so give those areas some extra love. Through scalp massages and using castor oil mixed with essential oils, you are on your way to growing healthy hair!
Use Essential Oils Sparingly
You may think you know the best for your hair, but if your scalp isn’t used to such potent ingredients as essential oils, or if you don’t use them sparingly, it can cause some unsightly reactions. Allergies can occur, so be sure to conduct a patch test before including essential oils in your hair and skincare regimen. If you are concerned with possible reactions or have known skin sensitivities, be sure to consult your physician for advice.
Side Effects From Using Castor Oil
Are there any side effects that come from using castor oil? Especially on your skin? Well, just like we mentioned before, this oil is very thick, viscous, and a bit sticky. This can be a problem for certain kinds of skin and hair that are already producing a large number of their own natural oils. Listen to your skin and how it reacts to using castor oil. We always recommend conducting a patch test before use!
Other Uses for Castor Oil
For a lot of people, they might see certain products as a one-time use. Especially with the how the self-care industry is set up, there is are separate products for every part of your body! At WOW Skin Science, we look to mother nature for multipurpose active ingredients that are naturally effective. The beauty of using natural products is that they are multi-functional, just how nature intended! Many people don’t realize that you can use things like castor, sesame, almond, grapeseed, olive oil on your face and body-- in addition to the known uses of it on your hair and food.
The non-comedogenic properties ensure that Castor oil will not clog your pores. It can be used to help combat textured skin, amongst many other skin conditions. For many people, the texture on their skin is the bane of their existence. They have tried everything to get rid of the acne, the dry patches, the rashes, the bumps that just don’t go away! Using castor oil, in addition to changes in routine, will help you to see the texture get smoother and more even-toned.
What Causes Rough Skin?
The rough skin we see and feel is a result of damage to our largest organ, the skin barrier. This can happen for many reasons-- friction from pillowcases or masks (more on that later) causing chronic rubbing, exposure to polluted water or other irritants, a lack of sun protection, lack of lipid moisture, etc. While you may have curated an easy skincare routine for yourself, look to make sure the ingredients you’re using on your skin are not contributing to excess roughness and unwanted texture. Genetics plays a huge part in your skin’s health, as it determines your skin type and how hormonal you are, thus how much your skin produces oil or breaks out in pimples. All in all, too much of anything can throw off your skin’s natural balance!
To reset your skincare routine, start with the basics of using the best order to apply skincare for optimal penetration and benefits. Using castor oil as both the beginning step and the last step in any skin care routine is a great way to make sure you are really prioritizing using this oil and obtaining ALL of its benefits. If you don’t like to or don’t need to double cleanse, don’t fret! The most important part of this bit of the routine is using any oil or moisturizer as the VERY LAST step, to seal in your skin’s moisture, and make sure all of your other skincare serums, eye cream, and acne products will fully penetrate into the dermis and actually work for you.
Oils and Acne?
This might sound counterintuitive to add oils to oily and acne-prone skin. For far too long, those of us with oily skin have been told that the best way to combat your shiny, greasy face is to dry out all the excess oil on your skin by using harsh cleansers, toners, and scrubs. Thankfully, this myth has been debunked, and it has become more public knowledge that by using harsh drying products on your skin, it is stripping away ALL the oils from your face, not just the excessive or “bad” ones, and because of that, your skin overcompensates this dryness by producing even more oil! This vicious cycle won’t end until you put away the drying scrubs, and promise to treat your skin kindly, with nourishing ingredients that will not strip away the natural oils from your face, and if anything, add more (non comedogenic, aka non pore-clogging) oils to your face.
“Clogging” your pores isn’t as bad as you think it is. If you instantly panic thinking of clogged pores, don’t brood! It’s the reality of the skin barrier, which needs moisture to create a barrier against outside irritants and seal in your skincare to prevent it from evaporating. If you don’t seal in your skin, aka clog your pores with hydration to prevent evaporation, your skincare will do nothing for you and it is easier for UV rays, free radicals, and other pollutants to damage your skin health.
When balancing oily or acne-prone skin, we know to use gentle and hydrating ingredients. Something that is impacting ALL skin types is the ever-present “maskne”. The past year has shown that there will always be unpredictable kinds of things that we will have to deal with, and a lot of the “dealing” will manifest itself through the skin and other bodily issues. Getting more and more acne, especially in places where masks cover, has become a sore spot for many people.
By sealing off your skin underneath the mask, you are creating an environment that is ripe for bacteria to grow. Your breathing of recycled air under the mask is drying out your skin, while irritating the face with constant friction! Here comes castor oil to save the day. In addition to being a great option for hydration and nourishment post-cleansing and treatment, castor oil also has properties that make it a natural astringent. These properties of castor oil help in clearing off the impurities from the skin. The richness of essential fatty acids in castor oil facilitates reinstating the natural moisture balance of the skin, giving it the TLC it deserves.
Niche Applications of Castor Oil
Like we have mentioned before, castor oil has so many benefits and uses, so of course there are niche uses of castor oil that we want to explore with you.
- One of these niche experiences is for those that are dealing with menopause. Menopause is something that all post-menstruation aged women have to deal with! The changes in your hormone levels will affect a multitude of things. Some things that will be affected, that can be helped treated by castor oil are things like dry skin, hair loss, skin rashes or acne. These are all things that we have mentioned how to fix and work on throughout this article using castor oi!
- Dark Underarms can be helped with Castor Oil! Another niche application for castor oil is for those of you that are trying to lighten the darker skin that occurs under your armpits. Whether this darkness came from shaving, natural hyperpigmentation, or darkening from tanning, the darkening of your underarms is very noticeable. This can be caused by irritation from the razor (not to mention pesky ingrown hairs), and/or using a deodorant that is too harsh for your skin. If you have underarm darkening from this, or are genetically prone to skin darkening, one of the best ways to help combat this is by adding a drop of WOW Skin Science Tea Tree Essential Oil, or Lavender Essential Oil to WOW Skin Science Castor Oil, and massaging this skin-safe oil into your legs or underarms right out of the shower (on damp skin) to seal in moisture and soothe itchy, irritated skin! You can also look for deodorants with chemical exfoliators like AHAs to help renew the dark skin cells, but our 100% pure essential oils do just the trick!
The Best Option for Oils
So, now that we’ve learned about the multitude of benefits that castor oil has, what's the best castor oil for hair growth? We are big proponents of doing large amounts of research when trying to find what kind of skin or hair care product will work best for you. We think that reading reviews are the best way to figure out if the product works for you. Some of these can be on the brand’s own website or through reviews done on YouTube or similar platforms.
Or you can trust WOW Skin Science Castor Oil to boost head-to-toe! It is guaranteed to be cold-pressed, undiluted, and very high in beneficial linoleic and oleic acids. What is the difference between cold-pressed and regular castor oil? Well, cold-pressed castor oil is extracted from castor seeds under great pressure. This means it is a lighter, cleaner and a thinner form of oil because it doesn't undergo the roasting process. This is different from traditional Jamaican black castor oil that is roasted, mashed, and boiled.
Another question people do ask when talking about castor oil is, can I mix coconut oil with castor oil for hair growth? And the answer to that is if you want to mix in additional oils with castor oil to help promote hair growth, we would actually recommend using a product that has coconut oil in it already like the WOW Skin Science Coconut Milk Conditioner because doing it yourself can be kind of messy and maybe not as impactful as you might want.
All in all, through years of the skincare and beauty industry, we have seen the irony of big brands and businesses trying to emulate what natural ingredients have long been able to provide for us in terms of skin and haircare. We now see brands like WOW Skin Science that are able to bring in these natural ingredients, all vegan and naturally derived, for mainstream usage to get the best beauty benefits from mother nature. We now see that nature has always had the ingredients needed to help combat hair, skin, and nail ailments!
This is why it is important to be open-minded to practices like Ayurveda, because they do shine light on to certain topics that we might have overlooked throughout our evolution as a species. Bringing it back to holistic and natural ways of solving issues (whether cosmetic or not) is a way for many of us to get the true freedom we desire. Certain ways of thinking have limited us in how we proceed with our lives. Because of preconceived ideas we have very limited ways of working through issues that plague us-- like skin issues, or other cosmetic issues. But by bringing things back to center and finding our grounding, we are able to really see ingredients for all they can be. It is amazing to see that castor oil has so many uses and such a wide range of abilities! This can be said for so many other kinds of ingredients that WOW Skin Science has brought to the mainstream. We are lucky to be able to share in ancient wisdoms and through that expand our knowledge!
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