Castor Oil—also known by other regional names across the country, such as Arandi ka tel (in Hindi), Erandela tel (in Marathi), Amanakku Enney (in Tamil) and Rerira Tela (in Bengali)—is an age-old formula for treating a number of ailments, a fact you’ve already probably been made privy to by your grandmother’s (or some other elderly person in the family).
But you don’t just have to believe your grannies, the fact that this oil has umpteen skin and beauty benefits is something you must experience for yourself! So ladies here is everything you need to know about Castor oil benefits for hair and Castor oil uses...
What is Castor Oil?
It is basically a pale yellow sticky liquid with a distinct odour and taste to it. The major components of this triglyceride include ricinoleates (about 90%), oleates and linoleates, the ricinoleic acid present in it being the major reason behind its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Extracted from Castor beans, most often by cold pressing, this organic oil is becoming increasingly popular as an ingredient in multiple skin care and hair products.
What does it do?
While quite a few of Castor Oil benefits for skin are pretty well known, its sticky and viscous appearance makes people kind of sceptic about applying it to their hair and scalp. Castor oil, however, can be effective against a host of hair-related ailments, ranging from hair loss and dandruff to the less frequent ones such as scalp infections and folliculitis. The high quantities of ricinoleic acid present in the oil help against inflammation and irritation, while also improving hair growth (by increasing circulation in the scalp) and reversing hair damage to a certain extent. The ricinoleic acid also helps you balance the pH levels of your scalp while the omega-9 fatty acids help condition and moisturize your hair, leaving it with an enviable lustre.
Castor oil is also an excellent treatment for slowing down the process of premature greying. Applying small amounts of castor oil to your hair can help it retain its pigments for relatively longer, keeping it from turning grey or white too early.
Works as a natural conditioner
Its moisture-locking properties are especially useful for conditioning dry and damaged hair (a special type of castor oil called as Jamaican castor oil works much better in this context). The antioxidants present in castor oil can also help augment the keratin in the hair, thereby ensuring that your hair becomes much stronger, shinier and healthier.
Improved hair growth
When it comes to improving hair growth, there’s perhaps no other ingredient as tried and tested as castor oil. Used in both, the Indian and the African regions, castor oil is known to increase hair growth by about four to five times the normal rate, while also turning your hair thicker and relatively much healthier. Although there are multiple reviews and testimonials of people online, vouching for its hair regenerative properties, there isn’t any proven scientific study yet that states that the oil could help you recover lost hair.
How to apply?
How to apply?
Everything or anything consumed in excess, even something as widely beneficial as castor oil, can prove to be detrimental to your health. If you do read a bit into the history of castor oil over the ages, you’ll probably squirm knowing the multiple (and horrific) applications that the oil has had, especially in the hands of fiendish people. Fortunately, those are practices of the past and the only way castor oil could really be seen to harm these days is by making your nose wrinkle in disgust at its odour. Well, the odour is certainly a bit too much to handle for some, which is why castor oil is often mixed with other oils. Mixing it with other oils, such as coconut oil, Jojoba oil or argan oil, not only helps with the odour, it also makes the mixture less vicious and easier to remove once the job is done.
It always helps to apply the oil in lesser quantities across the scalp. Using too much of castor oil could possibly result in a rather rare case of something known as hair felting, where your hair clumps together into a hard tangled mass. It is also recommended that you apply a minuscule amount of the oil onto your skin (preferably on the back of your hand) to test if you’re allergic to the oil. While reactions are rare, you don’t really want to end up with an inflamed scalp. Since castor oil is known to stain, it would be wise to wear a shower cap around your head once you’ve massaged the oil onto your scalp and wear a rather old top, just to be extra careful.
Getting it off!
Not only does castor oil look pretty sticky and viscous, it is actually pretty much gooey and stubborn (quite like slime, but rather useful). Getting it off your hair can be quite the task and hence, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you apply the oil all over your hair. Castor oil works better on slightly damp, and not very wet, hair and is easier to take off that way as well. Apply it in very small quantities and let it stay on overnight so that most of the oil gets absorbed into the hair by morning. Still, getting the oil off your hair might take more than one round of shampooing.
Make the most of it
It is also preferable that you condition your hair before applying the shampoo since it helps to remove the oil much better. If there is no conditioner in sight, a couple of eggs should do just as well, although removing the smell of eggs from your hair might take more than one round of shampooing as well. If there’s a favourite towel you’re about to use, you’ll need to be mindful of getting all of the oil out from your hair, since castor oil can pretty much stain towels as well.
Castor oil, although scientifically not credited with much, has had a long history of usage across the Indo-African regions and generations of testimonials (right from stone tablets to Facebook posts) certifying its contribution to hair care (gets a thumbs-up from us as well).