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What Exactly Are The Benefit Of Castor Oil? We Asked An Expert

photo of castor oil for hair

If you’re someone that googles “how to grow my hair faster” once a week, know this: While you’ll find plenty of ingredients and hair care methods that boast hair growth benefits, there’s no scientific evidence that any of these will give you princess-length locks overnight. There are, however, a few key ingredients that can help keep your mane healthy and strong throughout the growth process—leading to healthier, longer strands over time. One of our top ingredients for healthy hair growth is castor oil, a popular ingredient in skin care and hair care products. 

We tapped Blake Reed Evans, Redken artist and education director at Shear Art Salons, for everything you need to know about the benefits of castor oil for hair. Keep scrolling to discover what castor oil is, how it really affects hair growth, and Evan’s go-to castor oil products. 

Good hair day by @oscaroscarsalons.

What is castor oil?

Before you add castor oil to your hair care routine, it’s important to understand what it is.
“Castor oil is a vegetable oil pressed from castor beans. It has a variety of uses for health, skin, and of course, hair,” Evans says. “It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and has been known to help stimulate blood flow at the scalp.”

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Can castor oil grow hair?

Some sources claim that ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid that is present in castor oil, increases blood flow to the scalp, therefore promoting hair growth (or even helps with hair loss). The unfortunate truth is that there's no real way to make your hair grow faster. Your hair grows in a series of phases: The anagen or growth phase, the catagen or resting stage, and the telogen or shedding stage. The only way to make your hair grow faster would be to lengthen your growing phase somehow—and science just isn’t there yet. 

Castor oil can, however, make your hair appear shinier, smoother, and more moisturized—which means it can be an essential ingredient for keeping your hair healthy while you’re growing it out. 

Good hair day by @viktoriya_hair.artist.

While castor oil can be beneficial for hair (and some hair types can get away with using it daily), it’s not ideal for everyone. According to Evans, pure castor oil is great for dense or coarse hair types because of its heavier consistency. If you have fine hair, using the ingredient too often can lead to product build-up on the hair and scalp. Product build-up, particularly on the scalp, can stunt healthy hair growth. 

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How To Use Castor Oil In Your Hair Routine

While you can buy pure castor oil at the drugstore, we always recommend sticking to salon-quality products since they’re specifically formulated for your mane. 

“Hands down, Redken Extreme Length is my favorite hair care line formulated with castor oil,” Evans says. “I love the entire line because all hair types can use it without getting an ‘oily’ feeling.”

Kick-off your routine with the Redken Extreme Length Shampoo and Conditioner. This biotin and castor oil-infused system strengthens damaged hair and helps hair to grow longer and stronger with 81 percent less breakage. When it comes to styling, prep your mane with a leave-in treatment like Redken Extreme Length Leave-In Treatment. This formula helps prevent breakage to promote your strongest, healthiest hair while visibly reducing the appearance of split ends. 

Interested in more expert hair tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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