If you’ve recently gone natural, chances are good that you’ve heard of castor oil. Over the last few years, castor oil has made a name for itself in the natural hair community. For anyone looking for the ultimate hair ingredient, the claims about castor oil for hair seem like the ultimate solution. Here’s the thing about claims that seem too good to be true: they usually are.
We decided to get to the bottom of these claims and found out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about castor oil for hair. We’re unveiling the truth about the seven most common myths surrounding castor oil.
Myth: Castor oil makes your hair grow.
Fact: False. Some sources claim the large amount of ricinoleic acid present in castor oil increases blood flow to the scalp, therefore promoting hair growth. However, there is no scientific evidence to support said claim.
The unfortunate truth is that there’s is 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. However, we believe that a healthy body may lead to healthier looking hair.
If your body and mind are well taken care of and you still feel like your hair isn’t growing, you may be dealing with breakage. Lucky for you, there are several things you can do to help minimize hair breakage. Some of the most common methods include weekly deep conditioning treatments, taking a break from heat styling, and seeking the help of a professional.
Myth: Castor oil makes your hair thicker.
Fact: False. The truth is, there is absolutely nothing that can make your hair thicker. Genetics and the size of your hair follicles determine the diameter of your hair. If you have large follicles, chances are good you’ll have thick strands. While your follicles can become smaller over time (resulting in thinner strands), nothing can make your follicles larger.
While you can’t actually make your hair thicker, there are several products on the market that can make your hair appear thicker. We suggest trying Kérastase’s Densifique Thickening Mousse which is specifically formulated for hair visibly lacking density.
Myth: Castor oil makes hair shiny.
Fact: True! Like most oils, castor oil has the ability to make your hair appear shiny when applied directly to your strands.
Myth: Castor oil cures dandruff.
Fact: False. There is no scientific evidence to prove castor oil cures dandruff.
Although castor oil is not recognized as safe and effective to treat dandruff, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified ingredients that can help control this condition. The FDA advises using over-the-counter hair products with the following ingredients: 1 to 5 percent coal tar, 0.1 to 2 percent pyrithione zinc, 1.8 to 3 percent salicylic acid, 2 to 5 percent sulfur, 1 percent selenium sulfide, and 0.6 percent micronized selenium sulfide.
Myth: Castor oil is antimicrobial.
Fact: True! Castor oil is naturally antimicrobial, meaning it can significantly reduce the presence of bacteria.
Myth: Castor oil fixes split ends.
Fact: False. Unfortunately, there is no way to “fix” split ends. The only way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off. Because castor oil has a very thick consistency, it may appear as though the oil is doing something to your split ends. But this is merely a temporary fix and your split ends will make an appearance as soon as you wash off the castor oil.
Myth: Castor oil makes your hair darker.
Fact: False. There is no evidence to support the claim that castor oil makes hair darker. If it’s raven locks you’re after, it’s best you schedule an appointment with a trusted colorist. An experienced colorist will be able to expertly craft the color you’re after while doing their best to make sure your hair looks and feels healthy.
How To Use Castor Oil
There are several ways to incorporate castor oil into your hair care routine. If you’re new to castor oil, we recommend beginning by swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioning system for one that is formulated with castor oil.
Now that you know the truth about castor oil, you can decide the best ways to incorporate—or not incorporate—it into your hair care routine.