So, you’ve heard your grandma and mum rave about the benefits of castor oil. You’ve seen online testimonials of a million people claiming it helped them regrow lost hair and probably miraculously rejuvenated lost patches and added oodles of volume to fine, thinning hair. Too good to be true? Should you join the list of castor oil-crazy women? Well, in a nutshell that answer is : depends on how realistic your expectations are!
I’m not a chemist. I dont know the breakdown and composition of castor oil. Yes, I do know from some previous online research that it is antimicrobial, antifungal, high in omega 6 and has good fatty acids. But, I’m not dissecting frogs….err…hair strands here. I don’t own such kickass equipment! I’m not a trichologist or a dermatologist. So, I’ll stick to what I know about castor oil, which is my experience with it.
- Castor oil is very cheap here. A 50ml bottle cost me INR26 which is a quarter of a dollar approximately. Very pocket friendly.
- It is insanely viscous. It is so thick and dense that it makes glue feel like water! Seriously, I mean it….it has the consistency of molten tar. If you haven’t ever seen a road being laid out, let me try that again. It’s almost like ….overdone thick goopy caramel.
- That means it’s tacky and a task to apply. It has zero spreadability. And while you’re trying to apply this mess, you’ll be cursing yourself for this brilliant idea.
- Do I have a better suggestion? Of course, I do! Don’t I always show you something new? Try mixing it with another hair oil like coconut or almond or sesame or even olive. So, there should be equal parts of both oils atleast. What I’m effectively saying is, please dilute it enough. It doesn’t have to be measured and all. I just pour some castor oil into an aluminium vessel. Then I pour what-seems-to-be an equal portion of good old coconut oil into that same vessel. I just eyeball it all through, no spoons or measuring cups used.
- Then I place it on my stove top burner, heat it for a few seconds and apply while the oil is still warm. Make sure it’s not hot …because oils get heated pretty soon and you don’t want to scald your head and end up with a bald patch.😅
- You can dilute castor oil further and even do a 1:3 ratio or blend all your hair oils together to make a potent mix.
- Massage gently into the scalp. Don’t forget the dry fragile ends. Leave it in for a few hours, six at max I’d say for the oils to really soak in….but not too much time to cause clogged scalp pores and eventually, dandruff.
- Remember, I said this oil is like chewing gum/bubble gum to hair. It just latches on and won’t let go easy. You may need to wash your hair twice. That’s what I always do when I’m using castor. A mild shampoo won’t do. Bring out the sulphates.
- After a good wash, add some conditioner, rinse, dry and detangle.
- I have to say, hair does feel a wee bit more voluminous. But that could just be a whole bunch of things that I started simultaneously like drinking adequate water, eating and sleeping.
- I wouldn’t really go so far as to claim that it restored lost hair. Nothing can make that happen. Certain drugs can alter and stretch the growth phase of the hair cycle. But, I don’t recommend going to such extremes unless you absolutely require it and such advice must come from a certified practitioner. I have never tried these medications, so I don’t have much to share about them.
- Hair is a bunch of dead protein cells. That’s why you feel no pain during a haircut. That means it cannot be repaired like living tissue. Skin heals, even bones and cartilage heal with proper nutrition and maybe some intervention. But that’s because live tissue can heal itself. Dead tissues cannot. So, no matter what you do to your hair – you will never be able to thicken each strand or fuse split ends together etc. It’s already dead. Castor oil cannot miraculously make each strand thicker or nourish hair from within because ….let me say this again to emphasize this point – visible hair is already dead. No nourishment, biotin, keratin, high protein diets, vitamin C, collagen etc can do anything to revive it from within.
- But you can provide nourishment and care for the hair that is not yet dead! I mean, the hair that has not yet sprouted from your scalp and is yet to be born. Yes, your hair reveals your health and more likely- your past health too.
- Oiling hair prevents dryness by outwardly drenching the hair strands with emollients. It won’t nourish it, but it will prevent dryness.
- Since castor oil is denser, it is just my personal belief and experience that hair appears slightly more voluminous because the (fraction of)oily residue left behind even after washing is still denser than regular oil.
- But, keep in mind these negatives too. While washing castor oil treated hair, we tend to use way more shampoo and products in an attempt to get all the gunk out. You need to find that balance or you’ll end up overdoing it and have drier hair instead.
- While using castor oil, we tend to scrub and bundle hair and twist and turn with all kinds of movements like a washing machine in an attempt to get all that icky oil out. We end up messing and really testing the tensile strenth of our hair, breaking away some lost soldiers who didn’t quite make the mark.
- And again, with the washing and scrubbing of hair, hair gets entangled and knotted especially if you have longer hair, and forms what is referred to as a ‘bird’s nest’. Basically it’s a big tangled mess. That’s quite a task to de-tangle, firstly. And secondly, after you do manage to detangle the bunch, you will need to perform the final rites for the ones you lost in the battle.
- So, I’d say stick with coconut oil or any of the good hair oils like olive, almond, sesame unless you have shorter hair… or just blend castor with another oil to make it user friendly.
- If you have a hibiscus plant like me, add some flowers and leaves when you heat the oils. They say it prevents premature graying. That’s another topic for another day. I’ll save that for another article.
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