Castor Oil for Curly Hair: Why, How and Cautions

Last updated on November 9th, 2023 at 09:18 pm

In a previous article, I shared on the uses of Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) for hair (linked in the resources below). Many years later, I can totally attest to the benefits to my hair personally. In todays article I’m sharing a number of ways that you can use castor oil for curly hair.

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About Castor Oil

about castor oil for curly hair

Unlike most other hair oils, castor oil is very thick. Most people can benefit from this. My hair and scalp have certainly benefited from using castor oil in my curly hair.

When using castor oil in your hair, you could do so solely or you could mix it with another oil like olive oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, or almond oil.

Pure Castor oil is a vegetable oil produced from a plant called Ricinus Communis, native to the Eastern areas of the world.

The plant produces seeds (referred to as castor beans). When the seeds are ripened, their outer covering is removed and the oil is extracted from it.

For many years, castor oil has been in use as an alternative to medicine for a number of reasons.

It’s an age old remedy found to be effective in treating ailments like constipation, skin disorders, achy muscles, and one of the topics of this article: stimulating healthy hair growth and preventing hair loss.

Castor oil is also used as a lubricant. Like shea butter, it’s also a natural emollient that can be used on skin and hair.

While there’s no scientific evidence that supports the use of castor oil for the above mentioned conditions, I think personal testimonies are all the evidence we need. Many people report using castor oil with significant results; self included.

For more technical information about castor oil, check this article out: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551626/

Because we are talking about using castor oil for curly hair, I’ll use my personal testimonial as “evidence.”

Proof Castor Oil Works for Hair Growth

castor oil for hair growth

I used to think that I didn’t have many hair follicles in the temple area of my scalp. The hair there was always very sparse.

However, after consistently massaging castor oil or products that combine castor oil with it, I’m convinced it works.

I think the photos above are evidence. Don’t you?

Of course, I have used a variety of oils and potions to massage my scalp over the years but the one common ingredient most of them shared was castor oil.

I truly believe based on my research and results that castor oil is quite beneficial for hair health. 

Using An Essential Oil with Castor Oil

castor oil for curly hair

Castor oil can be mixed with a number of essential oils for even further benefits:

Lavender Oil

Rosemary Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Vitamin E (for natural preservation)

You may also be interested in these articles:

Why Coconut Oil is the best natural resource for your life
How to Use Coconut Oil for Curly Hair

More Benefits of Using Castor Oil for Curly Hair

Over the years I’ve found that using castor oil is not beneficial to just the hair, but also the scalp. It has been found to:

1. Grow in thicker hair

When used daily in the sparse areas of your hair, you’ll be surprised to find that as hair is growing in, it will grow in thicker.

Yes, it may start as peach fuzz but keep being consistent and you’ll see results. The only reason for not seeing results is if your hair follicles are dead. For most people, that’s not the case.

2. Nourish the scalp

Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid which is thought to be responsible for stimulating growth in dormant hair follicles. It also helps to nourish a dry scalp.

3. Provide heavy sealant capabilities

Castor oil can really transform dry hair by simply ensuring that moisture is sealed in for a longer period of time.

4. Prevent excessive split ends

Due to it’s thickness, castor oil really smooths out the ends and that “weight” helps to keep them in tact.

Of course, your ends won’t stay in tact indefinitely but with repeated application, castor oil can reduce the amount of split ends you get.

This is also assuming you aren’t doing things that damage your hair and encourage split ends in the first place. You know; things like, flat ironing regularly.

5. Decrease tangling in curly hair

Dry hair is most prone to tangling. When you use castor oil on dampened hair, it stays moisturized longer.

Also, that weight that castor oil provides, helps to prevent the hair from becoming excessively tangled.

6. To prevent frizz and hair damage

A great way to use castor oil for curly hair is to smooth out frizz. A little really goes a long way at smoothing out the hair cuticle.

castor oil for hair benefits

Ways to Use Castor Oil for Curly Hair

To reap the benefits of castor oil mentioned above, there are a few ways you can use it, including adding it to your hair products.

Below you’ll find a method along with some easy DIY recipes.

Also, it’s best to use organic castor oil whenever possible. This reduces the likelihood of contaminants.

As a Hair Mask or Hot Oil Treatment

When using castor oil for curly hair in the form of a hair mask, you’ll want to first cleanse your hair and scalp with a sulfate-free shampoo and warm water. Then, apply some warmed (not hot) oil through your hair in sections.

Sit under a plastic shower cap and let that oil marinate in your hair for about 30 minutes before rinsing.

Because castor oil is quite heavy, when using it for a hot oil treatment, it’s much easier to spread throughout your hair if you mix it with another natural oil that thins it out. 

Here’s an easy recipe for a hot oil treatment using castor oil:

  • 4 ounces of castor oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

As a Heavy Sealant

Apply to damp hair vs. wet hair after applying your leave-in conditioner.

If you have fine hair, focus more on sealing the ends of twists or braids.

An easy way to do this is:

  • Transfer some castor oil to a small applicator bottle
  • Fine hair: Distribute a small amount to the ends of your hair. Mix in a thinner oil like Camellia oil to thin it out for sealing the entire length
  • Thicker hair: seal the entire length with castor oil only

In a Deep Conditioner

Add 1-2 tablespoons to your deep conditioner. First, portion out the amount of conditioner you will use at that time. Then, add the oil.

To Scalp Massage

To increase blood flow in your scalp and for deeper penetration, warm up 2-4 ounces of castor oil. You can mix castor oil with essential oils like peppermint oil for best results.

Working in 4-6 sections, apply a small amount (no need to saturate) to your scalp and massage in circular motions. Only apply the oil to the section when you are ready to start massaging.

To Pre-poo 

An easy recipe pre-poo your hair is to strip out the inner filet of the aloe vera plant and mix in a tablespoon of castor oil with it

Here’s an Aloe Vera and Oil recipe

Word of Caution When Using Castor Oil

While castor oil is truly a great natural resource, when you first start using it it, you may find that it causes an itchy scalp. Sometimes this subsides.

If it doesn’t, then you may be allergic to it. So before you go all gung ho on your scalp with it, do a test using it on a small area of your scalp. The bottom area of your neck is a good place to start.

Some call it a natural moisturizer. I beg to differ.

Oils don’t moisturize. However, they can certain provide an excellent barrier so that moisture doesn’t easily evaporate.

Using castor oil for curly hair in a regimen can be truly transformative. While you can use castor oil in your hair every day to massage your scalp, it can cause your hair to become a little too greasy. So, unless your hair is in braids or twists that you don’t mind getting greasy, you may not want to use it daily.

While there are different types of castor oil, I do tend to mostly use Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO). That’s just for my personal hair care goals but regular castor oil works just fine as well.

how to use castor oil for curly hair

As one of those curly girls that has fine hair, I do prefer to use it on my ends more than the length of my hair.

I have used the oil to massage into my scalp for stimulating hair growth but I currently use this product for growth stimulation: Ominira Naturals Extra Strength Hair Growth Potion. It doesn’t contain castor oil but it is infused with a number of herbs proven to also grow hair.

If you have fine natural hair or even wavy hair, you may find that castor oil is a bit heavy for your hair. So, perhaps just focus on using it in a manner mentioned above where you’ll rinse it out. That, or just on your ends.

Castor Oil Resources

  1. Benefits and uses of Jamaican Black Castor Oil
  2. Apricot Castor Oil
  3. Buy Organic Castor Oil
  4. I used Jamaican Black Castor Oil on My Ends for 30 Days and This Happened

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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