Asian woman applying castor oil to her hair

Castor Oil Benefits for Your Hair and Skin

Check out the beauty benefits of this plant oil.

If you’re fond of using plant oils in your beauty regimen, consider castor oil. It is derived from the beans of the castor oil plant (Ricinis communis) and is known to have cosmetic uses. Have you heard of castor oil benefits for hair? We’ve listed them down for you. We also let you in on some of the castor oil benefits beyond hair. Read on to learn more.

What is Castor Oil?

First things first: Castor oil is derived from the bean of the Ricinus Communis or Castor plant, native to tropical regions across the world. The oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a unique fatty acid that makes up almost 90% of it. This potent concentration of ricinoleic acid, along with other nutrients, gives castor oil its amazing therapeutic and medicinal properties.

Benefits of Castor Oil for Your Hair

1. It stimulates hair growth.

Asian woman with long beautiful hair showing castor oil benefits for hair
Castor oil helps nutrients get to your hair follicles, stimulating hair growth. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Castor oil doesn’t magically add a few inches to your hair. Instead, it helps improve blood circulation, according to the Journal of Applied Chemistry. Good blood circulation helps deliver nutrients to the hair follicles, stimulating growth. Because of this, castor oil is considered an oil for hair growth.

Bottle of Stunsilk Strong & Long Shampoo

Editor’s tip: Include castor oil in your daily hair care routine with Sunsilk Strong & Long Shampoo. It has Activ-Infusiona blend of castor oil, vitamin B7, and aloe vera that help protect hair against UV rays, heat, dust, humidity, and pollution. Vitamin B7 or biotin also helps treat hair loss, while aloe vera helps nourish your hair.

2. Castor oil is moisturizing.

Asian woman touching her long hair
Say bye to dry hair with the help of castor oil. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Castor oil has ricinoleic acid, which has a moisturizing effect on the hair, according to a 2022 review article in the International Journal of Trichology. The oil’s fatty acids can help nourish your hair follicles. This finding aligns with a 2019 review article in the American Journal of Applied Chemistry which says castor oil traps moisture in your hair and keeps it from getting dry.

3. It can help make your hair shiny.

Asian woman with long shiny hair smiling
Castor oil can help you get shiny hair. Credit: Dennie Ramon

Because castor oil helps seal moisture in your strands, it can also help make your hair shiny. If you have dull hair, consider using shampoos and conditioners with castor oil.

Bottle of TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum

Editor’s tip: Looking for a quick way to add shine to your hair? Apply a drop of TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Anti-Frizz Shine Serum. Aside from giving your hair a lovely sheen, this hair serum also calms frizz, detangles, makes hair soft, and tames flyaways. Its non-greasy formula also leaves your hair silky and full of movement.

4. It can help reduce breakage.

Asian woman pulling the ends of her long hair to demonstrate castor oil benefits
No need to worry about breakage and split ends when your hair is well-moisturized. Credit: Dennie Ramon

Well-moisturized hair is less likely to get brittle and prone to breakage. It’s also less prone to getting split ends, so you no longer need to cut your hair often to get rid of these frayed tips.

5. Castor oil has anti-microbial properties.

Asian woman looking in a hand-held mirror and touching her hair
Castor oil has antimicrobial properties, which can help protect your scalp. Credit: Shutterstock

“Ricin and ricinoleic acid present in the oil protect the scalp and the shaft of the hair from fungal and microbial infections,” says a review article in the International Journal of Trichology. Meanwhile, a 2021 study in the journal Plant Archives says that the presence of phenols, flavonoids, tannins, and other organic compounds in castor oil helps the extract hinder the growth of certain strains of bacteria.

Working Castor Oil into Your Hair Care Routine

Since castor oil is pretty thick, it’s a good idea to mix it with a lighter carrier oil (like coconut or almond oil). You can apply this mixture on your scalp, massage it in, and let it do its magic for a few minutes or overnight before washing it off. Otherwise, you can also use castor oil on its own (dilute it with water or wet your hair before applying it) -and make sure to not use it more than once a week!

Bear in mind, though – results can take time, and everyone reacts differently to natural remedies. Do remember to do a patch test, to make sure it vibes with your scalp and skin.

More Castor Oil Benefits

Bottle of castor oil and a bowl of castor fruit on a wooden table
Castor oil has a number of beauty and health benefits. Credit: Shutterstock

Aside from stimulating hair growth and protecting your hair from dryness, castor oil also has other uses. Here they are.

1. It helps moisturize the skin.

The ricinoleic acid present in castor oil can help smoothen, soothe, and moisturize the skin, according to a study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Applications. This study also says hydrogenated castor oil is a useful carrier oil for various cosmetic, hair, and skin care formulations.

2. Castor oil can facilitate wound healing.

In a 2020 study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine, researchers examined the healing potential of ascorbic acid, castor oil, and gum tragacanth formulation on a mouse wound. They compared it with a mouse wound treated with povidone-iodine. After nine days, the mouse wound treated with the formulation exhibited 98% recovery compared with the povidone-iodine-treated wound, which only showed 89% recovery.

This study shows that such a formulation can help in wound healing. However, more studies are needed to determine if it’s effective for humans.

3. It has antiviral properties. 

A 2021 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology shows castor plant leaf extracts help fight against the hepatitis A virus. The study also shows that methanol extracts from castor oil plant leaves can keep the herpes simplex type 1 virus from multiplying.

4. It helps reduce acne.

Castor oil’s inherent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make this oil a reliable remedy for fighting acne. In addition, ricinoleic acid helps prevent the buildup of bacteria that leads to acne formation, thus maintaining a clear, blemish-free complexion.

5. Castor oil promotes nail health.

The same qualities that make castor oil fantastic for your skin and hair apply to your nails as well. Daily application of castor oil can transform weak, brittle nails into strong, healthier ones.

Now that you know the benefits of castor oil, check if it is listed among the ingredients of your favorite shampoo. And with its potential health and skin care uses, castor oil is a promising addition to your beauty arsenal.