By Eshe Asale
Castor oil contains vitamin E, minerals, proteins, antibacterial and anti-fungicidal properties. Scientists attribute its healing benefits to its unusual chemical composition, which consists of a triglyceride of fatty acids with ricinoleic acid of up to 90 percent. In addition to healing benefits, castor oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties, all of which are related to healthy hair growth. Here are 7 ways to incorporate castor oil into a healthy hair regimen.
1. Added Shine
According to researchers studying the light reflected from hair samples, castor oil hair treatments were found to increase the luster of hair. This effect is caused by castor oil’s ability to coat the hair shaft, sealing in moisture and creating a silkier surface. Dull hair may benefit from the use of castor oil hair treatments, either in conditioners or in the form of a hot oil treatment. For optimum shine, use a hot oil treatment once per month or moisturizing treatments weekly. However, more frequent use than this can result in an oily scalp.
2. Improve Scalp Circulation
Castor oil on your scalp can help to increase circulation. The strengthening effect it has on hair follicles can stimulate hair growth in cases of alopecia, or hair loss.
3. Prevent Hair Loss
The antifungal and antibacterial properties in castor oil are useful in combating scalp infections, such as follliculitus, ringworm and peidra. Infections and scalp disorders are major causes of hair loss. Pathogens and micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites can attack your skin and scalp, leading to bald patches and impeding hair growth.
4. Control Split Ends
Castor oil as a conditioning treatment can help reduce split ends, which in turn prevents hair loss and breakage. Omega 6 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins and other nutrients in castor oil can penetrate dry and damaged hair, smoothing rough cuticles and helping the hair shaft retain moisture. Castor oil has a viscous consistency, so mixing it with lighter oils — such as olive and jojoba — makes it easier to evenly and sufficiently distribute it throughout your hair.
Castor oil is a popular ingredient in hair products formulated for highly textured hair because it is known for its ability to seal moisture in the hair, combatting the natural dryness of these hair types. Apply it after moisturizing with a water-based product for a long-lasting seal.
6. Treatment of Dry Scalp or Dandruff
Castor oil contains fungicidal, germicidal and insecticidal properties, making it an effective treatment for many causes of dandruff. In addition, castor oil hair treatments seal in moisture when applied to either the hair or the scalp, making it an excellent scalp moisturizer. If you have dry scalp or dandruff, apply castor oil directly to dry areas prior to washing or shampooing the hair.
7. Moisturizing Scalp & Thickening Hair
Omega 6 fatty acids in castor oil help keep your scalp from drying out, while regular use of castor oil may encourage thicker hair growth. Unrefined castor oil is preferred over refined types, because it contains more nutrients and healing properties. Use castor oil for hot oil treatments and scalp massages to stimulate hair growth and keep your hair soft and manageable. Leave the oil in your hair overnight, covered with a plastic cap to trap heat and enhance penetration. In the morning, wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo to remove all traces of castor oil, then style as usual.
Ladies, is castor oil a part of your hair regimen? How do you use it?