How To Use Castor Oil For Hair Growth – Does It Really Work?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD
by Anjali Sayee

Castor oil is very popular for its medicinal uses. It is said to be one of the best hair oils for hair growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it helps prevent dandruff and other scalp infections. It also helps reduce hair loss and moisturizes hair. In this article, we will break down why castor oil is good for the hair, its side effects, and how to incorporate it into your regular hair care regimen. Read on to know more!

How Is Castor Oil Made?

The oil is extracted from castor seeds through the process of pressing. Castor oil is mainly colorless or pale yellow with a very mild odor. It feels sticky and thick, so many prefer blending it with a lighter oil prior to usage. It consists of a total of 18 fatty acids. Castor oil is also a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture in the hair and skin.

Discussed below are the benefits of castor oil for the hair.

Benefits Of Castor Oil For Hair

  1. Research shows that castor helps stimulate hair growth and reduce dandruff (1).
  2. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties (2). Hence, it can help soothe and reduce irritation in the scalp.
  3. Castor oil may help reduce dandruff (3). It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties (4). These may help cleans the scalp and protect it from infections.
  4. Castor oil improves blood circulation (5). This can help increase blood circulation to the scalp and increase the hair’s thickness and density.
  5. Castor oil contains omega-6 fatty acids (5). These fatty acids can help improve overall hair health and hair texture.
  6. Castor oil makes hair darker and prevents early aging of hair like premature graying (5).
  7. Castor oil also has antioxidant properties (4). Hence, it may help reduce hair damage and hair fall caused by free radicals.
  8. A study showed that castor oil helps reduce hair loss, split ends, and hair damage (6).
  9. Castor oil can also help moisturize the hair and condition it (6).
  10. A study showed that castor oil could help increase the luster of hair (7).

As with any other ingredient, castor oil can cause some side effects.

Side Effects Of Castor Oil

A study showed that castor oil caused severe hair felting (8). Using too much castor oil can cause hair to become hard and tangled. Hence, it is important to use it in moderation.

How Often Should You Use Castor Oil On Your Hair?

Oiling your hair helps keep it hydrated and nourished. You need to oil your hair at least once or twice a week. Keep in mind that too much castor may cause hair felting. Hence, you can try a combination of castor oil with another oil like jojoba oil, coconut oil, or olive oil.

In the next section, we have listed the recipes for castor oil to promote hair growth. Take a look.

How To Use Castor Oil For Hair Growth

A. How To Use Castor Oil To Combat Hair Loss

What You Need

1/2 cup castor oil

  1. Take some castor oil in your palm and work it through your hair from the roots to the tips (the same way you apply your regular oil). Massage well. Castor oil has a thicker density, which makes it difficult to wash it out. Hence, make sure that you do not use too much oil.
  2. Leave the oil in for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. You could also leave it overnight.
  3. Owing to its dense consistency, it can be quite a task to wash off castor oil. You will need to shampoo multiple times to get rid of the oil. But this method works for some – condition your hair with a commercial conditioner 30 minutes before you take a shower. The oil should come off easily.
  4. Once you wash your hair, towel dry it and avoid using any heat styling tools immediately.

While your hair might feel moisturized, it will take a while before you see any results.

Note: This treatment works best on slightly damp hair.

B. Castor Oil Treatment For Hair Regrowth

There is much anecdotal evidence that castor helps treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth. Since it is thick and heavy, it might be easier to pair it with another oil to loosen it up. It also has a very peculiar smell that doesn’t suit everyone, which other oils, like almond, can cover.

The following potion is a combination of four oils – coconut, sweet almond, sesame, and castor. While you can add or remove oils depending on availability and preference, there is nothing like using all four of these together.

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  1. Mix the four oils and massage the mixture into your scalp and from the roots to the tips of your hair. You could warm the oil a little for quicker penetration.
  2. Keep it on for a minimum of 60 minutes. Optionally, you could leave it in overnight for better results.
  3. Shampoo your hair to wash it off.

This oil is perfect for inducing hair growth. You can make it in large quantities and store it by adding a capsule of vitamin E oil to it to increase its shelf life.

C. Natural Homemade Hair Masks With Castor Oil

Listed below are a few hair masks using castor oil. These masks can make your hair long and healthy.

1. Castor Oil And Olive Oil Mix For Hair

Olive oil can help condition your hair and reduce hair loss (6). In combination with castor oil, it can promote hair growth.

What You Need
  • 1-2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 hibiscus petals
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix equal proportions of the two oils in a small cup.
  2. Add hibiscus petals to it.
  3. Heat the oil on a medium flame for 10 seconds and apply it to your hair.
  4. Massage your scalp gently for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Wrap your head with a steamed towel to lock in the moisture.
  6. Leave it on for an hour. Wash it off with lukewarm water and shampoo.
  7. Repeat this process weekly for the best results.

Note: You can also use a blend of castor, olive, and lavender oils.

2. Castor Oil And Coconut Oil Mix For Hair

Coconut oil has antibacterial properties (9). It can keep scalp infections at bay and promote hair regrowth. Coconut oil is one of the few oils that can penetrate the hair shaft and reach the cuticle and cortex (10). It can moisturize and nourish hair from within. Coconut oil also helps prevent hair damage from everyday weathering and heat damage.

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (liquid)
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix castor oil and coconut oil in a bowl and apply the mix gently to your dry hair.
  2. Massage your scalp well for at least five minutes.
  3. Spread the oil mix thoroughly into your hair and put on a shower cap.
  4. Keep the hair mask on for at least two hours before washing it off by using the aforementioned technique. Leaving it on overnight is also a good option.
  5. Follow this treatment twice a week for two to three months to regain hair at a faster pace.

3. Aloe Vera And Castor Oil For Hair Growth

Aloe vera is an emollient used to moisturize the hair and skin. It also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which will help keep your hair and scalp clean and healthy (11). It can also help reduce dandruff (12). Animal studies have shown that fenugreek seeds can promote hair growth (13).

Use this blend of castor oil and aloe vera to relieve itchy scalp, dandruff, and hair loss.

What You Need
  • 2 teaspoons castor oil
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon basil powder
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek powder
What You Need To Do
  1. Use a hand blender to blend all the ingredients to form a thick hair mask.
  2. Apply this paste on your hair and scalp gently, ensuring that you have covered every strand.
  3. Wear a shower cap and let the mask set deeply in your hair. Leave it on for two to three hours.
  4. Rinse it off by using a mild shampoo and lukewarm water.

4. Castor Oil And Peppermint Oil For Hair Growth

Research shows that peppermint oil stimulates hair growth (14). It keeps the hair in the anagen phase for a long time, which reduces hair loss. It also helps increase hair thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth. It also has antimicrobial properties, which can help keep the scalp clean from infections.

What You Need
  • 100 ml castor oil
  • 2-3 drops peppermint oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Add two to three drops of peppermint oil to castor oil and shake it well.
  2. Center part your hair and apply the mix directly to your scalp.
  3. Repeat this process until your whole head is covered.
  4. Let the mask stay on for at least two hours before washing it off.
  5. You can use this blend twice a week for a couple of months to witness faster results.

5. Castor Oil And Almond Oil Mix For Hair Growth

Almond oil is extracted from the seed, which showed good hair growth-promoting activity in rats (15). Almond oil also has emollient properties (16). Hence, it can nourish and moisturize the hair and scalp.

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the oils in a bowl and heat it on medium flame for a few seconds.
  2. Apply this blend to your scalp and hair.
  3. Massage well for 5-10 minutes using your fingers.
  4. Wash it off with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo.

6. Onion Juice And Castor Oil For Hair Growth

Research shows that onion juice can stimulate hair growth (17). It also exhibits antifungal activities against Malassezia, the dandruff-causing fungi (18).

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 2 tablespoons onion juice
What You Need To Do
  1. Add two tablespoons of onion juice in a bowl containing another two tablespoons of castor oil and blend them.
  2. Massage your scalp and hair gently with this mix.
  3. Leave it on for about two hours.
  4. Rinse the oil off gently by using a mild shampoo and lukewarm water.

7. Castor Oil And Avocado Oil For Hair Growth

Avocado oil has antioxidant properties owing to its high vitamin E content (19). Olive oil conditions the hair and scalp and reduces hair loss.

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the three oils in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and massage gently for 5-10 minutes with your fingertips.
  3. Wash it off after two to three hours using the technique we discussed earlier.
  4. Use this oil once every week for stronger, healthier hair.

8. Castor Oil And Rosemary Oil For Hair Growth

A study showed that rosemary could be used to stimulate hair growth (20). It has antifungal properties that prevent fungal infection on the scalp, like dandruff (21).

What You Need
  • 2 teaspoons castor oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2-3 drops rosemary essential oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix castor oil and coconut oil in a bowl. Heat the container until they are blended.
  2. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to this blend.
  3. Massage your scalp and hair with this hot oil for 5-10 minutes. This hot oil treatment allows nutrients to seep into the hair follicles, locking the shine.
  4. Leave the oil on for another 15 minutes.
  5. Use a mild shampoo to get rid of the oil.
  6. Go for this treatment every week for a few months for the desired effect.

9. Castor Oil And Vitamin E For Hair Growth

Vitamin E is the lipid-soluble antioxidant that helps repair damaged hair. Vitamin E supplementation was found to aid hair growth (22).

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon warm castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon warm olive oil
  • 2 vitamin E capsules
What You Need To Do
  1. Blend the two oils in a bowl and empty the contents of two vitamin E capsules into it.
  2. Massage your scalp gently with the mixture using your fingertips. Use circular motions for the maximum effect.
  3. Wash your hair after half an hour with warm water.
  4. Repeat this process twice or thrice a week.

Note: You can also go for a coconut milk massage as it is highly rich in vitamin E.

10. Castor Oil And Mustard Oil For Hair Growth

There is no scientific evidence to prove that mustard oil aids hair growth. However, mustard oil is highly rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals like selenium, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and beta-carotene (23). These nutrients aid hair health.

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Add these three oils in a bottle and shake well.
  2. Massage this mix onto your scalp for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Wrap your hair in a steamed towel and let it stay for 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Shampoo your hair well using lukewarm water.
  5. Repeat this process once a week to improve the condition of your hair and scalp.

11. Castor Oil And Tea Tree Oil For Hair Growth

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (24). It can soothe the scalp and help get rid of dandruff (25).

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree oil
  • Applicator bottle
What You Need To Do
  1. Add JBCO, coconut oil, and tea tree oil in an applicator bottle and shake it well.
  2. Apply this oil mix to your scalp and hair. Massage for 5-10 minutes with your fingertips.
  3. Let it sit for at least half an hour.
  4. Wash off using warm water and shampoo.
  5. Use this solution twice a week to get thicker hair.

12. Castor Oil And Jojoba Oil For Hair Growth

Jojoba oil is a natural wax ester that can act as a viable substitute for sebum. This makes it good for dry hair. It is often used in hair scalp treatments as it has good anti-inflammatory properties (26). It is also used in hair restorative treatments.  It also helps remove excess sebum build-up and dirt that clog pores on the scalp.

What You Need
  • 3 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the oils in a container and shake well.
  2. Part your hair and apply the mixture directly to your scalp. Ensure that you cover all sections.
  3. Massage for 5-10 minutes to ensure proper blood circulation in the scalp.
  4. Wash your hair after an hour with some shampoo and warm water.
  5. Use this oil twice to thrice a week for longer and healthier hair.

13. Castor Oil And Cayenne Pepper For Hair Growth

Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper helps in stimulating hair growth (27). This compound triggers proper blood circulation from the hair roots to the follicles, supplying essential nutrients to the scalp and hair.

What You Need
  • 60 ml castor oil
  • 4-6 whole cayenne pepper
  • A dark-colored glass bottle
What You Need To Do
  1. Cut cayenne pepper into very small pieces and add castor oil to it.
  2. Store this mixture in a glass bottle in a cool, dark place for about two to three weeks. Direct sunlight can destroy the carotenoids present in pepper, another compound essential for hair growth.
  3. Shake the bottle once in a while during the week.
  4. After three weeks, strain the mix and discard the pepper.
  5. Apply this oil to your scalp and massage for a few minutes. Let it sit for about an hour before washing it off as usual.
  6. Repeat this process twice a week to get the desired shine and volume.

14. Castor Oil And Garlic For Hair Growth

Studies have shown that garlic can help treat hair loss (28). It can also help reduce dandruff (29).

What You Need
  • 2-3 tablespoons castor oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
What You Need To Do
  1. Crush two garlic cloves with the help of a mortar and pestle and mix with castor oil.
  2. Marinate this mixture for three to four days.
  3. Get the oil out after 3-4 days and apply it to your hair and scalp.
  4. Massage for 5-10 minutes using circular motions. Let the oil stay on for two to three hours.
  5. Rinse the oil off using a good shampoo and conditioner.
  6. Use this tonic at least twice a week for accelerated hair growth.

15. Castor Oil And Glycerin For Hair Growth

Glycerin has moisturizing properties (30). It helps moisturize the hair and scalp and prevent itching and irritation.

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 2-3 drops glycerin
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix a few drops of glycerin and castor oil. Apply this mixture to the hair and scalp and massage gently.
  2. Leave the oil mix on for one to two hours and wash it off using a very mild shampoo.
  3. Repeat this process once a week for a few months to get hydrated, shiny hair.

Note: If you have oily hair, skip this remedy altogether. Glycerin will make your hair even more oily and unmanageable.

16. Castor Oil And Monistat For Hair Growth

Monistat contains miconazole which is a well-known antifungal (31). A study showed that shampoos containing miconazole can prevent fungal infections (32).

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1 tube Monistat 7
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix an entire tube of Monistat 7 with castor oil and transfer the resultant to the applicator bottle.
  2. Part your hair into different sections and apply the mix to your hair and scalp. Massage gently for a few minutes. Wash it off after 30 minutes using warm water and shampoo.
  3. Use this mix once a week for a couple of months to witness desired results.

17. Castor Oil And Shea Butter For Hair Growth

Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties (33). It can help soothe an itchy scalp and relieve dandruff. It also has antioxidant properties, which help reduce hair loss and hair damage. Unrefined shea butter contains no added chemicals, making it ideal for sensitive skin.

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the ingredients as it is if you want a butter-like concoction. For a more liquid appearance, heat shea butter for a few seconds and then mix it with castor oil.
  2. Apply the mix to your scalp and let it stay for an hour before washing it off.
  3. Use this blend once a week for healthy, dandruff-free hair.

18. Castor Oil And Ginger For Hair Growth

Ginger has impressive stimulating and healing properties. Centuries ago, it was used as a cure for balding (34). Ginger exhibits anti-dandruff activity (35).

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice
What You Need To Do
  1. Add ginger juice to castor oil and massage your scalp with it. You can directly apply this mix on the bald spots for a speedy recovery.
  2. Leave the oil on for 30 minutes and then wash it off with warm water and shampoo.
  3. Repeat this process once or twice a week for best results.

Castor oil is thick and sticky. Hence, washing this oil off your hair, especially when it is left in overnight, is a strenuous task. Below is a technique that you can use to tackle this problem easily.

How To Remove Castor Oil From Hair Easily

  • Use Lukewarm Water – Use mild warm water to damp your scalp and hair. This process will open your scalp pores to release the stored grime and dirt.
  • Make A Rich Lather – Take some shampoo in your palms and add some water to it. Rub your palms to form a rich lather. This action will make your palms moist, thus avoiding friction that causes breakage.
  • Gentle Application – Apply the shampoo to your hair and scalp. Massage gently using your fingertips. Let the shampoo stay for one minute.
  • Wash It Off – Wash your hair with warm water. Use your fingers again to make circular motions along the scalp to wash any leftover shampoo.
  • Use A Leave-In Conditioner – Apply some leave-in conditioner to your hair and tips. Keep it on for three to five minutes.
  • Wash With Cold Water – The last step is to wash your hair completely with cold water. This step locks and seals the moisture and makes your hair richer and shinier.
  • Towel Dry – Use a fresh towel to dry your hair. Do not rub your wet hair harshly. Let it air-dry.
  • Use A Wide Toothed Comb – Use a good quality (preferably wooden) comb to untangle your hair.

Though there are no direct studies proving the hair growth-promoting effects of castor oil, anecdotal evidence suggests that it can aid hair growth and also minimize other hair and scalp-related issues. Ensure you use it moderation to avoid the side effects. Regular use of this oil alone, or in combination with other oils, along with some patience, will surely give you great results!

35 sources

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Anjali Sayee

Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.