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Ingredient Spotlight: Castor Oil

August 02, 2021

Ingredient Spotlight: Castor Oil

If you’ve ever done a quick web search on how to make your hair grow faster, then you've undoubtedly heard of Castor Oil. From being praised as a miracle hair growth hack to promising stronger, thicker locks, Castor Oil is one of the most talked-about oils in hair care. But that’s not all Castor Oil is known for—its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties make it a highly versatile ingredient, and one you should be looking for in your hair care products!


More Common Than You Think

From Africa to India, Castor Oil has been a staple in many cultures dating back centuries. While it’s most commonly known around the natural hair care scene, Castor Oil has a wide range of uses. In the past, it’s been used medicinally to improve blood flow and relieve muscle soreness and joint pain. Fast forward to the present, and Castor Oil can be found in food, cosmetics, medicine, and even perfumes.

Castor Oil, also known as ricinus communis, is a vegetable oil that’s extracted from the castor bean, a plant indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean, Eastern Africa, and India. It’s a nutrient-rich mix of proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Castor Oil is a highly viscous oil, meaning it’s very thick, so it’s often found in products alongside other, less viscous oils such as coconut, olive, and jojoba to help balance it out.


The Fine Print

Castor Oil is unique in that it’s mostly composed of ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid known to easily penetrate the scalp and hair. Ricinoleic acid helps alleviate itchiness, swelling, irritation, and redness. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal, and has been found to soothe dry, flaky scalps resulting from dandruff and psoriasis. And as if that wasn’t enough, Castor Oil can help promote blood circulation, too!

Castor Oil is a rich moisturizer that's highly humectant, making it the perfect ingredient for those of us with frizzy, coarse, and curly hair that needs to be tamed.  When applied to the hair, it hydrates the hair shaft to bind in moisture and coats the hair cuticle to help strengthen and decrease the chance of breakage and split ends.


Does Castor Oil Actually Help Hair Grow?

So, what about the rumor that Castor Oil helps you to grow hair as long as Rapunzel’s? There’s no scientific data to prove that Castor Oil directly increases hair growth, so the claims are anecdotal, but that doesn’t erase the fact that it’s been a well-loved staple in hair care for a long time. There must be a reason, right?

Its reputation is most likely thanks to the high content of ricinoleic acid that’s known to help improve blood circulation. An increase in blood flow can potentially lead to more nutrients and vitamins that are delivered to the hair follicles, resulting in stronger strands that see less breakage, giving the overall effect of having longer, thicker, and healthier hair.


A Multifaceted Hair Mask

If you’ve ever tried to do a hair treatment with pure Castor Oil, then you know how difficult it can be to use— it’s thick and can be a pain to wash out. And while it’s fun to make your own DIY hair mask, sometimes it’s easier to use a product that’s already formulated to achieve your hair goals without the hassle. 

The Advanced Clinicals Castor Oil Hair Mask combines Castor Oil with other nutrient-rich ingredients such as coconut oil, biotin, and bamboo, so you can benefit from several ingredients at once for hair that’s softer, smoother, and stronger. Whether your scalp is itchy, your strands are dry and brittle, or you simply want to add a little more shine, you’ll see (and feel!) a difference after using our Castor Oil Hair Mask.

To incorporate this mask into your hair care routine, simply apply enough product to coat your hair when it’s damp and freshly washed. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out, then style as you normally would. Use it as a deep treatment once a week or as often as you’d like after shampooing.


Take Your Routine One Step Further

Don’t fall into the trap of only focusing on repairing the damage to your hair after it’s done—be sure to use products that help prevent it! Between coloring, bleaching, and using hot tools, our hair bears the brunt of our beauty. In addition to using a hair mask, the next best thing we can do to treat our locks with the love they deserve is to use a leave-in conditioner.

The Advanced Clinicals Vegan Castor Oil Leave-In-Conditioner will continue to nourish your hair long after you apply it. It not only hydrates the scalp to keep dry flakes at bay but protects and strengthens the hair cuticle to resist breakage and split ends before they start. Apply enough to evenly coat the hair from the mid-shaft to the ends, and comb through before styling as usual.

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