Castor Oil for Moisturized Black Hair

Formerly a folk remedy, this ingredient has become a hair care must-have.

byNafeesa Saboor| PUBLISHED Jun 12, 2020 2:48 PM
Castor Oil for Moisturized Black Hair
Take care of your crown. Mike Von, Unsplash

If healthy, moisturized hair tops your list of beauty goals, you’ve probably tried numerous products in its pursuit. You’ve also likely noticed castor oil listed among the ingredients of more than a few—and might even remember seeing bottles of it in your grandma or auntie’s medicine cabinet. That’s because castor oil has been used as a multi-purpose health and beauty solution in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia for centuries. Derived from the nut of the ricinus communis, better known as the castor plant, the oil is rich in naturally occurring glycerin, Vitamin E, and 18 fatty acids. These acids, which include Omega-3 acids, Omega-6 acids, Omega-9 acids, and ricinoleic acid, help skin and hair absorb other oils more fully and lock in moisture and nutrients.

Multipurpose Maintenance
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Smooth on towel-dried strands to condition parched ends.

Castor oil’s rich, emollient consistency helps to extend its nourishing effects and seal the cuticles of your hair’s strands. It makes an amazing hot oil treatment for those with naturally soft curls and those with high porosity. For tighter curls and kinks, as well as hair with lower porosity, it’s a perfect leave-in solution and can be used to help tame fly-aways during styling. It’s also popular for eyebrow and lash care; some people even use it in lieu of brow gel.

Good for Protective Styles
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Passed-down preparation methods used in Jamaica and Haiti help keep hair balanced.

If you’re prepping for a protective style, black castor oil will help to keep your hair hydrated while it’s braided or twisted. It will also help your scalp and follicles retain moisture they need to help ward off itchiness and dandruff. Prepared using an age-old Caribbean method, it differs from traditional castor oil in that it’s made from beans that are roasted before being pressed, so the final product retains some of the ash created and has a higher pH or alkaline level.

Smells and Feels Great
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Infusing natural herbs or botanicals creates an olfactory boost.

Adding herbs and essential oils, like lavender, sage, mint, or rosemary, to your castor oil helps keep your hair smelling as good as it feels. In some cases, those additional ingredients also also have hair-strengthening or moisture-boosting properties. Those who don’t feel comfortable creating their own mixes can buy an oil that’s already infused.