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By Marissa DeSantis
With all of the treatments, supplements, and even gummies out there promising thicker, longer hair, it's hard to establish fact from fiction. A more natural option is always a great place to start, which is why castor oil (derived from castor seeds) has earned itself a newfound popularity. But does it really work? Despite anecdotal evidence and lots of discussion about the best castor oils for hair growth, that's still up for debate.
Before you commit to castor oil, it’s important to point out that there are two differing opinions on its hair-growing abilities, with some experts noting that there’s no scientific evidence to support hair growth claims. However, there are other experts in the dermatology field that believe castor oil can help with hair growth because of its undisputed nourishing benefits, which come from its high concentration of fatty acids. So while it may not directly cause hair growth, it can help promote overall healthier hair that feels stronger and appears shinier and thicker. Additionally, it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, so it’s great for maintaining a healthy scalp (and a healthy scalp is the key to healthy hair). The consensus, then? There's really no harm in adding castor oil to your routine — and since a lot of people do swear by it, go ahead and give it a try.
How To Use Castor Oil For Hair Growth:
There are a few things you’ll want to be wary of before you start applying pure castor oil on your hair. First, because it's an oil, you only want to apply a small amount. If you apply too much, it'll be hard to wash out, leaving you with hair that looks greasy instead of shiny and healthy. After you massage the oil onto your scalp and throughout the lengths of your hair, you can wash it out after 20 minutes, or leave it on overnight. (You can also use a drop or two on the ends of your hair to help soften split ends.) Note that if you’d rather reap the benefits of castor oil without slathering pure oil all over your hair, you can also find it in hair masks and shampoos.
Secondly, as with any ingredient, there’s the potential for irritation. To make sure you’re not allergic to castor oil, before you apply it all over, try a smaller test patch on the inside of your elbow to make sure you don't develop any itchiness or redness.