Did you know that castor oil, an ingredient that you can find in almost every Indian household, can help you grow healthy, lustrous hair naturally? Castor oil, also known as Eranda Tailam in Ayurveda, is a vegetable oil that is produced by pressing castor beans.
Castor oil has many Ayurvedic properties like bitter taste (tikta), sweet taste (madhura rasa) and various qualities like Guru, Ushna, Sara and Balyam. It also has a hot potency (ushna virya) and pungent metabolic taste (katu vipaka). The Guru or heaviness present in it pacifies the vata and kapha doshas. Read on to know more about how to use it for maximum benefits.
Does Castor Oil Really Help In Hair Growth?
Dr. Zeel explains, “Hair damage caused by Vata manifests as dryness, lightness and cold- lifelessness. The hair has increased frizziness and splits easily. The hair loses volume and thickness. Vata also makes the hair look lustreless. Castor oil is referred metaphorically in Ayurveda as “Simhanad”, Eranda - Gaja kesari. It is like a lion's roar to control a group of wild elephants-Vata dosha running amok in the body.”
“Thus when applied regularly on the hair, it controls Vata troubles and promotes healthy hair growth that is thick, lustrous and full of vitality,” she adds.
Castor oil is a rare herb that balances both energies in the body. But when applied externally it has a cooling effect. This is why it is considered useful for various pitta skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema and severe itchy and dry skin both on the body and scalp. 
It is important to note that some people are sensitive to castor oil. So, it is important to test your skin tolerance before using it. If any sign of irritation appears, consult your dermatologist for an alternative solution. If your sensitivity towards castor oil is not that serious, apply a small amount of oil to the scalp on a regular basis. This oil acts as a lubricant to the scalp and hair shafts, resulting in a softer scalp skin and more flexible hair that can’t be easily broken.
Not only does it moisturise skin, castor oil also has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal qualities. It reduces dandruff which is a leading cause of hair fall, hence improving the thickness of your hair. Castor oil also contains vitamin E, ricinoleic acid and other fatty acids that improve blood circulation. This in turn seals moisture in hair follicles and prevents hair fall.
Castor oil has almost 99% of long-chain carbonic acids, which is higher than the other essential oils. These carbonic acids stimulate hair growth and maintain the hair growth cycle.
Hair Benefits Of Castor Oil
1. Hydration and Moisturization
Castor oil, like many other natural oils, helps in trapping the moisture and oils generated by the body, in the strands of hair. It has a high concentration of amino and ricinoleic acid that acts as moisturizers for the hair.
Make sure to apply castor oil on a regular basis for proper nourishment and visible results. If the skin on your scalp is sensitive or irritated, dilute the castor oil in an organic base oil like sesame, sunflower, or coconut.
2. Antibacterial & Antifungal Properties
With a busy lifestyle, we are often unable to take proper care of our scalp. When the scalp is not looked after properly, fungus and dryness forms in it causing flaky scalp and dandruff. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of castor oil prevents the fungal growth and flaky skin of the scalp.
Include castor oil in your hair care routine for better scalp health. Just like it keeps the skin free of conditions like eczema, the same benefits can be extended to the scalp as well.
3. Rich In Vitamin E
Vitamin E and fatty acids that are present in castor oil, are vital ingredients for healthy hair. These ingredients also make the hair shiny, strong and boost hair growth. Vitamin E also protects the hair by preventing the free radicals present in the environment from eroding the quality and strength of hair.
It also helps with a process called protein synthesis which ensures that your hair is growing and resting in a balanced way. This balance is essential so that you do not lose more than the acceptable amount of hair everyday.
4. Balances The pH Levels In The Scalp
Castor oil is thick in consistency, and so it penetrates deep into the scalp. Therefore, the essential fatty acids present in it maintain the pH balance of the scalp. This in turn prevents the occurrence of dandruff, boosts the blood circulation, and ensures a healthy scalp and healthy hair.
5. Boosts Hair Follicle Health
Dead hair follicles accumulate on the scalp if your hair doesn't get enough hydration or nutrition. This in turn, can eventually hinder hair growth and cause hair fall. So oiling the hair with castor oil is a must. If you have a vata or dry skin type, then oil your scalp every alternate day. Those who have a kapha or pitta skin type can do it twice a week.
Massaging your scalp with castor oil increases blood circulation and boosts hair growth in a holistic way. Don’t forget to warm the oil a little bit before applying it on your scalp and coat all your hair strands to prevent split ends. 
6. Smoother & Frizz-Free Hair
Castor oil has emollient properties, making it ideal for reviving dry, damaged and frizzy hair. Our hair goes through a lot due to stress, lifestyle habits, pollution and lack of care. The oleic and linoleic acids present in castor oil helps the hair to restore its original state and health.
If you have an oily scalp but are suffering from split-ends, apply castor oil at the ends of your hair every night before sleeping to prevent further damage and repair split-ends.
How To Use Castor Oil For Hair?
Follow the given steps while applying castor oil on hair for better and faster results:
- Begin by warming the oil. Apply it on your scalp first before going along the length of your hair.
- Massage the oil into your scalp.
- Use a comb to ensure even coverage. You don’t need to soak your hair with oil, but all of your hair should be moist.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and keep it like that for at least two hours. This is the minimum time required for the oil to penetrate the scalp, hair follicles, and hair shaft.
- Then wash it off with any Ayurvedic or herbal shampoo and conditioner.
- You can apply steam to your hair for better absorption.
- You can also wet your hair a little bit before applying the oil for better results.
Hair masks are another effective way to add the much needed nourishment to your hair. Castor oil is a great ingredient for homemade masks and can be used as following:
1. Castor Oil & Coconut Oil
Coconut oil makes hair stronger, enhances hair growth and prevents damage to hair. It works by penetrating the hair cortex and cuticles. It also acts against the damage caused by hair treatments.
How To Use:
- Take equal amounts of castor oil and coconut oil.
- Mix them together and massage on your scalp.
- Ensure that you apply the mixture all over your hair from roots to ends.
- Now, cover your head with a towel and leave the mask for two hours.
- Wash off with lukewarm water, using a herbal shampoo
2. Castor Oil & Olive Oil
Olive oil is enriched with mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. It holds immense benefits for the hair, as it seals in the hair’s natural moisture.
How To Use:
- Take equal quantities of castor oil and olive oil and mix them together.
- Lightly heat the mixture for a few seconds till it is warm but not too hot.
- Now, apply it on your hair. Ensure that you cover your hair from root to tip.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes and then cover with a steamed towel and leave for an hour.
- Wash it off using a herbal shampoo and lukewarm water.
3. Castor Oil & Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a storehouse of nutrition and especially rich in vitamin A, C, and E. This helps in reducing the stress in the scalp among other things.
How To Use:
- Take 2 teaspoons of castor oil and half a teaspoon of aloe vera gel.
- To this combination, add one teaspoon of basil powder and double the amount of fenugreek powder.
- Blend into a thick paste and apply it all over your scalp and hair.
- Rinse off with lukewarm water and a herbal shampoo.
4. Castor Oil & Onion Juice
A wonderful recipe for shinier hair is this hair mask.
How To Use:
- Mix in equal quantities of castor oil and onion juice.
- Blend them well and apply all over the scalp.
- Massage your scalp and leave this on for a couple of hours
- Rinse off with lukewarm water using a shampoo.
Which Is The Best Type Of Castor Oil For Hair Growth?
It is best to use cold pressed castor oil on your hair shaft. This will pack in more nutritional benefits for your hair, and show better results. However, if you are using black castor oil, then it is recommended that you use it only on the scalp.
Can Castor Oil Have Side Effects?
Like every other natural ingredient, castor oil also has certain limitations and side effects. These are often based on your hair type or skin type. For example,
- Those suffering from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, can find using castor oil to be problematic. The fungus that causes skin conditions like dermatitis feeds on castor oil so the situation may get worse.
- Being very astringent in nature, castor oil can cause irritation on sensitive skin.
FAQs On Castor Oil For Hair
1. Can We Apply Castor Oil Directly On Hair?
Yes, castor oil is safe to apply directly to the scalp, as well as to the hair. On the scalp, castor oil works against dandruff, strengthens the roots, and promotes hair growth.
2. How Often Can You Use Castor Oil For Hair Growth?
For effective and visible results, castor oil should be used regularly by people with vata or dry skin type and twice a week by people with pitta or kapha skin type.
3. How Long Does Castor Oil Take To Grow Hair?
If you are using castor oil regularly or in the prescribed frequency, you can see visible results within 3 months of using it.
The Last Word
Castor oil has a wealth of benefits to offer for the health of your hair and scalp. Many people have experienced impressive results after applying castor oil to their brows with the goal of increasing hair growth. But you should always consult your doctor first before using this ingredient. Also, do keep in mind your hair and skin type before using this oil.Know Your Dosha Now
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