Benefits of Castor Oil for Hair Growth (and More) - Dr. Axe

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Benefits of Castor Oil for Hair Growth (and More)


Castor oil for hair growth - Dr. Axe

Castor oil has been used for centuries in traditional beauty treatments for hair because of its beneficial fatty acids and vitamin E content. Today, it’s used in over 700 cosmetic products and remains popular as a natural remedy for various hair issues, including castor oil for hair dryness, breakage and castor oil for hair growth.

Castor oil comes from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. After being extracted from the seeds, the oil is filtered and steamed to remove ricin, a toxic component that could cause rancidity. What’s left is a vegetable oil rich in compounds such as ricinoleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, proteins, antioxidants and more.

These chemical components, especially the fatty acids, allow for the many castor oil benefits for hair. When massaged into the scalp and strands, the oil has moisturizing, soothing and circulation-stimulating properties, making it a useful home remedy for many common hair-related issues.

Benefits of Castor Oil for Hair Growth and More

Studies suggest that castor oil benefits the hair due to its high content of ricinoleic acid and other fatty acids, amino acids, flavonoids, vitamin E and minerals. Here’s how you can use castor oil for hair growth and more.

1. Hydrates Hair

Research shows that the fatty acids in castor oil, especially ricinoleic acid, make it an excellent hair and scalp moisturizer. Rubbing the oil into hair strands helps reduce dryness and breakage, and massaging it into the scalp improves dandruff and eases itchiness or irritation.


2. Improves Hair Texture

Just like coconut oil for hair, castor oil can leave your hair smoother and shinier. It works as a natural detangler and has been proven to reduce hair felting, a disorder that causes hair to become entangled and matted, creating a hard stony mass that resembles a bird’s nest.

3. Reduces Hair Breakage

Castor oil has hydrating and nourishing properties, helping you avoid hair breakage and damage. The fatty acids in the oil have enhanced penetration, making them able to provide a soothing, strengthening effect in the hair follicles.

4. Promotes Hair Growth

Research shows that the ricinoleic acid in castor oil may treat hair loss in men by balancing prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) production, which affects hair growth.

Castor oil also improves blood circulation to your follicles, helping your hair grow. For this reason, the oil can also be applied to your eyebrows for hair growth.

5. Improves Scalp Health

Castor oil has moisturizing and soothing properties, allowing it to ease dryness and irritation of the scalp. It also works as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and healing agent.

Studies indicate that the ricinoleic acid in castor oil protects the scalp and shaft of the hair from fungal and microbial infections.

How to Use

When choosing castor oil for hair at the store, opt for a pure, cold-pressed product from a high-quality brand. Castor oil can be used on your hair strands, scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.

It can be used on your skin, too, and may help reduce acne, aid wound healing and provide hydration.

To use castor oil on your hair, follow these steps:

  1. Section your hair so it’s easier to apply the oil evenly.
  2. Take a small amount of castor oil, and warm it up in your palms. Then, starting from the ends, gently massage the oil into your hair, working your way up to the roots.
  3. Distribute the oil evenly. Then cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap to keep the oil from dripping.
  4. Leave the oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes or even overnight for deeper penetration.
  5. When you’re ready to remove the oil, wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and conditioner.
  6. Repeat this process once or twice a week or as desired to achieve optimal hair texture and health.

When using castor oil for hair, be sure to start with only a small amount because too much can make your hair greasy. In addition to boosting overall hair hydration with this type of treatment, castor oil can be applied to hair as a detangler or frizz smoother.

Castor oil can be paired with various other ingredients to enhance its benefits for hair (and skin), including:

  • Essential oils: Add a drop of a soothing essential oil, such as lavender, rosemary or peppermint.
  • Coconut oil: Combine castor with coconut oil for its moisturizing properties, which can help hydrate the hair and improve its shine and softness.
  • Jojoba oil: Like coconut oil, jojoba has nourishing and soothing properties when applied to the hair and scalp.
  • Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E oil is a great antioxidant and scalp soother, which can help repair damaged hair and improve its texture.
  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera has moisturizing properties that can help soothe dry scalp and relieve itchiness or irritation.
  • Avocado: Mashed avocado is rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that nourish the hair and improve its appearance.

Risks and Side Effects

It’s possible to experience an allergic reaction to castor oil used topically, which could result in redness, irritation and swelling. If this occurs, discontinue use immediately, and consult your health care provider if the symptoms don’t improve within a few hours.

It’s always a good idea to do a patch test before applying any new product to your hair or skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. To do this, simply apply a few drops of castor oil to one small area of your skin to ensure there are no adverse effects.

Keep castor oil away from your eyes. If you are using it on your eyebrows, start with a very small amount, and be extra careful not to get the oil into your eyes.


  • Castor oil comes from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant and contains a number of chemical compounds, such as ricinoleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, proteins and antioxidants.
  • Castor oil benefits hair by providing hydration, soothing hair strands, relieving scalp dryness and irritation, boosting circulation, and promoting hair growth.
  • To use castor oil for hair growth and more, section your hair, and apply a small amount of oil evenly, starting from the ends and working your way to the scalp. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and then wash it out.

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  1. JoAnn on

    Wonderful post containing useful information only how does this treatment effect color treated tresses? Can castor oil be used in the same manner to bring life to dull dry hair?

  2. Nikki on

    Naturepath Barbara O’Neill has a video on YouTube that explains into deep about the wonders of castor oil and is ok to put a drop in your eye if you have cataracts or glaucoma

  3. Donna M on

    What is the very best castor oil brand to buy for hair loss and scalp, etc…? I looked at a bottle of castor oil capsules and in the ingredients list CORN OIL was listed and I wasn’t sure about that ingredient, so I didn’t buy it.

  4. Rindi on

    Wow! I am excited to try castor oil.
    I do use coconut oil and have used it for years especially when living in Florida.
    It is great for the cold days of winter.
    I definitely will try castor oil.

  5. Miriam on

    Love the information on the Castor oil!!
    I plan to start right away. I have wanted to use it and didn’t feel secure & didn’t have the confidence to use it on my hair until reading this.
    Thank you 😊

  6. Miriam on

    Love the information on the Castro oil!!
    I plan to start right away. I have wanted to use it and didn’t feel secure & didn’t have the confidence to use it on my hair until reading this.
    Thank you 😊

  7. Kathy Elizabeth Hegedus on

    Love it use it only once a week, but now I will use it twice….. and I mix it up with coconut oil. Thank you for sharing Dr. Josh…..

  8. Kathy Martin on

    How do you use it on eyelashes?
    It says don’t get it in your eyes.
    Maybe a small amount of migration into the eyes is ok?

    • L. on

      I heard that you can prevent hair falling out in the first place, by keeping ice on your head/scalp while the chemo treatments are being done. For example putting ice in a shower cap or other way of holding the ice next to your hair/scalp.

  9. Lana Aquel on

    I wish you had a product of Castrol oil so we can trust and get it, I always use Castrol oil for my lashes , since I was teen,until now , it’s great for regrowing and thickening hairs.

  10. Linda Evans on

    Hi…..Thanq for the info.
    Castor oil is often a forgotten oil.
    another excellent oil for the hair is Black Seed Oil. Taken orally, amongst many of it’s other incredible health benefits, it naturally darkens grey hair and increases hair growth as well. Plus it has definitely improved the appearance of my skin too.

  11. Kim on

    Whole Foods Market is a good place to look for a good quality castor oil, as well as other ingredients used to pair with it. Good luck!

  12. Marina on

    Does it really work. Where do you get buy hemp oil and castor oil. I tried olive oil. I don’t know everyone doesn’t really tell you how to use or how to put it on your hair. It is messy. I have long thsti like to keep I am loosing my hair. Also to you carry hemp oil or castor oil. Also oregano oil thank you why suggest not carry the product.

    • Nanette on

      I buy most all of my oils/essential oils/carrier oils at Mountain Rose Herbs and have been for over ten years. I trust them. Organic, ethical, quality products, including castor, hemp, jojoba oils; and I have even bought plum kernel oil for recipes there.

  13. Kaneci Daily on

    I found this to be very helpful. I am always trying to find things to stimulate hair growth without buying a ton of pricey hair products!
    Thank you for this wonderful information

  14. Lillian Esther Mitchell on

    I really appreciate the information regarding castor oil for dry hair. My hair is that. I will find some to use. Thanks.

  15. Ruth on

    I’m familiar with castor oil all my life. I’ve been around a long time.
    My mother gave it to all her children as a laxative. ( a taste you will NEVER forget; simply horrible)
    Beauty shops have such a variety. I’m confused as to which one to buy.

  16. Marianne on

    The only problem is in rinsing it out adequately. Some fascinating facts on your website concerning other properties. Thank you.

  17. Linda Butler on

    Thanks for all your excellent articles, and I know that I can trust. When I learn something new I typically go to your website, to see what you have said about it. The world is a better place because of you. Thanks again. !

  18. Sharon on

    I was wondering you said you can use it on your eyelashes.
    Would it not run into your eyes.?As you did say keep away from your eyes.


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