Update 2/28/20. Can castor oil help your hair grow? That's the question people started wondering about as they were reading the Viviscal review. People were asking if castor oil, could re-grow hair or make it thicker? Some people said it was actually working for them. After a quick search, I discovered, sure enough, lots of websites discussing this hair treatment. But, is there any proof for it? And by proof, I mean clinical evidence. In this review, you'll learn about the research on castor oil and hair growth. Does it really grow hair, regrow it or make hair thicker? Let's see what we can discover. Also, see the review of Viviscal for more information.
Other Hair Supplement Reviews
See these additional reviews for more insights:
- Viviscal Review
- Nutrafol vs. Viviscal Review
- Amplexin Review
- Amla Fruit (Indian Gooseberry) Review
- Halo Beauty Review
- Creatine and Hair Loss Review
- PHYTO Re30 Review
What Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil, is the oil that comes from the castor bean. The scientific name for the castor bean is Ricinus communis. While the oil has been used to treat many things over the years, for those who are old enough (I'm not one of them), some may remember it used as a laxative and/or punishment used by parents on misbehaving kids.
How Is It Supposed To Work?
While I could not find anything definitive on how it is said to regrow hair, some websites say castor oil works by improving circulation to the follicles on the scalp. The oil does contain many substances such as vitamins and fatty acids which various websites tout as helping hair growth. Few websites show evidence of it.
Another theory involves inhibiting a hormone-like compound called prostaglandin D2 (PGD2). Some research finds that the scalps of bald men show higher levels of PGD2 than men who are not balding. One of the ingredients in the oil is called ricinoleic acid (rey-sin-ole-ick acid).
At least one study has noted that ricinoleic acid can inhibit PGD2. In theory, this might mean more hair growth. Currently, human research involving ricinoleic acid and hair growth appears to be lacking. See this review of PGD2 and hair loss, for more information.
Castor Oil Hair Growth Research
I have seen before and after pictures on the internet. Some of the pictures are impressive. But, the real proof for whether the oil is going to work is to see if there are any clinical studies done on people – not test tubes studies and not lab animal studies.
Searching clinical databases for these search terms:
- Castor oil hair
- Castor oil baldness
- Ricinus communis hair
- Ricinus communis baldness
- Castor oil PGD2
- Ricinus communis PGD2
Did not reveal any human proof. Likewise, various websites stating it worked did not reveal any proof either. In addition, no evidence could be located on whether blocking PGD2 in people leads to hair growth or a slowing of hair loss either.
One study has noted castor oil improved the luster of hair. In other words, when light hits the hair, it looks better. Might this “optical illusion” effect play a role in the perception of some that they are growing new hair? Might it be possible that what people are seeing as “new hair” is just the oil sticking to existing hair, making it look thicker? I'm speculating of course. I have not idea either way.
Lack of evidence does not mean something does not work. It might be that interest in castor oil helping hair loss is in its infancy. I will update this review as I become aware of new research.
What About Eyebrows?
Several websites extol the benefits of the oil for helping regrow eyebrows and eyelashes or make them thicker/fuller. Maybe it does or maybe it doesn't. No clinical studies on eyebrows and the oil could be located. Be careful with castor oil shampoos getting in your eyes.
Do You Drink It?
Every website I saw on this issue recommended placing castor oil on the hair. Do not drink the oil to help your hair grow. Remember, castor oil is a laxative. Every website looked at said the same thing: castor oil is said to work when a small amount is massaged into the scalp and left on for a period of time before washing it out.
Where Do You Buy It?
You can purchase castor oil at any health-food store. I have seen it in GNC and Vitamin Shoppe for example.
How Long Does It Take To Work?
Some recommend using the oil a couple of times a week and leaving it on the scalp for a few hours before washing it out. From what I saw, if it is going to work, it might take several months of regular use before noticing any hair growth.
What Type Is Best?
There is no proof one brand is better than another. That also goes for brands that are cold-pressed, organic, etc. There's not enough evidence yet. Until proper human studies are done, you have two options:
1. Use the brand that people you know and trust have used.
2. Start with the least expensive brand first and see if that works.
Fortunately, most brands of castor oil is not expensive.
Here it is on Amazon if you want to compare prices.
Castor Oil Shampoo
Castor oil shampoos might be an option for those who don't want to mess around with using the oil on their hair. Keep in mind shampoos may contain many other ingredients too. Whether these other ingredients add anything to the “hair growing effects” is not known.
If your looking for the shampoo with the most castor oil, remember ingredients listed at the top of the ingredients list are the most abundant. The further down in the ingredients you see it listed means less oil is present.
Is Castor Oil + Coconut Oil Better?
It's unknown. Studies comparing these oils to each other could not be located.
Castor Oil Side Effects
Massaging the oil into the scalp would probably have little side effects in most people. Other than it may be smelling bad, it appears to be safe. Here are a few things to consider when using castor oil.
- In one report, doctors noted a “contact allergy” when it was placed on the skin. Others have also noted allergies to castor oil too.
- I don't know how common castor oil allergies are, so just in case, it may be wise to rub a small amount on to the skin for a few days to see if you personally have any negative reaction to it.
Some may have heard that the castor bean is the source of ricin, a deadly poison. While this is true, there is no ricin in castor oil.
If anyone has any thoughts or tips on how to use castor oil best, leave a comment below.
Does Castor Oil Work?
Given that several people have told me it was helping their hair growth, I was disappointed to see no human clinical evidence to confirm or deny this. Is this because you can't patent castor oil? Maybe. Either way, to know for sure, it will take human clinical research. The good news for those who want to try this is the oil isn't expensive.