Natural Beauty Series Part 2: 1-Ingredient Hair Growth Treatment
Healthy long hair starts with a healthy scalp.
I’ve been using organic coconut oil as a scalp treatment for ages but recently tested something new and this other oil is my new go-to. Coconut oil does work to nourish the scalp and get rid of flakes, but I’ve noticed even better results with castor oil.
Castor Oil & Hair Growth
Castor oil has been used for centuries as a scalp and hair growth treatment, but the recent popularity of coconut oil has pushed it out of the spotlight.
Castor oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and is high in vitamin E and Omega 6’s and 9’s. It also has a high ricinoleic acid ratio making it even more beneficial to your scalp and skin.
Some “anti-dandruff” shampoos don’t actually get rid of flakes, they more “glue” them to your head. Eeew. An oil treatment is much more effective to nourish your scalp and get rid of flakes.
Women and men both benefit from this 1-ingredient treatment equally, and it’s especially good for people who feel that they’re losing too much hair.
Let’s back up for a minute though...
How does castor oil help your hair grow?
It’s actually unclear as there haven’t been any longer term scientific studies. However, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York has stated:
“[Castor oil] is rich and fatty acids and helps coat hair shafts themselves to enhance shine and make the hair itself look thicker. In addition, castor oil has antimicrobial properties. By reducing levels of yeast along the hair follicles, it can help reduce inflammation and subsequently allow hair follicles to function optimally."
Although anecdotal, I’ve been testing castor oil as a 1-ingredient hair growth treatment over the past six months and can see the results.
Who shouldn't use a castor oil scalp treatment:
- Anyone who has hair extensions, as the oil might damage them. If you have hair extensions ask your hairstylist before applying oil to your scalp.
- Anyone with a castor oil sensitivity. Just like with any natural oil, it’s possible castor oil can be irritating to some people. If you’re concerned about this, test a small patch on the inside of your arm and wait 12 hours to see if you have a reaction.
What to look for:
You can find organic cold pressed castor oil in the beauty and body section of most natural foods stores. Look for one in a dark glass container that protects the oil from direct light. I also purchased a small dropper bottle in the body section of my natural foods store for around $3, which makes it way easier to a apply the oil to your scalp (see below).
How to Apply a Castor Oil Scalp Treatment
1. Do this treatment once per week for optimal results, or once every two weeks for maintenance.
2. Grab some organic cold pressed castor oil in the beauty and body section of your natural foods store. I like to use a dropper to apply the oil as close to my scalp as possible.
3. Using the dropper (or your fingers) apply the castor oil to your entire scalp. I usually use about two tablespoons total. It will soak into a few inches of hair, but do not apply it down the length of your hair. It’s too heavy and thick, which makes it difficult to wash out and doesn’t really benefit the length of your hair. This is a scalp treatment, not a whole hair treatment.
4. Once the oil is distributed throughout your scalp, use your fingers to gently massage your scalp for 4-5 minutes to ensure it’s evenly distributed and improve circulation to your scalp.
5. Put your hair up and take a rest. Let it sit for an hour. Your head will be visibly oily and almost look wet, with dry ends, so this usually isn’t the time to go run errands. I like to use that time to do a Manuka honey face mask (we’ll talk about that next week!), do some work or chores around the house, or cozy up with a book. Sometimes I apply it the night before I know for sure I’m washing my hair in the morning, but over time the oil can saturate and ruin your sheets and pillowcase so I prefer to not sleep with it in.
6. Shampoo & condition per normal with your favorite sulfate-free, paraben-free shampoo and conditioner. Take extra care when shampooing to gently scrub your scalp with the pads of your fingers to remove all of the oil.
7. Air dry or style as usual. And voila! You’ll notice no flakes and shiny hair at the roots. Over time, you’ll notice faster hair growth, too.
What about eyebrows and eyelashes?
You can also put castor oil on your eyebrows, and some people use it on their lashes. However, it’s unclear if castor oil is safe for the eye area. You can read more about longer eyelashes without extensions in Part 1 of this Natural Beauty Series.
The Best Supplement for Hair Growth
As I mentioned in the first part of this series, the #1 thing you can do to help your hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows grow more quickly is take a high-quality multivitamin. Cheap multivitamins are typically just rice powder and a few other ingredients, but a high-quality vitamin can ensure your body has enough nutrients to support critical systems, and have enough leftover to maintain your hair, skin, and nails.
I'm not an advocate for people taking one-off nutrients—like just biotin for hair growth—as nutrients work together and need to be delivered in balanced doses.
But remember, supplements don’t work if you don’t take them. Simply buying the bottle doesn’t help, and looking at it every day on the counter doesn’t help either. Opening the bottle and taking the supplement helps.
I take the USANA Cellsentials Multivitamin twice per day and between the castor oil treatment and this supplement my hair grows over an inch every four weeks. You can order it from my distributor account here to get 10% off of retail pricing.
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Aside from helping your hair grow faster, taking a high-quality multi is something you should be doing anyways to fill in nutritional gaps, even if you eat well, so this one is a double win.
Quick tip: NEVER buy any supplements on Amazon.
I use Amazon for just about everything, but not supplements. Most are counterfeit—people actually buy good ones, keep the good tablets, refill the bottles with cheap counterfeits, and sell them on 3rd party sites like Amazon to unknowing consumers. Only buy high-quality supplements direct from authorized distributors.
More in the Natural Beauty Series:
- Natural Beauty Series Part 1: Longer, Thicker Eyelashes without Extensions
- Natural Beauty Series Part 3: The Beauty Benefits of a Manuka Honey Face Mask
Happy Hair Growing!