Using castor oil in its purest form is the best way to use it for optimal hair growth. As more and more women of color begin to embrace hair beauty in its natural state, we are looking for natural options to help with our hair growth. Is there a difference between regular castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO) for hair growth? After doing a little research, I found that there is only a significant difference.

JBCO is traditionally produced by roasting the castor plant’s beans until they become dark- very similar to how coffee beans are roasted. They are ground into a paste and then boiled in hot water. The dark, vibrant color comes from the ash in the oil produced during the roasting process. This process is what makes JBCO different from regular castor oil. This is how JBCO is made.

Regular castor oil is traditionally provided by a method called cold-pressing. The raw beans are simply put through an oil pressing machine. Growing up, I can remember my grandmother adding regular castor oil to the hair grease used on our scalp daily. So, JBCO was very new to me, and I wanted to know what made the two differ. The principal elements, ricinoleic acid, remain existent in both oils regardless of how they are produced. Whether they are equally effective depends on how you use them. I’ve been practicing the art of Cosmetology for over thirty years, and I have witnessed hair growth from both oils. However, in my opinion, the way your hair looks after using either one makes one better than the other.

JBCO is an alkaline product due to the ash content. This will open up the hair’s cuticle allowing nutrients to penetrate. That’s a good thing if you know how to balance the pH levels in your hair. It’s a bad thing if you don’t know-how. An open hair cuticle causes friction, which in turn causes frizzy hair. Frizz is what we are trying to avoid! It makes hair look extremely dry and unruly. So, using all of this excellence on the hair shaft is a waste of quality products. I suggest using JBCO on the scalp ONLY!

If you do not want to raise negative charges on the hair, create frizz, or leave your cuticle susceptible to damage, I encourage you to research how to close the hair cuticle after using your JBCO. Or, you can simply use my grandmother’s old remedy and use regular cold-pressed castor oil. They both contain the same element, ricinoleic acid for hair growth and hair loss. Ricinoleic acid is a fatty acid known to reduce inflammation and complement the hair follicles’ health, increasing hair growth.

I encourage whoever is reading this to use castor oil in its purest form, but if you must use JBCO, use it on the scalp only and not waste all of that goodness on the hair shaft.

 

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