Castor Oil and Low Porosity

A few weeks back a reader told me she had success using Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in/Detangler, but after she sealed it with castor oil her hair turned frizzy and shrunken. She then asked me whether castor oil worked on low porosity hair. As always on my blog, I’m a strong advocate in saying what works for one person might not work for everyone. However, I hypothesize that castor oil is not beneficial for many lo-pos and that it might even work against retaining moisture in lo-po hair.

Castor oil or Ricinus oil has been praised for its beauty benefits. Many people boast that it helps them in thickening their hair and combating thinning hair. It has both antifungal and antibacterial properties and is a humectant for the hair and skin. When I read about these wonderful properties, my first reaction was to run out and buy a bottle of cold pressed castor oil. I started using it to seal my hair and like many things that haven’t worked on my low porosity hair, I continued to use it until I achieved the results I expected. That never happened, so I had to back away from the bottle.

Why didn’t castor oil work for me? Well for one, I think it is a heavy oil and way too thick to use for my hair type. It weighed my hair down and blocked out moisture. This happened even when I used a small amount or mixed it with a lighter oil. I noticed I had constant buildup on my hair and scalp when I used castor oil. In fact, I’ve read that overtime castor oil can build-up in the hair. As castor oil dries it tends to form a hard film. This is probably great for high porosity hair, but a recipe for disaster for low porosity hair. Additionally, the film is not water-soluble, which means it is necessary to use a shampoo to remove it. It can also attract dirt and oil to the hair, creating an even thicker layer of film around your strands.

Do I recommend using castor oil on low porosity hair? I wouldn’t recommend it, but if it works for you that’s great. However, I think there are other light to medium oils out there that can benefit lo-po hair. If you have a large bottle of castor oil lying around and don’t want it to go to waste, maybe try mixing it with a lighter oil and using it on area of the skin that are prone to dryness. On a side note, the properties of castor oil, could have a lot to do with your environment. I live in a dry arid conditions. If you live in a humid and hot environment, perhaps you will experiences different results with castor oil. In any case, I tend to stock 2 – 3 oils in my medicine cabinet. These are oils that are light enough to moisturize my face (e.g. jojoba or sweet almond) or medium and moisturizing enough to moisturize my body (e.g. olive oil, apricot, avocado). Since my hair doesn’t need a lot of oil it’s not what I concentrate on when finding products that work for my hair. I tend to focus more on leave-ins, cleansers and moisturizing conditioners.

Do you use castor oil? Has it worked for you? If so, how do you apply it?

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14 thoughts on “Castor Oil and Low Porosity

  1. I tried using castor oil on my scalp and it just sat there. I continued using it because I just knew it would thicken my hair but I was wrong. I just stopped using it all together. Now I have coconut oil that I have yet to try. I’m scared it won’t work either.

    • Yes, trial and error is key. Coconut oil doesn’t work for me, but some readers have mentioned it’s one of their staples. On the bright side, if you don’t like it in your hair, it’s a great body moisturizer and cooking oil. Good luck!

  2. Castor oil is something I want to try very badly but have yet to and honestly sometimes my ditzy side kicks in as I never thought that some oils might work better or worse on different hair types!
    Thank you! I am so glad I read this post and I am honestly very excited to start trying out different oils!

  3. I’ve been using jbco for like 3 weeks to seal wash and go’s and at first applying it feels rough and drying but after my hair completely dries I find it to be frizz free and soft like a baby’s ^.^ it doesn’t tranfer anywhere either. I tried applying it to my scalp for a castor oil challenge but THAT created frizz as it just sat there and matted my hair

    • Hi! Happy it works for you. I’ve never tried JBCO just the regular and my hair detests it. It just frizzes up immediately and has buildup after. It’s great for my skin however.

  4. Hi. Great post. I tried castor oil for a month and it definetly has made my hair alot thicker but other than that it leaves my hair very dry and hard so that bottle is just sitting there now. I am now using sta sof fra moisturising spray with jobajoba oil in it and wow my hair has never felt so soft im 4c. My hair is moisturised all day its taken me almost 2 years on this journey to find a product that does this. I only started using it because i found it amongst my daughters old baby stuff and i’m on a tight budget so couldnt afford anything at the time lol.

  5. i been suffering from hairloss from a young age and desperate to try something natural that works.i was really hoping coconut oil or castor oil would be my savior but its not.have you found anything that works

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Sorry to hear about your hair loss issues. I don’t have any direct experience with it or with hair loss treatments. It might be a good idea to discuss with a doctor or dermatologist to make sure the issue is not medical or a skin issue. When you say hair loss do you mean your hair sheds at abnormal rate or that you experience patterns if baldness? Thx

  6. I have used quite a bit of JBCO and I also have some Cream & Coco Black Tea Infused Castor Oil (it’s mixed) and you are forcing me to admit that it’s done nothing special for my hair overall; however, I think it helped thicken my thinning edges. Either way, I won’t be heart broken if I stop using it. I do also have a small bottle of CC Green Tea Infused that I use on my eyelashes and eyebrows. I’m going to swap/sell the one above.

    I’m open more than ever to trying some new and different oils.

  7. castor oil alone has never worked for me, its way to thick and sticky but i take one part castor one part coconut oil and a spash of olive oil and that seems to do the trick

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