Castor oil is a thick, viscous fluid derived from the castor plant (Ricinus communi). It has been used to promote healthy hair and skin since Egyptian times. The oil is rich in vitamin E, proteins and fatty acids. One of these fatty acids, ricinoleic acid, is found only in the castor plant and a group of fungi known as ergot.
Why Oil Yourself
Castor oil has germicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties, making it a common natural treatment for scalp problems that cause hair loss, such as ringworm and folliculitis. The oil contains fatty acids which nourish and moisturize both the scalp and hair. As a moisturizer, castor oil penetrates hair shafts to add moisture while sealing them to keep that moisture locked in. Regular usage of castor oil as a moisturizer improves the look and feel of dry hair and helps counteract the damage chemical treatments cause. Castor oil also increases shine and reduce frizz.
How to Oil Yourself
For best shine and moisturization, use castor oil as a weekly moisturizer or a monthly hot oil treatment. For weekly moisturizing, apply a small amount of oil as a leave-in moisturizer after washing and conditioning as you normally would. To use castor oil as a hot oil treatment, apply the oil before bed, wrap your head in a plastic shower cap to seal in the heat and shampoo in the morning to remove the oil. Mix castor oil with a lighter oil, like jojoba or olive oil, to make it easier to apply evenly.