We'd go by anything that SZA recommends — like, have you seen her? So when she became the zillionth person to tell us that she swears by castor oil for her hair instead of coconut oil, we knew it was finally time to explore it further. Turns out, the ingredient is popping up in many new hair launches (along with our tried-and-trues) for a reason. "Castor oil has been shown to improve circulation, which helps hair growth," Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and CEO of BeautyStat, tells us. "It also adds shine and conditions the hair."
Jamaicans have sworn by it for years as well, often considering it an "all-purpose healer" according to Lois Hines, founder and CEO of Tropic Isle Living. "The oil is anti-fungal and antibacterial. Jamaican Black Castor Oil, specifically, has become popular over the years because it's a great sealant, which helps the hair and skin to retain moisture," she says. "Traditionally, it is used as a laxative, to heal baby’s umbilical cords, and to relieve body aches through a massage with the oil. As for skin care, it aids with hyper-pigmentation, reduces the appearance of dark spots, and combats acnes and scarring."
Thanks in part to the powerful properties that can benefit all hair textures and all skin types, Jamaica's secret weapon is finally making its way into our favorite beauty aisles. Learn more about castor oil — and the hair products currently available on the market — ahead.
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