How to Apply Castor Oil for Hair

Castor oil has long been used as a remedy for hair loss and thinning hair. It has many other uses as well, including moisturizing dry hair, taming frizz, and managing tangles. It can also make your hair grow stronger and thicker. There is much more to just slapping the castor oil on, however; how you prepare the oil will determine how easy it is to put on. Take time to prepare the oil before you put it on your hair, and apply it properly to get the best results.


Part I - Preparing the Oil

Gather your supplies. Applying castor oil to hair seems like it might be simple, but there are a few things you can do to make it more effective and easier to apply. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • Castor oil
  • Other oil (argan, avocado, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, etc.)
  • Hot water
  • Bowl
  • Jar
  • Shower cap
  • Towel
  • Old shirt (recommended)
Dilute the castor oil with another oil. Castor oil is fairly thick. Mixing it with another oil can make it a little easier to apply. Try using one part castor oil and one part of another oil, such as argan, avocado, coconut, jojoba, or sweet almond. All of these oils are great for hair. You can also try the following combination:
  • 3 tablespoons (44 ml) castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) jojoba oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut oil

Consider adding a few drops of essential oil to mask the smell. Castor oil can smell bad. If this bothers you, try adding in two to three drops of a fresh-smelling essential oil, such as rosemary, peppermint, or tea tree.

Pour all of the oils into a small jar and shake the jar to mix everything together. Close the lid tightly, and shake the jar for a few minutes. When you are done, take the lid off.

Fill a bowl with very hot water. You can do a “hot oil treatment” with castor oil by warming it in hot water before use. Warming the oil will make it more effective and easier to work with. Make sure that the bowl you choose is large enough for the jar of castor oil to fit inside. Do not attempt to warm the oil in the microwave.

Put the jar into the water, and leave it there for two to four minutes. Make sure that the water level is at the same level as the oil. Also, make sure that the no water gets inside the jar, or the oil will get wet.

Once the oil is warm, pour it into a small bowl. This will make it easier for you to dip your fingers into when you go to apply it.
  • Consider pouring the oil into a small bottle with an eye dropper. This way, you can use the eye dropper to just drip the oil to your scalp.
  • If you don’t have an eye dropper, you can use a bottle with a nozzle. You can get empty applicator bottles from most beauty supply stores.

Part II - Using the Oil

Dampen your hair if you wish. Although you can apply castor oil to dry hair, dampening your hair may help the oil absorb better. A quick way to dampen your hair is to fill a spray bottle with water, and spray just your scalp. Your hair should just be a little damp, not dripping wet.

Cover your shoulders with a towel. This will protect your clothes from getting covered in oil. It may also be a good idea to wear something you do not care about anymore, in case the oil drips past the towel. This way you can avoid getting oil stains on your good clothes.

Dip your fingers into the oil, and massage your scalp for three to five minutes. Do not use too much oil; a little bit goes a long way. Use your fingers to spread the oil between your hair roots and across your scalp. Massage your head with your fingertips using small, circular motions.
  • You can also use an eye dropper to drip the oil onto various points on your scalp. This may be easier for you, and less messy. Be sure to massage the oil into your scalp for about five minutes.

Apply the oil to the rest of your hair. Scoop a little bit more oil onto your fingers, and rub it between your palms. Then, run your hands across your hair. Use your fingers to comb your hair; this helps distribute the oil. Again, start with a small amount. You do not need a lot of oil.

Cover your hair with a shower cap. Loosely pile your hair on top of your head. If you need to, you can keep it in place with a claw clip. Slip a shower cap over your hair. The shower cap will trap the heat inside, and it will keep your hair from drying out.

Wrap a hot towel around your head and the shower cap. Warm up a towel by soaking it with very hot water. Twist the towel to get any excess water out, then wrap it around your head. You can tuck the end of the towel in under your "turban," or you can secure it with a large hair clip. The heat from the towel will make the oil more effective.
  • This technique is similar to a hot oil hair treatment, but does not involve using a hair dryer.
Wait 30 minutes to 3 hours before washing the oil out. You can also leave it on overnight, although there is little evidence that shows this is more effective. When you go to wash your hair, know that it may take a while before you get all the oil out. Some people find that washing with just conditioner, and skipping the shampoo, is more effective than using shampoo.
  • If your hair doesn’t feel overly oily or heavy after the treatment, you may choose to leave the oil in instead of washing it out.
Use this treatment once to twice a week for best results. Keep in mind, however, that you may not see any results the next day. Try using the castor oil treatment for four weeks before moving on to something else. You will probably start seeing results after about a month of use.
  • If you wish, you can use castor oil daily, or as often as needed.