On To The Next: Why I’m Over Castor Oil

Elle Natural Hair
by Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl (pictured above)

Ever since I stopped relaxing my hair five years ago, castor oil has been touted as one of the best oils for natural hair. Claims of hair growth and its magical sealing powers are only a few of the benefits I’ve seen time and time again. When I had a TWA, I thought that castor oil would be my go to because I have thick and fairly coarse hair. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My hair simply hates castor oil and I tried to like it so much. It’s too thick. It stinks and it makes my hair dry. I recall buying a bottle of castor oil from Whole Foods and dashing home to test it out as soon as possible. Because it’s such a thick oil, I thought it would be perfect to use for the classic “conditioner and oil wash and go”. I’ve also used Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which was a bit better but ultimately ended up ruining all of my pillowcases. I had high hopes for castor oil because my hair looked good and felt soft, but as time went on, I realized that my hair felt drier and well, dirtier. At the time, co-washing was my primary method of cleansing. But why does Izzy (my hair) hate castor oil so?
I suspect that my issue with castor oil has to do with my low porosity hair. Instead, lighter oils work much better. After using castor oil for quite some time (I actually read one of my old posts from 2010 talking about how I loved castor oil and I literally laughed out loud), I determined that it was way too coating for my hair. This is one of my main pet peeves for any kind of oil. If I can’t wash it out easily, it’s a problem; similar to my main issue with mineral oil. If you’re also a castor oil hater, check out these alternatives:

Jojoba Oil:
jojoba oil
This is one of my favorite oils that is easily accessible on the ground. You can get it at Trader Joe’s or your local health food store and it mixes well with so many products. It’s very similar to our natural sebum and won’t clog your pores.

Coconut Oil:

Ever since I did my coconut oil challenge last year, this has remained one of my hair staples. It’s versatile and super softening for my hair. Also, I prefer coconut oil because it apparently is able to penetrate the hair strand, which makes it actually moisturizing! You can also use it on your face or when cooking. Just make sure to use extra virgin coconut oil for all of its benefits. Nutiva is my personal favorite.

Avocado Oil:
avocado oil
I don’t really see avocado oil being praised that much; which may be because it can be a little more difficult to find, but it’s great! Since it also may penetrate the hair strand, it’s an awesome choice if you want to skip your leave-in conditioner (Although I do not recommend nixing leave-ins every time you style). My favorite way to use avocado oil is to mix it with my harder hold gels in order to soften them up a bit. I use this with my Super Wet Gel and it minimizes the crunch.
So what about you all? Do you love castor oil? If not, what are your alternatives?

About Elle: Elle is the owner and editor of Quest for the Perfect Curl, a collaborative YouTube channel and blog dedicated to promoting healthy hair through research and the sharing of information. A former product junkie, Elle promotes the importance of product ingredients, knowing your hair properties, and your climate when choosing what products to use on your natural hair. She also frequently explores healthy hair care practices and methods to achieve the “perfect curl,” which to her is big, healthy hair.

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