Back in 2018, Aishia shared a video of a client with raw castor oil and shea butter build up on her hair. We’re always looking for a good visual representation of why we ask our salon and digital clients to discontinue their use of raw castor oil, raw coconut oil, raw shea butter and eco styler. This client allowed us the perfect opportunity to show the lasting negative effects of using oils and butters to “moisturize” their natural hair.
In true Black Girl Curls fashion, we literally broke the Internet. Folks put their boxing gloves on and were ready to go toe to toe with us about their beloved raw castor oil. There’s literal green residue coming off of the clients hair after multiple shampoos and a Malibu C Crystal Gel Professional Treatment. And yet they persisted. So we’re here to offer four things raw castor oil is NOT doing for your natural hair:
#1: Raw Castor Oil Is Not Moisturizing Your Hair
Quite often, we see naturals applying castor oil because their hair is dry or to seal moisture in on washday. But this oil is so thick (think crude oil on the little duckies wings after an oil spill) that it actually prevents water from entering into the hair. Hydra = water, moisture = water. Moisturized hair is hair with water in it. When hair gets dry and the style isn’t popping anymore it’s likely time to refresh with a cleansing/conditioning/styling session again.
#2: Raw Castor Oil Is Not Regrowing Your Edges or Other Hair Loss Locations
We promise you wholeheartedly if castor oil was the solution to hair loss issues it would cost $1000+ for a tiny vial and would be placed at every big box store end cap for maximum profit. That $5 jar of cheaply processed castor oil is doing nothing for that struggle patch.
Hair loss is the result of injury to the follicle/scalp skin or a manifested symptom of a deeper internal health issue. Just in our salon practice, we work with clients who have hair loss caused by central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, traction alopecia, postpartum shedding, androgenic alopecia, trichotillomania (hair pulling), very low ferritin levels, perimenopause & menopause hormone shifts, and more. None of which the topical application of castor oil can address.
If you are experiencing sudden or gradual hair loss we implore you to see a dermatologist who is well versed in black women’s hair and scalp issues. Dr. Yolanda Lenzy (@dryolandalenzy) and Osei-Tutu (@oseitutuderm_hair) are great Instagram resources to start your journey.
#3: Raw Castor Oil Is Not Being Completely Removed By Your Sulfate-Free Shampoos/Black Soap/ACV/Baking Soda
If a cup of conventional castor oil and motor oil was sitting next to each other and we couldn’t smell, it would be very difficult to distinguish which is which. It is a very heavy oil that just sits on the hair. Especially with the way a majority of the castor oil on the market is processed. With many of the “moisturizing” methods encouraging consumers to spray the hair with water and apply an oil/butter combination nightly, come wash day there are layers and layers of styling products bound with castor oil that need to be removed.
A low powered sulfate free surfactant (surface active agent) isn’t strong enough to effectively remove the residue, resulting in major buildup. Removing this buildup often takes professional detox methods and products, time, and patience. And all the “alternative hair cleansers” are not hair cleansers. Period.
#4: Raw Castor Oil Is Not Your “Sealant”
Sealing as it related to hair care has been grossly misunderstood. The act of acquiring and sealing moisture happens in the cleansing and conditioning process. During a good shampoo dirt, debris, product, oils, etc are removed from the hair and the hair swells with water.
Conditioner IS your sealant. Let that sink in.
When cleansing and conditioning you’re moving down the ph scale. Typically your shampoo is a higher ph (ph between 6 & 9) depending on cleansing power) than your conditioner (ph between 3 & 5), and your water based styling products usually are within a (ph between 3 & 6) range. What we don’t discuss is oil doesn’t have a ph. So while raw oil can definitely be used as a protective layer on the hair (we don’t use them), it does not replace conditioner and is not your sealer.
If you’re a frequent raw oils and butters user, we highly encourage you to try your hand at the #30DayHairDetox. The #30DayHairDetox is simply a mindset shift on how we perceive and treat our natural hair. You can participate in the #30DayHairDetox at any time by subscribing to our consumer education platform, The SeeSomeCurls Visual Library. Learn more by clicking here.