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Curly Nikki

Battle of the Castor Oils

By January 27th, 202142 Comments
Krissy of Addicted to All Things Pretty investigates castor oil:

“…but aren’t all castor oils the same?” No, not at all! The castor oil question comes up almost daily in my world of beauty. I should have posted this information when I first started blogging…but it’s never too late for a great post.

Battle of the Castor Oils

Battle of the Castor Oils
Battle of the Castor Oils

The bottom line: Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean (technically castor seed as the castor plant, Ricinus communis, is not a member of the bean family). Castor oil (CAS number 8001-79-4) is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. The main composition of castor oil is Ricinoleic acid. This is important because Ricinoleic acid is anti-inflammatory. The amount of Ricinoleic acid in castor oil what sets separates the kids from the big dogs ::insert big smile and slow head nod here lol::. *Castor oil penetrates deep into the skin thanks to its molecular weight, which is low enough to penetrate into the outermost layer of the skin*. Honestly, this should be all the moisture you need for your scalp. Like really…please don’t try to penetrate down to the dermis.

Now just to give you a brief (and I do mean brief) background on what I’ve had to deal with. When I was a toddler I was diagnosed with eczema. It was so bad they advised my mother to cut off all my hair to treat it. My mother being more level headed than the doctors refused and simply treatment my scalp. “I’m not gon’ cut off all my baby’s hair…y’all crazy”! Oh the story cracks me up every time, lol. So growing up I simply kept my scalp clean and didn’t use prescription medications on my scalp because I thought it would make my hair fall out. The only issue I noticed was occasional itching. I’ve always thought this was normal. Every woman around me complains about their scalp itching, sometimes for no reason at all or because it was “dirty”. The major difference between me and them was that I was the only one that didn’t have flakes or dandruff. It wasn’t till a year ago I noticed that this isn’t normal.

I realized that I need to treat my scalp almost like I treat my skin because of the eczema. I changed my shampoo because sulfates were irritating my scalp (as well as my skin). This helped a lot! I also noticed that most forms of aloe irritated my scalp as well (different post for a different day). I’ve eliminated just about all mineral oil because it wasn’t doing anything for my scalp issues and I was looking for products to soothe or treat my scalp so I wouldn’t have to use a prescription. My BFF recommended that I use Jamaican Black Castor Oil (commonly called JBCO) to treat my scalp and thicken my hair. I already had regular castor oil because I often used it on my face when I had break out. I knew if the JBCO was a bust then I would use my regular castor oil. All the castor oil talk had my head spinning for a while so here’s my breakdown of all three commonly used castor oils to help other that may be just as confused as I was… let’s just say all castor oils are not created equally.

Tropic Isle “Jamaican Black Castor Oil” aka JBCO

Product description: Many manufacturers use refined Castor Oil from South America and Asia and then add coloring to darken the oil and label the finished product as “Black Castor Oil.” Others add a tip of Jamaican Black Castor Oil to the mixture and call it “Jamaican Black Castor Oil.” Raw, unrefined Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a rare commodity. It is only a hand full of elderly Jamaicans who still engage in the art of producing raw, unrefined Jamaican Black Castor Oil. That is why it is not available on a large scale. Our Tropic Isle brand is real, 100%, made-in-Jamaica, Jamaican Black Castor Oil. You can tell by the smell.

  • Since this castor oil is produced in small quantities it’s a good chance that you won’t find this in stores. I don’t think you’ll find this castor oil in stores anytime soon which I understand because you have to protect your product. I purchase mine from Sam’s247. The prices are great, shipping is fast, and the service is great. A 4oz. bottle cost about $6 and shipping varies.
  • You can smell the difference alight! JBCO smells like burnt roasted seeds. It doesn’t linger at all so you won’t have to worry about walking around smelly and offensive.
  • The consistency is thick and rich but not sticky.
  • I notice almost instant results when I use this castor oil. In my opinion this is the safest and highest form of castor oil you can find on the market. I found this castor oil to be moisturizing, soothing, and not oily at all. I don’t use this castor oil on my hair because it’s simply too thick. It can also be a hassle to wash out.
  • I’ve used this 4oz bottle for about a year and it’s only half gone. Talk about bang for my buck! I only use it as a topical and after washing my hair on the scalp only.

De La Cruz Castor Oil

Ingredients: Castor Oil

  • This castor oil is somewhat difficult to find. Some Wal-Marts carry it as well as some drug stores. A 2oz. bottle cost about $5 which isn’t bad at all…if you can find it.
  • This is what I refer to as regular castor oil. Though it doesn’t say it on the label it but it seems to be refined on some level. The color is a clear to pale yellow and you can still smell the burnt roasted seed smell. It very faint but still present.
  • The consistency is thick and rich but not sticky.
  • This castor oil moisturizes my scalp really well but isn’t as soothing as JBCO when my scalp is bothering me.

Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil Hair Treatment

Product description: The Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil Hair Treatments repairs dry scalp with Vitamin E & 7 natural oils. No Greasy build up.

Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Safflower Oil, Castor Oil, Mineral Oil, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Methylparaben (and) Isopropylparaben (and) Isobutylaraben (and) Butylparaben, Fragrance, BHA, D&C Yellow #11, D&C Green #6.

  • Since this product is mass produced you can easily find this castor oil treatment in most beauty supply stores and cost about $3.
  • Light sweet scent
  • The consistency was thin. I’m happy it came with a pop top lid otherwise I’m sure I would have made a mess.
  • I found this castor oil treatment to be too oily. I’m not surprised because of the type of oils used in the product. I can do without the mineral oil.
  • Did not absorb well into the scalp like my JBCO and regular castor oil.
  • If you don’t like parabens then this is not the oil for you. As you can see by the ingredients it’s filled with parabens.
  • This castor oil wasn’t as anti-inflammatory or soothing like my JBCO and regular castor oil.


  • Kimberly KaleidoscopicSoul Eph says:

    Great article

  • hunnybun says:

    its good to know but I have always used JBCO so i guess i shall continue

  • Annie says:

    Hello Im hispanic & I have thin hair Usually I tease my hair so it will look thicker and I really want thick hair !!! The JBCO ? will it make my hair THICK :'D ???! Please email me back @ <3 thanks !

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post. I'm sure it's helped many people. What I would like more information about is the difference between JBCO and cold-pressed castor oil- not the Walmart stuff that is a laxative. I'm starting to think the JBCO claims are a genius marketing ploy. I can understand it being better than the laxative castor oil. I'd just really like to know if it's really more beneficial than the high quality CP castor oil.

  • Ikila says:

    I bought the De La Cruz Castor Oil at… Wait for it… TARGET!! It was a whooping $1.29. I've used it only once for a flat twist out and I L-O-V-E it. Its three days later and my hair still fills so soft, mostrized and simply ahh-mazing. I have yet to use it as an DC or on my scalp but will do so this weekend. My 2 mo. old baby girl is battling a mild bout with craddle cap. I applied it with a Q-Tip (babies hair is sooo fine) on the trouble spots and it has made it disapper complete! This stuff is the librucants of the Gods!

  • Mrs. Polk-Roberts says:

    I just bought a 4 oz bottle of the De La Cruz Castor Oil from Fiesta Food Mart for $1.49. It is on my hair right now. I tried looking for different brands but couldn't find many alternatives (other than the CVS brand that I plan to return on Monday).

  • Chenoa Marie says:

    I got the De La Cruz castor oil from Jewel Osco for a $1 and some change lol

  • Anonymous says:

    Castor oil can also be used to oil your butcher block I would go with the second clear option.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is best to use the unrefined castor oil. Ex: Haitian Castor Oil aka L'huille Maskreti or Jamaican Black Castor Oil. If it is clear it is refined & that works best for your skin. Use the unrefined. JBCO is easier to get, but the Haitian Castor Oil is the most natural.

  • CH says:

    I agree with Anonymous Feb 15 @11:08 PM

    I've never heard of De La Cruz Castor Oil so I don't know how it is made. I have used Palma Christi and Home Health brands and both are cold-pressed(the beans are not heated to extract the oil). I have not used JBCO so I cannot comment on the difference in the effect when applied to hair vs. PC and HH. I can say that the darker color could be from the outer layer of the bean and the "Jamaican" process does not filter the oil to remove it. Perhaps the burnt, roasted smell comes from burnt, roasted castor beans??? Krissy includes in the bottom line section of the post that Castor oil (CAS number 8001-79-4) is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste, so how does that JBCO become "Black?"
    I have not read anything that was not an anecdotal testimonial from a user or marketing hype written by a vendor to PROVE that JBCO is better than organic cold-pressed castor oil. I'm not saying that it isn't, just that I have not seen any science to back up the claim. Until I see some data, I will not assume that cold pressed is inferior to JBCO .

  • Anonymous says:

    Right now Sams247 is having a sale on jbco (regular scent not lavender) 8oz for only 6.99 wow right? SALE ends on Mothers day (tomorrow)

  • Anonymous says:

    Purchase Eyl Castor Oil at reasonable price here…

  • Anonymous says:

    Here is another site for both EYL JBCO & Tropic Isle Living JBCO:, hope this helps 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    so which castor oil will thicken my hair? i heard that it helps to rejuvenate hair growth such as in a small bald spot or so….?


  • Anonymous says:

    great site for the Jamaican Black Castor Oil

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the feedback Marcia!!

  • Patti P. says:

    I bought my Tropic Isle Castor Oil at a Jamaican convenience store here in Philly at 52nd st for $10. I suggest looking in West indian stores for that brand because they get alot of products imported directly from JA and Trini etc.

    ~Patti P.

  • Marcia says:

    Micaela, just tell him to set up a shop on ebay which is very easy to do, then join some black hair forums and comment on jbco posts to promote his product and shop. This is the simplest and quickest way to get his product out there. If people like his product, word of mouth will spread from there and do most of his promotion for free.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello Nikki,
    I am a Jamaican currently residing in Toronto. I have an uncle in Jamaica who produces extra virgin, unrefined "Jamaican Black Castor Oil". The Brand is EYL. I have been using it in my hair and on my skin. It has worked wonders in these dry winter months. I had told him that he should try getting in touch with people who run natural hair / skin blogs to expand his business (since castor oil seems to be highly praised and there are several challenges etc that take place). Is it possible for you to recommend some ways he could go about getting his product out to people looking for the real thing.He can be contacted at
    Thanks in advance

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. As someone who suffers from eczema as well I totally relate to your childhood experiences. I will try the JBCO as soon as I am able to.

  • Anonymous says:

    It would have been nice for the author to speak on cold pressed and cold processed castor oils and the differences between those and the ones she mentioned. Certainly not my most favorite entry on this site. I've read and expect much better here.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have JBCO and it is like MAGIC!! I swear by it. I also ordered their pomade, and I twist my hair with it. I must say my hair has been growing like crazy and it's good for the edges too. *Miz B

  • Poundcake921 says:

    I read this review earlier today and thought nothing about it really bc I was still thinking about trying out castor oil but later on this afternoon, I was shopping for hair products today (I admit i have serious problem…lol!) and guess what!..right in front of my eyes while I was browsing was the Tropic Isle JBCO! I couldn't believe it! I never thought I would find it my local beauty supply store! I snatched it up with the quickness and even the sales girl was like "girl this stuff is the real deal …my mon used this on my hair when I was growing up" and even told me to use it as a pre-poo and let sit it for a day or so bf I wash my hair…the small 4 oz. bottle was $7.99 and the slightly larger one was $12.99…not cheap at all….but I will make sure I stretch it for as long as I can…i put a lil bit on my hair and it feels amazing!! I am definitely a believer!

  • JustTrena says:

    I love, love JBCO and list it as one of my staple products. Not only is it great for oiling your scalp, it's really good, for my hair, for twisting also! I add it to my mix of oils I use for hot oil treatments as well. Good article!

  • Anonymous says:

    The JBCO irritates my scalp but when I use the regular castor oil my scalp is not irritated.

  • Anonymous says:

    JBCO is the best in my opinion, I order mine from Sam's as well.


  • Anonymous says:

    This is a great definition (brief)…I get a lot of questions about Castor oir vs. JBCO in my B'n'B thread. I love this stuff. I get my JBCO from Sam's and the pricing and shipping is great. I use it for the OCM, to seal my ends, and oil my scalp. This stuff is great! I'm one of those people who saw results the same week…SisterBoyd

  • Anonymous says:

    I cannot live without my castor oil!! I have JBCO and also some by Heritage brand which is cold pressed and translucent. I like the translucent one! It is thicker than the JBCO. This has been a savior for my ends. It is thick and it is a bit greasy, but I find if I spritz with my water/aloe spray first it's absorbs better. I use the JBCO is my my recipes that I make (I used it to make some hair butter and I when used on my scalp it eliminates the itchie), but for on the spot, I use the clear Castor.

  • JaysMom85 says:

    Wow!!! Perfect timing. I was just havinga discussion with my sister about Haitian Castor Oil. Our mom used it when we were younger and then as we got older we shied away from it. Since going natural a year ago I have been considering revisitng the usage of it. I have heard some great things about JBCO…

  • Anonymous says:

    Castor oil is a great laxative but too heavy and oily for hair. The oils which closely approximate natural oil produced by the body are jojoba and coconut oils.

  • Anonymous says:

    I also grew up on "castor oil" because I am Jamaican. My mother is heavy handed so I would have tons of it in my hair, but it grew my hair like wild fire. I just ordered another bottle from Sam247 and picked up some groceries while at it. Whenever I go to Jamaica or I have family who head there, I always make sure they bring me back a bottle.

  • Chichi says:

    Have you tried Zuri Natural products yet?
    Visit for 100% Natural Hair and Body Products.
    Stay Blessed
    Zuri Natural

  • LALEEPOP14 says:

    this is the one I use. Here is the product description and ingredients.Use daily to conditon, moisturize and retore natural sheen to your hair and scalp. Helps prevent split ends and breakage. Excellent conditioner for natural, pressed, relaxed or color treated hair. Recommended as conditoner for babies hair and skin apply daily to wet or dry scalp to keep hair healthy and well conditioned.

    Ingredients: Holly wood beauty oil complex( Castor Oil, Mink Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba oil, Paraffin Oil, Safflower and other

    I only have used it once, so can't vouch too much for it, but just wanted to share what I just recently bought on one of my many product junkie sprees…LOL

  • savvybrown says:

    Thanks for this review. I like both the clear and the JBCO. I think that consistency od the JBCO is thinner. I agree with kisha and the others. Just about EVERYTHING made by Hollywood Beauty is a watred down mess filled with toxic ingredients like parabens.

  • Unknown says:

    I prefer the lighter/yellow castor oil because it does not have that strong smell. I've considered looking at JBCO, but I think the yellow is okay. It comes down pretty much to personal preference.

    Oils can build up on the hair, but you do not need to use a detergent (sulfate) to remove them. A simple clarifying treatment that is all natural works just the same.

  • Muzikal203 says:

    I love Castor Oil, I use the Home Health brand, and I don't find it extra thick or sticky, and I have no issues washing it out. I got 32 oz from the health foods store for $15.49. Coconut oil doesn't do anything for me, maybe because I didn't have extra virgin, but since I replaced it with Castor Oil for my sealing process, my hair has felt awesome.

    And regular Castor Oil TOTALLY has a smell/taste, when I use it for *ahem* other purposes, the taste stays in my mouth for days sometimes (and I don't take a lot) that stuff is disgusting (but it works). I'm gagging just thinking about it.

  • b. says:

    @ Anon. 10:53,

    I agree with you. I think the reason the HB oil was included (correct me if I'm wrong) is probably b/c some ppl will buy this thinking it's castor oil just because the front label says "Castor Oil". Some people also refer to the Olive Oil brand as olive oil w/out making the distinction between the brand and the oil. Those of us who are accustomed to reading labels know the HB oils are not the same as the real deal…but some folks don't realize this until they see reviews like this one.

    Thanks for the review of the castor oils. I wonder if some refined castor oils are better than others. I read another blog review singing the praises of Swanson's Castor Oil. I ask this b/c some refining processes are different than others and maybe some brands do a better job of keeping the "good" stuff when they refine their oil compared to other brands. If I ever stumble across a Jamaican grocer around here I'll look for the unrefined oil. Since the oil is also produced in Asia, I wonder if some Asian markets carry the black castor…

  • Anonymous says:

    Normally I enjoy this blog but I have two big problems witht this entry:

    1) Oils DO NOT MOISTURIZE. They lubricate and seal moisture in. Water is the only things that moisturizes.

    2) Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil Hair TREATMENT is not the same thing as real castor oil and shouldn't even be included in this review. the only ingredient in castor oil is CASTOR OIL.

  • Yani says:

    I LOVE my JBCO!
    I guess its rather easy for me to find because I have a Jamaican Grocer down the street (who is also family!! lol)
    I have rather fine hair so it is just TOO thick unless I mix it in EVCO and only for my scalp or hot oil treatments. It definitely is a hair thickener though!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Castor oil moisturizes the skin

  • NikNak says:

    I grew up on Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Given that I am Jamaican, we just call it 'Castor Oil.'

    I stopped using it as I found it very heavy on my hair, and extremely greasy. A little goes a verrryy long way. I don't suffer from dandruff, so that aspect doesn't outweigh the negatives for me.

    It also smells like burnt peanuts, which growing up made nauseated me.

    I'm a big fan of coconut oil which is much much lighter. All oils leave a film on your hair if you don't use sulfates to remove them, but the coconut feels more like a protective barrier than a heavy weight on my hair.

  • Balls Of Beauty says:

    thanx! ordering JBCO has been heavily weighing and tugging at my brain lately. im waiting til the stash challenge is over but this is on my wish list later on down the line! HB oils period are watered down n fluke oils (to me), they end up too greasy! the REAL castor i get is nice n thick for the winter time so i may use the JBCO for warmer months!

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