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.


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.