Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

Castor Oil and Its Derivatives

By January 27th, 20214 Comments

Castor Oil and Its Derivatives

Tonya McKay of NaturallyCurly writes;

We get a lot of questions about whether or not castor oil is okay for curly hair. Another related question is what PEG-30 castor oil is (or any other PEG-#), and whether it is compatible with curly hair, especially for those on shampoo-free or shampoo-minimal routines.

Castor oil is a plant-derived oil obtained from the seeds (castor beans) of the plant Ricinus communis. It is a mixture of triglycerides composed of several different fatty acids. It is a mono-unsaturated fat, with a one double carbon-carbon bond per arm of the triglyceride. The major component is ricinoleic acid, with the remainder of the oil being comprised of oleic, linoleic, stearic, and several other organic acids.

Castor oil is known for its excellent emollient and lubricant properties, as well as for its film-forming capabilities that make it useful in skin creams and in some hair styling products. The chemical structure of castor oil also helps it act as a humectant, so that it attracts water to the hair and skin. It has a relatively high viscosity, enabling a formulator to use it to thicken products, which can impart a more luxurious sensation for the consumer.

One drawback of castor oil is that the film it forms has been found to sometimes feel a bit tacky or sticky to the touch. Also, if used on hair in its natural state, the film it forms on hair is not water soluble, which can be a problem for those who use low- or no-shampoo routines. This film can also have a tendency to attract other oils and dirt if not removed regularly, so it would be necessary to use a reasonably strong shampoo when you’re using a castor oil product.

The chemistry of the major component of castor oil (ricinoleic acid) is fairly unique among triglycerides. This unusual fatty acid possesses hydroxyl (-OH) groups on each arm of the molecule, which make it more polar than other fatty acids. The hydroxyl group also facilitates chemical modification of the triglyceride, allowing creation of derivatives with desired properties for many different applications.Molecular structure of PEG-modified castor oil surfactants. Surfactol 318 and 365 are trade names for products with different PEG amounts.

Read on…


  • April says:

    I use my castor oil when I think about it. Sometimes I put in my Ayurvedic treatment or deep conditioning treatments. I know it's really thick, but I mixed it with honey, yes honey, and did a pre-poo with it. I rinsed my hair with warm water and it was really soft. I think next time, I will add some conditioner to my pre-poo, though. But I plan on using my castor oil more. Sometimes I put it on my edges, but not often enough to see any growth or difference.

  • Arianna says:

    I also use Castor oil mostly in moderation but its my staple for sealing my twists because it keeps those fly-away hairs from popping out
    two points however i must point out
    .if your doing no-poo and wearing the curly fro thats when things start getting stuck in you hair, feathers and other stuff, so moderation is important

    .its perfect for my twists because its the only oil that will stay in my hair instead of just some how disapearing and frizzing out but for the first 2 days its heavy and oily, i just sleep on my silk pillow case and after its smooth sailing and man does castor oil make hair soft

    I totally agree with the last few sent. in this article :) too, everyone give it a try!

  • Anonymous says:

    Maybe, I should try castor oil to protect hair especially roots and ends under my bonnet when I go to the swimming pool. I usually use palm oil but it is not as thick and protective.
    At the end of the week my hair still break a little more than usual. As a result I don't go as often as I would like to the swimming pool and I have to make an intensive use of castor oil to repair the damage done.
    I think I should reverse the pattern and use it before entering the harmful water, lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    Castor oil has saved my hair. I use pure organic castor oil. For years, I was told it was excellent for nappy hair. Still, I couldn't resolve to use is because of the feeling so sticky and unpleasant.
    One day, my hair was breaking even more badly than ever, dry, brittle and staying in my hands. Once again a professional told me to use castor oil. I bought a small amount of it thinking that given the state of my hair I had nothing to lose.
    A wonderful thing happened the breaking process stopped and I felt that my hair grew and even more important less weak and staying in the place it is supposed to be: on my head!

    So, I use castor oil as an intense therapy when needed. When my hair is stronger I use it less often or not at all. I have found that for me the better use is to mix it with lighter oils like yangu, jojoba or argan oil.

    Still, I use it for deep conditionning after my shampoo (it is true that you cannot "no-poo" with castor oil as it is too thick) mixed with coconut, jojoba and mucilage.

    Another way is for my daily spritz in a watery solution with emulsifier. As a result it is less sticky and still nourishing my hair.

    So, castor oil is one my staple but with moderation. On top of that, with that kind of use it is not expensive because I use a 33.3 fl. oz. bottle for about a year.

Leave a Reply