Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO) is becoming a household name for naturals, even though it is an age-old beauty secret. It has become one of the best go-to oils for hair growth, hair thickening, and moisturizing. JBCO seems to have replaced regular or clear castor oil, and while many are just fine with it, Chris.Decker from the Curly Q&A wanted to know if there really was a difference between the two and if one was actually better than the other when it came down to hair growth.

Question

Castor oil vs. Jamaican black castor oil?

I am trying to regrow some spots of hair that have thinned. Is the Jamaican black castor oil just as good as pure castor oil for this? I would prefer the Jamaican oil, but will use what’s best for regrowth. Thanks for any help you van give me.

Answer

There are only a few differences between the oils (as we will explain below), but both oils are heavier carrier oils that are great for cold months and packed with fatty acids that will benefit the hair and scalp. Here is a surprising fact that many may not know, but JBCO is no more natural than regular castor oil.

What's the difference?

The color

The differences between the two (well, actually three) is processing and color. Regular castor oil is a pale yellow when cold pressed but the white castor oil that can be found in stores is created through a filtration to lower the iodine content in the oil. The lighter the color the more pure the oil is. According to chemist JC from The Natural Haven, JBCO is darker because ashes from the roasted castor beans are added into the oil. The castor beans are roasted, ground, and then boiled prior to being added.

Both oils contain ricinoleic acid, which is known for having anti-inflammatory properties that aid in creating a healthy scalp for hair growth. They are also heavier carrier oils and great at moisturizing, so either oil would be excellent for massaging into your scalp where you see hair thinning, but as far as which is better, it is a personal choice.
Which is cheaper?

Regular or clear castor oil can be found slightly cheaper than its darker counterpart. Clear castor oil can be found just about anywhere from grocery store to drugstore, but JBCO seems to be primarily found at beauty supply stores or online.

Does JBCO thicken your hair?

Now, many in the natural hair community feel that JBCO with its dark color from the ash aids in hair thickening, but there are no scientific facts to back this up. According to chemist Sister Scientist: “The thickness of a hair strand is ultimately determined by the diameter of the follicle. Once the hair has protruded from the follicle, the hair cannot grow or expand to become any thicker. It’s biologically impossible to do so because once the hair is out of the follicle, it’s a wrap – the hair is dead.”

So if you do not care for the slight smell, want to save money, or JBCO is inaccessible to you, then by all means try the clear or yellow castor oils. There is no outstanding difference between the way these oils work, all three are magnificent for beauty and hair. As with most ingredients and products, it's about finding the one that works for you.