We want to introduce you to a beauty ingredient that’s been around for yonks, but has been totally flying under the radar. It’s called Jamaican black castor oil and it has your hair’s best interests at heart.
What is Jamaican black castor oil?
You’re probably aware of castor oil - it’s great for conditioning eyelashes and some use it to treat acne and inflammation. But what’s so unique about Jamaican black castor oil?
Also referred to as JBCO or black castor oil, it gets its name from its rich dark brown colour. Unlike traditional castor oil which is extracted from cold pressed castor plant seeds and is a colourless or very pale yellow colour, JBCO oil is extracted via heat. The seeds are roasted then pulverised, before being mixed with water to form a mash-like consistency. Then the bean mix is slow-boiled on a wood fire. The result is an extra thick amber-coloured oil that has a smoky scent (which can be overwhelming for some).
The method of roasting the castor beans originated in Jamaica, hence the name Jamaican black castor oil.
Jamaican black castor oil benefits
One of the biggest benefits that will surely get your attention is using Jamaican black castor oil for hair growth. It’s the key claim you’ll find on most bottles of JBCO and they’ve got the reviews to back them up. But... there is little to no research out there on the beauty benefits of Jamaican black castor oil, so most of the perks linked to JBCO are purely anecdotal, or based on the known properties of black castor oil.
JBCO is believed to strengthen and nourish the hair follicle, which may result in healthier hair growth and r. Given castor oil is a natural humectant, it can also help hair (and skin) retain moisture to restore dryness and damage. Additionally, black castor oil has antimicrobial properties, so it can fight off bacteria and fungal infections that may be causing scalp irritation or dandruff. And it’s rich in vitamin E and omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which also help ease an itchy scalp and moisturise hair.
Not a bad start, is it.
So does castor oil help with anything else? Well, according to *a lot* of Reddit forums, it’s a curly haired-girl’s dream product. Among the Jamaican black castor oil reviews, in a thread aptly titled “My hair freaking loves SM's Jamaican Black Castor Oil” (SM being short for Shea Moisture - a brand that has a JBCO oil), the OP Redditor said in the post that she “found SM's JBCO line to be a godsend for my hair”. She also shared a photo of her curls and we can see why she’s a fan. We found this before and after photo of her curly hair and the shine and definition is out of control:
How to apply Jamaican black castor oil
You can use Jamaican black castor oil undiluted or it can be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil. You can also find it in ready-to-go shampoo, conditioner and hair mask formulas. While castor oil is safe to use, it can cause allergic reactions for some so it’s best to do a patch test first before applying it liberally to your hair and scalp.
Massage Jamaican black castor oil into your head (it can be applied directly onto the scalp) as a scalp treatment, and/or apply it through the lengths as a hair treatment. For a hot oil treatment, warm the JBCO before applying it to the hair.
Good to know: JBCO is thick, so if you have fine hair and lighter-coloured hair, you may find it weighs down your hair or gives the appearance of oily roots. Start off with just a small amount. You may also find using your black castor oil as a pre-shampoo treatment will avoid these issues.
How often should I use Jamaican black castor oil?
Think of it like a hair mask and apply it once or twice a week.
The best Jamaican black castor oil products to try
Thinking about giving JBCO a try? Here are some of the most=loved formulas on the market.
#4 / Okay 100% Pure Black Jamaican Castor Oil
Designed to be used as a leave-in treatment (although the brand also recommends using it on your eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as skin), this Okay oil is 100 per cent pure ricinus communis (castor) seed oil.
#3 / Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil
100 per cent natural and organic, this black castor oil has a medium consistency and a high ash content. A Jamaiacan brand, the seeds used in Sunny Isle’s black castor oil are grown, harvested and processed by farmers in rural Jamaica.
#2 / Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil
This bottle of 100% pure Jamaican black castor oil is made with organic Jamaican castor beans. Besides being a leave-in overnight hair treatment, it gets a lot of praise as an eyelash and eyebrow growth treatment.
#1 / SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum
SheaMoisture is the most-talked about JBCO brand on Reddit, and this is one of the few black castor oil products you can buy in a store here in Australia (most of the others are only available via Amazon). Organic shea butter and peppermint oil have been added to this castor oil hair serum to boost its nourishing and scalp-stimulating benefits.
Are you looking for more oils to fall in love with? Here’s why argan oil is a must-have for all skin types.
Have you ever tried Jamaican black castor oil? Share your experiences with us below.
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.