Are you shocked?
So are we.
Stop for a second: Did you read our step by step beard growth guide yet?
The majority of us have always believed castor oil to possess magical hair growth powers despite the lack of clinical evidence.
We rebelled against the lack of evidence and decided to go with the word of mouth assurance.
After all, not every one of those before and after photos you see on YouTube and all over the Internet is fake right?
Jamaican black castor oil has always been a must-have in our household.
However, now that I think about it, it may have played a part in the acute hair matting that I’ve been suffering from for years.
Before we discuss the study, do you know what Acute Hair Felting (Matting) is?
Acute Hair Matting (AHM) is a rare condition when some (or most) parts of the scalp hair turn into solid and impossible to detangle lumps in otherwise healthy individuals .
Dreadlocks are a minor form of hair matting.
AHM closely resembles a bird’s nest.
Who cares we all get that once in a while right?
But here’s the thing, this hair condition is irreversible, which means you’ll most likely have to cut the damaged hair to get rid of the matting for good.
In some cases, the entire scalp may have to be shaved.
Some common causes of AHM are poor scalp and hair hygiene, scalp infections, and wearing a cap for prolonged hours.
Back to the research…
A 2017 research paper discusses the Acute Hair Matting condition of a 20-year-old healthy young woman .
She washed her hair with castor oil and olive oil on the day of Diwali and went to the dermatology clinic after multiple failed attempts to get rid of the sudden matted hair.
This is how her hair looked like (Source: linked research above).
According to the research paper, the young lady had good personal and hair hygienic practices.
She used her regular shampoo that she’s been using since childhood.
There was no sign of any infections, and guess what?
It was the first time she’d ever used castor oil.
Since AHM is an irreversible condition, the girl was advised to cut the damaged hair.
What made them conclude castor oil was the “culprit”?
- It happened on the first day that she used castor oil.
- Castor oil is volatile and has a super thick and sticky consistency.
- She applied the oils and washed with warm water which resulted in electrostatic attraction of hair fibers.
The research paper states the higher viscosity, and sticky consistency of the castor oil attracted the hair fibers and when it was washed with warm water, the hair fibers aligned in parallel, causing them to glue and seal together in a bunch.
The friction from oscillatory movement of hair when washing resulted in her AHM.
So the texture of castor oil and warm water on long hair ended up being a disaster for the girl in this research paper.
The study also concludes that using coconut oil alone would have been a safer alternative.
Does this mean castor oil for beard growth is a NO?
We don’t think it’s terrible for beard hair, especially for those starting and those with medium length beards.
However, it’s best to avoid it if you’ve ever suffered from Acute Hair Matting.
Castor oil may also not be the best option for those who often find it hard to detangle their beard hairs and those who suffer from beard dandruff.
It’s more of a trial and error thing.
Our advice is never to neglect beard care when using castor oil for your beard.
This means you shouldn’t forget to gently exfoliate, comb, and moisturize your beard on a regular basis.
Speak your mind!
What’s your experience with using castor oil for beard growth?