4 Differences Between Castor Oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil

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by Natural Hair Rules via Latoya Watson

Castor oil has long been revered for its properties that encourage healthy hair growth.  The two types of castor oil are: (yellow) castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO). But what is the difference between the two?  It is a common question among naturals everywhere.  Although they are close cousins, castor oil and JBCO, have some key differences. You’ll want to keep them in mind the next time you are shopping for hair products.


See also: Alopecia: Is Castor Oil The Only Treatment Option? 

What is castor oil?

Before we review the key differences between castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil, we must
Jamaican Black Castor oil with Lavender Essential oil
define castor oil.  Castor oil is often nicknamed a “miracle oil” because it’s used for many health and beauty treatments.  It’s derived from castor beans and often used as a lubricant and other uses.  Made by pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant, it is comprised of 18 fatty acids.  The castor bean is originally from Africa and due to the slave trade, it made it’s way to Jamaica.

Key Differences:


1. Processing

Both yellow castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil are made from the castor bean, but all their differences are due to the processing method utilized.  Yellow castor oil is made by pressing fresh castor beans; there is no heat involved. Thus, the term cold-pressed.  With no heat, there is lower risk of degrading the oil. It is important to note that some manufacturers use chemicals in their process. Jamaican black castor oil is developed by first roasting the bean.  Thus resulting in a dark color (and burnt smell) from the ash of  the roasted castor beans.  This is the method used in Jamaica.

2. Color

The most obvious difference between the two oils is the color.  Traditional castor oil is usually a yellow color; the lighter it is, the more pure.  Jamaican black castor oil, on the other hand, is a darker color due the to burnt ashes of the castor bean.

3. PH-Level

The way a castor bean is processed can result in differences in the ph and consistency of the resulting product.  The ash found in JBCO results in a higher pH (alkaline) product that is believed to have more clarifying properties. In fact, alkaline pH levels can help open cuticles.

4. Benefits

Both types of castor oil, are known for being heavier oils — perfect for the cold and winter months.  Packed with fatty acids, they have many benefits for the scalp and hair.  For example, ricinoleic acid — one of the 18 fatty acids found in castor oil — is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  It is no wonder that castor oil is so often used for scalp conditions and hair growth.  Both yellow castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil benefit the hair, but due to the roasting of the castor bean, there are some added benefits for using JBCO.

Do you use castor oil in your hair regimen?  How do you use castor oil in your hair regimen?

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