Is it just Caribbean parents who believe in giving their children weekly laxatives? I’ve heard tales from some of my Southern friends about their grandparents doing the same thing, but hardly with the same commonality as island families did.
My mother spared me from the experience she had as a little one, but my grandmother apparently was a tyrant with it. Weekly doses of senna were washed down with a spoonful of castor oil. And this wasn’t the unscented castor oil you see on drugstore shelves today, oh no. This was the real deal Holyfield, the pungent, dark, strong castor oil. Down your throat and through your pipes with a quickness.
My mom has awful memories of castor oil, but she also recalls it being of tremendous help to her during pregnancies, and difficult child deliveries. And most recently, castor oil has been of tremendous help to me — although not by internal ingestion. Castor oil has proven to be an island remede par excellence, and the holy grail my hair so desperately needed!
Before you run out and buy a bottle, be forewarned. Castor oil is thick and sticky. If you buy Jamaican Black Castor Oil, the kind made popular by regulars on the super popular and informative Long Hair Care Forums, you’ll also notice it’s an unrefined and um, pungent product. But if you overlook the initial ick factor and stick with it, you just might notice the kind of differences I have!
Castor oil has been known to help with hair growth (even on eyebrows, according to Rashida B!), and according to Sam’s 24/7, where it’s available for sale, castor oil “is known to cleanse toxins from the scalp, nourish and thicken the hair, stimulate hair growth, moisturize dry brittle hair, repair split ends, and give hair body and bounce.”
I can testify that it’s helped me to keep my hair soft and moist, and it’s practically solved my ongoing dry, flaky scalp issues. So how do you use castor oil for your hair? There are SO many ways!
– as a sealant for your ends, to keep in moisture
– as a scalp massage oil after a brown sugar scalp scrub
– add it to your conditioner for additional moisturizing power
– for a hair mask with a plastic cap. Add honey and a thick conditioner, like Queen Helene’s cholesterol
– as a pre-shampoo oil treatment with your favorite other oils (jojoba, grapeseed, olive, coconut… indulge your inner mixtress!)
– as a post-conditioner styling oil when hair is still wet
And I know there are other ways to use this wonder oil that I haven’t thought of or tried yet for both hair and skin. I know quite a few beautiful women who have used castor oil on their lips, or paired with sugar or salt for a body scrub. The possibilities are endless!
Have you tried castor oil in your beauty regimen? Let me know how you’ve used it, and if it’s worked for you!