This $14 product has been the secret to my super full hair

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I’ve always had pretty thick hair, but when I started my locs about four years ago, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to depend on just genetics to keep my hair happy and healthy.

Okay, let’s backtrack: I have thick hair that’s sometimes, sometimes curly and sometimes wavy — it just depends on the mood she’s in. After going blonde in the 10th grade, I understood that introducing a hair care regimen would be a necessity to prevent shedding, retain moisture and minimize any breakage. Thankfully, that’s where Jamaican black castor oil comes in.

When asked what my secret is (other than genetics), I always point people to this wonderful stuff in a bottle that I can use directly on my edges or dilute with water and essential oils. Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO) is not only a Caribbean gem for extremely dry skin, but it helps condition the scalp and enhances moisture while also strengthening hair elasticity to prevent hair damage or breakage. For years, I’ve sworn by the Tropic Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO), which has easily become a staple in my beauty vanity.

Shop: Tropic Isle Living – Jamaican Black Castor Oil, $13.99

Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Credit: Amazon

JBCO tends to be a rich, deep brown color, differing slightly from regular pharmacy-grade castor oil, which tends to be colorless or a faint yellow. JBCO’s color is actually the result of the ash content from roasted castor beans — and many believe it’s the ash that’s responsible for the oil’s growth properties.

How do I use it? I take a little and add it to a concoction of water, aloe vera and almond oil, lightly spritzing the solution down my hair. (Note: I don’t wash the solution out, although others with fine hair may want to avoid immense buildup.) At night, I take a bit of the JBCO and apply a light coat around my hairline, on my eyelashes and eyebrows.

Even though there is no indisputable evidence that proves JBCO promotes quicker hair growth, there are certainly many naturalistas and die-hard fans of the product that would say otherwise. According to the Tropic Isle Living website, “Hand processed from pure wildcrafted and organic Jamaican castor beans, JBCO has been known to support hair growth by cleansing the scalp of fungi and toxins that damage hair and slow growth. It is also a great moisture sealant for skin and hair.”

We’re on that side of the fence when it comes to the JBCO’s potential benefits. And with the product racking up more than 5,000 reviews on Amazon alone, it seems plenty of others agree.

“This is a great product. If you are looking to growing your thinning hair back in then this is the product you want,” wrote one five-star reviewer. “I feel like I can eventually get a full head of hair like I once had. I am still a work in progress, but no shiny balding spots on top now. Oh, and I am Caucasian so it will work for anyone.”

Another reviewer mentioned that this product worked to help them regrow their hair. “I used this oil to help regrow my hair. I was in despair as I was losing hair from tying my hair in a ponytail too tightly. […] It really does work.”

So, what are the cons? If you’ve never used castor oil before, you may not be the biggest fan to its thicker consistency compared to other oils. Jamaican black castor oil additionally has a strong odor as well as a thicker consistency, which may turn some people off.

“I personally really did not like the smell of this oil and so I stopped using it,” wrote one reviewer. “The consistency is very thick and sticky feeling. It did not work well for me but the shipping was very fast and it seems to be a quality product.”

From personal experience, I can say that both of those things are fairly mendable: If the texture and thickness is an issue, you can dilute the product with lighter oils such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or even just rosewater. If the scent is a deterrent, you can mix it with essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, rose or even peppermint.

The only thing that is felt across the board is not to use this on your face, as a thicker oil like this has the possibility to clog your pores and exacerbate skin conditions such as acne. Regardless, this is a product that I can’t get enough of, and it will always stay in my top five.

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