My Staples: Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO)


Tianna asks:

How many people have used Jamaican Black Castor Oil? Do you see the difference in your hair texture after using it? Does your hair shed from using it?

I was originally going to post this as a “Got Skills?” question. However, JBCO has been in my arsenal for the last year and a half. I wasn’t planning on covering it next in the “My Staples” series, because I was trying to go in wash day order, with Hello Hydration and Aussie Moist being slated for the next post. However, given Tianna’s question, figured I should take this opportunity to talk about JBCO.

Last February, when I first discovered, I learned of the principles of moisturizing and sealing. Unbeknownst to me, I had essentially been doing that with my WnGs, using a leave-in (Infusium 23 or DevaCare One Conditioner) and applying a mix of alcohol-free gel and Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter. However, with newly discovered information about other options in hand, I decided to branch out and experiment. First, I tried shea butter, which Nikki seemed to love. As our hair types appeared similar, I thought it might work well for me. That wasn’t the case. I found that shea butter just seemed to “sit” on top of my hair and made it feel weighed down without feeling particularly soft or moisturized. Next, I decided to try virgin coconut oil (VCO) as it was lighter and I’d read a few good things about it. Well, it was definitely a lot lighter and my ends looked and felt great after applying it to my released TnC. But, by the end of the same day, my ends felt “crispy.” I thought this might have been related to an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse that I’d tried for the first time as well. But, after a couple more uses of VCO without an ACV rinse, I decided that it definitely did not seem to keep my hair feeling soft and moisturized. Therefore, I was still in search of a good sealant and eventually came across this post on CurlyNikki entitled, Battle of Castor Oils. The short of it was that the writer was comparing castor oils for use on her scalp as she’d suffered with eczema for years. She rated JBCO as the best.

After doing a little more research, I decided to venture into the world of JBCO. I wanted to try it on both my scalp and hair. Though I didn’t have any scalp issues, I had read that it could promote thickening of the hair at the roots and growth, both things that I desired (there was a JBCO Edges Re-Growth Challenge running on the CN Forums at the time). I also wanted to try it on my hair to seal as I’d had less then stellar results with shea butter and coconut oil. So, around July of last year, I found the Tropic Isle Living JBCO ($5.99 for 4 oz.) at a BSS that caters to a Black clientele. I was very happy to find this on the ground rather than having to order online and pay shipping!

I started using JBCO on my scalp and hair immediately. The smell has been called “smokey” and “nutty,” and I guess that I would agree. I don’t find it strong, but some do and some even find it intolerable, though it dissipates quickly in my opinion. The consistency is a little thicker than olive oil, but not as thick as regular castor oil. However, despite its viscosity, it’s not sticky, tacky or heavy once applied to hair with a light hand.

When I used it on my scalp, I experienced a lot of itching. Some commenters on the forum thread made references to this being a side effect of JBCO use on the scalp. Some stated that it could just mean that blood flow to the scalp was being stimulated, which meant the hair was going through a growth cycle. However, my scalp is never itchy and it meant to me that it was irritated. In my head, irritation leads to inflammation and scratching, which is counter to growth and can result in excessive shedding. So, I stopped using JBCO on my scalp. But now, I’m not so sure that JBCO was the culprit as I have since realized that amla may have been the source of the problem or, at least, contributed a lot to it. That being said, I may revisit using JBCO on my scalp, just to see if it itches, since I’m no longer using amla.

Now, onto using JBCO on my ends. Different story entirely. O … M … GAWH!! When I tell you that I fell in love with it from the first use, I’m not kidding! I used it on these two strand twists that I’d done and my ends felt like BUTTER! They were sooo soft, supple, smooth, sheeny and moisturized (I know, I know! Oil doesn’t moisturize! Buuuuuut, it seals in moisture and a good sealant keeps moisture in the hair leading to hair that feels moisturized! ;)).

And yeah, it’s been a wrap ever since. I not only use JBCO to seal my ends, I also use it in my Kimmaytube leave-in, add it to some of my DCs and I’ve experimented with it as a pre-poo oil for my ends. I’ve recently started mixing it with EVOO in order to get the penetrating benefits of olive oil with the sealing benefits of JBCO. Using a 50/50 ratio mix, I’m also able to extend my JBCO further and mask the overt smell of olive oil so that I don’t smell like an Italian restaurant!

As to your questions Tianna, I’m assuming that you are asking about JBCO when used on the scalp. As indicated above, I didn’t do that for long, so didn’t notice any type of difference in texture. In regard to shedding, I did experience a lot of shedding during the time I was using JBCO, but I really believe that was due to amla. So, I can’t give you any insights on that. However, there was this recent article by blogger Strawberricurls, who helped her mother regrow her edges! The woman was very nearly bald from her natural hairline to her ear due to damaging weaves and chemicals. Within 5 months, with daily application of JBCO, she completely regrew her edges!!

So now, to the “Got Skills?” part of this post! How about you guys? Anyone use JBCO? If so, how do you use it? How often? What kind of results are you getting (i.e. increased thickness, regrowth of edges, decreased shedding, improved moisture retention, etc.)? What are the pros and the cons? Spill ;)!

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48 responses »

  1. Thanks Lady, that’s what I’m talking about!! My hair is thinner in the crown and I lost the front line of my hair (top of the forehead) possibly from wearing wigs for so long(1 yr) or it could be heredity. Nonetheless, I want to grow that back and strengthen my crown. I didn’t just wanna bandwagon a product w/o proof that it works and its hard to go off of youtube because most of the reviewers get the products for free.

    • Given Martha’s comments Tianna, just keep an eye on your hairline and make sure it doesn’t get any worse with the use of JBCO. If it doesn’t work for your scalp, maybe it will work for your hair in DCs or sealing!

  2. I’m sold. I wanted to buy this when I was at Whole Foods the other day, but since I’ve been trying not to become a product junkie I told myself “back away from the bottle and slowly step out of the aisle”. *Sigh* Oh well, I’ll be back :-) I need to get rid of my Carol’s Daughter oil because I just don’t like it. My hair feels brittle after I apply it. It could be my technique and the order in which I apply the product. I use it a little longer and then get the JBCO next month. Thanks for the post.

  3. I use JBCO on the length of my hair and my ends. Sometimes I mix it with EVOO (my favorite oil). I’ve tried it on my scalp, but it made it scaly so I stopped. Castor oil is a known skin irritant so I know it would irritate the scalp. It could be the irritating properties of it that stimulate the hair to grow.

    • Yeah, I’m not down with the scalp irritation, regardless of whether it stimulates growth! I hated that feeling! OMG, I need had an itchy scalp and I was ALWAYS scratching it! But, again, not sure that I can attribute that solely to the JBCO as I know the amla definitely was making my head itch, especially the nape!

  4. Hey Shelli the last 2 weeks I have been using the JBCO on my crown, which is the most dry and thin area. I had to stop because, what once was a thin area has now turned into a bald spot. I’m pretty sure it was the JBCO. I was massaging and applying the oil daily. I think it’s because the oil is very heavy. I’ll post some pics on my blog later this week.

    • Okay, NOT COOL!! It’s really crazy how people can have such diametrically opposed results with the same product!! She grew hair and it caused yours to thin? That’s insane. Just further highlights the point, what works for one doesn’t work for another and you really have to pay attention and listen to your own head/hair!!

      • At Anonymous, why wouldn’t I? And WHO SAYS IT DOESNT MAKE HAIR THIN??? It did mine. Well after researching a few sites prior to my experiment, and reviewed quite a bit of successes with castor oil…I decided what the heck, and gave it a try. Majority of the reviews stated to apply the castor oil daily and massage into scalp. These same reviewers had GREAT results. But because there’s always that one person, in this case ME, I had an adverse effect… I.e my hair getting thinner than before. Since then I mix a little castor oil with jojoba and apply daily and my scalp is not irritated or have I lost more hair from my crown other than shedding hair.

  5. I love JBCO, but I must say I’ve had the same bottle since the beginning of the year now. This is mainly because I have to pay a hefty shipping cost to get mine so it can never be a regular staple of mine unfortunately. I may dilute mine with a little jojoba oil to stretch it out.

    • Yeah, I totally get not making it a staple if you have to pay for shipping. I totally believe that it’s hefty as I remember looking into the shipping charges when I was first trying to get my hands on some. I was like, if I can’t get free shipping or find it on the ground, I just won’t be getting it!!

  6. I use to use regular castor oil and it was okay. Then I switched to JBCO and really like the way it made my hair feel. I use it only on the length of my hair as well as the ends. After reading so many things about not putting it on my scalp, I made sure to stay clear of that. I was happy when I found that the vitamin store by my job had it so now I can go and replenish anytime.

  7. I just wanted your opinion since I am using both amla oil and black castor oil, nightly on my hair. What made you stop using amla oil? And did you find better results when you used the castor oil separately from the amla oil? Thank you for sharing!!

    • Oh man, here is one that got by me! Sorry Ameerah! Maybe you’ll come around and see this again. I’ve never used “commercial” amla oil. I made some myself with amla powder and coconut oil (you have to heat the oil, then stir in the powder, let them sit for a week … mixing daily … then drain the oil from the powder). However, that is essentially coconut oil and since I can use Vatika, it just wasn’t worth the effort. I never used amla and JBCO together. I have, however, recently started mixing JBCO with EVOO to seal! That works really well for me too and it extends my JBCO further.

  8. Pingback: Bald Spots: Help! « hairscapades

  9. I’ve been using. Jbco for a little over a month. Once a week I apply it as a hot oil treatment. I apply to my scalp, hairline and nape. The next day I wash and condition. I stared using it for regrowth after postpartum shedding. It does itch overnight but once I wash and condition all is well. I have seen results and I’m satisfied.

  10. Pingback: How I Retain Length – Part Two « hairscapades

  11. I use this overnight (bag method), as an oil in my daily WnG/LOC method and on my scalp on damaged areas….it’s funny because I didn’t even realize that the bald spot I was treating with castor oil is no longer there until I read this article this morning :)

  12. I have been using JBCO for about a month trying to repair some thinning around my hairline from relaxers. I haven’t noticed any big changes, but will continue using it for about another month to see if it’s making a difference or not.

  13. I’m so happy that I ran across this blog. I’ve been reading rave reviews on JBCO. I bought two…One for me and one for my mom (hair thinning with age)….I already have an itchy scalp. BUT NOW IT’S ON ANOTHER LEVEL!!! I do not have balding/thinning or hair thickness issues so I will try just using this on my ends. It’s really hard for me to tell what the JBCO is exactly doing for me as I use many essential oils on my hair already. I like the consistency of it though. I think it will last on my hair for many many days. I am DYING to go home and wash my hair tonight! I am doing a cowash and hopefully that helps to relieve some of the itching. Wish me luck!

    • Hmmmmm … I’m interested in what you’ll see Kia. The fact that the article is published by a JBCO supplier and isn’t backed by any scientific evidence leads me to doubt that the claims are facts or proven with any clinical trials or even scientific theories … the article is kind of self-serving. I’ve read others state that the itching is because the JBCO is stimulating blood flow to the scalp, which could potentially mean toxins are being moved to it, and improved circulation can mean increased growth. However, scalp massages without any oil stimulate blood flow too and I’ve never heard of massages causing itching. Also, my concern with itching is that it means the scalp is irritated and an irritated scalp can mean increased shedding (which is what I was experiencing when I was using it, but I don’t know if it was the JBCO, the amla or a combination of both that caused that, but I didn’t want to take any chances of increased shedding). Finally, I hadn’t had a relaxer in 10-11 years when I used it and even when I did relax, it was no more than twice a year. So, the itching I experienced cannot be attributed to that at all.

      All that being said, it’s an interesting claim. If you decide to continue using it on your scalp,I would suggest that you watch for increased shedding and, if you see that, you may want to re-think using it for your scalp. I sure do love it on my hair/ends though;)!!

  14. Glad I came across your article. I ordered tropic isle living (brand name) jbco from amazon, however I’ve been using Okay (brand name) jbco and I noticed the difference with peach fuzz in my bald spot. Been natural for 12 years and was diagnosed with alopecia areata…i used to go to the detmatologist for shots to the scalp, worked for a while. Since i started using jbco, i dont itch nor have i had a break out with new patches . I plan to try the tropic isle living brand since I’ve read so much great reviews…but what am using works and I can get it locally here in the virgin islands. Oh I’ve also had compliments on my skin, (blemished) I guess using the oil has also made a difference in my skin…and here I was thinking that my face was to shiny/greasy…well it works or me.

  15. I was using the Amla oil by Dabur and the JBCO and experienced itching and shedding, so I decided to use one at a time and I still experienced shedding with the Amla oil so I went back to the JBCO and experienced itching it lasted for about 1 -2 weeks and then stopped. I love JBCO, I have tried them all but love the Lavender and Rosemary best.

  16. JBCO on the ends are definitely my favourite use. I am the same, I use it in my Kimmay-tube inspired leave in conditioner and my hair feels like a dream. It can sometimes feel quite heavy on the hair and scalp, so I dont use it everyday. But I am a newbie to the JBCO- but now I’ve found it, Ive fallen in love with it. For lighter oils, I still prefer Jojoba oil. When I tried virgin olive oil, I agree with you also that my ends felt crispy.

    Thanks for the info :-)

    • YEs, I have 4c hair…very tight and coily. After one use of a hot oil treatment, It made my hair feel very soft and fluffy. In the past, it’s always felt dry and I could never keep moisture. so I’m sealing my hair with JCBO and doing hot oil treatments twice a week to get rid of the dry brittle. I’m getting a lot of compliments. I’ve been using this for two weeks and I am addicted! I also use it on my skin and I’ve been getting nothing but rave reviews.

  17. I think its a great hair mask. Just let it soak into your hair overnight and condition. I have indian hair which is very thick and curly. I was gong through a lot of work related stress and my hair fell a lot. My dad gave me a bottle of JBCO and I soak my hair in it each week. I think it revitalizes and seals in moisture.



  20. Hi I have been using jbco lavender for a few weeks now, and what I do is put a few drops in my shampoo and deep conditioner. I apply to my front edges every other day and massage it does have a tingly feeling makes me feel sleepily but it does what it states on the bottle. My hair feels softer, darker and shiny from top to bottom. Can’t fault it. Will see how it goes by Christmas I measured my hair at the start which was 12/07/13 12 1/2 inches.

    • Next time buy the castor oil dark it’s stronger and grows hair faster, but lavender gives it a good smell or try Rosemary castor oil Rosemary smells good and is great for hair is you want to find out where to purchase let me know .

  21. Does is matter what kind of JBCO that I use? I recently started using the mango & lime JBCO pure, the bottle cost like $7.99 a bottle. I heard good things about it, but when I look online I only see tropical isle or sunny.

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