I know many of you are fans of cas­tor oil and a com­mon ques­tion that you ask me is if there is a dif­fer­ence between the clear store bought cas­tor oil and black cas­tor oil/Jamaican black cas­tor oil (JBCO). I final­ly have an answer for you!

1. Nat­ur­al Cas­tor Oil is Yel­low

Nat­ur­al cas­tor oil is actu­al­ly pale yel­low when cold pressed. Cold press­ing means there is no heat involved, cas­tor beans are just squeezed at high pres­sure to extract when pressed out of the seed. The advan­tage of cold press­ing is that you do not degrade any of the oil using heat.

The clear cas­tor oil that you find in some shops is a result of fil­ter­ing this nat­ur­al yel­low crude cas­tor oil to fur­ther low­er the iodine con­tent which makes it yel­low (Sains Malaysiana,pp 379–382, 2008). The high­er the puri­ty of the cas­tor oil the lighter the colour it will be.

Do note that cold press­ing is not the only tech­nique used to extract oil though, indus­tri­al­ly some chem­i­cal sol­vents can be used, and the advan­tage of that is that it is less time con­sum­ing. The dis­a­da­van­tage is that with more peo­ple look­ing for more nat­ur­al prod­ucts, the idea that a chem­i­cal was used to pro­duce the oil is not that attrac­tive.

2. Black Cas­tor Oil — Impu­ri­ties are added

Many peo­ple believe that Jamaican black cas­tor oil is more nat­ur­al and the black colour is relat­ed to it being less processed, but this is not true. The process of get­ting the dark colour involves adding ash from roast­ed cas­tor beans into the oil (Biore­source Tech­nol­o­gy, pp 1086–1091, 2006). This is the descrip­tion from Sun­ny Isle JBCO

‘Our Organ­ic seeds are roast­ed and ground by a man­u­al Grinder and then the crushed beans are boiled to extract the 100% pure, dark brown, organ­ic oil. Com­pared to oth­er brands it is the dark­est Jamaican Black Cas­tor Oil because we roast our beans longer which pro­duces more Ash Con­tent in our oil than any oth­er oil on the mar­ket.’

I referred to the ash as an impu­ri­ty because it is an addi­tion to the oil rather than just the pure oil. Does this mean that JBCO is not good? No, it just means that it is not pure cas­tor oil. Is the addi­tion of ash ben­e­fi­cial? This is not known sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, it is def­i­nite­ly what the man­u­fac­tur­ers claim. 

So there you have it, the rea­son why JBCO is black! Oh and I found this video of cold press­ing cas­tor beans to make cas­tor oil!

Ladies, do you pre­fer clear or black cas­tor oil? And why?

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94 Comments on "The Difference Between Clear and Black Castor Oil"

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does­nt the heat from roast­ing degrade the nutri­ent lev­els?


I tried JBCO and I didn’t like the smell or the price. :/ Now, that I know it isn’t pure, I’m glad I no longer use it.

I use cold-pressed, cas­tor oil on my hair reg­u­lar­ly. I buy Now Cas­tor Oil (~$7,16 oz bot­tle).

I use cas­tor oil to pre-poo (mixed with Lily of the Desert aloe vera gel), to seal my end and to style my hair into buns and puffs (I apply it under Eco Styler Krys­tal Styling Gel).

I love cas­tor oil ’cause it makes my hair feel soft and look sheen-y.


I used JBCO on a small bald patch that my son devel­oped. It lit­er­al­ly filled in com­plete­ly with­in a week. It had been bare for about a month and a half before treat­ing it with JBCO. 

I’m not sure exact­ly HOW it works, but it does work. I don’t think “impu­ri­ty” is the right word to describe the ash content…it’s still all com­ing from cas­tor beans.


Total­ly agree.Impurity has neg­a­tive connotations.Language affects how you view things. As long as it works that is all that mat­ters.

I’m Jamaican and my grand­moth­er used JBCO in my hair when I was a child, my hair was super thick back then and well past my shoul­der, I didn’t real­ly loose my length until I start­ed relax­ing and stopped using it (it was too heavy for my relaxed hair) Now that I am nat­ur­al again I use it occa­sion­al­ly and I use it along with oth­er oils like sweet almond oil and euca­lyp­tus oil because it caus­es my scalp to itch in its nat­ur­al form. I do remem­ber it itch­ing when I was a child too, so I expect­ed it.… Read more »

Cas­tor oil in gen­er­al does make your hair thick­er. I start­ed it this year in March and already peo­ple have been telling me my hair is thick­er than it usu­al­ly is. Haven’t tried JBCO cause its damn expen­sive and is rare in south Africa but I’ve heard noth­ing but good things about it. Regard­less good hair is hair that is treat­ed prop­er­ly with or with­out cas­tor oil

Shanice Little

I recent­ly used JBCO in my hair after wash­ing it and apply­ing my leave in ( I am 6 months tran­si­tion­ing) and hon­est­ly I dont real­ly like it . my hair is real­ly thick and the two just did­nt com­bine. Im still exper­i­ment­ing so maybe it will work bet­ter once im ful­ly nat­ur­al

Igno­rance is bliss they say, well I believe that when it comes to prod­ucts. If it works I keep using it.Knowing the sci­en­tif­ic aspect is good for research in labs and the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal field but not every­one wants to always know every ingre­di­ent or always under­stand it.As it makes peo­ple doubt what they are doing etc.… I just want to enjoy what works.I like cas­tor oil and so does my hair. I don’t dis­like sci­ence I just believe a bal­ance is need­ed and I I see results I don’t need a sci­en­tif­ic jour­nal to back up my expe­ri­ence. I val­ue info I… Read more »
I have been using Jamaican Black Cas­tor Oil for about a year now (I think). Since start­ing using all nat­ur­al prod­ucts on my hair my hair has grown longer than it’s ever been in my life and I’ve always had at least shoul­der length hair. Now I am reach­ing bra strap length. Jamaican Black Cas­tor Oil is one of the nat­ur­al items I use. I nev­er thought JBCO was attribut­ing to my hair grow­ing so healthy and fast, but maybe it is. I haven’t had any bad reac­tions to JBCO and I have eczema. I have use two dif­fer­ent brands… Read more »

I heard that alot of the JBCO has salt in it wich can cause prob­lems for those with col­or treat­ed or relaxed hair. I think the pure cast­er oil is bet­ter.


I’ve read that also about the salt being bad for relaxed hair. The JBCO that I have clear­ly states on the front of the label “No Salt” so you’ll have to be sure to check.

I am relaxed and I use a sham­poo bar that con­tains sea salt, a sol­id con­di­tion­er that con­tains salt, and a liq­uid sul­fate free sham­poo that con­tains sea salt and they are amongst the best things I have used in my hair. The salt adds vol­ume. Not quite sure why peo­ple say it is bad…different strokes for dif­fer­ent folk maybe? At any rate I have mid back length 4 type hair and its nev­er done me any bad. I have used JBCO mixed with coconut oil. It makes my scalp itch a bit and my roots feel thick. I used… Read more »

I learned about jbco from relaxed women

Ugonna Wosu

which is bet­ter?


For finan­cial rea­sons I am stick­ing to the yel­low one

mind you., JC has pub­lished a post in the past stat­ing that she doesn’t believe it thick­ens your hair at all and there’s no sci­en­tif­ic paper to show that it does improve thick­ness and length

so dif­fer­ent strokes for dif­fer­ent folks…………do what works for your hair


Well I was skep­ti­cal about it, I am in South Africa and JHBO is import­ed and soooo expen­sive I bought it at an equiv­a­lent of $ 25 and I used it HONEST REVIEW my hair shocked me in its thick­ness per strand. I did­nt pay much atten­tion to the growth part but thick­ness 100 % well I will def­i­nite­ly get to buy anoth­er one. I used it mixed with Rose­mary oil.


Also it made my hair a lit­tle to thick so next time I use i will do so spar­ing­ly coz now im deal­ing with extra thick hair.


I have used both and I real­ly do not see much of a dif­fer­ence when using them.


I stared with jbco. I went trough 2 8oz bot­tle then moved on to the pale yel­low cas­tor oil.
TBH, I havnt noticed a dif­fer­ence
Well, apart from the fact that the pale yel­low one is cheap­er


I have both and just start­ing using the JBCO. I have heard good things about it. I think it is worth a try At the very least!<3


I real­ly want to try JBCO, but I’ve heard rumors that it can cause a bad reac­tion and then sen­si­tize you to “nor­mal” cas­tor oil, which I love and use suc­cess­ful­ly. Has any­body had this or any oth­er neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence involv­ing JBCO? I want to weigh ALL of the opin­ions before I go out and spend mon­ey.

Fro tastic

My scalp was a lit­tle itchy upon first using it but that sub­sided. If the itch­ing is unbear­able then mix it with anoth­er oil and you should be fine.


I’ve heard about the sen­si­tiz­ing side effects also. I’ve only ever used clear cas­tor oil.

all I know is that I con­sis­tent­ly used organ­ic clear cas­tor oil to help grow back my hair line for over a year and bare­ly noticed a dif­fer­ence. After using JBCO for 3 months, I saw more growth in that time span than I saw in the year of using “clear” JBCO. It can’t be proven sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly and it might not work for every­one in terms of help­ing hair growth but it sure does work for me. Any­way, I think adding essen­tial oils like laven­der, pep­per­mint, rose­mary to any oil will encour­age growth. It’s worth a try.  Right now, I use laven­der,… Read more »

I’ve nev­er heard of emu oil before what does it for your hair?


What is emu oil?


Comes from a bird and is not a veg­etable oil.

Fro tastic

Exact­ly. Lol. From my own expe­ri­ence and from research­ing aka stalk­ing hair board chal­lenges :-) I’ve seen amaz­ing progress from hun­dreds of women using with JBCO vs. clear cas­tor oil


Did your diet hap­pen to change when you start­ed using the new oils on your hair?


JC, can we see these oils work on your hair please :), you can blur your your face