The Difference Between Clear and Black Castor Oil


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?

The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!


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93 thoughts on “The Difference Between Clear and Black Castor Oil

  1. How exactly is castor oil used? I just started using it anyways. I read from 2 separate websites, both has dfrnt ways of using castor oil. 1. Said apply to the scalp and wait for about 45minutes and wash, the other says apply to the scalp over night, and wash the next morning……may i know how it is actually used. Thank u!

    • it can be used on your edges daily to grow it. you can use t to seal your hair after moisturizing. you can also mix it with other oils to do an oil rinse.

    • I won’t suggest washing it out. It absorbs very well into the scalp just use a little because it’s very thick and can make you hair feel weighed down. Some people apply it twice per week others every other day. Either way you will see results. I should caution you that initially there would be itching and some shedding. If the shedding gets unbearable, you can add garlic to your shampoo or purchase garlic pills to stop the shedding. The itching stops when your scalp gets used to it.

  2. Hey I’m having a few issues with my hairline and was wondering if anyone else had this problem. I heard JBCO was really good for hair growth…has anyone else found good results from it?

  3. I was wondering if I can use castor oil in my beard. Im bald to and was also wondering if I started to use it on my scalp would my hair begin to grow back as well. It figured it was worth a shot…

    • @Derrick, I say give it a try. If it can work for us women, it should work for men as well. You can also try coconut oil also. I been using it for years since I been going all natural for my hair, love it. Wish you luck Derrick :)

  4. Pingback: Castor Oil Vs. Jamaican Black Castor Oil « Nay's World

  5. Me, my mom, and my aunt started using the “Mango and Lime” Jamaican black castor oil back in August and have had great results. My aunts hair was really damaged, and it has actually started growing back in some of the bald spots. I just noticed that they now have a shampoo out. I’ll probably end up buying it, but wondered if anybody had any first hand experience with it.

  6. ive seen many youtubers to the jbco challenge , so i have decided to try it on my 4b/4c hair. started my challenged 1st june 2014. :D

  7. I used the JBCO oil for months awhile back after purchasing it through Amazon and when it ran out I felt that I possibly wouldn’t need it. Well I quickly found that my hair seemed to miss it. I would add it to my own oil mix containing coconut, raw(melted)shea butter, jojoba, almond and olive oil. Now my mixture may seem like a lot but one thing I can say for sure is that it seemed like the JBCO oil was the ultimate secret ingredient for hair breakage. I mean I had none, not on the floor, on my clothes, (I primarily finger comb), none there either. Also, even when I did use a comb, no hair coming out there either. So, needless, to say I will be going back. That’s just my opinion, I know that everyone’s hair is different. But the mixture I mentioned, worked wonders for me. Oh, and yeah, my hair grew like crazy in just 2 years using that mix with of course great hair care.

  8. The brand of JBCO that I buy (an expensive one) is clear so I never thought that the B in JBCO referred to colour of the oil itself. Wonder what the story is? I love it, and my hair loves it too. Its all I really need to use other than shampoo/conditioner and my hair has never been this healthy in my life.

  9. This information is interesting, when it comes to ash, I know my plants love it and the reason is it contains high amounts of potash also known as potassium carbonate. I know humans need potassium, coconut waters and bananas provide us with the dietary potassium., for certain metabolic functions, perhaps it is benefitting to the hair and skin when applied topically; more research would be needed to prove or disprove the benefits. I’ve used hexane free castor oil on my hair since I was a teenager along with anhydrous lanolin and at 50, my hair is long and strong; I love the natural conditioners!

  10. I used the light castor oil, but mix it with Olive oil.. Its not even a month yet my hair grow beautiful and thick.. I love it!.. Do you think is ok for just olive oil mix with castor oil only or should i add someother types of oil too?.. i use olive only because its the only oil i can easily find here in my home town.

  11. Pingback: AB Loves: Castor Oil | The Kink and I

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