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

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I do not like either of the 2. Castor oil is too thick for my tresses. Grapeseed oil for the win! 🙂


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… 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… 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