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In the ingredient descriptions: Good means that I like to see this in a product's list of ingredients. Okay means this product appears safe for a curly person like me to use. Caution means that this ingredient may not be good in some hair care products, or for some people. Avoid means this ingredient may hurt your hair. If you see this ingredient in a hair product, it's best to put it down and walk away.
(aka Palm Christi oil; Ricinus oil)
Oil from the bean of the castor plant Ricinus communis
. Used as an emollient, conditioner, and for it's folkloric appeal. The oil is often removed from the beans by cold-pressing, solvents, or from hot water.
Surprisingly, when the oil is removed by extraction, it's often darker in color, and may contain ricin, one of the most highly toxic proteins known. Ricin is found in the castor plant seeds. However, castor oil itself shouldn't contain any ricin.
Castor oil is usually available as a colorless or pale, yellowish liquid with a particular odor. It isn't water soluble, but it is soluble in vegetable oils or ethanol [Hunting (Conditioning) pg 137-138].
Castor oil is used in all kinds of products ranging from bath oils, solid perfumes, shaving creams, lipsticks, as well as shampoos, hair dressings and conditioners. It forms a shiny, tough skin when dried. The toxin ricin should be left behind in the beans when the oil is removed. It's known to be soothing to the skin [Winter pg 138].
—I'm going to put this as a caution for now because there could be some residual toxin from the bean left over in the oil. It seems the oil is safe to use as long as it's extracted properly.—T
Applewhite, Thomas H., ed. Proceedings of the World Conference on Lauric Oils: Sources, Processing, and Applications
AOCS Publishing, 1994.
Barel, André O., Marc Paye, and Howard I. Maibach., eds. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Second Edition
Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2001.
Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me. 3rd Edition.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2005.
Begoun, Paula. The Beauty Bible.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2002.
Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2003.
Bellum, Sarah, ed. The Beauty Brains: Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions
New York: Brains Publishing, 2008.
Gottschalk, Tari E. and McEwen, Gerald N, Jr. PhD, eds. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, Tenth Edition 2004, Volumes 1-4.
Washington D. C.: The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragance Association, 2004.
Halal, John Hair Structure and Chemistry Simplified, Fifth Edition
Albany: Milady, 2002.
Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Conditioning Rinse Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1987.
Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Shampoo Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1983.
Johnson, Dale H. (Ed.). Hair and Hair Care, Cosmetic Science and Technology Series. Vol. 17.
New York: Marcel Dekker, 1997. Print.
Nnanna, Ifendu A. and Jiding Xia., eds. Protein-Based Surfactants: Synthesis: Physicochemical Properties, and Applications (Surfactant Science)
Madison Heights: CRC, 2001.
Quadflieg, Jutta Maria. Fundamental properties of Afro-American hair as related to their straightening/relaxing behaviour.
Diss. U of Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen, 2003.
Schueller, Randy and Perry Romanowski, eds. Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin.
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1999.
Winter, Ruth M.S. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.
Zviak, Charles., ed. The Science of Hair Care (Dermatology)
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1986.