3 Differences Between Castor Oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Differences between castor oil and jamaican black castor oil

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Castor oil has long been revered for its properties that encourage healthy hair growth.  The two types of castor oil are: (yellow) castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO). But what is the difference between the two?  It is a common question among naturals everywhere.  Although they are close cousins, castor oil and JBCO, have some key differences. You’ll want to keep them in mind the next time you are shopping for hair products.

See Also: Using Castor Oil for Hair Loss or Thinning Edges

What is castor oil?

Before we review the key differences between castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil, we must define castor oil.  Castor oil is often nicknamed a “miracle oil” because it’s used for many health and beauty treatments.  It’s derived from castor beans and often used as a lubricant and other uses.  Made by pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant, it is comprised of 18 fatty acids.  The castor bean is originally from Africa and due to the slave trade, it made it’s way to Jamaica.

Key Differences:


Both yellow castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil are made from the castor bean, but all their differences are due to the processing method utilized.  Yellow castor oil is made by pressing fresh castor beans; there is no heat involved. Thus, the term cold-pressed.  With no heat, there is lower risk of degrading the oil. It is important to note that some manufacturers use chemicals in their process. Jamaican black castor oil is developed by first roasting the bean.  Thus resulting in a dark color (and burnt smell) from the ash of  the roasted castor beans.  This is the method used in Jamaica.


The most obvious difference between the two oils is the color.  Traditional castor oil is usually a yellow color; the lighter it is, the more pure.  Jamaican black castor oil, on the other hand, is a darker color due the to burnt ashes of the castor bean.


The way a castor bean is processed can result in differences in the ph and consistency of the resulting product.  The ash found in JBCO results in a higher pH (alkaline) product that is believed to have more clarifying properties. In fact, alkaline pH levels can help open cuticles.


Both types of castor oil, are known for being heavier oils — perfect for the cold and winter months.  Packed with fatty acids, they have many benefits for the scalp and hair.  For example, ricinoleic acid — one of the 18 fatty acids found in castor oil — is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  It is no wonder that castor oil is so often used for scalp conditions and hair growth.  Both yellow castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil benefit the hair, but due to the roasting of the castor bean, there are some added benefits for using JBCO.

If you enjoyed this post, read: “Why Castor Oil May Cause Itching and What to Do About It

Do you use castor oil in your hair regimen?  How do you use castor oil in your hair regimen?


15 thoughts on “3 Differences Between Castor Oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil

  1. Terry Derry

    Yes, I use Jamaican Black Castor Oil as part of my hair routine. I apply the JBCO directly to my scalp & hair after washing. I then apply my conditioner & I let it sit on my hair, covered, for about a half an hour & rinse. My hair is somewhat thick & I don’t have a perm. It leaves my hair very managable & has aided in the growth of my thinning edges. I also use it sparingly on my edges when i wear protectives styles, like braids or twist.

  2. Cathy

    Many may not agree with me but here’s my take. Being that JBCO has a higher ph could be to one’s detriment. Here’s why lower ph products/ ingredients aid sealing the cuticle layers of the hair strand. Which essentially helps the hair retain moisture. If you struggle with over poroused or over processed hair JBCO may increase thatIissue. On the flip side if you are bi-racial and have a lot of cuticle layers the JBCO may assist in the process of imparting moisture and protein.

  3. Cha Cha

    Has anyone been a constant user of Sunny Isle JBCO? I’m asking because I ordered my first bottle from there and basically received olive oil. No brown color, no smokey smell, or anything. I was packaged in a sunny isle bottle but the smell, color, and consistency of what was inside is of olive oil.

    They agreed to replace it but just wondering if this has happened to.others. Trying to determine if I want to continue using the company or not. I don’t like being gyped.

    1. mizzy

      I just got a bottle of Sunny Isle JBCO yesterday. Has no odor, it is darker in color than the light castor oil I have. But it’s thin, not the thicker oil I was expected. Tilt the bottle and it want to just pour out with no problem. Used it just on my eyebrows and it was super messy, oil everywhere! And yes I used a q-tip to apply, but it was runny. The argan oil I use is even thicker. Definitely considering returning the Sunny Isle to the store.


  5. Pingback: Hair Natural Black Castor Oil Jamaican Growth Oil | Hair Growth Diet

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