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Argan Oil vs. Castor Oil: Which Is Best for Hair?

October 19, 2022

1 Min read

The use of various oils for hair care has been practiced for more than 3,000 years. Originating in India as an ancient Ayurvedic tradition, it’s often touted as an alternative method to serums when trying to optimize your hair. In recent years, argan and castor oils have become the darlings of the hair oiling industry, appearing in hair products at every price point.

The promises of healthier, more manageable hair are hard to ignore, but choosing between them can be difficult without looking past the marketing. In their pure, unaltered forms, some properties could determine which is the most beneficial for your needs. We’ll break down the differences between argan oil vs. castor oil for your hair so you know which is the right oil to reach your hair goals.

Argan Oil for Hair

Argan oil is known as “liquid gold” in its native country of Morocco due to its rich color when extracted from the kernels of the argan tree. The oil was once popular for medicinal use but is now most often purchased for cooking and cosmetic applications. Today, pure argan oil’s popularity in hair products stems from its reputation as an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin E and oleic and linoleic fatty acids.


The fatty acids in argan oil are responsible for many benefits that make it so popular. They allow the oil to coat each strand of hair, locking in moisture and sealing the cuticle to protect it from damage caused by heat styling and using regular hair products.

Vitamin E makes it an excellent ingredient for leave-in conditioner, as it creates its own fatty layer to moisturize your hair and scalp. Those layers also give your hair a little weight, reducing flyaways and frizz, and provide an extra boost of shine. This results in hair that looks and feels healthy.

Finally, due to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, argan oil is a great option for an irritated scalp. It soothes and moisturizes the skin, making it a suitable treatment option for anyone with dandruff issues.


Argan oil is generally safe to use for most people. However, those with tree nut allergies may want to avoid it since the oil is pressed from the seed of the argan tree. As it coats the shaft in oils, it could also cause excess greasiness for those with very fine or naturally oily hair.

Castor Oil for Hair

Castor oil also has a history that spans thousands of years, originating in India and East Africa. This oil is pressed from the castor bean and is a staple ingredient in many health remedies and skin and hair products. Castor oil offers a variety of benefits to your hair when used properly.


Like argan oil, castor oil is known to coat the shaft of your hair in a fine layer of oil. This oil’s fatty acids and vitamin E also protect the hair from damage and give it a healthy shine. The moisturizing properties make hair more manageable, helping to define curls and minimizing unwanted frizz.

Castor oil is antibacterial as well, making it an excellent scalp treatment in many cases. The moisturizing properties apply to the skin, reducing dryness and inflammation.

Anecdotally, some claim that castor oil is an effective treatment for hair loss. It’s believed that it stimulates blood flow to the scalp and reduces inflammation that could prevent new hair growth. However, there are no comprehensive scientific studies to back up this claim.

Castor oil is high in ricinoleic acid, an omega-9 commonly used in hair loss treatments. Some theories suggest this could promote hair growth, though it hasn’t been formally tested on humans or animals.


For most people, castor oil can be used as a hair treatment without issue. Some people may experience allergies that cause the scalp to become more irritated when exposed, so a patch test is a good idea. It also is not recommended for anyone experiencing issues with a flaky or itchy scalp because it’s likely to worsen the condition.

Castor oil also has an incredibly thick consistency, making it easy to use too much and end up with hair that looks greasy rather than healthy. It’s recommended to only use a small amount at a time and possibly cut it with thinner oils, such as coconut oil, to reduce this issue.

The Verdict: Argan Oil vs. Castor Oil

When looking for the best option between argon oil vs. castor oil, there’s no clear overall winner. Both offer potential benefits that promote healthy hair. The one you choose will depend on your hair type and which benefits most align with your personal hair goals.

Which Should You Choose?

Your first concern when using any new product should be allergies and skin sensitivities. If you’re allergic to any type of tree nut, argan oil could be a problem, and castor oil shouldn’t be used if your scalp is itchy or flaky. If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test with either oil to make sure it won’t cause a reaction.

People with fine hair may have a tougher time with castor oil because it’s so thick. If this describes you, castor oil isn’t off the table; you just need to mix it with another oil to thin it before you get the results you want. If you’d rather not add this extra step to your oiling routine, argan oil could be a better fit.

If you’re looking to protect your hair from styling damage or add moisture, both oils offer comparable results. If hair growth is an issue for you, either oil can nourish the scalp to create a healthier foundation for new growth. However, only castor oil has a reputation for being a potential hair loss treatment.

If comparing argan oil vs. castor oil sounds complicated, personalized hair care products are a great way to improve the health of your hair. To learn more about your hair’s unique needs for optimal health and shine, take the Prose hair consultation to get your customized formula today.


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