Natural oils have long been touted as the answer to all your beauty problems. The latest to receive a cult-like following is castor oil. You might call castor oil, coconut oil’s less glamorous sister: it has a thick, sticky consistency and admittedly less pleasant odor. The big claim circling the blogosphere, however, is that massaging castor oil into your scalp can make your hair grow 3-5 times the normal rate. Color Wow CEO Gail Federici cries ‘false’ to this miracle growth claim and here’s why:

You should NEVER massage anything into your scalp that is difficult to rinse off.
Healthy hair requires a clean scalp. “Massaging alone is the key to stimulating new hair growth, but if you’re massaging oil onto your scalp, you could wind up blocking hair follicles,” Gail says. A big no-no, as residue left behind can block the follicle so new hair cannot get through.

Using a harsh shampoo to remove oil’s residue repeatedly can damage your hair leading to more breakage. Even bloggers praising castor oil’s benefits note that the oil is “difficult” to remove from the scalp because of its thick consistency. Additionally, most bloggers recommend using the castor oil treatment 1-2x a week. A clarifying shampoo would help remove all the residue, but continued use of these harsh shampoos may lead to damage and breakage.