Castor Oil Production
Castor oil comes from the seeds of the castor oil plant, scientifically known as Ricinus communis. It is grown commercially on plantations for castor oil production. Upon maturity, the plant produces seeds, which are oval and brown. Harvesters take these seeds and the first step in the process of castor oil production begins.
Collecting the seeds requires proper timing. Otherwise, the pods may burst open and shoot the seeds randomly on the ground. Brown and dry fruits indicate that they are ready for harvesting. The entire clump is cut and the fruits are gathered. They are dried further until the pods open and the seeds come out by themselves.
Cleaning the seeds removes leaves, twigs, and other foreign materials from it. Then they are cooked, dried, and prepressed to prepare them for extraction.
The different methods of extracting castor oil are mechanical pressing, solvent extraction, and combination method.
Mechanical pressing uses machines such as hydraulic presses and continuous screw presses to force the oil out of the seed’s meat.
Solvent extraction uses chemicals and solvents such as heptane, hexane, or petroleum ether. These substances can introduce impurities to the finished product. Although this is the faster and cheaper method of extraction, the result is a low-quality product. It compromises the oil’s purity and the amount of beneficial compounds.
In the combination method, the seeds undergo mechanical pressing first. Then further extraction of oil from the leftover castor oil is done through solvent extraction method.
Filtration & Purification
The filtration and purification processes ensure that the end-product is pure castor oil. This stage uses a filter press to remove pollutants, water, and dissolved gases. The filtered oil is called crude or unrefined oil.
A refinery procedure often involves degumming, neutralization, bleaching, and deodorization. Not all manufacturers employ this stage because it reduces the oil’s therapeutic properties. Indications of this lower quality could be the oil’s lack of distinct earthy odor and a pale color. This characteristic is common for refined types of castor oil.
Different Types of Castor Oil Products
Castor oil comes from the seeds of the castor plant, which is common in tropical and subtropical places. It can be found almost anywhere in the world as long as the climate permits. With its diversity of uses, worldwide presence, and various methods of extraction, different types of castor oil also emerged. Get to know them better and see which one seems to fit your needs.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
To produce Jamaican black castor oil, the seeds should undergo roasting first. This gives the oil a dark color and burnt smell. This method is common in Jamaica. Thus, the name Jamaican black castor oil. It has higher purifying properties due to higher pH level, resulting from the roasting of castor seeds. This feature may increase the castor oil benefits for reducing acne and cleansing scalp.
Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Adding hydrogen to the oil yields hydrogenated castor oil or castor wax. This is a hardened and brittle version of castor oil that does not dissolve in water. It’s a common ingredient for cosmetics. Products like lotions and creams use it for emollient and thickening purposes. Many commercial applications use this formulation to resist oil and moisture. Examples are waxes, candles, and crayons. It has valuable uses for paper coatings and manufacturing greases as well.
Chemical Extracted Castor Oil
Chemical extracted castor oil may be cheaper than other types of castor oil. This involves solvents such as heptane and hexane. Solvent extraction is typically the fastest and cheapest way of obtaining the oil from the seeds. The result could be low quality product due to chemical impurities.
Cold Pressed Castor Oil
Cold pressed castor oil is made by pressing organic castor seeds with no heat involved. Thus, the term cold pressed. Without heat, there is a lower risk of degrading the oil’s natural healing properties. Users get the maximum benefits when using cold pressed castor oil. A cold pressed castor oil could be refined or unrefined. Unrefined castor oil is more concentrated. It is yellowish and thicker in texture.
What Type of Castor Oil Should You Choose?
Among the different types of castor oil, which one should you pick? The answer always depends on your needs and preferences. However, the best option would be to use 100% cold pressed castor oil. Not only does it contain the highest amount of nutrients than any other types of castor oil. It comes from organic castor seeds as well. It has a multitude of surprising uses for hair, face, and body. With every use, you are certain that your product is safe and effective.
Once you picked your favorite castor oil among these types of castor oil, you should learn how to use them properly. Discover the different castor oil benefits for hair and skin. Make it a part of your daily personal care routine for a healthier you.