The Exciting World Of Natural Oils And Their Benefits In Hair Care - Part 1.




Before the 'revolution' in  black hair care began, a lot of hair products specifically targeted towards the care of our hair, were laden with mineral oil a.k.a parrafin liquidum and petroleum oil a.k.a Petrolatum (some of them still are actually). Now while these emollients are not 'bad' in of themselves, the effect they have on our strands in the long run is where the problem lies.

We know now that moisturizing our hair daily with a water based moisturizer and using a deep conditioning treatment weekly is a key factor in making our hair supple, well elasticized and breakage free. When we apply these moisturizers, it's like giving our hair a 'drink of water' - effectively quenching its thirst.

Now think of petroleum jelly - if you smear some on your hand and then pour water on that portion of hand, what happens? The water glides off as the petroleum jelly has created a 'barrier'.

The same thing happens with our hair! When we apply products laden with these substances, they create an un - permeable barrier and any moisture we try to apply subsequently, just sits on top of the strands instead of penetrating through and 'quenching' the hair's thirst. Result? Hair gets dry, brittle and eventually breaks off. This is even more pronounced for those who wash very rarely yet load these products on their hair and scalp very frequently.






Thankfully, with a lot of research and insight into oils that benefit the hair, it's now come to light that the oils best suited for hair are natural oils  - particularly those that have very tiny molecules and are able to penetrate the strands. Their ability to penetrate the strands makes the barrier they create against the loss of moisture permeable; allowing subsequent moisture applied to come through.

As an added benefit, most of these oils nourish and strengthen the hair from within the shaft when they penetrate through!

Seeing as there are so many beneficial natural oils, this post will cover a few and we will continue in a subsequent post. For ease of understanding too, the oils will be classified under 2 categories:

Carrier Oils: So called because they are used as mixing bases to 'carry' essential oils into the skin and scalp; and
Essential Oils: These oils emit the distinctive smells of the plants from which they are extracted, are potent and should NEVER be used directly on the skin or scalp.



It is also worth mentioning that oils DO NOT moisturize hair - they only seal in moisture already applied to the hair. Always apply your oils AFTER your moisturizers.

CARRIER OILS

1. Coconut Oil: I've probably sung the praises of this oil a thousand times before but it's still worth singing :) Coconut Oil penetrates up to 90% of the hair's cortex - nourishing the strands from deep within. Its high concentration of saturated fatty acids strengthen the hair shaft, prevent breakage, maintains hair's elasticity, imparts sheen and shine, and encourages length retention (seriously if you haven't started using coconut oil, you need to stop right here, bookmark this page, come over to 29C Ikorodu Crescent Dolphin Estate and get your self a jar!) :)



2. Olive Oil: Rich in high levels of mono unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E; Olive oil will also penetrate the hair strands (though not up to the high level of coconut oil) and nourish the strands from within. Its emollient properties help prevent hair loss and are very beneficial in the treatment of dandruff and psoriasis.



3. Avocado Oil: Rich in Vitamin E, Oleic Acid and Leicithin; avocado oil is very lightweight and is easily absorbed into the hair and skin. It helps retain moisture in the hair's cuticle, thereby reviving dry, damaged and weak hair.

4. Jojoba Oil: This oil is unique in that its molecular structure is very similar to that of the sebum which our scalps produce. It is therefore very helpful in the regulation of sebum production. If you suffer from a dry scalp, it will act as a substitute by moisturizing the follicle, preventing coarseness and encouraging the growth of new cells. If you suffer from excess sebum production, jojoba oil will breakdown the buildup, unclog the pores and clean them out. (Seriously though, God thought of everything!)

5. Grapeseed Oil: Non allergenic and rich in antioxidants; grapeseed oil is a winner for people with sensitive skin and scalps. It is also great for combating dandruff and helps impart sheen and shine.



6. Castor Oil: A very popular and special oil; its anti fungal, anti viral and anti bacterial properties, make it very beneficial in the treatment of scalp infections. Furthermore its very rich Vitamin E and essential fatty acid content make it invaluable in the aid of healthy hair growth and in combating hair thinning, hair loss and dry & itchy scalp issues. Jamaican Black Castor Oil is the more potent, unrefined form which means most of its nutritive properties have been retained.



7. Sweet Almond Oil:  This oil nourishes the hair and smoothes the cuticles making it beneficial in the growth of long, strong and thick hair. It is also a great oil for combating dark under eye circles.

8. Argan oil a.k.a. 'Liquid Gold': Extracted from the kernel of the Argan tree endemic to South Western Morrocco; this expensive oil which is a natural source of Vitamin E, penetrates the hair shaft and promotes hair growth. It also softens hair, eliminates frizz, prevents split ends and improves elasticity. In skin care, it softens skin, reduces wrinkles and the naturally occuring Vitamin F found in the oil revitalizes skin cells leading to luminous, glowing skin. Little wonder it is referred to as 'Liquid Gold'.

Local Moroccan woman producing Argan Oil.


Currently my night time routine consists of cleaning off my makeup with baby wipes, washing my face with either Dudu Osun or Dr. Bronner's peppermint/tea tree castille soap and then moisturizing with Argan Oil - I am loving my skin!

The follow up to this series will come later on in the week - have a great one folks!




1 comment

  1. So many oil's just for the hair.How do I know which to use?

    ReplyDelete