Won't putting oil in my hair make it greasy, heavy, unmanageable??
Have you been hearing or reading the hype around oils on your hair? Some love it, some hate it, others say it is trouble waiting to happen. What is truth, what is fiction? The not so easy answer is maybe all of it is correct if you aren't using the right oils the right way..
Oils on hair just sit there and create problems by sealing in microorganisms and what not. This is what some ppl say. I wonder if this comes from the idea that petroleum jelly is really bad to use on mucous membranes because it can mask an infection. I will agree that I think petroleum jelly is a terrible idea to use as a hair product. Well, unless you want to be a greaser from The Outsiders maybe. Do they still read that book in high school? Poor Pony Boy.
So there is some truth to this idea, not all oils are created equal. Some are big and heavy when speaking of molecules, and will not do anything but sit there and look greasy on hair. Others are known to absorb into the hair strand and offer protection, softening, water repellant effects, even anti inflammatory, anti aging, and anti microbial effects. Those are the good kinds. Studies have been done on Coconut oil, Sunflower seed oil, babassu oil, etc and show that they actually do protect hair when wet against protein loss. That is something you do want by the way. Protein loss is no bueno!
Hair compatible oils definitely do exist, and they are all plant based. Argan Oil is one incredibly well known one, Abyssinian Oil is another that is exceptional (it is an annual plant seed oil, which means RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE too). Babassu, Moringa, Manoi, Pequi, Baobab, among others all are beneficial to hair and skin.
Stay away from petroleum and mineral oils, they are heavy and unable to absorb into hair strands and skin. Remember tanning with baby oil? Was that only me? I swear my mom taught me to use it!
The concern of a water tight film forming and causing issues is something to talk about. Will oils trap fungi, microbes, gunk and what not under them? Possibly, but that is what shampoo is for! You want to cleanse the things you apply to skin and hair with a cleanser. You don’t just keep applying make up, layer after layer, day after day, do you? Well, don’t do it to your hair or scalp either. Hair product is really similar to cosmetics for your face. This water tight film concern is a moot point when you are washing your hair. I will say that I wonder if a co-wash method does an effective enough job at removing these substances, but I don’t feel a concern when surfactants are used. So if you use a no shampoo method of hair care, do more research before deciding to use oils on your hair.
In the previous blog post we looked at how water effects your hair strands, and the major concern is absorption and swelling of the strand from the inside which will result in damage to the cuticle over time. This is my favorite use for oil on hair. Using oils to replace or bolster the Lipid layer that naturally exists on hair, and is lost during chemical processing. You are doing your part to reduce swelling, your hair will thank you for that in the long run. You will thank yourself, because the more swelling happens the more difficult hair can become to work with. It takes more effort to work with and style when damaged, so keeping damage managed is not just good for your hair, it is good for your nerves, too!