The mestiza muse

Hair Oils are NOT Cancelled

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Verna Meachum

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Just as protein or any other ingredient doesn’t work for every hair, the same is with hair oils.
Prepoo oil on dry hair? What? You mean you use a water-insoluble film on dry hair?

Yes! I sure do! Look, I can appreciate you don’t think oil is for your hair, BUT that doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial on someone else’s hair.

If your hair can tolerate oil without getting limp or greasy, oils can seal in the moisture on your hair and slow that moisture’s escape.

Yes, oils do not hydrate, but it softens and lubricates the hair. Oil is water-free so it can’t hydrate or moisturize and that’s ok because there’s a lot more to hair than just water!

Let’s take coconut oil for an example.

During washing some coconut oil gets into the hair fiber or as it’s being washed. Because oil repels water, when it is introduced to the interior of the hair which ordinarily attracts water, it makes the inside of the hair water repellent so it swells less.

Less swelling means the cuticles won’t be lifted up where they are easily broken off which means that all those proteins that belong to the cuticle won’t be lost. Your hair won’t be waterlogged and you hair is soft afterwards.

The effect is more obvious on damaged, porous, bleached hair and less obvious on low porosity hair.

By the way, coconut oil is less effective if it’s applied to hair after washing than if applied as a pre-poo oil treatment.

If coconut oil is too heavy for your hair, an oil mixture like Righteous Roots Oils or Floracurl may be better for low porosity hair.

If oil is not your thing, a pre-poo application of conditioner might do the trick.

Adding a layer of hair butter or oil works great at creating a layer that would help hair hold onto its moisture for a longer period of time. Our natural sebum, which helps keep cuticle flat, has a hard time working down the kinks and curls of textured hair, thus we have the option of using pre-poo oil treatments. It’s actually the best studied to address the swelling of protein loss and water-logging. Check it out in the Journal of Cosmetic Science.

So using emollients like coconut oil which is effective for addressing this problem helps make your hair more water repelling to slow the movement of water into the hair but other penetrating oils like avocado may similarly be as effective as coconut oil. These are great solutions that will consistently reinforces our hair cuticles.

Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science. Sciencey-blog. Hair and Haircare

Comments +

  1. Rachel Orleck says:

    I’m curious what your thoughts on Lorraine Massey’s theory that oil (a) stains the hair, and (b) that it eventually makes hair more dry because it prevents water from being absorbed into the hair?

    • Verna says:

      Hi Rachel. I cannot speak for what Lorraine Massey thinks about oils. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and experience. I however, believe what I’ve referenced in my blog and the research supports it.

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