Trying to decide on an oil? Which oil you go for should depend on what you want to use it for!
For the scalp, e.g. if your scalp is dry
You need something that is light, so it doesn't clog up the pores and very rich in Vitamin E to nourish the scalp :
You need an oil whose fatty acids can penetrate the hair fibre. Why?
According to the Science of Black Hair, hair swells when it is wet and shrinks when it is dry. This constant swelling and shrinking is called hygral fatigue; overtime it weakens the hair fibre thereby making it more vulnerable to breakage. You can avoid hygral fatigue by applying an oil that is high in saturated fatty acids and/or monounsaturated fatty acids before the shampoo. These types of fatty acids can penetrate the hair shaft so that when you wash the hair, the hair fibre doesn't swell as much and is therefore less prone to weakening from hygral fatigue.
The best oils (from the one with the highest content of saturated fats and/or monounsaturates):
Sealing in moisture
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are too large to penetrate hair's cuticle layer. Most of them bind to the outside of hair and stop moisture from escaping. Whilst the "pre-shampoo oils" mostly work by strengthening hair from the inside, oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids operate from outside the cuticle layer of hair.
The best oils (from the one with the highest content of polyunsaturated fatty acids are):
Castor oil (89%)
Flaxseed oil (73%)
Grapeseed oil (70%)
Note that most oils should keep well for a year plus except flaxseed oil whose shelf life is only 6 months! You can prolong the life of flaxseed oil by keeping it in the fridge. Some oils have an almost indefinite shelf life, e.g. castor oil and jojoba.
How about this whole acid/alkaline thing?
For the most part, oils are weakly acidic. However, even if the oil is weakly alkaline it doesn't mean it will cause you any harm. Try it and decide whether or not your hair agrees with it.
But ... oils make my hair dry!
If you think an oil is drying your hair out it could mean you're using it wrongly. Remember oils are NOT moisturisers. Oil and water repel each other so to get the benefit of an oil use a proper moisturiser first, e.g. leave-in conditioner and oil should follow after that.
You might also like:
The supersonic benefits of argan oil on natural black hair
6 fabulous benefits of avocado oil on natural hair
8 Benefits of Castor oil for natural hair & a warning!
6 top benefits of coconut oil - a MUST for every natural hair regimen!
8 great benefits of jojoba oil on natural hair
5 benefits of sweet almond oil on natural hair
Get your FREE ebook on How To Grow Long, Healthy Natural Kinky or Curly Hair.
Investigation of Penetration Abilities of Various Oils;
Acid/alkaline chart (Natural Health Center), LookChem; NaturallyThinking; Balance pH diet; GardenOfWisdom;
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward