Polar oils are oils that have molecules that can migrate into a hair fibre. They are attracted into the hair shaft by the protein keratin found inside the cortex.
Polar oils are effective for sealing in moisture but only for a limited time. Over time, polar oils migrate into the hair fibre so the seal is removed.
On the other hand non-polar oils form a complete barrier and don't allow moisture into or out of the hair fibre. This may sound like a fabulous feature but it isn't because hair natural dries anyway. Once the hair dries a non-polar oil would make it almost impossible to re-moisturise the hair.
Polar oils offer you flexibility because whilst they can seal hair effectively they can also be rinsed off easily.
If you follow a no-poo regime or use weaker, sulfate free shampoos then you'll have no problems washing polar oils off. Petrolatums and mineral oils need the strength of a sulfate-containing shampoo to be washed off and they need to be washed off to re-moisturise hair again.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward