Natural oils have been used for centuries to add shine, condition, moisturize, soften, and seal hair of all types. Natural oils extracted from plants are best for the hair and skin, as they rarely have negative side effects unless the user has an allergic reaction. The main 2 types of plant oils used in haircare products are penetrating and sealing. Although there are plant oils that can penetrate and seal, each oil is placed in only one category based upon its dominant characteristic.
Penetrating oils are made of small molecules and can easily enter the structure of the hair. Since these oils are easily absorbed, they are frequently used to moisturize and condition the hair. Penetrating oils can be used alone as a pre- wash, added to a conditioner to increase penetration, or used to oil the scalp. They carry nutrients and vitamins into the structure of the hair, deep condition, and improve the overall health of the hair. Examples of frequently used penetrating oils are coconut, babassu and palm kernel. Olive, avocado, argan, and shea are also penetrating oils that can offer limited sealing.
Sealing oils are made of large molecules that are unable to penetrate the cuticle of the hair. These oils seal the surface of the hair, holding in moisture and adding slip. Sealed hair is less likely to frizz if exposed to high humidity or become dry and brittle in cold climates. Hair that has been coated with a sealing oil also tangles less. Some of the popular sealing oils used in haircare products are rice bran, castor, jojoba, and grapeseed. These oils are most often used as post wash sealants, frizz controllers and detanglers.
Although the plant oils have been tested and categorized, it is best to confirm their impact on your hair through actual use. If your hair feels dry or brittle within 1-3 days after application, it is likely that the products you are using do not contain the best penetrating and sealing oils for your hair. When the products used contain the best oils for your hair, the overall effectiveness of your haircare regimen is increased and the result is moisturized, healthy hair. If you would like help determining which oils are most effective for your hair, please inbox me for more information.