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All About Oils for Transitioning and Natural Hair

10:46 PM

Hey everybody! Welcome to week 2 of the challenge! Technically, it's like week 2.5 but I wanted to align the content rolling out with the beginning of the week instead of Wednesdays. Turns out, Wednesdays is a heavy day for me. Blog-wise, I've got Wellness Wednesdays rolling, it is also my BGLH deadline, I have Bible study (#spiritualwellness), and I just tend to have a lot of meetings for work on Wednesdays. Anyways, back to Spring Forward. I hope you all enjoyed week 1's video. It definitely ran a little long, but I am working on narrowing down information to make it a little easier on everyone.

With that being said, week 2 is all about oils, deep conditioning, and moisture retention. Yeah, that's the good stuff! Rather than create one looong post about all three, let's break them up. Ready?

Oils: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to natural hair care, there are two types of oils: essential and carrier. For the purposes of the challenge, we will be focusing on carrier oils. Feel free to integrate essential oils into your healthy hair journey, though! If you are interested in learning about essential oils, click here.

Overall, oils commonly serve two purposes: moisturizing and moisture retention. Both are critical to growing and maintaining healthy hair. As we all know, the only truly moisturizing oils (read: the only oils with a molecular structure able to penetrate the hair shaft) are Coconut and Olive Oil. These penetrating oils allow for hair to not feel as "stripped" in the cleansing process, because they have had the opportunity to absorb into the hair shaft. Those oils that sit on the surface of the hair essentially help prevent the loss of water from inside the hair, by sealing it in. Oils are widely used by naturals in all stages of the hair care process. Oils are great for:
  • pre-poos
  • mixing in to deep conditioners, regular conditioners, shampoos, and leave-ins
  • detangling hair
  • sealing hair
  • henna mixes
  • Scalp massages
When it comes to oils, you really can't go wrong. Most oils are full of omegas/fatty acids and various vitamins, while touting an array of healing, antiseptic, scalp stimulating, soothing, smoothing, and other properties. Right about now, I am personally fascinated with the fatty acid content of oils, because I believe they serve some of the most critical functions for healthy hair. Let's explore a little bit about the omegas and hair:

Omega-3 Fatty Acid
  • Increases hair elasticity (less breakage)
  • Nourishes hair follicles
  • Can help re-start hair growth
  • Increases hair strength and thickness
  • Prevent or reverse hair loss
  • Improve flaky/dry scalp
  • Improve scalp circulation
Omega-6 Fatty Acid
  • Controls water loss in hair
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Controls/helps improve eczema and similar skin/scalp conditions
Omega-9 Fatty Acid
  • Controls water loss in hair
  • Makes hair softer and more pliable
Here is a list of common oils used by naturals, organized by their fatty acid content:

Oil
Omega-3
Omega-6
Omega-9
Almond
(X)
X
Avocado
(X)
X
Coconut
(X)
X
Evening Primrose
X
(X)
Flax Seed
X
(X)
(X)
Grapeseed
X
(X)
Hemp Seed 
(X)
X
(X)
Kukui Nut
(X)
X
Macadamia Nut
(X)
X
Neem
(X)
X
Olive
(X)
X
Palm Kernel
X
Safflower
X
(X)
Soybean
(X)
X
(X)
Sunflower
X
(X)

X = highest fatty acid content
(X) = contains this fatty acid, but less than 20%

Isn't it amazing what a little omega can do for your hair? When the fatty acids in oils come together, they help serve three wonderful purposes:
  1. Cement: They shape the substance that seal scales of the hair cuticle, in the same way that cement keeps together the bricks in a wall. Because the scales are "cemented" together, they make for a smooth surface, which enables the hair to protect itself against external aggressions, and to reflect light (shiny hair).
  2. Barrier: Also known as sealing. They prevent the water that was absorbed by the hair from evaporating.
  3. Sponge: Fatty acids are also mild humectants. They are able to absorb small amounts of water from the air's humidity in order to help maintain hair hydration.
Lastly, it's important to understand that all oils are not created equally. You and your hair will reap the most benefit from oils that are:
  • Virgin or Pure: Meaning that the oil was obtained by mechanical processes, without industrial refinement or chemical additives.
  • Cold Pressed: Meaning that the seeds, nuts, or kernels are pressed to release their oils without heat. Cold pressed oils best retain the nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids that provide the benefits you seek. Heat diminishes their presence and effectiveness.
  • Organic: Which guarantees that there is has been no fertilizer, no herbicides or chemical pesticides in the environment where the product source is cultivated. Because those elements are soluble in greasy substances, they end up in the raw product (unrefined/cold pressed). Only industrial refinement can then eliminate the impurities...then the oil itself loses its effectiveness. Talk about a vicious cycle.
  • For a rundown on some of the best natural hair oils, click here.

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    2 comments

    1. This was extremely helpful. I've already added Coconut Jamaican Black Castor Oil to my hair regimen.

      ReplyDelete
    2. Glad it was helpful! Let me know how JBCO works for you!

      ReplyDelete