Hair oils are plant-sourced beauty products that feature hair-supportive compounds. These natural oils:
What are Hair Oils?
Hair is a key factor in beauty, and is often considered a general indicator of good health. The typical human head has more than 100,000 hairs, with each one consisting of keratin, an important protein, as well as water and lipids, which are commonly known as fats. The natural fatty acids in hair are called sebum, and produced by the sebaceous glands. This oily sebum, which also resides on the skin, helps to protect hair from the elements, while moisturizing it and giving it a healthy sheen.**
These natural fatty acids can be diminished by excessive exposure to the elements, including the sun, wind or water, particularly chlorinated swimming pool water. Synthetic hair care products may also dry out follicles, in part by adversely affecting the oily sebum layer, resulting in dulled and damaged hair. Natural hair oils consist of fatty acids that work with hair's built-in lipid content to promote healthy follicles that retain moisture, as well as an appealing shiny quality.** These oils are typically worked into the hair by hand as needed, often after washing.
Some of the most in-demand natural hair oils include:
- Argan Oil: Native to Morocco, the argan tree yields this highly valued oil, which is extracted from the kernel of its fruit. An important part of the Moroccan economy and the arid region's environmental practices, the tree and its oil have long been incorporated into local culture. Bearing a mild, nutty scent, argan oil consists of numerous beneficial compounds, notably vitamin E and the unsaturated fatty acids oleic acid (omega-9) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), which are classified as "good" fats. These antioxidant-rich nutrients are associated with maintaining skin wellness and healthy, well-moisturized hair.**
- Sweet Almond Oil: A perennially popular nut, the almond has been used across the globe in various flavorful foods and beverages for ages. Sourced from the variety called Prunus amygdalus dulcis, sweet almond oil is abundant in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, along with vitamins A and E. Common as a carrier oil that has little fragrance and regularly worked into nourishing skin massages, sweet almond oil is deemed one of the finest oils for hair health in Ayurvedic traditions.**
- Coconut Oil: Derived from the renowned inner fruit of the coconut palm tree, this oil has a diverse range of applications, including many culinary uses. Historically called upon in folk wellness practices, coconut oil is a plentiful source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed "good" fats. These nutrients are linked to moisturizing and nourishing the hair.** Coconut oil, which carries the fruit's signature tropical aroma, is particularly tied to maintaining full, healthy hair in Ayurveda.**
- Jojoba Oil: Often used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy due to its neutral scent, jojoba oil is a seed-extracted liquid wax. Long used in health traditions by Native Americans, the oil helps to promote hydrated skin and hair.** Because of its reputation for encouraging follicular wellness, jojoba oil is a frequent ingredient in hair conditioners and shampoos.**
Hair Oil Products
These hair products are primarily available as plant-sourced liquids. Coconut oil, however, is commonly offered as a semi-solid oil that becomes more like a liquid when handled. These oils are regularly used in shampoos and conditioners.
Hair Oil Directions for Use
Hair oils feature active ingredients of varying potency, so there is no standard suggested amount. These products are for external application only, unless stated otherwise on product packaging. Talk to your health care professional if you have any concerns prior to using these oils.