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Do oils suffocate the hair or moisturise?

September 19, 2017

Some hair stylists believe natural plant oils if not mixed with other synthetic ingredients will form an impermeable barrier on the hair, preventing natural moisture from the environment to penetrate. This will dehydrate the hair & make it look dull & frizzy. On the same token some proponents for using natural plant oils, believe that applying a light oil to hair, will not only moisture it but will also help with styling.

To understand both sides of the argument, lets look at the structure of our hair. Healthy, strong hair is not very porous and is naturally hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. Hair that is porous absorbs water very quickly, causing the hair to swell. When this happens, hair is more prone to breakage. Therefore hydrophobicity (ie the ability to repel water) helps hair maintain its balance and is essential for hair health.  

So, by this very definition of the nature of our hair, some types of hair benefit more from natural oil than others. If your hair needs a great deal of softening and absorbs a great deal of water, the deeper-penetrating oils are a better choice. But if your hair is easier to maintain and in good condition, having oils that only stay in and on the outermost cuticle layers is still going to give you benefits.

What is the right oil for your hair? Truthfully speaking, it varies on each persons hair type. Natural plant oils & butter have been used by men and women for thousands of years to nourish the scalp and add strength and lustre to hair. A natural oil that penetrates the hair and does not sit on the hair & lubricates it is what you should look for. There will be no build-up of chemicals if pure plant based oils are used. Excess oil can be washed off with a natural detergent free soap.  Some of the other factors that determine whether you are suffocating your hair depends on how much oil you are using, how frequently you are using and how you are doing it.

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