by Fran, HeyFranHey.com
Scientifically, I’ve read that only 3 oils have a molecular structure small enough to actually penetrate the hair shaft and induce moisture; while the rest will sit on top of the strand, coating the cuticle, as more of a sealant of moisture. An understanding of both types will ensure an effective hair regimen. But, as always, since no two heads are alike it is helpful to try different oils and methods to see which works best for your particular hair type. Here are 3 moisturizing oils and 3 sealing oils worth putting to the test!
Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is the least processed form of the oil and your best bet for optimal hair health. It has been debated whether Coconut Oil is a moisturizer or a sealant, but studies have proved it to be a bit of both. The molecular structure of the oil is small enough to allow it to penetrate, unlike most other oils, but in a very limited quantity. It is usually most effective when used with a bit of water or a water-based leave-in. And because its penetration is limited, the majority of the coconut oil applied will actually stay outside coating the cuticle as a sealant. This is how and why it can be seen as both! It is also extremely beneficial for those suffering from high porosity strands, as the natural protein it provides can work towards fortifying the new growth and minimizing any further damage against the rest of your strands.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is 2nd oil known for its penetrating and moisturizing properties. Similar to coconut oil, it is best used with water or a water-based leave-in. While most people would assume oil and water don’t mix, it is the oil that will help the hair strand retain the water! Olive oil is also known to help promote shine and manageability. I love it as a twice-monthly deep treatment with avocado and coconut milk!
Avocado Oil is the 3rd of the penetrating and moisturizing oils. High in essential vitamins and nutrients, many have seen improved hair stimulation and growth using this oil regularly. Best used as a pre-poo (before washing) weekly deep treatment.
JBCO is the unprocessed version of Castor Oil. One of my favorite parts of this oil is its hair softening effects; as well as its ability to draw out impurities and stimulate hair growth. Its honey-like consistency makes it an ideal sealant for those with thicker textures in need of more hold.
Grapeseed oil is idea for those wanting to seal in the moisture from their water-based leave-ins or water without feeling greasy or weighed down. This light oil is extremely effective, especially for finer or thinner textures. As well as for those with sensitivity to fragrance, as this oil is odorless. It is also beneficial as a heat protectant due to its ability to withstand high heat. For best results, try using Grapeseed oil as a deep treatment mixed with 8 drops of Lavender Essential Oil on a monthly basis.
Jojoba oil is another light yet highly effective oil for sealing moisture in natural hair. It’s actually my favorite considering it is the oil closest to that of our natural oil. Whenever my scalp is feeling flaky or dry, or for those suffering from ailments like Seborrheic Dermatitis, a deep massage with jojoba oil before washing the hair will help replenish lost moisture and restore the proper pH balance.
If you feel oil isn’t enough hold or sealing enough, try a soft but thick butter like Raw Shea Butter. If you feel butters and oils just aren’t for you, try sealing your hair, after applying your leave-in, with Pure Aloe Vera Juice. Its acidity is perfect for closing the cuticle.