I love hair oils, but I think some explaining has to be done. There are a million and one hair “oils” on the market, and even more misinformation and BS about what the actual ingredients are, and what, if any, the benefits are for your hair.
There are oils, and there are silicones, more commonly known as serums, but often masquerading as “oils”. Let’s be clear – silicones, per se, offer no healing or conditioning benefits for your hair. NONE. Silicones coat the hair, and can protect the hair from heat styling as well as reduce the appearance of frizz. They do not nourish the hair, or provide conditioning benefits. Think of applying body lotion and wearing a coat. The coat will protect your skin from rain, cold and other environmental assaults, but the lotion will add moisture and nourishment to the skin. But if you only ever wear a coat to protect your skin, under the coat your skin will eventually get dry and dehydrated. Imagine, to push my analogy further, trying to apply lotion to your skin over the coat. Ridiculous, right? But we do this all the time when we try to condition or treat hair that is coated in silicone.
So what does this mean? Well, it depends on your needs. Do you want to protect your hair from a flat iron or hair dryer, and is your hair already healthy? Then a silicone based serum product is perhaps a good choice for you. My two cents? Serums are old news and there many things you can do for your hair that are better and more effective at healing and protecting. Also – if your hair is so frito that the only thing that flattens it is silicone serums, consider: trimming, stopping chemical treatments & letting it dry naturally, for pity’s sake. Few things look worse than blow dried/straightened hay hair. It’s not worth it, ladies! Suck it up & get a trim.
Now, as a rule, I try everything so my dear readers don’t have to. I have had long, thick, wavy coarse colour treated hair for a long long time and have tried every thing in the market to calm it. I will discuss conditioners and leave in conditioning treatments in another post, but for now I am addressing oils. Again, silicone is not oil. The elephant in that room would be Moroccan Oil™. It was one of the first commercially successful argan oil hair products on the market and managed to own that market share quickly. Let’s get this out of the way right now- argan oil is the 6th listed ingredient in Moroccan Oil™, the first five being silicone variants. I call silicone a “false friend”. Silicone seems like magic: it makes your hair shiny, helpts with detangling and smoothes the ends. But, that magic is temporary, and over time your hair can get increasingly dry, and can start to lose it’s suppleness. Why? Silicone is like an invisible plastic film that is not easily washed away by shampoo, except the very detergent-y ones, which are very drying for your hair and totally counterproductive! The silicone coats the hair which blocks the nourishing substances the cuticle needs. Moroccan Oil™ smells good, but unless you want to coat your hair in plastic, there are better products out there.
So- what oil is best for your hair, if you want to condition and treat your hair? Our hair is actually a rough coated thing, with cuticles held together by ceramides, constituted by essential fatty acids. We need them to stick together for a smooth surface, which helps the hair protect itself, and also makes it shiny. They also work as a barrier to keep the moisture inside the hair shaft from escaping, as well as absorb moisture from the air around us to keep the hair’s moisture levels optimum. Damaged and dry hair becomes rough, porous and vulnerable, as well as losing it’s shine. You want thin, viscous oils with fatty acids – one of the reasons argan oil is so heralded for hair and skincare is that argan oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 9 which are a direct source of essential nutritional components for hair pore/cuticles and roots. Camellia oil has been the traditional beneficial beauty treatment for hair in Japan used for centuries for its effective properties as a hair nourisher and conditioner as it has a high amount of vitamin e which is essential for healthy hair. It also contains oleic acid, which softens – you find oleic acid in shea and olive oils as well, although their denser properties makes them better for skincare.
So, I’ve tried many many many hair potions, dear readers. I can honestly say that the only “oil” that has had a positive and quantitive effect on my hair has been a potion that combines both camellia and argan oil (as well as other good oils), Aroma M Camellia Oil for hair. My hair is instantly smoother and shinier when I use it, and is never greasy. I can almost watch my thirsty hair drink it up. I would invite you to do your own research with argan and camellia oils to find a brand that works for you. If you want a simple argan oil, I would recommend Josie Maran Argan Oil. It’s pure, easy to find at Sephora, and reasonably priced. You can use it on your skin too! I love it, but found it a bit heavy for my hair, so I’m sticking with my Aroma M Camellia Oil for hair. I have a sample of Aroma M Camellia Face Oil that I plan to try this week, so stay tuned for that review.