Oil care using vegetable oil for the hair and scalp is popular right now! However, there can be alternate approaches to this form of care depending on the difference in the molecular structure of the vegetable oil and the efficacy of the ingredients.
Today, let’s explore the different vegetable oils recommended for hair care.
The most commonly-used oil for hair care is coconut oil. Several studies have shown that it is the only vegetable oil that supplements protein shortages in the hair.
This is because lauric acid, the main component of coconut oil, has a low molecular weight and a linear structure, giving it high compatibility with hair proteins and allowing strong permeation into the interior of the hair.
It is also recognized as being effective for the formation of hair cuticles.
On the other hand, hydrocarbon mineral oils (e.g. mineral oil, baby oil) have no affinity for proteins and do not penetrate into the hair. As with sunflower oil, even though they are vegetable oils the molecular structure is complicated. The result is that they don’t penetrate hair fibers, or work to improve the shortage of protein in the hair.
However, it is said that mineral oil and sunflower oil have a coating effect, absorbing to the surface of the cuticle and adding lustre to the hair. In addition, they reduce friction and prevent damage of the hair, and are thought to improve rosacea and split ends. See here for more details.
Argan oil, which is a popular oil commonly used in cosmetics, is rich in potent antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenols. It helps to improve skin elasticity and prevent aging, has an anti-inflammatory effect and also a brightening effect for the skin.
Although there are many research results, it is however currently felt that the data is insufficient to make a definite assessment for its hair care effects.
Since argan oil is very effective for skin care, though, it can be useful for aiding the scalp in recovering from damage. It also has the effect of coating hair and giving it lustre to prevent dryness.
Other oils can be used for hair care too. Tsubaki oil (Camellia japonica) is often used in Japan. It is a vegetable oil containing oleic acid at a ratio of 80% or more. Since oleic acid is a fatty acid also contained in human sebum, it is thought to have a positive effect for itching and dandruff, preventing the drying of the scalp and regulating the sebum balance.
See here for more information on its anti-wrinkle action and anti-inflammatory action. Although it is an excellent oil for anti-aging and damage recovery of the skin, there is actually little data on its use for hair care. Like argan oil, it is good to use as a head massage oil for a healthy scalp. Also, since camellia oil is the main component of oleic acid, it can be more effective on a dry scalp.
Finally, there has been some research on the efficacy of rice oil in promoting hair growth. We will have to wait for further research results to see whether it might improve hair thinning, though!
While coconut oil can be effective for hair treatment it is not suitable for everyday use. For the purpose of improving the scalp and hair – split ends, stronger hair etc – it would be better to use camellia oil or argan oil. However, remember to pay attention to the amount you use so that the hair does not become sticky.
In the next article I will give you a recipe for coconut hair care oil and directions on its use. Join me then!