Keeping things organic and natural is becoming a trend most people are beginning to adopt especially in relation to health, nutrition and personal care. An increasing number of African women are discontinuing the use of chemicals and opting for more naturally derived products for their hair maintenance and grooming. The focus of this piece will be on natural oils for healthy hair care and grooming.
Why should you use natural products on your hair?
Most natural products are plant and seed extracts in form of oils which have the power to work gentle wonders on your hair and scalp. These oils penetrate deeply into your hair shaft and follicles to help produce healthy, shiny hair. Some oils can be extremely helpful to soothe dry, irritated scalp while some oils influence the sebaceous glands and can normalize their function. The bonus is that they are budget friendly and are readily available. And if you are a do-it-yourself person (DIY), you can make some of these oils yourself from the comfort of your home!
Classification of Natural Oils
There are generally three classes of oils, they are Carrier Oils, Sealing Oils and Essential Oils. This piece will focus on two classes.
They are called so because they carry the oil onto the hair. They are also known as base oils and are usually derived from seeds or nuts. Carrier oils are best used in their most natural and unadulterated form. Cold pressing and maceration are the two main methods of producing carrier oils. Carrier oils are very important in hair care; they are great moisturizers, strengtheners and very nourishing for hair. Examples of carrier oils are olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
They are called so because they lock in moisture to your strands. They are Oils that do not penetrate the shaft of the hair. Examples of such oils are grapeseed oils. However, there are oils that can serve as both carrier oil and sealing oils. examples of such oils are castor oils and jojoba oils.
Types of Natural Oils
- Jojoba Oil
Jojoba is great for all hair types and has an ability to inhibit excess activity of the sebaceous glands making it the perfect choice for people with oily scalps that still needs conditioning. This oil rapidly penetrates down to the scalp and hair shaft, loosens and dissolves hardened build-up on the hair and scalp. The scalp and hair follicles are left clean and free to continue their normal function. It is a fairly light oil that is most effective in sealing in the moisture added during wash day or other hair regimen activities.
- Olive Oil
Only olive oil that is labelled “extra virgin” guarantees that the oil has been cold pressed from freshly harvested olives and does not contain chemicals. Extra virgin olive oil that is green in color is of higher quality than golden-yellow oil. Olive oil helps in preventing as well as curing hair loss. For relaxed/permed hair, Olive Oil can be used to repair the damage caused by excessive chemical use. This oil contains antioxidant that promotes a healthy hair and scalp. Olive oil smoothens and strengthens hair cuticles.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is considered one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It softens the hair and conditions the scalp.
- Castor Oil
Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. It nourishes hair and prevents the scalp from drying by retaining moisture. Castor oil when added to hair care products helps to seal moisture, softens, and visibly thickens. It is no surprise that castor oil makes the list as one of the best sealing oils one can use. Because this oil is extremity thick it is a great sealant for thicker textures, especially hair.
- Avocado Oil
This is extracted from the king of the ‘hair’ fruits avocado. It is full of vitamins that your hair needs like vitamins A, E, D and potassium. If you want a super deep conditioner treatment without having to buy a commercial preparation, you can add avocado oil to the other carrier oils and you will definitely feel and see the difference.
- Grapeseed Oil
This oil is extremely light and possesses an ability to withstand high amounts of heat. This makes it best for women with finer/ thinner strands that want to seal in the moisture for their ends without being weighed down or greasy/oily.
Wondering where to get some of these oils? Check out my girl @22byblack on Instagram.