Natural oils and hair care

When it comes to hair care perhaps the first oil that you think about is the highly praised argan oil and it might indeed be correct when it comes to virgin and undamaged hair but who on earth except a few sane teenagers (because of their sane mothers) and a tiny group of adults has undamaged hair these days?

Even if you don't bleach and dye the hair regularly, natural aging, exposure to UV light and cleansing and grooming products leave their footprints on our hair.

I recently stumbled upon a scientific article and I was so fascinated by the study that I shared it all around the social media and on all possible channels but since some of you have missed those posts and have asked me to share the article with you here I am sharing it once more in a more permanent way than the short lived social media posts

Impact of Hair Damage on the Penetration Profile of Coconut, Avocado, and Argan Oils into Caucasian Hair Fibers
The mitigation of damaged hair conditions involves the application and penetration of substances to stabilize broken bond sites, restore lipids and proteins, reinstate hydrophobicity, and recover hair mechanical properties. Vegetable oils, in general, exhibit a list of advantageous characteristics much desired by consumers, given the associated benefits for hair fibers. While coconut oil is highly popular in the hair care market and extensively studied for its ability to diffuse through the hair cortex, the effects of avocado and argan oil on the internal structure of hair and their potential benefits remain underexplored. Tensile and fatigue tests, as well as Raman spectroscopy, were carried out to investigate the interaction of these three oils with virgin and bleached Caucasian hair. The oils were applied in sufficient amounts directly to hair tresses and maintained for 24 h at 25 °C. Our results show that the three oils successfully diffused and interacted with the cortical region of the hairs. Their impact on hair mechanical properties depends on the level of damage and humidity conditions. In virgin hair, coconut and avocado oil reinforce the hydrophobic barrier of the cellular membrane complex, preventing water from causing intense perturbation of the mechanical properties, leading to increased stiffness and break stress. Meanwhile, due to the high degree of unsaturation of its fatty acid chains, argan oil increases water absorption, resulting in losses in hair resistance. When bleached, the hydrophilicity of the hair fiber increases, determining more affinity for argan oil. Consequently, the affinity with water is also elevated, causing increased fragility to mechanical stress. The analyzed vegetable oils are not always beneficial for hair care. Their specific chemical characteristics and hair conditions will influence the final results and should be taken into consideration in hair care product development.

In short terms it explains that although argan oil works magics on virgin and undamaged hair, when it comes to damaged (bleached, UV radiation) hair, the coconut and avocado oil show better results because of the fatty acid profile and oil polarity.

If you are still struggling with the oil polarity concept we have a replay of our masterclass which is available here

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