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HAIR OILS: WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Posted Feb 14 2013 11:50am
With benefits that run the gamut from conditioning and adding shine to treating dandruff and stimulating growth, hair oils are fast taking on the aura of liquid gold for our tresses. And forget what you think you know about this ubiquitous beauty product: the big beauty players have created a completely new generation of oils for the hair. They’ve swapped sachets for sleek pumps, heavy textures for featherweight silkiness and potent blends that do a zillion things at the same time. In actual fact, hair oil is the new hair serum. So while it still creates that glossy, swishy shine, the humble hair oil also adds protection and nourishment for your strands. And where serums typically just coat tresses with silicone for that glassy gloss, oils add shine in a far more hair-friendly manner by calling on essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that penetrate the follicles, treating and conditioning simultaneously.


And that’s not all: hair oils not only tame frizz and leave hair manageable but they also protect it from heat styling. Plus, they speed up drying time as the oil reacts with the heat to repel water from the hair. And the best ones work great in protecting your locks from the elements: slip some on to protect your hair from sun, salt water and chlorine, or use it as a mini shield against the harsh, drying effects of pollution. But before you dive into the healthy world of hair oils, it’s vital that you know exactly which ones will work for your strands. There is a hair oil for all textures and types – including the most baby-fine heads of hair. You just need to pinpoint your best fit!

COARSE, DRY OR CHEMICALLY PROCESSED HAIR

Hair becomes coarse and dry when it’s damaged, hence you need nourishing oils to repair its structure. One of the top choices is virgin coconut oil, which actually penetrates the hair shaft to patch and protect it from the inside out. Besides this, it is also lightweight, non-greasy (making it great for fine hair) and helps prevent dandruff.

Then there is avocado oil, which is rich in proteins and amino acids, along with high levels of vitamins A, D and E. All these nutrients are vital for hair growth and health: for example, the proteins help fill in all the crevices in your hair’s cuticles, so each strand is stronger and more moisturized  However, since avocado is a heavier oil, it works best on medium to thick hair.

Argan oil is loaded with vitamin E, Omega 3 and Omega 9 fatty acids that provide rich nutrition for your hair. It also contains linoleic and oleic acid that helps to hydrate and moisturize the strands. Besides this, argan oil has a small molecular structure that allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, repair damaged hair follicles and restore lost moisture. It restores the lost lustre from hair straightening and other chemical treatments, helps keep the color vibrant, prevents dryness and acts as a shield against harmful UV rays and environmental pollution.

FRIZZY HAIR

Another great thing about argan oil is that it is non-greasy and won’t weigh down hair or make it limp. Plus, since it is light and almost weightless, there is less probability of build up. This makes it ideal for taming rough, dry, frizzy and unmanageable hair.

DULL HAIR

Sweet almond oil has high contents of vitamins A, B, and E. It heals split ends, improves circulation in the scalp to produce stronger hair, and adds shine to dull hair. The fatty acids provide UV protection by reflecting harmful rays, while vitamin E makes strands grow longer and stronger.

Or try pomegranate seed oil, which contains punicic acid to revitalize dull strands and increase flexibility. It also safeguards your tresses against environmental pollutants, thereby helping keep it in optimal condition.

THICK HAIR

While everyone is reaching for argan these days, the exotically fragrant oil is more suited to thicker heads of hair. It is sticky and can be hard to get out of fine hair – you’ll need to shampoo two or three times to fully rinse it out, or else you’ll get build-up. Yet for richer locks, argan can strike the perfect balance of shine, scent and manageability.

Argan fruit and oil.


FINE HAIR

Thin or fine strands get weighed down very easily, so look for a light oil that can give them some texture. The structure of jojoba oil is the closest to the makeup of the sebum that is naturally produced from the scalp. It is also the lightest and most non-sticky of all cosmetic oils, thereby absorbing weightlessly. However, it packs in a hefty nutrient punch with anti-bacterial properties to keep the scalp healthy, stimulate hair growth and moisturize the strands.

HAIR LOSS

Not only is olive oil rich in good cholesterol, it also makes hair grow stronger and prevent hairs loss. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in high levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are terrific for moisturizing  protecting and nourishing the hair. It also has B vitamins (niacin and biotin), vitamin D and vitamin E to help banish bald patches on the scalp. If that’s not enough, olive oil helps in battling dandruff, which can be one of the reasons for hair loss. Other benefits include sealing, reducing split ends, strengthening hair from the inside out and deep conditioning. However, because of its heavier texture, olive oil is more suited to thicker hair.

For fine hair, there is coconut oil. This is made up of a class of saturated fatty acids, which help in smoothing the scalp and keeping it soft. A moisturized scalp promotes hair growth because there are no dead or dry skin cells to clog the hair follicle. Coconut oil also helps reduce hair breakage by strengthening the hair shaft.

Or try out rosemary essential oil. It contains over a dozen antioxidants and other vitamins, which work wonders when it comes to stimulating hair growth. It is an especially potent source of vitamin B, iron and calcium, so its application works to strengthen brittle hair and effectively treat scalp problems that hinder hair growth. At the same time, it easily penetrates the follicles and delivers the essential nutrients, thereby making hair grow faster and thicker.



DANDRUFF & ITCHY SCALP

Thyme essential oil is antimicrobial in nature and so its usage can help treat itchy scalps plagued by bacteria and fungus. It is best used with grape seed oil as a carrier, since the former also contains Vitamin E and linoleic acid, which nourish the scalp and help prevent dandruff.

ALL HAIR TYPES

Still a bit puzzled? You won’t go wrong with rice bran and hemp seed oils, which suit all types of hair. Rice bran contains vitamin E and creates a harder shell around the cuticle so your strands suffer less breakage; while hemp seed oil is packed with amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and minerals that make hair stronger and healthier overall.

MIX-AND-MATCH

You can also custom blend various oils according to your hair needs. For example, if you have coarse hair that’s also afflicted with dandruff, mix coconut oil and thyme essential oil. Similarly, you can use a nourishing oil for scalp and a light oil for hair strands. So, use your own experience of your hair and create a personalized oil blend for yourself. Or pick one up off the store shelves – just read the ingredient list to know whether it suits your strands.

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