View Full Version : hair hydrophobic & absorbs oil ?

May 10th, 2010, 04:41 PM
I was researching a little about the use of hair mats for oil spills...

and then I heard that hair really absorbs oil (most of us know that I think) ... and is hydrophobic (chases water away)

see this video ;

so then I though about the whole "moisture" debate... it surely explains how oil can be good for hair and how hair "retains it". But I thought that hair actually needed water inside each strand to be moisturized, and that oil acted more as a protection (not letting water out)

and if hair retains oil, doesn't it mean that oil goes INTO hair ? and not only the coconut kind, but all oils ?

How does hair retain oil and not water ? How does it work ? a sponge, for example, would retain both... how does the hair do it ??

Now I have questions, because I cannot figure how the hair "microscopically works". :hmm:

anyone can explain how hair could be both hydrophobic but retaining water (as in moisture) ??

What is the % of H20 in healthy hair?

How does the oil / water combination work to have the best moisturized hair ?

I learned so much about hair, but it's still so mysterious to me ! I'd love to hear anyone with knowledge or insights on this !!

May 10th, 2010, 05:28 PM
As far as I know hair does not contain water. Correct me if I'm wrong. Perhaps the living follicle would contain water, but the hair itself, I believe only contains proteins, pigments and air.

When people refer to moisture, I have always thought of that as oils (to replace natural sebum production). I believe hair gets it hydrophobic capabilities because it is covered in sebum naturally, which is an oil (oils are inherently hydrophobic).

May 10th, 2010, 05:30 PM
that would make more sense, yes ! thank you for this :)

May 10th, 2010, 06:07 PM
My understanding is that hair gets its moisture content from the water you drink by way of the follicle when the hair is formed. But no - hair does not absorb water and hang onto it. I mean - it obviously gets wet - but that evaporates as the hair dries.

I'm pretty sure that water is part of its molecular structure, however, else how could stream erupt out of the hair when you use heat on it. I've seen electron microscopic photographs of how the hair looks when it has been overheated and steam has erupted through the cuticle.

May 10th, 2010, 10:10 PM
it makes sense to me that the water content in hair moisture would mostly come from drinking rather that getting it wet ... !

Thanks so much !