View Full Version : What is going on when an oil causes crunchiness?

January 20th, 2012, 09:43 PM
I dont have this problem anymore but Im still curious. I understand that too much oil, or putting oil on dry hair (hmmm hair that is dry opposed to wet? or hair that is not moisturized properly?) can lead to crunchiness but how does this happen? If your hair isnt crunchy before, and you apply something that isny crunchy, how can it do that? I thought oils werent working for me until I started doing some better conditioning sessions, but this still doesnt really explain what changes are taking place.

January 21st, 2012, 08:32 AM
I'm curious about this as well!

January 21st, 2012, 08:35 AM
I normally get the crunchies when I need to clarify; oil can build up too.

January 21st, 2012, 08:36 AM
I think it may have to do with coconut oil, which is in solid state at room temp... you have to warm it in your hands to put on your hair. So if it's a cool day outside, and you go out, the coconut oil can get a little stiff (nothing bad for the hair) and give it a harder feeling.

January 21st, 2012, 08:44 AM
The only issue I ever had with crunchiness was with too much protein and not enough moisture. I don't think I ever had that issue with oils, but then again, my hair loves oils.

January 21st, 2012, 08:46 AM
I believe the crunchiness is from oil build up. Not sure why though.

January 21st, 2012, 08:48 AM
Crunchiness is associated with the solidification of oil on your hair. A tiny amount of oil will be too little to give this noticeable crunchy state. Clumping is another thing; that's when there's too much oil on the hair even though the solidification temperature of the oil has not been reached. Of course, if there are any exceptions to what I had written, I'd always like to hear them. :)

January 21st, 2012, 08:59 AM
Sounds like you need to clarify.

January 21st, 2012, 09:53 AM
Sounds like you need to clarify.

No I dont. As I said in my firat post, Im not having a problem with this! It is a known fact that, if oil is out on dry hair, or if too much oil is put on, it may cause cdinchiness, or velcro hair. I asked what process is going on to make this hapoen.

January 21st, 2012, 10:00 AM
Hmm, thanks for bringing this up, my hair is so much better after oiling it, easier to comb, etc. But I think that it adds to my tangles in the long run.
Long hair is so HARD to figure it:confused: I've had short hair most of my life - so trying to figure out what works & what don't is on going.

January 21st, 2012, 10:09 AM
No I dont. As I said in my firat post, Im not having a problem with this! It is a known fact that, if oil is out on dry hair, or if too much oil is put on, it may cause cdinchiness, or velcro hair. I asked what process is going on to make this hapoen.

http://i1200.photobucket.com/albums/bb328/lmarie29/th_2a283f57.jpg (http://s1200.photobucket.com/albums/bb328/lmarie29/?action=view&current=2a283f57.jpg)

I think it has more to do with solidification of oils. I'm not in love with coconut oil, but it's solid at room temp. So is babassu oil. But it may also have to do more with hair type. I'm super kinky/coily and oil my hair (at least 2 quarters worth) twice a day, every day, and wash once a week, and have never in life had the problem that you're describing. I clarify once every six weeks. So that may be as much a problem for certain types of hair and crunchiness as solidification is.

January 21st, 2012, 10:55 AM
I guess maybe its just one of those mysteries! Couldnt find the answer on the web either. Its just really baffles me:confused: If the oil ring on the counter hadnt solidified, for example, why should it solidify in hair? Ah well....

January 21st, 2012, 11:04 AM
I have noticed that I get crunchy ends (5inches) if my ends are extremely dry. Although I deep cleanses the ends before I give oil .. But after having trimmed the worst ends (½-1inches) the ends are just lovely soft and rich with oil .. weird

Maybe hair can be too damaged to benefit from oil?
I have also never experienced crunchines with coconut oil, even if the ends are broken

January 21st, 2012, 11:26 AM

January 21st, 2012, 11:44 AM

January 21st, 2012, 11:49 AM

January 21st, 2012, 11:53 AM
Finally someone who understood the question. And read the original post :grin: I bet Ktani might be able to shed some light on this phenomenon as well...

January 21st, 2012, 11:56 AM
The only time oil felt crunchy on my hair, both olive and coconut oil, was when I had extremely heat damaged ends. It seemed like the oil accentuated what was already present.

January 21st, 2012, 02:04 PM
shikara, I won't be able to answer your question as a chemist, but I'll tell you what I know. I could be missing some points. In any case, I believe you have to consider these things to understand how this "crunchiness" occurs: the melting point of the oil, the surface area of the oil applied, the moisture content of the environment, and the surrounding environmental temperature. All of these factors combine with each other.

Some of the oils we use have different degrees of saturation or unsaturation. Some of them are waxes. This property determines the melting point of the oil. Coconut oil is highly saturated, for example, and has a relatively higher melting point (around 26 degrees Celsius, if I don't remember wrong). At colder temperatures, the oils will freeze causing the crunchiness.
The oil we use on our hair forms weak chemical bonds with the surrounding water molecules. So when applied to dry hair, there is a limited amount of water molecules to bind with, causing the oil molecules to clump together and (am I right?) not increasing the freezing point of the oil. We have clumping and a lower freezing point.
Now that it's winter, you'll observe more crunchiness because of the freezing temperature outside. I used to deep-condition last summer with coconut oil on dry hair, and I didn't really observe crunchiness. Just clumped pieces of hair strands.
Lastly, your hair, being long, thin strands, increases the surface area of the oil as opposed to the ring of oil on your counter. If the oil you're using is around its freezing temperature, it should solidify. If not, then the crunchiness you observe on your hair could possibly be due to all of these factors plus the sound that your hair makes when rubbed together.

As I had said before, putting a very small amount of oil won't give these effects because they are negligible. Also, I mix oils having different melting points during this winter season to avoid this solidification. Did I get it right?

(Also, MoonLake's comment should be helpful.)