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Thread: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

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    Always a rebel paulownia's Avatar
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    Default Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    I decided to write a short compendium about oils and how to choose the best one for hair. The information found on LHC is scattered and incomplete and lacks organisation. Since many of us that are embarking on the journey of growing long hair are sooner or later getting interested in oils, it would be useful to organise basic information about this matter.

    There is many benefits in regular oiling and most of us are aware of it. A good oil will enhance shine, combat frizz, improve elasticity and prevent split ends and tangling. Unfortunately, poorly matched one (most common case is coconut oil which is really not suited for everyone) will leave hair stiff and crunchy, or greasy and sticky.

    Understanding the composition of different oils, their properties and the link between amount of fatty acids and their saturation and the porosity of our hair is the key to success - finding a right oil for our hair.

    Whair is, exactly, hair porosity? In short terms, it's your hair condition. It is affected by the hair outer layer called cuticle.
    We distinguish three types of porosity:

    1. Low. The cuticle lays flat. This type of hair is usually considered very healthy, shiny and frizz-resistant, prone to build-up. Absorbs moisture slowly and takes long time to dry, most of the time resistant to styling and colouring.

    2. Medium. The cuticle is looser, allows just the right amount of moisture to penetrate hair. This type of hair is the easiest to care for, it maintains styles and colour.

    3. High. The cuticle is raised open, hair is dry, not very shiny, prone to tangles and matting. Absorbs moisture quickly and frizzes easily, dries also fast.
    Hair can have high porosity by it's nature (curls) or it can be result of excessive processing (bleach, heat)

    How does this apply to choosing the right oil for our strands?
    Depending on their chemical composition oils can be divided -also in 3 - groups.
    1. Oils with high amount of saturated fatty acids. Those are most suited for low porosity hair and are considered to penetrate hair.
    2. Oils with high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, omega 9). Good for medium porosity hair. Semi-penetrating.
    3. Oils with high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids ( linolenic acid omega 6 and alpha-linolenic acid omega 3 ). Suited for high porosity, they do not penetrate hair.

    The right thing to do is to establish our hair porosity and then choose a few oils that might suit us and test. It's good to remember, however, that it could be still a hit-and-miss process. Each head of hair is unique. It could have properties of two types of porosity ( between medium and high for example). Sometimes a chosen oil will not work alone but could perform great in a blend.

    Listed below are the details for different oils and the percentage of fatty acids they contain.
    Saturated
    Coconut oil 44 % of lauric acid.
    Palm oil 48% of lauric acid
    Babassu oil 46% of lauric acid
    Monoi oil 50% of lauric acid
    Tucuma butter 48% of lauric acid
    Shea butter 46% omega 9, 41% stearic acid.
    Cupacu butter 43% omega 9, 30% stearic acid
    Cacao butter 38% omega 9, 35% stearic acid, 25% palmitic acid
    Mango butter 40% stearic acid, 35% palmitic acid

    Monounsaturated
    Hazelnut oil 80% oleic acid
    Camellia oil 80 % oleic acid
    Moringa oil 80% oleic acid
    Buriti oil 79% oleic acid
    Papaya seed oil 72% oleic acid
    Plum kernel oil 70% oleic acid
    Apricot kernel oil 66% oleic acid
    Peach kernel oil 64% oleic acid
    Sweet almond oil 63% oleic acid
    Macadamia oil 60% oleic acid 20% palmitoleic acid ( omega 7)
    Avocado oil 60% oleic acid
    Rapeseed oil 57% oleic acid
    Olive oil 56% oleic acid
    Sesame oil 50% oleic acid
    Peanut oil 50% oleic acid
    Tamanu oil 50% oleic acid
    Neem oil 48% oleic acid
    Argan oil 46% oleic acid
    Sea buckthorn oil 30% oleic acid 20% palmitoleic acid

    Polyunsaturated
    Safflower oil 80% linolenic acid
    Walnut oil 78% linolenic acid
    Passion fruit oil 77% linolenic acid
    Grapeseed oil 76% linolenic acid
    Evening primrose oil 75% linolenic acid
    Poppy seed oil 70% linolenic acid
    Sunflower oil 64% linolenic acid
    Apple seed oil 63% linolenic acid
    Watermelon seed oil 62% linolenic acid
    Pumpkin seed oil 60% linolenic acid
    Blackberry seed oil 60% linolenic acid
    Blackseed oil 57% linolenic acid
    Wheat germ oil 55% linolenic acid
    Hemp oil 55% linolenic acid
    Soybean oil 55% linolenic acid
    Tomato seed oil 55% linolenic acid
    Cottonseed oil 54% linolenic acid
    Cornseed oil 52% linolenic acid
    Blackcurrant seed oil 50% linolenic acid
    Aronia berry seed oil 39% linolenic acid
    Borago officinalis seed oil 38% linolenic acid
    Green coffee seed oil 38% linolenic acid

    Raspberry seed oil 54% linolenic acid 30% alpha-linolenic acid
    Wild blueberry seed oil 40% linolenic acid and 30% alpha-linolenic acid
    Cranberry seed oil 35% linolenic acid and 30% alpha-linolenic acid
    Musk rose seed oil 43% linolenic acid and 33% alpha-linolenic acid
    Elderflower seed oil 38% linolenic acid and 36% alpha-linolenic acid
    Strawberry seed oil 38% linolenic acid and 37% alpha-linolenic acid
    Black raspberry seed oil 55% linolenic acid and 40% alpha-linolenic acid
    Camelina oil 40% oleic acid and 40% alpha-linolenic acid
    Chia seed oil 20% linolenic acid and 59% alpha-linolenic acid
    Linseed oil 65% alpha-linolenic acid


    Sources: http://www.kasianafali.pl/2017/09/po...czowe.html?m=1

    https://www.doz.pl/czytelnia/a14531-...potrzeby_wlosa
    Last edited by paulownia; April 16th, 2020 at 11:19 PM.
    Den som väntar på något gott väntar aldrig för länge.

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    ^ YLVA, not YIVA! Ylva's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    I have a feeling it might not be quite this simple in practice. Doesn't low porosity hair often disagree with coconut oil? I did read that you included that each head of hair is unique, but I find this matter especially with coconut oil quite interesting.
    Last edited by Ylva; April 16th, 2020 at 03:25 PM.
    Ósnjallr maðr hyggsk munu ey lifa, ef hann við víg varask;
    en elli gefr hánum engi frið, þótt hánum geirar gefi.

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    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Thanks for that. ^^

    I looked at sciency hairblog all the time for my information on oils.

    But I'm sure this will help out a lot!
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ylva View Post
    I have a feeling it might not be quite this simple in practice. Doesn't low porosity hair often disagree with coconut oil? I did read that you included that each head of hair is unique, but I find this matter especially with coconut oil quite interesting.
    The caveat about coconut oil being one to watch out for is a bit earlier in the article


    Can I be really picky? The paragraphs without spaces between them are quite hard to read, especially being a first post in the thread with space for an ad next to the text so it's just a long, narrow wall of text. Spaces between the paragraphs would make it a lot more easily readable

    Really good idea for a thread this spreadsheet may be of interest to readers, possibly containing some oils that aren't already mentioned. (I don't know who compiled it, I think an old LHC member possibly)
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...zIaw/htmlview#
    Length goal well and truly met, now just seeing how it grows ...
    Picky scalp but easygoing hair, thank goodness

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    Always a rebel paulownia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicalSpoons View Post
    The caveat about coconut oil being one to watch out for is a bit earlier in the article


    Can I be really picky? The paragraphs without spaces between them are quite hard to read, especially being a first post in the thread with space for an ad next to the text so it's just a long, narrow wall of text. Spaces between the paragraphs would make it a lot more easily readable

    Really good idea for a thread this spreadsheet may be of interest to readers, possibly containing some oils that aren't already mentioned. (I don't know who compiled it, I think an old LHC member possibly)
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...zIaw/htmlview#
    I edited it. Do you mean it needed bigger spaces between paragraphs?
    I used spreadsheets from a polish wavy hair care blogger. She does mention that she used different sources to make this compilation.
    Den som väntar på något gott väntar aldrig för länge.

    Lady Sheala the Conjurer of the Empress Tree in the Order of Long Haired Knights

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    Purple Enthusiast SleepyTangles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Awesome job .
    My personal advice is: do not expect all the oils from the same category to work just as well for your individual needs .
    Cocoa butter and mango seed butter, on me, work distinctly better than coconut oil, for example.
    Pixie! - Ear - Chin-length floofball - B(L)ob - Shoulder - APL...

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    ^ YLVA, not YIVA! Ylva's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicalSpoons View Post
    The caveat about coconut oil being one to watch out for is a bit earlier in the article
    Yes, but I think it would be nice to hear from different porosities how they find it in practice. I don't have so much virgin hair yet that I would definitely be able to say anything, but I tend to avoid butters everywhere. My hair hates them.
    Ósnjallr maðr hyggsk munu ey lifa, ef hann við víg varask;
    en elli gefr hánum engi frið, þótt hánum geirar gefi.

    Instagram | Last.fm | Folk band | Acoustic metal duo | My links

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    Always a rebel paulownia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyTangles View Post
    Awesome job .
    My personal advice is: do not expect all the oils from the same category to work just as well for your individual needs .
    Cocoa butter and mango seed butter, on me, work distinctly better than coconut oil, for example.
    Thanks!
    That is easily explained if one considers that butters have more of omega 9 and stearic acid while coconut has more lauric acid.
    The differences between the oils even belonging to the same group but still having different balance of different fatty acids play also a role here.
    I deeply regret that I couldn't organize this information in a spreadsheet. It would be much clearer. Unfortunately I don't have access to computer and Excel program.
    My hair was pretty high porous about 10 years ago and hated coconut for sure. My favourite oil back then was walnut.
    Now I'm somewhere between low and medium porosity. Coconut works fine, but also almond, sesame, plum kernel and peanut.
    Den som väntar på något gott väntar aldrig för länge.

    Lady Sheala the Conjurer of the Empress Tree in the Order of Long Haired Knights

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    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulownia View Post
    I edited it. Do you mean it needed bigger spaces between paragraphs?
    I used spreadsheets from a polish wavy hair care blogger. She does mention that she used different sources to make this compilation.
    That's exactly what I meant, and it's much easier to read now, thanks!


    Ylva yes that's a good point. I think my hair is probably medium porosity and its favourite oil for pre-poo so far is babassu, which according to the categories should be better for low porosity; for dry oiling between washes sweet almond oil seemed to be best (although I suppose that could have changed as I haven't done it for a while due to ROO working much better and just not really needing to oil between washes other than for pre-poo, or for feeling like I'm protecting a braid which is a completely different purpose).
    Length goal well and truly met, now just seeing how it grows ...
    Picky scalp but easygoing hair, thank goodness

  10. #10

    Default Re: Oils in hair care - how to choose.

    Thank you for posting this. As a newbie, I learn so much from this board!

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