Hair Oils vs. Hair Moisturizers, What’s the Difference?

Hair oils and moisturizers – Are the two interchangeable? Are hair oils and hair moisturizer one and the same?

I was confused because whenever I used ordinary hair oil it just sat on my hair and didn’t make it feel as soft and silky as I know it should. It made my hair shiny but if my hair was dry it remained dry, albeit oily. It didn’t make sense, so of course I went and did some research and also experimented on my own hair until I found the perfect formula for my hair.

The Good and the Bad – Hair Oils

I found out that there are good oils and there are bad hair oils. Good oils are the ones that are obtained from natural plant sources like coconut, olive, castor bean, jojoba, almond etc. Bad oils are petroleum-based oils and mineral oils. Good oils are very beneficial to hair growth; coconut oil for instance is one of the best ways to naturally nourish your hair. It helps in healthy hair growth, ensures that scalp is dandruff free, is an excellent conditioner and it helps in the re-growth of damaged hair.

Olive oil is a natural hair moisturizer that packs a wallop as far as hair care is concerned; it helps in preventing as well as curing hair loss. The presence of antioxidants in olive oil makes it an appropriate hair oil that promotes overall scalp health, it also acts as a natural conditioner by making hair shiny and soft.

Another great oil is castor oil, this oil thickens hair, even hair that is starting to thin out and it reduces and prevents hair damage. It  makes the hair fuller and shinier and prevents dry scalp. This is the oil that I personally endorse because it works for me without fail. The best form of these oils to use is the least processed variety, cold press (extra virgin) oils is ideal.

Moisturizers vs Oils

Water is the best moisturizer for hair. However, the type of water is important . Hard water (water with added chlorine, calcium and magnesium etc.) is  not necessarily good for your hair, it makes the hair dry after extended use. Therefore, the best moisturizers are generally those that are water-based as these more easily penetrate the hair and creates a suppleness in the hair shaft.

Whilst, oils (apart from coconut oil) coats the hair shaft and seals in or out moisture. The best indication that a moisturizer is water-based is if water is the first or second ingredient listed in the ingredients list.

Oils and oil-based moisturizers should only be used to seal in moisture after a water-based moisturizer is applied.

How to Moisturize Hair

Oils are very important to seal in moisture. Hence, if you use water or a water-based moisturizer, use an oil based product or the natural oil itself to seal in the moisture from the water based product.

The bad oils like mineral oil and petroleum-based moisturizers actually blocks the movement of moisture. So if your hair was not moisturized in the first place, when you add oil it will literally block out the moisture for your hair by just coating the strands. This is not good especially if your hair is dry.

The only oil that penetrates the hair shaft is virgin coconut oil.

There are some good examples of water-based hair moisturizers on the market. I use one or more of them occasionally: Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil, Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-in, Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong, Ultra Black Hair and Elasta QP Mango Butter. Sometimes when I am really in need of moisture I use S-Curl Activator very lightly and then seal with my castor oil or you can make your own moisturizer.

Hair Care Tip:

  1. Moisturize hair with a water-based product and then seal with a good oil.

 

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