By Akshay Raja
Natural oils offer a variety of benefits for both hair and scalp health. They can support growth, protect against ultra-violet and heat radiation, as well as offer a conditioning and moisturising effect. This article is going to look at the best hair oils for nourishing the hair and protecting it.
Jojoba oil, which is derived from the jojoba shrub native to North American deserts, is one such oil which can successfully moisturise and nourish the hair. As the chemical structure of jojoba oil resembles that of the oil produced naturally by our scalps, jojoba oil is likely to be readily accepted by the scalp without side effects.
Furthermore, the oil is made up of fats which can penetrate the outer layer of hair, thus enabling it to work from deep inside the hair, hydrating it from this level. This means that jojoba oil works as a great moisturiser.
Jojoba oil is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including copper, zinc and vitamin C. It is also rich in vitamin E, which prevents oxidative damage to the hair and improves moisture retention.
A good option when looking for jojoba hair oils, is the jojoba oil product from Ella Organics. The product is certified as organic, vegan and cruelty free, as well as being suitable for sensitive skin.
A cheaper alternative to the Ella product would be the jojoba oil product from Fushi Wellbeing. As it is 100% pure, cold-pressed jojoba oil, it provides all the previously discussed benefits. Also, it is naturally dried, so the quality is preserved.
Another oil rich in vitamin E is argan oil, which is extracted from the nuts of the argan tree, native to Morocco.
Like jojoba oil, argan oil is full of fatty acids, thus is useful as a moisturising and conditioning oil. Specifically, argan oil is mainly rich with oleic and linoleic acid, which both lubricate the hair shaft and help to maintain the moisture of the hair, as well as promoting healthy growth.
Finally, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of argan oil provide significant benefit for scalp health.
These products can be used as a leave-in product to assist in styling whilst providing the previously mentioned benefits, by applying a few drops to clean, towel-dried hair and then styling the hair. Alternatively, they can be used as a hair treatment, by massaging it into the scalp and leaving for a few hours before washing it out.
Coconut oil offers similar benefits to the previously mentioned oils; it acts as a heat protectant and repairs damaged hair, helping to prevent hair loss and simultaneously aid in hair growth.
Furthermore, coconut oil is also loaded with fatty acids (predominantly lauric acid) so penetrates the hair deeply, as it is easily absorbable deep into the hair shaft. Its’ moisture retaining properties enable it to stay inside of the hair rather than evaporating, further enhancing the efficiency of the oil to moisturise the hair.
There are a variety of coconut oils available, including the Vita Coco coconut oil available from Holland & Barrett, which is affordable, organic and vegan. Coconut oil is most beneficial when it is used as a hair treatment; massaging it into the scalp before washing it out after a few hours.