If your hair is dry or damaged from styling abuse or over-bleaching, you can really benefit from applying a product that can actually penetrate the hair shaft to nourish the hair from within. The big question is which products actually do this?
Most hair products and natural oils work by just coating the hair shaft to leave hair feeling soft and shiny. However, there is indeed a handful of basic all-natural oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft to provide deeper moisturization. How? It is a matter of the chemical makeup of the oil. Without getting too geeky into the science of this, oils that tend to get absorbed by the hair are typically monounsaturated fats that also contain certain types of fatty acids, such as caprylic acid, lauric acid, and oleic acid.
A complication of research put together by a science-focused hair blog detailed just how much certain oils outperform others in terms of absorption by the hair. As it turns out, one of the top oils that has been PROVEN to penetrate the hair shaft is…Coconut oil! One of our favorite go-to oils!
A few other natural oils have also been chosen as tops for absorption. These include Sunflower oil, Palm kernel oil/Red Palm oil, and Babassu oil. Additionally, research has also shown that Olive oil (another one of our favorite hair oils) will also penetrate the hair shaft to provide strong moisturization.
How to Use Oils
So now that you know which oils offer the best absorption, you may want to know the best way to incorporate one of these great moisturizers into your hair routine. There are two ways:
As a Weekly Treatment
To allow for maximum absorption, you need to let the oil sit on your hair for a bit of time. The best way to do this is by applying it right before bedtime. Make sure to saturate the hair mid-shaft to ends, where most damage occurs. To protect your pillow, you may also want to cover your pillowcase with a hair-friendly microfiber towel. Then, in the morning just follow your normal routine with a shampoo/rinse-out conditioner.
As an alternative to an overnight treatment, you can also quicken the absorption of the oil by applying heat. Just blast your hair with a hair dryer for a few minutes and then let the oil treatment sit on your hair for a few hours.
Daily Ends Treatment
Replace your store-bought shine/frizz serum with the natural oil. Just apply a tiny bit to your fingertips and apply just to ends. Your hair will be instantly refreshed and soft.
This will help you know what to look for and where to find each of the above oils:
Coconut Oil- The best coconut oil to use on the hair is unrefined & organic oil, which is readily available at mass retailers and online. Just note: coconut oil is in a solid state at room temperature. To melt it, just place a bit in a small bowl and microwave it on low for a few seconds.
Sunflower Oil, Palm Kernel Oil/Red Palm Oil, Babassu Oil- Look for 100% pure, cold-pressed oil. All are easily found on Amazon.
Olive Oil- Look for extra virgin olive oil, available in both supermarkets and online.