MIRACLE OIL…FACT OR FICTION? December 25, 2016 00:00

Can a hair oil create silky shiny supermodel hair?

Precious oil hair treatment is the latest trend, but how do they work?

And aren’t oils supposed to make hair greasy?

So is the expense justified?

To understand how the oil works to help preserve shiny and manageable hair, you need to look closely at the oils and the products themselves.

In spite of being a hairdresser (or maybe because of it) I tend towards more of a lazy ‘air-dry’ look, which means I’m always on the lookout for a product that I can smooth onto my wet hair and go. Mousses, sprays, powders and creams: I’ve tried them all, but keep coming back to the superstar power of oil. Even with my fine hair when I want to go au naturel, it gives a little more substance and a whole lot more shine and manages the fluffy bits that can drive you wild.

So what are the star ingredients in the plethora of oils that have hit the market and how do they work?

Jojoba Oil:

An extract of the seeds of jojoba plant, which is native to Arizona, Mexico and California. Though often referred as oil, it is actually a liquid wax and is widely recognized for its amazing moisturizing properties. The composition of Jojoba is the closest vegetable oil to natural human hair sebum (oil) which is full of triglyceride oils, wax, squalene to protect and restore moisture balance while adding protein to the hair. Nowadays, this oil is an indispensable part of many shampoos, conditioners and a range of skin care products, formulated for sun protection. 
Because it penetrates into hair rapidly without leaving any oil traces within only a few seconds you may think it evaporated but in fact this wax/oil keeps the skin and hair from drying.

Argan Oil:

Comes from the Argan tree, native to Morocco, which produces a fruit bearing kernels that are processed to extract the oil. Extremely rich in Vitamin E and includes Omega 9, linoleic, essential fatty acids and oleic acid, Argan oil hydrates the hair in a natural way. It penetrates into the hair shaft and enhances the elasticity of hair. Argan oil is very good for uncontrollable and unmanageable hair,restoring smoothness making it more manageable.
The natural antioxidants present in Argan oil strengthen the hair by repairing the damaged cellular membrane of hair.
Vitamin E is very useful in renewing and repairing the damage caused by destructive agents.
Non-greasy Argan oil locks the moisture in and adds to and restores the luster and shine of hair.

Babassu Oil:

Pressed from the seeds of the native Brazilian babassu palm. This oil is estimated to be worth five times as much as the coffee crop to the Brazilian economy.
Babassu, which contains about 70% lipids, has been used for generations by indigenous cultures of South America as a natural moisturizer. A fast penetrating oil, Babassu is one of nature’s richest emollients, it gently moisturizes, conditions and adds luster with no greasy residue.. In hair care babassu oil is believed to nourish, moisturize, and restore hair strength and elasticity, giving you shiny, healthy-looking hair.

Marula Oil:

Extracted by pressing the seeds of the marula tree, the properties of marula oil for hair care is worth is worth learning about. From being a deep moisturizer to a rich antioxidant with high natural oxidative stability, it is a good moisturizer, and applying it on the hair helps to keep the scalp well hydrated. One of the chief components of marula oil is the omega9 fatty acid named oleic acid. The role of omega9 fatty acid in hair care is well expounded as it imparts stability to cell structure.
 The Oleic acid present in marula oil has strong antioxidant properties preventing cell-damage from free-radicals. It also is also renowned for its extraordinary oxidative stability making it less prone to oxidation or in other words reactive to other chemicals.

Rice Bran Oil:

Rich in Oleic acid & linolenic acid, Rice Bran Oil is obtained from rice bran which is the outer coat of brown rice. Rice Bran Oil is believed to hinder UV rays as they meet the hair’s surface.
This oil is high in fatty acids and unsaponifiables and is one of the best sources of tocotrienol, an antioxidant which may be many times more powerful and effective than Vitamin E. Rice Bran Oil can be used in all types of products as it will add sheen while also moisturizing and conditioning the hair without weighing it down.

Sunflower Oil:

Contains minerals such as calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron and potassium. It contains vitamins A, D, K and E. Sunflower oil also contains omega fatty acids.
The abundance of minerals, vitamins and fatty acids found in sunflower oil promotes hair health in many ways. Sunflower oil makes hair soft and shiny, prevents dryness and frizziness and makes hair easy to manage.

Camellia Oil:

Also known as tea oil and tea seed oil, it is the beauty secret of the Geishas of Japan. 
Camellia oil has outstanding moisture retaining ability and is rapidly absorbed. Camellia oil is very rich in monosaturated essential fatty acids. It is particularly high in oleic acid that exceeds the level of olive oil. Camellia oil contains vitamins, A, B, and E and various minerals and has an active constituent known as squalene, which is an important component of the body’s natural emollient system.

Meadowfoam Oil:

A herbaceous winter annual plant native to the pacific Northwest region of the United States. The oil from the Meadowfoam plant is recognized for its outstanding oxidative stability. It is unique in that it contains over 98% fatty acids that have over 20 carbon atoms.
Meadowfoam Seed Oil is said to moisturize the skin and hair better than most oils, and it helps prevent moisture loss. In shampoos and hair care products, it helps add shine and moisture to the hair and scalp.

Immortelle Oil:

From a shrub usually found in the Mediterranean region with dry, sandy, and stony soils. Immortelle flowers produce oil that is known for its healing ability.
The essential oil from immortelle possesses many properties. It is famous for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and ant-allergic characteristics.
Weightless and nutrient rich it helps hair regain elasticity and infuse hair with shine, it contains powerful antioxidants


While often maligned, silicones are actually one of the most effective ingredients in both hair and skin care products. Silicones work by covering hair with a thin hydrophobic (waterproof) coating.

Silicone, although not an oil is a natural product as it is derived from sand and has some extraordinary benefits when it comes to hair…

Reduces the porosity of the hair, which makes it less likely to absorb humidity (Which is why it’s great for smoothing and straightening!)

Reduces moisture loss from the inside of the hair (Great for conditioning.)

Lubricates the surface of the hair so it feel smoother and combs easier (Makes your hair feel slippery and less tangled.)

Will silicon build up on your hair?

Not all silicones are created equally… there are several different types used in hair care that exhibit different properties:

Cyclomethicone is one of the most commonly used silicones in hair care. It’s a volatile silicone, which means it evaporates and won’t build up on your hair. It gives a silky, smooth feel and leaves the hair with incredible slip when wet and is found in both leave-on and rinse-off products.

Dimethicone Copolyol is a water-soluble, lightweight silicone that provides very little buildup. It is often used in conditioning shampoos.

Amodimethicone (or silicones that have “amo”, “amine” or “amino” in their name) is a different kind of silicone that is chemically modified to stick to your hair better, meaning it conditions well but it can also be more challenging to remove so is more ideal for thick & coarse hair types. Amodimethicone is commonly used in leave-in conditioners.

Dimethicone is sometimes referred to as a silicone oil. Dimethicone coats hair, providing great shine and conditioning to the hair. Dimethicone is often found in serums and other leave-on products.

Most so called ‘miracle oils’ will be a combination of silicone and a blend of natural oils. While the silicone offers the best weightless protection, the oils will help to add softness, moisture, shine and antioxidant benefits to the hair.

With careful selection, these non-greasy oils, high in anti-oxidation and moisturising properties combine (with the benefit of modern science) the best of both and in one easy product help to prevent damage while adding smoothness and hydration at the same time