Hair oil is one of the most popular hair care products. Oils are both the main participants in folk beauty recipes and are found in the assortment of cosmetic brands.

    However, oil is different. While one oil can help, the other is irreparably damaging to your hair. How to distinguish one from the other? Let’s go.


    Which oils should not be used and why?

    Oils really contain components useful for hair.

    However, the main thing you need to know about oils is that with rare exceptions, you should not use them in their pure form.

    This is primarily due to the ability of oils to clog pores. Especially oils with a high level of comedogenicity.

    Comedogenicity is the ability of an oil or cosmetic product to contaminate or clog the pores of the skin, thereby causing the formation of comedones (blackheads, acne, cysts).

    Highly comedogenic oils clog the hair follicle orifices, which contributes to the formation of sebaceous plugs. At the same time, the sebaceous glands continue to secrete sebum, which cannot come out. He begins to put pressure on the blood vessels, squeezes them, the nutrition of the bulb is disrupted, which leads to a deterioration in hair growth and hair loss.

    Oils are divided into:

    – non


    – with a moderate level of comedogenicity, – with a high level of comedogenicity.

    The higher the comedogenicity, the more dangerous the oil.

    For example, the popular pure coconut oil is a highly comedogenic oil.

    The comedogenicity table of oils can be easily found on the Internet.


    What else are dangerous oils in their pure form?

    The comedogenicity of oils is not the only difficulty in using them. And if the oil is non-comedogenic, this does not mean that you can start rubbing it into the roots without hesitation.

    It is very difficult to choose the right oil for you on your own. It’s not enough just to know your scalp type – there are many nuances to consider.

    For example, it is believed that oily scalp and oils are incompatible. In fact, oils consisting of unsaturated fats (for example, argan or sesame) are sometimes shown for oily skin, which can compensate for the deficiency of linoleic acid inherent in oily skin, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the skin.

    And there are many similar nuances.

    By their properties, oils can be divided into:

    • locking (covering);

    • softening (penetrating);

    • moisture-retaining.

    Locking (or covering) oils do not penetrate inside, but, remaining on the surface, cover the scalp with a film and thereby trap moisture in it. For dry skin, this action is not enough, since it also needs nutrition. For oily skin, locking oils are dangerous, as they create an environment for the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

    Emollient (or penetrating) oils are able to penetrate the stratum corneum, strengthening the protective layer of the scalp. These oils may work for very dry, flaky scalps, but are unnecessary if your skin is healthy.

    Moisture-retaining oils with their name are sometimes misleading about their moisturizing properties. In its pure form, no oil is capable of moisturizing, since oil is fat. The oil can become water-retaining after special processing and combining with other substances, but it should be remembered that such oils cannot be used in cold climates.

    So the question is “Do I need to use oil and which one?” it is better to ask a trichologist, and not to seek an answer by trial and error.

    What else is useful to know about oils?

    – Oils, like any natural product, can cause allergic reactions. Or you may find an individual intolerance to certain components of the oil;

    – When buying pure oil, especially from the budget segment, you can never be 100% sure that there are no impurities in it that can cause not only allergies, but also serious problems with the scalp;

    – Pure oils are incompatible with hot styling, as vegetable oil burns elementary when heated. In addition to the unpleasant smell, it turns out that you literally “fry” your hair;

    – The oil is able to remove dye and, therefore, wash out the color of dyed hair. To avoid this, you should not use oils both after and two weeks before staining.

    Oils and hair loss

    It is categorically impossible to apply oils to the scalp during hair loss, because:

    1. Oils soften the mouths of the hair follicles and the hair easily leaves the follicles under mechanical action (in other words, they are pulled out);

    2. Oils must be washed off. This is a rather difficult process, associated with intense mechanical stress, which is contraindicated for hair prone to hair loss.

    Therefore, if you use oil, then only when there is no loss (for prevention) and no more than once a month.


    Hair Shaft Oils

    Should you apply pure oils to the hair shaft?

    Also a big question!

    It would seem that locking oils cover the hair with a film, making it smoother and more reflective, which gives the hair a shine. Emollient oils penetrate the hair shafts, filling the voids between the scales, making the hair thicker. But! The appearance of such oiled hair is poor. And the oil has to be washed off. The oil is washed off the hair and washed out of the shafts almost completely, and after washing all its wonderful effects disappear. But the hair remains dry, since washing is required thoroughly. In addition, the oil particles remaining between the scales are not absorbed into the cuticle, but they perfectly collect and dissolve harmful substances from the atmosphere, absorb particles of dust and dirt that cannot penetrate the hair without oil. There is more harm than good.

    The fact is that the fashion for oil masks came to us from Asia. But it should be understood that Asians have a completely different hair structure. Asian hair consists of 7-10 layers of the cuticle, the scales of which fit tightly to each other. Oil applied to such hair does not weigh it down and does not require rinsing. When applying oils to European type hair, which has only 4-5 layers of cuticle and often a porous structure, we get the effect of heavy, oily, sticky hair. And you want to wash off the oil right away. Therefore, applying pure oils to the hair shafts is a useless procedure.



    What oils can I use?

    There is no need to completely abandon oils, you just need to use them as part of professional cosmetics. Then there will be good and no harm.

    Such products:

    • have a verified balanced composition,

    • contain high-quality components that enhance each other’s action,

    • do not cause allergies,

    • comply with safety regulations.

    These products are either easy to rinse off or do not require rinsing.

    Let us explain right away that even by mixing different ingredients and oils at home, you cannot make the same product as it is created in special laboratory conditions. In cosmetic laboratories, pure oils are separated into smaller particles. They do not accumulate as much on the surface of the shafts and do not weigh down the hair, unlike pure oils.

    Cosmetics with oils retain all the benefits of oils for hair, while eliminating the possible negative effects of using oils in their pure form.


    1. Do not use oils in their pure form, especially for the scalp, if they have not been prescribed by a trichologist;

    2. For shafts and ends of hair, use cosmetics with oils (according to the instructions!);

    3. For scalp, use serums instead of oils. They have a safe composition, do not clog pores, while healing the scalp and nourishing the hair follicles with everything they need;

    4. Never use oils during hair loss.

    Julien Chbib
    Julien Chbib
    Bio- Julien is the founder of L’Élixir Cosmétiques, a Swiss brand producing cosmetics for men.

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