Friday, February 21, 2014

Understanding the Different Types of Oils

Types of Oils

For the purposes of our curly conversation, I am going to divide oils into two main types based on their skin and hair feel, and rate of absorption by the hair - wet oils and dry oils.  In future blogs I will address the best type of oils to purchase for your child's hair type and how to choose high quality oils.

Wet Oils

As the name implies, these tend to leave a “wetter” or oilier feel and look on the skin and hair immediately after use, and longer.  They can be more viscous than other oils, but quite commonly also appear just as runny or light flowing. 

Coarser and more tightly curled hair textures adore these oils as they provide for more lasting shine and moisture for these hair types.  Additionally, although I am unsure about the science behind this, it turns out that a lot of the wetter oils also tend to be a little more heat and light stable, so are better suited for herbal infusions, for those of you interested in making your own herb infused hair or body oils.

Some common wetter oils include olive, palm, castor, carrot seed, coconut, babassu, sesame, avocado, pomegranate, pumpkin, tamanu, apricot kernel, hemp, pracaxi, meadowfoam and soy bean oils.

Dry Oils

In my experience dry oils tend to be lighter feeling, fast flowing and absorb very quickly , leaving a drier, or less oily feel on the hair and skin.  (Please bear in mind that sometimes the same oil will behave differently on your child’s hair, than it does on their skin – as every body is different.  For example marula oil feels wet on Jubi and I’s skin, but but dry on our hair.  Go figure.  Most find it to be dry on both though, which is why I have categorized it as such below.)

Dry oils are ideal for thinner, finer or looser hair textures, and for retouching hair between washes or as a polishing oil for all textures.  Even if your child’s fine strands are easily weighed down by oil, using your dry oil of choice on just the ends on wash day can cut down on breakage and frizz.

More common dry oils are macadamia, grapeseed (can go both ways), jojoba, argan, broccoli seed, sunflower, safflower, vegetable squalene, watermelon seed, baobab, marula and rice bran oil.

Please bear in mind that all the oils listed above are the ones that I have tested personally on myself, family members and numerous clients over many years of crafting products, and that the final verdict is just an opinion based on my personal experience.  I am not touting this as science.  Just trying to give any beginners a primer on how to choose oils for the hair.

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