Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oil Reviews: Part 4 - Avocado, Marula and Baobab


Avocado oil makes a great all purpose oil for natural, curly and coily hair textures.  Even organic and fair trade versions are relatively inexpensive.  It moisturizes quite well, without being overly greasy.  It is however a wet oil, so I would limit it as a finishing oil to just on wash day (especially for free hair in dry weather) and on the ends in between washes.  Otherwise, for pre-poos, deep conditioning and oil rinsing – have at it.

It also is a great moisturizer for skin, but I prefer it at a lower percentage in blends, because it is a little heavier.  It comes highly recommended by many for people with sensitive skin.


This amazing oil, along with its two counterparts tsamma melon seed oil(reviewed in the previous blog ) and baobab oil, is one of the most celebrated cosmeceuticals to come out of Southern Africa.  It is extremely nourishing for both skin and hair and is starting to show up in many mainstream hair products.

I find it to be a lighter wet oil when used on skin, though most people experience it to be a very fast absorbing dry oil.  The fast absorbing quality makes it ideal for moisturizing the face, for people with oily skin and for curlies with baby fine hair that can’t handle heavy oils. 

It is expensive as all get out so on thirsty curly hair it is best used as a sealing oil or finishing oil between washes.  (Yes it is light enough for this.)  If you can afford it, I don’t see why you could not try it as a pre-poo or oil rinsing oil, but at over $11.00 per ounce, on average – unless you buy it in bulk, that is prohibitive for most folks, especially if you have more than one curly head of hair in your household.  It is also great in a blend with other expensive oils if you want to stretch it out a bit, or whipped with your favorite butter.

I feel that the fairly traded product from Shea Terra is the best quality baobab oil that I have experienced, but if you plan on buying a ton of it, New Directions Aromatics has the best price I have seen on it.


This is one of my favorite oils for the face, when I have it on hand.  It also works really well on the hair and acts very similarly to both marula and watermelon seed oil in its nourishing and absorption tendencies.  That is to say, it is light, yet highly emollient.

For some reason that I find rather baffling, it is cheaper than marula oil.  In my perception, having been raised in Zimbabwe, I thought marula trees were more abundant than baobabs, therefore the cold pressed oil of the latter would be more “precious.”  Clearly, there are some facts in play that I do not understand because that is not the case.

Either way, it is still more expensive than your run of the mill health food store or beauty supply oil, so realistically for most families, it will be used as a face oil, or a finishing/ sealing oil on wash day and between washes. 

It works on every hair type and is available from Shea TerraOrganics and From Nature With Love, at an amazing price I might add.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Oil Review Part 3: Pomegranate, Argan, Castor, Grapeseed and Pracaxi Oils


I initially bought this oil for skincare (for myself and to try in a custom blend for a client.)  Truthfully, for this purpose, despite it’s rave reviews  (apparently Lupita Nyong'o loves it and we all know her skin is FLAWLESS,) it really did not blow my skirt up.  I found it a little too slow to absorb for my taste, especially on the face.  However, fast forward to a few months later, it occurred to me to try it on Jubilee’s hair, albeit reluctantly, for no other reason than I had it and could not bear to throw it away.  (I am an ingredient junkie.) 

Wow.  Now this oil blew my dreads back.  It is light and easily absorbed in hair.  It works well for daily use between washes, as well as sealing on wash days.

The price though, however is a little prohibitive for pre-poos, oil rinsing and any hair projects involving massive amounts of oil (unless you’ve got it like that.)

It blends well with other oils so makes a good mixing oil for expensive hair finishing oil blends.

The best price for pomegranate oil that I have found is from New Directions Aromatics.


This Morrocan oil is becoming more and more mainstream, and with good reason.  A lot of people love it for skin and hair, even on its own without any mixing.  As far as curly hair is concerned it is a great finishing oil.  It absorbs quite well on most hair types and is suitable for daily use.  I do find it way too light for pre-poo’s and oil rinses.  It is also quite costly, which makes use beyond sealing purposes prohibitive for many.
I love to blend it with other oils in our Oggboo formulas for its nutritive properties (we only use an organic, fair-trade and cold pressed argan oil in our products.)

A lot of curlies love it on their skin too, because it is also suitable for use on the face at all ages.

The best place to buy a high quality Argan Oil, in my opinion is Shea Terra Organics.  Be sure to sign up for their newsletter which frequently offers great deals, including 30% off coupons on a regular basis.


This may be my favorite hair oil of all time.  It absorbs well in so many different textures of hair, from straight to curly, and is great for the scalp.  It does not build up easily and is quite affordable when you buy it from your local grocery store.

Grapeseed oil works well as a pre-poo, oil rinse and sealing oil.   It also blends beautifully with other oils.


This exotic Brazilian oil is definitely an interesting one for most curlies.  It is heavier and stickier than I expected, so I recommend either using it for a pre-poo or oil rinse.  I am not wild about it as a sealing oil, or daily finishing oil between washes because of the stickiness, for any hair texture, but I think it is an excellent choice for deep conditioning, the above mentioned purposes and blending with other oils and butters.

It defines curls nicely too!

It is rather expensive though, but used in a blend a little goes a long way.  The best quality and price I have found for it is from New Directions Aromatics.


If your child has thin hair, baby baldness, slow growing hair, scalp issues or is still trying to recover from patches hair patches lost or growing slowly because of infant sleeping positions, then castor oil is your friend.  It is also highly moisturizing so works great on very dry and coarse textures of hair too.  For lighter textures it is too heavy to leave in, so I suggest using it only as a pre-poo.

Castor oil promotes hair growth and thickening, and balances an itchy scalp.  It also provides moisture for days, making it the ideal sealant for a protective style that you intend to keep in for a while.

It is definitely not suitable for daily use if you are not washing the hair every day.  It is quite inexpensive and is easy to get at any health food store or online.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil is my favorite.  It is a darker color because the beans are roasted first, and it is purportedly the resulting ash content of this oil that makes it even more effective.  The roasted version does smell a bit ashy, so you will definitely want to haul out your favorite essential oil for use with that one.

Products that contain castor oil also make excellent choices for thicker, tighter and thirstier textures of hair, like 3’s and 4’s.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Oil Reviews Part 2: Apricot Kernel, Plum Kernel, Ricebran, Maracuja or Passionfruit Seed/ Passion Flower Oil

This is part 2 of our Oggboo Oils for Hair Review.  All oils were tried on my toddler's fine, very tightly curled hair, that ranges from 3B-4A.

Apricot and Plum Kernel Oils

First of all, if you use these oils try to get the cold-pressed, unrefined version, not just because they have more nutrients (which is always the case) but because they smell  YUMMY!  The aroma is just like the fruit.
These oils tend to be a bit wetter, so I prefer them for oil rinsing and sealing on the first wash day.  They hold up pretty well, so are great for wash and go’s and protective styles alike.  

Unless you have extremely dry hair or go for more than 4 days between washes, I recommend lighter oils for touching up your ends in between washes.  If you must use these oils as a finishing or touch up oil, try blending a smaller amount, with a larger amount of a lighter oil like watermelon seed, jojoba or grapeseed.

By the way I do find it a bit wet for the skin - it does not absorb fast enough for my liking.  As for people with nut allergies - you should probably avoid it.  But I do like it in blends for the skin.  Just my preference.  Plenty of people use it straight on their skin with no problem.

Mountain Rose Herbs sells the unrefined aromatic versions of these oils.  Most other distributors of bulk ingredients sell the refined versions.


When I first tried this alone on the skin I was not enamored.  However, upon playing with it some, I discovered it to be quite nice in blends for skin and hair, and works really well, neat and straight, on hair.  It is a faster absorbing, somewhat dry oil, but you will find that it is not quite as dry as other oils like jojoba.  It works beautifully as an oil rinsing, finishing and sealing oil.

A compound called gamma-oryzanol also gives it some mild sunscreening  properties, which is lovely for those of us who avoid chemical sunscreens in hair and skin products.

 Ricebran oil is delightfully inexpensive and relatively odorless.  This makes it a great base for mixing in other more expensive oils when making blends for skin or hair.

New Directions has a great price on Ricebran oil – giving it to you for literally pennies per wash!

Maracuja Oil/ Passionfruit Seed or Passion Flower Oil

I know that is confusing, but the same oil is often referred to by all 3 of those names. (Shrug - I am just the messenger.)  I love, love, love this oil for curlies.  It really defines the hair, gives sheen and all day moisture without greasiness and does not build up in the hair when used daily for touch ups between washes (even with a heavy hand.)    It is rich in various fatty acids, minerals and nutrients, and supposedly encourages hair growth.

 I had actually bought it initially as a baby skin oil because it is also reknowned for its sedating properties.  I honestly found it a little sticky for the skin on its own, but works well in a blend with other carrier oils and lavender and or chamomile essential oils if you are seeking to make your own baby massage oil.  (Honestly – I can’t say I experienced it to be any more effective in relaxing a baby than any other carrier oil mixed with the above mentioned essential oils.  That is just my experience though.  It is touted as such everywhere else.)

I got mine initially from New Directions Aromatics, but they don’t seem to be carrying it lately.  Sad face.  I did see it recently, however, at From Nature With Love and from Dr Adorable on Amazon.  I am yet to purchase their offerings, so cannot vouch for them personally, but my initial sampling from New Directions was really on point.

Downside to this oil – it is quite the pricey little oil – even in bulk.  So if you are on a budget – I would reserve it for touch ups between washes and or sealing on wash day.  If you are blessed enough to be without a budget – go ahead and have at it for everything, especially if your boo has little, finer and or looser textured hair.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oil Review Part I: Babassu, Borage and Coconut Oils

Here is a brief review of each oil I have tried on my daughter’s hair and the results they have yielded.  Most of her hair is 3C, with a little 4A at the crown and 3B at the edges (though that could develop into 3C as she outgrows her baby fine hair.)

Today I am reviewing babassu, borage and coconut oils.

Babassu Oil

This oil is very similar to coconut oil in the way that it acts. (It also grows on a palm.) Similarly it is also high in mystiric and lauric acids.  I do find it more versatile than coconut oil, hair wise, because even though it too similarly gets hard at or below room temperature, it stays more true to the hair in its behavior regardless of climate.  Some people experience great results with coconut oil in one climate, and when they move out of the state or country, the same coconut oil leaves their hair feeling crunchy or dry.

Babassu oil worked for us here in the desert of Arizona, so would most likely work for us in California as well.  Incidentally, this is why it is in almost every Oggboo formulation, in lieu of coconut oil, to make our products more likely to work for people in diverse geographic locations.

This Brazilian oil is very rich and wet, and a little goes a long way.  It does leave a bit of an oil feeling initially but absorbs well, even better and faster than coconut oil, on skin and hair.  It is best used for pre-poo’s , oil rinsing and sealing on the first day wash.  It also makes an amazing body oil and mixes well with all types of butters.  It has a pretty good shelf life too.  About a year stored at room temp and probably longer if kept in the fridge.

I like the babassu from From Nature With Love best.  It is organic and cold pressed and the price is excellent for the quality.

Borage Oil

This oil is amazing!  It is relatively light and fast absorbing but gives the moisturization of a rich oil.  It is really high in omega’s and GLA (gamma linolenic acid), vitamins and minerals.  It is exceptional for skin and hair and I love it best for oil rinsing and sealing.  It is light enough to work for daily use in between washes on its own or in conjunction with other oils.

The only downsides are the price – it is one of the pricier oils so if you love it, buy it in bulk to cut down on expenses.  (Also take advantage of using it before your child's hair is long and needs more of it.  Jubilee's hair is still under six inches so I can still go hog wild on the expensive oils.)  It also needs to be refrigerated as it is prone to become rancid at room temperature, at which point it will smell rather fishy.  You definitely want to buy it in smaller quantities that you can use up within a couple of months to avoid having a bunch of pricey oil getting spoiled and thus wasted.

New Directions Aromatics has the best price on the oil, but Mountain Rose Herbs has the best quality (organic and cold pressed/ unrefined.)

Coconut Oil

This is one of the beloved darlings of the natural hair world, and with good reason.  It stores well (up to 2 years shelf life at room temperature) and is relatively inexpensive.  It is versatile on skin and hair, and makes an excellent pre-shampoo, oil rinse or sealing oil.  You can buy it almost anywhere, not just online and has been linked to helping with hair growth and strengthening, and alleviating scalp problems like cradle cap, dandruff and lice.

Extra virgin is best, but I have seen people have great success with other more refined types of coconut oil if the smell is for some reason offensive to you.  The virgin coconut oil has a light coconut smell which most find pleasant, and that blends well with a number of essential oils.  (Coconut mint is my personal favorite, but that is more suitable for an older child.  Stick to lavender and or chamomile for toddlers and babies under the age of 4.)

The only downside to coconut oil is that it can respond differently on your skin and hair when you shift to a different climate.  This was my personal experience when I moved from temperate California to super-dry Arizona.  My skin and hair laughed at coconut oil and so does my daughter’s skin and hair.  (It leaves her hair crunchy.)  However, in California….it is the dream oil.  I have found through an informal survey, that this is the case with about 30% of people.  If you have this experience, do not fear.  Just blend the coconut oil down to a fraction of your oil blend or switch to another oil.  In drier climates I suggest Babassu and shea butter as suitable replacements.

Coconut is available at all health food stores and vitamin type shops.  The best deals are at Costco and off Amazon both Nutiva Brand.)