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.)

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