By Chinwe of Hair and Health
I think it is safe to say that almost every natural knows about coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil and shea butter for hair care. While each of these oils and butters are great, there are some relatively lesser known ones that might be worth trying..
1. Aloe Butter
WHY ALOE BUTTER IS GREAT:
- It is light, moisturizing, and not too greasy. Some love this butter because it is moisturizing like shea butter but without the greasiness. It is also very light, melts immediately on the skin and will not weigh down the hair.
HOW TO USE ALOE BUTTER:
- Use it straight or mix with other butters. Aloe butter can be used alone (since it is already soft and moisturizing on its own) or mixed with other butters.
- Use it to enhance your moisturizer. Add some aloe butter to your moisturizer to make it even more moisturizing.
2. Babassu Oil
Like coconut oil, babassu oil is extracted from a kernel of the palm tree family – the babassu tree, to be exact. More importantly, it has a similar composition and proportions of fatty acids to that of coconut oil. (The fatty acids include lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, and oleic.) If you desire some the benefits of coconut oil but (for whatever reason) dislike the actual oil, you might want to continue reading …
WHY BABASSU OIL IS WORTH TRYING:
- It’s lower on the comedogenic scale. One downside to using coconut oil is that it is high on the comedogenic scale. Babassu oil, on the other hand, supposedly doesn’t clog the pores as much. If you are prone to getting acne from coconut oil, try babassu oil instead.
HOW TO USE BABASSU OIL:
- Use it to seal your ends. After a fresh wash and condition, apply a little bit of the oil to your ends. A little goes a long way.
- Use as a pre-shampoo treatment or to enhance a conditioner. Use babassu alone or with other ingredients as an overnight pre-poo treatment. Add some melted babassu oil to your conditioner for an enhanced conditioning treatment.
Cupuacu butter is starting to attract some popularity but has been underrated for a while. If you don’t know much about it, you might want to continue reading …
WHY CUPUACU BUTTER IS GREAT:
- It is an excellent emollient. Cupuacu butter has softening and soothing properties almost like shea butter, but some claim better. It also has an amazing ability to retain water, thus retaining moisture in dry hair.
- It has emulsifying properties. This butter is said to aid in the stabilization of an emulsion. (An “emulsion” is a system — as fat in milk — consisting of a liquid dispersed with or without an emulsifier in an immiscible liquid usually in droplets of larger than colloidal size.)
HOW TO USE CUPUACU BUTTER:
- Use it straight or mix with other ingredients to make a whipped butter. Cupuacu butter can be used alone (since it is already soft and moisturizing on its own) or mixed with oils, others butter, or aloe vera gel to create a whipped hair butter.
- Add to a conditioner. Add some cupuacu butter to your conditioner to make it more moisturizing.
- Use as a styling agent. Cupuacu butter can be used alone or mixed with a gel for twisting, twist outs, braids, braid outs, or for use as a general styling agent.
4. Lanolin or Lanolin Oil
(Disclaimer: Lanolin is not recommended for use by those who have wool allergies.)
Lanolin is a natural, waxy substance extracted from the wool of sheep (and in rare cases, other wool-bearing animals). Unfortunately, it has been labeled a “bad” ingredient in certain hair care communities, possibly because it is a barrier to water. However, that “barrier” property of lanolin can be very useful in other arenas of hair care.
WHY LANOLIN IS WORTH TRYING:
- It seals in moisture. Lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep in order to protect the skin and wool from the harsh environment. It would then not seem unreasonable that lanolin would work well as an effective sealant on our own hair. Though this waxy, thick substance locks out moisture (i.e., preventing water from penetrating the hair) it also locks in moisture (i.e., retains water that is already present in the hair strand). NOTE: If you have fine strands, lanolin may feel too heavy; try the oil form (of lanolin) instead.
- It can aid in styling. Due to the waxy consistency of lanolin, it can help to define twist outs, braid outs, and roller sets. It can also help to smooth down any frizzies or stray hairs and add shine (or sheen).
HOW TO USE LANOLIN:
- Use as a pre-shampoo treatment or to enhance a conditioner. Use lanolin (or lanolin oil) alone or with other ingredients as a pre-poo treatment. Add some melted lanolin (or add lanolin oil) to your conditioner for an enhanced conditioning treatment.
- Use it to make a styling pomade or grease. Lanolin can be used alone or mixed with butters and/or oils to create a pomade or hair grease.
- Use it as an anti-humidity agent. Because lanolin can act as a barrier between your hair and the environment, it can work well to protect your styles from being ruined by humidity.
Grapefruit essential oil should not be confused with grapeseed oil. The former is an essential oil and pressed from the grapefruit. The latter is a carrier oil and pressed from the seeds of grapes. Grapeseed oil is growing in popularity in hair care, but grapefruit essential oil is relatively less known. Now for why this particular essential oil is underrated …
WHY GRAPEFRUIT ESSENTIAL OIL IS GREAT:
- It has a sweet, light fragrance. While peppermint essential oil can be a bit strong in aroma and lavender a bit weak, on this scale, grapefruit essential oil sits between the two (though relatively closer to lavender). Grapefruit essential oil has a citrusy scent similar to lemongrass essential oil, but weaker and much sweeter.
- It blends well with other essential oils. Grapefruit essential oil can be mixed with many other essential oils to create interesting blends. It blends especially well with lavender essential oil. Some also state that grapefruit blends really well with the essential oils of bergamot and basil.
HOW TO USE GRAPEFRUIT ESSENTIAL OIL:
- As a hair deodorizer/perfume. Add several drops of grapefruit essential oil to a few ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spritz your hair and scalp to hold off on wash day a bit longer. Grapefruit essential oil has the right intensity of aroma to leave your hair smelling fresh and sweet without being overpowering.
- As a fragrance for a moisturizer. Add several drops of this essential oil to give your moisturizer a sweet, citrusy scent that is subtle.
WHY SAFFLOWER OIL IS GREAT:
- It is inexpensive. Compared to your more popular hair oils, this one is fairly inexpensive. Depending on where you purchase safflower oil, it can cost almost 20–50% less than extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil.
- It is very moisturizing. The safflower oil sold for cooking purposes is generally high in oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that possesses conditioning and moisturizing properties.
- It is fairly light. The consistency of safflower oil is somewhere between that of jojoba oil and olive oil, and somewhat similar to grapeseed oil. Thus, if you find olive oil to be too heavy and jojoba oil to be too light, safflower oil may be worth a try.
HOW TO USE SAFFLOWER OIL:
- As a light sealant. Depending on your hair, safflower oil may work just fine as a sealant after a good wash and deep condition. I used to use this oil as a sealant in humid weather when my hair didn’t require a heavy product.
- To enhance a moisturizer. This oil can be used to enhance your current moisturizer. It works really well in whipped butters.
Ladies, have you tried any of these? What other “underrated” oils or butters do you use?