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A Scientific Response to Ouidad’s Claim: ‘Oil Does Not Seal in Moisture’

Avatar • Apr 17, 2014

As much as I am a blogger and writer, I am also an avid reader of BGLH and I did not miss the recent video highlight of Ouidad discussing hair and her opinion on using oil on hair. To be specific the quoted portion from the conversation,

Oil does not seal in moisture. Oil coats the hair and repeals natural moisture [from the environment]. It causes dehydration, dullness, and frizziness. Our hair is like us, it needs to breathe. If we suffocate it [with oils], it dries out.’

Just Grow Already Oil Sealing Experiment 

Q1: Semantics — does oil really seal in moisture?

When a natural says ‘I use oil to seal in moisture’, they usually mean that after applying water or a water based product to hair, a film of oil is used to help prevent moisture loss. This is the question I will address and not the semantics of whether the right word is seal or coat.

Q2: What does science say on oil and moisture?

A scientific study looked at the effect of applying oil to hair on both moisture retention and moisture pick up from the air (Journal of Cosmetic Science, pp 135–145, 2007). The oils used were coconut, sunflower and mineral oil. The 3 key findings were:

- Oil DOES help to prevent moisture loss from the hair fibre. Hair with an oil layer has higher moisture retention compared to uncoated hair.
Oil DOES have a sealing effect. Hair with an oil layer will take up less water vapour compared to uncoated hair which means that the oil layer slows moisture uptake. Coconut oil allowed more moisture in than mineral oil (i.e mineral oil is a better sealer).
Oil layers on hair DO NOT prevent hair from taking up water vapour. Although uncoated hair will take up the most water vapour from the air, hair coated with oil (mineral, sunflower or coconut) will also still take up significant amounts of water vapour from the air.

The final conclusion of the study was that oil films on hair slow the loss of moisture from the hair creating a moisturising effect.

Q3: What exactly is in the glaze product suggested for shine instead of oil?

The Ouidad shine glaze serum suggested as a final touch for shine contains two silicones (silicones are oils), alcohol and an emollient (Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Alcohol Denat, C12‐15 Alkyl Benzoate). It is pretty much a silicone based serum that will feel less oily due to the emollient. In the grand scheme of water entry prevention to hair, silicones and mineral oil are top of the table.

Q4: Does oil suffocate hair?

Since a significant amount of water can still get into oil coated hair (even mineral oil coated hair), no, oil cannot suffocate hair. It simply takes a little longer to get water in but equally, water that is underneath the oil layer, takes longer to get out.

Q5: Does oil prevent water from entering hair?

No, there is no oil that can form an absolute barrier from water entry to hair. If you chose to dunk your head in a tub of oil and then went into a shower, your hair would still get wet because despite all that oil, water can get in!

Q6: Will a thicker oil coating slow down moisture uptake from the air?

Yes, the thicker the oil coating on your hair, the lower the uptake of water from the air. A light film will allow more water uptake from the air. You can experiment with light or heavy oiling to find out which one suits you best, there is no universal correct method.

Q7: What if you do experience dry and dull hair when using oil?

First, always feel free to add water to your hair should it feel dry, the water will penetrate past any oil layer. You can also use less oil and opt for a light natural oil (jojoba, sunflower, coconut, almond) instead of silicone or mineral oil. However, if oil is not for you, this is also fine, respect your hair!

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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Jane
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Jane

It’s funny because when I saw that original article I was thought to myself “I really hope Jc/The Natural Haven chimes in on this and she did! Thoroughly enjoyed this article!

ME
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ME

Quite off topic,
but im singning of BGLH.
The post about Quidad that they allowed on here, and troll rant on Chelsey wich the did not delete or tracked down the ip adress.
To sad for BGLH but i rather stick with the knowledge and un biassed infirmation that Natural Haven provides.

Such waiste of my time
Good bye!

nicole
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nicole

Girl bye.

Deb
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Deb

Did you notify the person who runs the blog about the troll? Also you know it’s one person that runs the site right and she has another similar site she runs and also has a child and a family to take care of. Just remember that. Also, I’m glad BGLH ran that article because it encouraged discussion and now we have this awesome article from JC.

I’m glad this website doesn’t stay away from “controversial” topics that are REAL. Anyways, good luck with everything.

Ash
Guest
Ash

Scamming ass heifers. They are selling oil in a bottle, then screaming don’t use oil because it suffocates your hair (which is dead and does not need air to survive), and then use some of the most “suffocating” oils known in cosmetology. I hope this makes it all across the internet.

KP
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KP

LOL! Yes! That was a good laugh. I was thinking the same thing, too.

straightnochaser
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straightnochaser

LOL! “Scamming ass heifers.”

Connie
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Connie

Ash,

Scamming ass heifers?” RFLMAO!

lv
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lv

scamming ass heifers”. lololol. the big product manufacturers are still underestimating the knowledge gained in the natureal hair community. You just can’t tell us anything now. It is truly a new day

Deedeemaha
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Deedeemaha

Thank you Natural Haven. I enjoy your site and knowledge.

I think majority of us used our common sense on that hair suffocation article. That’s why I said:

Mo power to hair suffocation!

Also:
Mo power to DIY!

Mo Power to KIFY! Lol
(Know it for yourself)

LBell
Guest
LBell

Surely I’m not the only non‐scientist who remembers how the scientific method works…nice to know my own results concur with those of a real‐life scientist. Thanks, Jc! 🙂

darkchildlovethyhair
Guest

Whew!! I knew it! I even had a rant on my blog about how so called ‘experts’ keep selling conflicting theories and confusing poor folks. Thanks for the research JC. More power to know your hair and do what works for you!

Tinah
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Tinah

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! Probably more than I should, but still, quite enjoyed it. I don’t even know why I had a smirk across my face as I read this.

Valerie
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Valerie

On point JC! And this is why its hard to take the word of “professional” stylist. I respect the profession but sometimes I wonder if what they promote as truth is based on personal gain rather than the needs of their clients

Redseouls
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Redseouls

I was waiting for your response, Jc! Thank you!

MsKat
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MsKat

What Ouidad claims is ‘right’, but ONLY under a certain condition: if you use a very heavy oil in a large quantity, or create a heavy buildup, and never actually wash the oil off, either with a shampoo or a fairly strong stream of water for a reasonable amount of time, then of course the things they claim, will happen to your hair. Now, on to reality. I was a cosmetologist for 10 years, and nearly all my customers had a place in their hair care regimen for some type of oil. Black customers, White customers, customers from other cultures,… Read more »

Deedeemaha
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Deedeemaha

I think most were responding to the claim ‘Oil does not seal in moisture. Not all of the diffrent certain conditions , heavy build up etc.

I feel like these so called “professionals ” think we are stupid and can’t use common sense. So for me personally I’m not helping them try yo support their cause by giving them certain condition to support their bogus statement. They got served! Eat it even if you don’t like it!

MsKat
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MsKat

I think you may have missed the sarcastic undertone of my response. That is all.

Ash
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Ash

I don’t care which way you slice it, there was nothing about that post that translates to sarcasm. Your ass is either trying to save face or you fail miserably at conveying sarcasm and using literary devices.

Adina
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Adina

Lol. Thank you for this. The first time I saw the other article I was thinking, “how can you suffocate something that is dead?” Hair is dead protein. And how do you explain all those people being able to retain length using oil? The statement just didn’t make sense to me. If you pour oil in a cup of water, the oil will float on top, sorta creating a barrier over the water, but it doesn’t prevent more water from coming in. If you add more water, it will penetrate the oil and join the rest of the water, not… Read more »

lablooplah
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lablooplah

she dont play.

Christina Patrice
Guest

Thanks for this Jc!!! A perfect follow up 🙂

Miss Elisa K.
Guest

I immediately thought of this experiment when I read the previous article. I honestly think they want people to buy their products instead of using cheaper alternatives like water and oil… I’m just saying.

Vee
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Vee

Truth!! When I read that article I was like “WTH do they think we on?” I only use water, oil(castor, rice bran, argan), banana baby food, amla, protein(hydrolyzed, when needed). That’s it, and my hair is thriving!

sue
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sue

TELL THEM Jc!

ida voyder
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ida voyder

How much water vapor is actually floating around in the atmosphere to be absorbed by our hair to be honest with you. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but air has more of a drying effect on the hair — the air, the sun — these things work together and do tend to dry the hair out. I’ve been using oils (not mineral) for many years now and have no problems at all with it, my hair has always been very long (when I treated it well) It is true though that you have different type of oils, light, heavy… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

I watched the video and here are my thoughts. 1) I wouldn’t take advice from someone who doesn’t have kinky, curly hair or coily hair in other words African American hair. There are some non African American hair stylist who knows our hair texture and how it responds to products, but they are hard to find. 2) She is selling her product, that’s all!

RedPaperLantern
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RedPaperLantern

To: The Natural Haven‐

Thank you Madame Scientist for taking the time to put together this INSIGHTFUL and INFORMATIVE piece for us. It is MUCH appreciated.

Science, not supposition‐ Booyah, baby!

Nicole
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Nicole

Fantastic response article. The mason jar picture alone provides great evidence regarding the benefits of utilizing oil. Thank you for this article.

JazzWife
Guest

Wonderful response.

Dananana
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Dananana

Awesome response article! Thank you for spreading the truth, Jc 🙂

I still can’t believe they seriously tried to pass off that “Shine Glaze” as a better product than natural oils…

C in Colorado
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C in Colorado

Natural Haven, all I can add to chorus above is thanks so much for breaking it down!!

Hello, Ouidad. We’re supposed to believe your  suffocation “warning” or the actual real beauty of what’s actually growing out of our heads? Puh‐leez.

k
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k

i feel like real life facts and proofs trump anything ill believe and just the pictures/experiments from picture prove it all to me. Clearly oil help seal in moisture so ill beieve that. I come from a proof standpoint. Ill give an example, for the brief brief time Michael Baisden was in my market when he was still on air, I remember them talking about how microwaves are bad for food. Long story short, many many stories/proof/pictures posted of a plant with microwaved water vs non microwaved water and that was it for me brother …9 years strong havent used… Read more »

yikes
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yikes

Uh try again on the microwave thing. It has long been debunked.

Commonsense
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Commonsense

This is exactly why people should not believe everything they hear. Go with your gut. Always remember, that there are people who need to sell products, any way they can!!!!!

I know when I deep condition m hair with coconut oil along with a deep conditioner and water, it all penetrates my hair and my hair comes out silky, curly, soft and shiny. The proof is in the pudding!!!!!!

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain
Guest

how is hair, a dead matter like us and need to “breathe”. even without the scientific evidence, ladies with long hair who have been practicing the LOC method are proof that Oil doesn’t suffocate the hair
http://www.themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Jacky
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Jacky

So glad to find out that her claim was not true, even though I already doubted it. I’m even more glad that the naturals on this site were wise enough to know that Ouidad’s claim was false immediately the article was posted. Also, I’m glad that i can keep using my natural oils and butters. Those store bought products have a way of scaring someone when you look at the list of ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Alcohol Denat, C12‐15 Alkyl Benzoate, What the heck is that? I know that the writer said that they are emollients but…o_O.

Momma Love
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Momma Love

Thank you for debunking this claim that lacked credibility and in such a succinct, supported and thoughtful manner. I have trouble taking hair advice from many of these industry heads whose sole purpose is to sell us something and your article proves that it is for good reason.

mushire
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mushire

is it really this serious? jus do what works for you and yours…

Reanna
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Reanna

I’m no hair specialist but I do have a background in Chemistry so I knew the claims by Ouidad were false. A lot of claims made by hair companies are just marketing strategies to get you to spend your money. So I am super grateful this article was posted. Let this be a lesson to all of us to do your research before you buy into every claim these hair companies make.

A
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A

RESPECT YOUR HAIR! That is all! Do what works for you and forget all the natural hair politics!!!!

Knotural
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Knotural

All i needed was to see the picture and the point was proven. I’ve never tried Ouidad’s line, but i have heard some nice things. I wonder why sus was trying to push that on us?

Anoni
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Anoni

Is it just me or does the entire article continuously contradict itself? So is oil sealing good or bad, give it straight up!

Kijani
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Kijani

I’m sorry to say that this type of misinformation is a big reason why most naturals do not trust stylists with their natural tresses.

Pinkche
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Pinkche

OMG, been natural for 7 years but 2 years ago I flat ironed my hair in Oct, Nov, & Dec 2012…ONCE each month. In January 2013, I was HORRIFIED, my ends were BONE STR8!!! I took on a personal challenge to revert my curls back to bouncing & behaving curls. It took a year but I did it!! Ends curl now and hair is much thicker (details for a later time). So hubby decides to schedule me a hair appt… Nice gesture and I rolled with it but was leary the whole time. I went with coconut milk saturated in… Read more »

Taylor
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Taylor

I like the last part: “respect your hair”. I think all of us can agree that it’s all about tuning into your hair and catering to what it likes/needs. Since I’ve started my natural hair journey, I’ve stopped taking the advice from others and have started trying to figure out what my hair likes and doesn’t like, and I think that that’s really important. No matter what anyone says about oil, the only thing that matters is if oil works for YOU. Great article.

Laura
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Laura

We really shouldn’t be buying products from these companies. They don’t deserve our money. They think we are worthless scum. I use no products whatsoever on my hair and it’s never been longer.

Lisa
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Lisa

I had to weigh in on this one…did the BC in early February and I have been learning about hair care from YouTube, this blog and various sources on the Internet. Of course I learned quickly that you have to filter as not all advice will work for your hair. The routine I had settled into was to co‐wash, condition, apply leave‐in, seal with an oil (extra virgin olive oil in my case) and recently I had started applying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie after the oil. (I wear my hair in an afro.) Well after seeing this article,… Read more »

Dananana
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Dananana

I upvoted you because not all oils work the same for everyone. Our hair is like our fingerprints; everyone’s is almost totally unique. I really can’t use EVOO as a leave‐in either, unless I want dry, brittle hair…I can only use it as a pre‐poo.

We should all do what is best for our hair, but I think we should also keep in mind that what’s best for our hair (and pocketbook) probably doesn’t lie in an $8/oz ‘cone mixture, lol

African Naturalistas Hair Products
Guest

I am absolutely in love with the phrase ‘Respect your hair’. Permission to steal it please, lol.

linda
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linda

Thanks again The NAtural Haven for breaking it down for us. Everything said is the truth for me because that what I experiment with MY HAIR and it’s also the reason why I didn’t not post a comment on Ouidad’s statement. She doesn’t want oil for our hair to allow it to be moisturized but she uses silicones (we all know very well what silicones are used for and what they do to our hair especially for those who use heat) in her products…now go figure… This is also the reason why I don’t mind using mineral oil for my… Read more »

the gypsy life
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the gypsy life

This article 0_o it was hard for me to read all of it. Let me just say that, I agree with the other poster, no 2 black women’s hair is alike. We just have to do what works best for our hair. We don’t need “scientific” proof to tell us how and what to put in our hair. Most of us have done the leg work, in terms of, trial and error. We know the end results — whether it was thoroughly moisturized, softness etc. I use water and argon oil, during the summer months — and occasionally a serum… Read more »

bsbfankaren
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bsbfankaren

Thank you for this article. I knew what the Ouidad expert said made no sense, but it took me all weekend to figure out why it didn’t make sense. After my shower and without toweling off first, I apply coconut oil to my skin to what? Seal in moisture. My skin, which is alive unlike my hair, is not suffocated by this process, my skin still perspires and breaths, and it happier because it is not dry and itchy. Why would this same process not be effective for my hair? Oh, yeah. It IS in fact effective! There are far… Read more »

Tanya
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Tanya

Always appreciate articles by The Natural Haven. Thank you for your research and input!

Shaniqua
Guest

Ditto. She always breaks the issue down by the facts! I personally think that Ouidad said what she said because there’s no need for a shine serum if you use natural oils. This was a commercially driven statement and that’s all. That’s why it was completely untrue!

LaNeshe
Guest

I love when JC just comes through and lays the science down.

Jerri
Guest
Jerri

Gotta love science. And just to add about the use of the word “suffocate”, it means to breath. Your “dead” hair doesnt need to breathe. Only needs to be able to uptake moisture. Oil will suffocate anything that the needs air/oxygen. But obviously a dead hair shaft is not one of those things.

LoveMyCurlz
Guest

I hear so much about whether oil is good for sealing and a moisturizer, this article was helpful even though I dont agree with anyone using mineral oil. I still think that undertanding how your own hair absorbs moisture can help determine which may be a better oil to use.

Suzie
Guest
Suzie

This post is entirely incorrect and misleading. What is said here is not at all what the research publication sited proves. You actually say the exact opposite. Sorry,but you are contributing to the spread of misinformation and you should look at the study again and read what its actually saying.

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