Stop reading for a second, check out the ingredients on some of your hair products and you’ll likely notice that mineral oil is at the top of the list. That doesn’t mean that it’s good for hair, it’s there because mineral oil is cheap, produced in large quantities and saves the hair care companies major moolah. What’s even more disturbing is that you’ll often find this oil in many hair products marketed towards African-Americans—strange fact, but worth mentioning. I used mineral oil products before my healthy hair care journey and realized that it was the major cause of the chronic dryness. Mineral oil is the byproduct of crude oil that is used to produce gasoline and is valued for coating products. It DOES NOT absorb water and is even used to make brake fluid! Is this really what you want to put on you scalp and hair???
Also known as Petroletum and Paraffinum Liquidum, Mineral oil does not absorb water; it sits on top of your hair and acts as a barrier, preventing moisture from getting in. It gives off the illusion of moisturized hair because it shines, when in fact your hair is suffocating and begging for water. With long term use, mineral oil is known to result in chronic dryness which leads to breakage—and then more of the product is applied to try to solve the problem, creating a viscous cycle.
I personally wanted to do about five cartwheels after eliminating mineral oil my regimen and instantly began to see the health of my hair improve. After I broke up with mineral oil and married good old fashioned water-based moisturizer, my hair had more body and felt silkier because it was super moisturized. Your scalp also benefits from eliminating mineral oil since it clogs your pores, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria and acne and therefore a stunted growth cycle.
Coconut oil is a fantastic replacement. A study by Marico Industries showed that coconut oil has a strong impact on replacing protein loss on both damaged and undamaged hair. This is because coconut oil is attracted to hair proteins due to its chemical make-up and as a result, it’s able to penetrate your hair shaft resulting in real moisture, not just a thick, greasy coating like mineral oil. Click here to read more on the study. Other natural oils such as olive oil and jojoba oil have molecules small enough to penetrate the hair strand and scalp. If you are looking for a real moisturizer, look for water as the first ingredient. Here’s a list of mineral oil free moisturizers (leave-in conditioners can also double as daily moisturizers):
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Leave-In Cream (I use this as a daily moisturizer and love it!)
Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Leave In (very good on thick hair)
Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shin Conditioning Cream
Silk Elements Moisturizing Leave-In
Hollywood Beauty Olive Oil Cream Hairdress
Biofusion Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion
Tigi BedHead After Part Smoothing Hair Cream
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Splint End Mender Balm
Soft Sheen-Carson Roots of Nature Feather Whipped Curl Cream
Soft Sheen-Carson Rob on Hair and Scalp Conditioner
L’Oreal Hair Expertise EverSleek Humidity Defying Leave in Cream
Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream
Motions Nourishing Leaving in Conditioner
Most of these products can be found at your local drug and beauty supply stores.