` Olive Oil Conditions Hair Better

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Olive Oil Conditions Hair Better

Jan. 12, 2015
By Celeste Murphy

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Olive oil has long been touted as nat­ural alter­na­tives to com­mer­cial hair con­di­tion­ers, but its effi­cacy has not often been explored by researchers.

In a report pub­lished by the Jour­nal of Cos­metic Sci­ence, the authors stud­ied hair’s cap­il­lary adhe­sion after being coated in dif­fer­ent oils. Cap­il­lary adhe­sion can be seen in action when a glass of water forms con­den­sa­tion; the water around the bot­tom of the glass can cause it to become stuck to the sur­face it is rest­ing on, like a table or coaster.

On a much smaller scale, water or oil, when put in one’s hair, can cause indi­vid­ual strands to stick together. This effect may cause hair to tan­gle or break. How­ever, olive and other nat­ural oils were found to cause less cap­il­lary adhe­sion when used in hair, indi­cat­ing that they could be suc­cess­fully used as a con­di­tioner with­out caus­ing hair break­age.
See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits
The study’s authors hypoth­e­sized that because olive and other nat­ural oils are able to be absorbed into the hair shaft, cap­il­lary adhe­sion is weak­ened over time. The oil even­tu­ally forms only a thin coat­ing around each hair, not enough to allow strands to stick to each other. In con­trast, min­eral oil does not absorb into the hair shaft, and thus the authors observed that it does not cause a reduc­tion in adhe­sion.

These find­ings are good infor­ma­tion for any­one wish­ing to use oil as part of their hair styling rou­tine. Olive oil, unlike min­eral oil, can be effec­tively used in hair with­out caus­ing strands to adhere together. The longer the oil is left to absorb in the hair, the less cap­il­lary adhe­sion will occur.

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