When I looked into what people were asking about argan oil for hair, it seemed that many people were searching around randomly. They had a hair problem and were wondering whether argan oil would help. They probably were Googling olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, castor oil, sesame oil with the same questions.
Online blogs claims suggest that argan oil is the answer for just about everything - hair growth, hair loss, frizzy hair, dry hair, shiny hair, dandruff, psoriasis, as shampoo, as a conditioner, for hair color and a myriad of other things!
Argan nuts must be cracked open by hand with two stones to get the kernel.
So, I started to wonder whether there was any truth to the claims and whether there was any research to prove the claims.
Here are some of the things I found out. (You’ll see lots of links to research. Follow them if you like – or just trust that I found the proof before I made a claim!)
The Simple-sounding Facts
Here are the simple-sounding facts in this article:
- #1. Argan Oil Is Good for Your Hair
- #2. Argan Oil Is an Excellent Hair Moisturizer
- #3. Argan Oil Protects Hair From Damage From Hair Dyes and Coloring
- #4. Argan Oil Can Be Used as Shampoo
- #5. Argan Oil Promotes Hair Growth and Stops Thinning and Hair Loss
These simple headings will take you on a learning journey to answer many other questions about whether you should consider argan oil for hair.
#1. Argan Oil Is Good for Your Hair
This may seem to be an odd "fact", however, many people asked this very general question: "Is argon oil good for hair?"
Many natural oils are good for hair – argan, avocado, olive, coconut, jojoba and others. They are all categorized as hair conditioners. They are used to enhance the smoothness and manageability of hair and make it shine.
Some Common Hair Problems
Problem #1: Static electricity in your hair can be caused by the cleaning agent in your shampoo, lack of humidity in the air or lack of moisture in the hair itself. This causes frizz and friction.
Problem #2: If you add harsh chemicals and environmental conditions, or if you brush or comb your hair roughly, the hair shaft can become “weathered”. This is a degeneration of the hair that starts at the roots and moves to the tips. It starts with damage to the overlapping scales on the surface of the hair shaft (the cuticle). Hair will then tangle and frizz.
Problem #3: If the natural oil layer is stripped off, water can get into the cortex at the center of the hair shaft. This can cause hair to stretch and break. Repeated swelling and drying can cause damage called hygral fatigue.
Problem #4: The cuticle can crack – and then the damage and breakage will spread to the cortex and the keratin (protein) layer.
Problem #5: There is a difference in the structure of Asian, Caucasian and African hair. African hair is the most fragile and likely to break. It has the least number of layers in the cuticle, the least amount of sebum produced and it has a tight curl. The curl stops natural sebum from moving down the hair shaft, so hair ends get very dry and split.
What Are the Solutions?
An article in the International Journal of Trichology (that’s the science of hair and scalp) found the following solutions:
- Increasing the moisture content improves the conductivity of the hair and neutralizes the static charge.
- Oil added to the surface of hair helps to detangle the hair and makes it easier to comb. (it’s best to do this while hair is damp.)
- It also lubricates the cuticle, so it helps to stop the absorption of water and prevents split ends. It also adds shine to the hair.
- Oil helps to repair split and broken hair.
A tip is to do a warm oil treatment once a week for shine and softness. For African hair and very curly hair, it's a good idea to add oil to the ends of hair every day as a leave-on treatment.
So, simply because argan oil is an oil, we can answer "yes" to the following questions:
Is Argan Oil Good For Hair?
Does Argan Oil Repair Hair?
Is Argan Oil Good For Shine?
Is Argan Oil Good For Frizz?
Can Argan Oil Be Used As A Hair Conditioner?
Is Argan Oil Good For African Hair?
Can Argan Oil Be Used For Curly Hair?
#2: Argan Oil Is an Excellent Hair Moisturizer
Often known as "Liquid Gold" – Argan oil is the most precious oil in the world
Argan oil has very high levels of mono-unsaturated oil. We know from research done with avocado oil that mono-unsaturated oil is absorbed into the hair and provides extra moisture. It diffuses (or spreads evenly) into the hair much better than polyunsaturated oils, like sunflower oil.
In addition, argan oil contains high levels of squalene (310mg/100g). Squalene is very similar to the body's lipid structure (hair sebum contains 10% to 20% squalene) and therefore is absorbed very easily into the hair and the scalp. It has been found to restore lost oils to hair that has been stripped of natural oils by washing or excessive exposed to the sun.
Because argan oil is very light, the film that remains on the surface of the hair does not look heavy or greasy, but still greatly reduces loss of moisture from hair.
So, the claims that argan oil is an excellent moisturizer seems to be correct:
Is Argan Oil Good For Dry Hair?
Is Argan Oil A Good Moisturizer?
A big caution: Read the label and make sure you are getting pure argan oil. Some products claim to be argan oil or "Moroccan oil" but are in fact loaded with silicones that may not wash out. That residue creates a layer over the hair shaft to make it feel smooth and soft. However, build up happens over time and blocks any nutrients from getting into the hair cortex.
#3: Argan Oil Protects Hair From Damage From Hair Dyes and Coloring
Many color products contain argon oil, and several people asked for the reason for this.
A Brazilian study tested the protective properties of argan oil as a post treatment after hair dye. Hair dying causes the cuticle to open and leads to loss of keratin from the cortex. The finding was that argan oil reduced swelling of the cortex, smoothed the cuticle scales and reduced keratin loss.
So, argan oil is, in fact, great for your hair if you are dying or coloring it.
Should Argan Oil Be Used With Hair Dyes?
In addition, it would be good to use after other treatments that open the cuticle – such as perming and straightening.
#4: Argan Oil Can Be Used as a Shampoo
Argan oil is not just a conditioner, some people also use it as a shampoo. This is because it contains saponin, which is a natural surfactant and produces a lather when mixed with water.
The best way to do this is to wash your hair with warm water only. Rub a few drops of argan oil into your hair and scalp and leave it in for a few minutes. After a few minutes, rinse with warm water again, but be careful to leave some of the oil in your hair.
Of course, you could also buy a commercial brand of shampoo which contains argan oil. However, one of the benefits of argan oil is that it is safe to use pure, at 100% concentration, and it is not necessary for you to buy expensive cosmetic products.
Using argan oil as a shampoo is an excellent remedy for natural oil loss, frizz, tangling, and breakage.
Can Argan Oil Be Used As A Shampoo?
#5. Argan Oil Promotes Hair Growth and Stops Thinning and Hair Loss
I found this the most interesting of all the facts. Let’s look at it in three steps
Some Facts About Hair
1. Shedding / Replacement Cycle
- Every hair grows for a few years and then stops growing as the follicle renews itself and rests. About 12 – 20% of your hair is likely to be in this resting phase and is, in fact, ready to fall out.
- As soon as the growth phase starts again, the new hair pushes the old hair out. Hair is thickest at about age 20. As we get older, fewer hairs replace the lost hairs, and hair become thinner and lighter in color. As a result, hair gradually becomes thinner over time.
2. Hair Loss Can Lead to Baldness
- For some men, there may be a genetic tendency for hair loss, or there may be too much DHT, (a male sex hormone caused by testosterone), in the hair follicle.
- DHT seems to cause the growth phase of the hair to become shorter and shorter until only very thin soft hair pushes through. The resting stage gets longer. This means that most of the hair is, in fact, ready to fall out, and will not be replaced. (Interestingly, this only affects hair on the head and not elsewhere on the body.) The way to stop this type of hair loss is with so-called DHT blockers.
Some Facts About Argan Oil
Many of the articles I read said that there is no research that conclusively proves that argan oil can block DHT, so it cannot stop hair loss caused by excess DHT. Others said that all argan oil could do is moisturize and nourish the hair that you still have, so that your hair looks fuller. Yet others recommended using argan oil for a scalp massage as this will stimulate blood flow to the scalp and encourage hair growth.
However, I found this study that suggests that argan oil may be able to stop thinning and hair loss that is related to aging. The reasons are that:
1. Argan Oil Contains Coenzyme Q10 and Melatonin
- Coenzyme Q10 plays a vital role in the synthesis of energy in the cells of the body. It is also a strong antioxidant.
- Melatonin is an important hormone that regulates sleep and energy balance in the body. It is also a powerful antioxidant and reduces inflammation. Studies also show that melatonin has anti-aging properties.
2. Argan Oil Contains Sitosterol
Research indicates that sitosterol may block the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
- A small study was reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2002. Men in the study took an oral dose of sitosterol (from soy oil). After about five months, all those on the treatment reported no increase in the size of their bald spot – hair loss had stopped. In addition, 60% of those on the supplement had improved hair growth, compared to only 11% of the placebo group.
- The safety and lack of side effects of the use of naturally occurring sitosterol was also noted compared to the more traditional pharmaceutical products.
- The researchers from this study recommended additional study to examine the possible effects of a topical application of sitosterol-containing oil.
Finally, Why This Information Is Important
Firstly, the body uses testosterone to produce cellular energy (which then leads to DHT) only when there is not enough energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Coenzyme Q10 plays an important part in the synthesis of ATP. If we add to this the fact that argan oil also contains sitosterol that seems to block the production of DHT, then it seems that argan oil may be a natural product to replace chemicals currently used for the treatment of baldness.
Secondly, Coenzyme Q10 has been found to have anti-aging effects on human hair. A test with 40 volunteers found that keratin started re-growing in the hair roots after just four days of Coenzyme Q10 treatment. This means that argan oil really does support hair growth.
Not Only That
Thirdly, five clinical studies have shown the positive effects of a solution of melatonin in the treatment of hair loss. One study showed a 41% increase of hair density after six months of treatment. Another study involving 1800 people found that nearly 62% easily lost their hair when pulled. After three months, this number had decreased to 7.8%. Conversely, the number of people whose hair didn't easily come out when pulled increased from 12% to 61.5%.
Fourthly, research has shown that there is a link between alopecia (early balding) and low levels of antioxidants in the scalp. Argan oil provides multiple sources of antioxidants, particularly high levels of Vitamin E, in the form of both alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol. The gamma-element stimulates the alpha-element, making the Vitamin E even more effective. Argan oil has double the level of tocopherols, and ten times the amount of gamma-tocopherol, compared to olive oil. So argan oil is likely to be helpful in the treatment of balding.
It’s in the Combination…
It is clear that argan oil’s impact on hair growth, thinning and hair loss is caused by the combination of several active biological elements in the oil, not just one.
So, somewhat surprisingly, we can answer yes to the following questions:
Can Argan Oil Help For Hair Loss?
Can Argan Oil Help For Hair Thinning?
Will Argan Oil Help For Hair Growth?
Can Argan Oil Help With Balding Due To Excessive DHT?
From a wild tree in Morocco to liquid gold for your hair
Many claims have been made about how good argan oil is for hair. The research findings that I’ve quoted support most of these claims.
I haven’t checked the research on whether argan oil protects hair from UV-B damage, heat damage, scalp problems and diseases. But I'm willing to guess that these claims are true too!
So, if you were considering argan oil for hair, and you had a lot of questions – I hope that this article has given you the answers. I am certainly going to add a good quality argan oil to my shopping list.
Please let me know if you found this information helpful or if you have some interesting research findings to share.
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