What sorts of oils and butters are best for your hair?

Clearing up some misconceptions

hair oils

Various Oils

Coconut butter, avocado, almond butter and peanut butter are not actually butters, in terms of the nomenclature we are discussing. In these products, the flesh of the nut or fruit is pressed and included with the oil, which provides the food source with proteins and water, as well as fatty acids. This is not a butter in the technical sense THEN WHAT IS IT? WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF BUTTER?, but this is a common usage in food products. Another point to keep in mind is that in some cases, the unsaturated fatty acids in the oils of these fruits and nuts are hydrogenated to create a more solid texture. This can change the properties of the product significantly.

Another bit of confusion on this topic of oils, butters, and waxes is due to misleading terminology in the nomenclature system. It is not uncommon to read assertions that emulsifying is waxy or oily and prone to build-up. In fact, emulsifying wax is not a wax at all, nor is it an oil. It is a group of ingredients (derived from fatty acids ) used as a nonionic surfactant mixture that is highly effective at facilitating mixing of oils and waxes into aqueous solutions. Specifically, it is most often these ingredients: Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate & Steareth-20. All of those components are water soluble, with the exception of the fatty alcohol. It is possible that people who dislike products containing this ingredient are actually sensitive to the oil or butter being emulsified by emulsifying wax, or they are sensitive to buildup of fatty alcohols (cetearyl alcohol) on their hair.

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Tonya McKay

Tonya McKay Becker is a curly-haired polymer scientist and cosmetic chemist whose academic and industrial research experience have provided her with expertise in the fundamentals and applications of polymer science and colloid chemistry. She has long had a fascination with the structure-property relationships of the complex solutions used in hair and skin care products, and how they interact with and impact these remarkable biological substrates. Ever curious, Tonya has dedicated herself for more than a decade to honing her expertise on the science of curly hair, how it differs from straight hair, and how product ingredients used on curly hair affect its health and beauty. Her passion for sharing this knowledge with others has led to her current career of educating people from all backgrounds who share an interest in this exciting field.

This was a great article...saving this under my favorites as a point of reference!!

Wonderful article. Little by little I'm learning how to deal with tempermental Fine, Porose 2B to 3B hair. Thank you.

Wow great article. This explains alot and helped me narrow done my product list. Thanks

Tonya, Wondeful article and just what I needed! As Diana said before me I will be re-reading and studying to figure out why my easy to maintain and moisturize hair 4a/b hair has become overly porous, thin, damaged and protein reliant and all without the use of heat or relaxers. Thanks for helping me take a big step in becoming knowledgeable in the care of my hair.

Phew!!!!!!! That is going to take some re-reading and studying!!! I"m curious why you didn't include Castor oil?? Thanks for this!!!