Taking care of the hair by practicing good hygiene can have a big impact on how shiny and healthy it appears. Using certain oils can also have benefits in keeping the hair strong and smooth.
In this article, we take a look at the benefits of using avocado oil in the hair, how to use it in hair masks or scalp massage, and we discuss the possible risks of these treatments.
Benefits of avocado oil for hair
Research suggests that vegetable oils may help prevent hair breakage.
Oils have an essential role in stopping hair from breaking. A person's scalp naturally creates oil, but sometimes an uneven balance of oil or environmental factors can make a person's hair dry or brittle.
According to a 2015 research paper, using some kinds of vegetable oils near the scalp can coat the hair follicles to prevent damage at the base of the hair and to prevent hair from breaking later, as it grows out.
Some oils are better for this than others. Saturated and monosaturated oils are better able to penetrate the hair than polyunsaturated fats. Avocado oil contains monosaturated fats, making it a good choice for hair treatments.
Avocado oil also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that some believe can help keep a person's hair strong and healthy. It may have the following benefits:
1. Reducing dandruff
Well-hydrated skin on the scalp can make hair appear healthier. If the skin is dry or flaky, massaging oil into the scalp before washing and conditioning hair may help.
2. Preventing breakage
The strands of the hair can break if they are dry and brittle. Coating the hair with a thin layer of oil can make it more flexible. This may help to prevent hair from breaking when a person brushes it or ties it up.
A person should treat their hair gently to prevent breakage. A good way to untangle the hair is by brushing the ends first, rather than tugging a brush through it.
People should also avoid using elastic bands rather than hair bands, or tying hair up too tightly, as this can damage the hair strands or roots.
Bleaching, heat treatments, and relaxing hair can all cause damage.
Using avocado oil on hair is unlikely to undo severe hair damage, but it may help to prevent further breakage by lubricating the hair strands.
3. Detangling hair
Applying avocado oil to the ends of the hair may help to detangle it. Using the fingers, coat the ends of the hair in a small amount of oil for smoother brushing.
Using a wide-toothed comb, gently comb through tangles until the hair begins to unknot. A smaller toothed comb or hairbrush can then be used to continue brushing the hair.
4. Protecting hair from damage
Environmental damage, including pollution, sunlight, seawater, and chlorine can dry out a person's hair shafts.
A person may find that applying oil to their hair can protect it from some of the effects of environmental damage. Before swimming in the sea or sunbathing, they can coat their hair with a thin layer of avocado oil. Long hair can be tied up in a bun or a plait to stop the oil from getting onto the skin.
When in strong sunlight, it is important also to protect the head with a hat and to wear sunscreen always. Rinsing hair after contact with seawater or chlorine can help to prevent it from drying out.
How to use avocado oil for hair
Running avocado oil through the hair from root to tip may help condition the hair.
There are several methods that a person can use to apply avocado oil to the hair or scalp. Avocado oil can be purchased in supermarkets, health shops, or online stores.
Using avocado oil in the following ways may have benefits for a person's hair:
1. Scalp massage
According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, moisturizing the scalp by massaging oils into the base of the hair may help to treat a dry, flaky scalp. If done regularly, this could help to prevent dandruff.
How to massage the scalp:
- warm a small amount of oil in a bowl, either in a jug of hot water or microwave for just a few seconds
- gently separate the hair and apply a little oil to the scalp using the fingertips or a cotton ball
- massage oil into the affected areas of the scalp, using small, circular motions with the fingertips
A person may wish to leave the oil on the scalp for a short while to absorb before rinsing out using their usual shampoo routine.
2. Hair mask
A person can use mashed avocado as a hair mask. The oils in the avocado may help to lubricate the hair and make it appear more shiny and healthy.
How to make an avocado hair mask:
- remove the stone and peel from an avocado, and mash half in a bowl
- add 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of honey
- combine the ingredients
- apply to clean, damp hair and leave for 30 minutes
- rinse hair thoroughly and dry
As a hair treatment, this can be used once a fortnight if needed.
After washing the hair with shampoos, which can dry out some people's hair, avocado oil can be used as an intensive conditioner. This may be especially beneficial if a person has dry or damaged hair.
After washing hair with shampoo, apply a small amount of avocado oil to the fingers and then run the fingers through hair from root to tip. Repeat as many times as needed to coat the hair with oil.
After leaving avocado oil on the hair for a short time, rinse out the oil with warm water.
Before using avocado oil for the first time, a person should test the oil on a small patch of skin before applying to the hair. If it causes redness or discomfort on the surrounding skin, a person should stop using this remedy and try a different oil instead.
The hair on the head is made up of dead cells. This means that they cannot absorb nutrients in the same way that skin does. A person may experience positive effects from using avocado oil on the hair, but these may not be long-lasting.
Using products on the hair cannot promote hair growth. This happens from within the body and is usually at a steady rate for most people. This means that it cannot be sped up. Eating a healthful diet may help to encourage healthy, strong hair to grow.
Hair grows from a hair shaft and can only take in nutrients at this point. Nutrients come from the body, so eating well is key to healthy hair. Using avocado oil in cooking, as part of a balanced diet, may help to keep hair hydrated.
Just like healthy skin, a person can also get healthy hair by eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough sleep.
The best way to care for hair is to wash and dry it regularly and trim any split ends. Using avocado oil as a mask or conditioner may help hair to appear shinier.