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Hemp seed oil, which is extractable from the seeds of the hemp plant, may have some benefits for hair care. Hemp seed oil is a dark green oil that manufacturers make by cold-pressing these seeds or using solvents to extract their oil.
Hemp seeds are the fruit of the hemp plant. They consist of 30–35% oil.
Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. It does not contain nearly as much delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the ingredient that causes the “high” that people associate with smoking weed, as other varieties.
Hemp is sometimes referred to as “industrial hemp,” because this is its primary use.
Indeed, humans have cultivated hemp for thousands of years, using it to make rope, sails, food, fabric, and medicinal products. The use of hemp seed oil for hair care is hardly new, but it has seen increasing popularity in recent years.
Keep reading to learn more about hemp seed oil and how it may benefit the hair.
Scientists have not yet identified the specific mechanism by which using hemp seed oil for hair might produce its benefits. However, there are data to show that hair somehow incorporates hemp seed oil.
For example, researchers found that after study participants used hemp oil for hair treatments for 6 weeks (by applying it directly to their hair), 89% of hair samples tested positive for one or more cannabis constituents.
Although scientific testing has not yet backed up these claims, the following are some of the ways in which hemp seed oil could benefit the hair:
- by promoting hair growth
- by moisturizing the hair
- by thickening the hair
- by preventing water loss to protect the hair
- by reviving damaged hair
- by adding shine
Hemp seeds are rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, in what some experts call the perfect ratio. This may contribute to the many potential health benefits that people attribute to hemp and hemp seed oil.
Some of the alleged benefits of hemp seed oil for hair may be due to its positive impact on the skin, including the scalp.
Researchers have also found that hemp seed oil may help protect people from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. The anti-inflammatory properties of hemp seed oil that some scientists say may help protect against chronic conditions could also contribute to hair health.
The composition of hemp seeds provides some clues as to the source of their benefits. Indeed, hemp seeds contain many important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including:
- gamma-linolenic acid
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
Consumer products that incorporate hemp seed oil for hair care range from shampoos and conditioners with low concentrations of the oil to pure hemp seed oil that people can apply directly to the hair and scalp.
The following sections will look at some of these products in more detail.
Organic Pure OilINC: Hemp seed oil shampoo and conditioner
These products are formulated to strengthen, moisturize, and restore all hair types.
The manufacturer states that the products feature a blend of hemp seed oil, hemp proteins, and hemp extracts to promote shine, reduce frizz, and support dry ends.
Love Beauty and Planet: Hemp seed oil shampoo
This shampoo contains hemp seed oil, coconut oil, nana leaf, and plant-based cleansers.
The manufacturer claims that the fresh, woody scent of nana leaf promotes relaxation and a sense of balance.
Maui Moisture: Fortifying and hemp seed oil hydrating vegan shampoo
The manufacturers designed this shampoo to prevent breakage in dry hair.
The formula includes aloe vera, hemp seed oil, and cacao butter to improve hair strength while keeping it soft.
Wellness Premium: Organic hemp seed oil hair serum
The manufacturer formulated this hair serum to provide all hair types with the strength and protection necessary to handle heat from styling products.
The cold-pressed hemp seed oil in this product provides important vitamins and minerals.
OKAY: Hemp seed and shea leave-in conditioner
The manufacturer claims that this leave-in conditioner promotes hair growth and prevents future hair breakage.
It does this by moisturizing and strengthening each strand.
Hempz: Original herbal deep conditioner and hydrating hair mask
The manufacturer states that this hair mask revives dry hair, using a mix of hemp seed oil, shea butter, pomegranate extract, and cogon grass extract.
This lightweight conditioner, scented with grapefruit and peach, may help hydrate hair and leave it soft and lustrous.
Wellness Premium: Organic hemp seed oil intensive hair mask
The manufacturer recommends this hair mask for thin to wavy hair.
It uses cold-pressed hemp seed oil, vitamins, and keratin to repair damage from the sun and chemical processes.
People should apply it after washing their hair, leave it on for 5–60 minutes, then wash it out to reveal softer, healthier hair.
Herbal Essences: Hair oil mist, hemp seed oil and aloe
This product may help fight frizz and tangles while hydrating and moisturizing.
It contains hemp seed oil, aloe vera, and botanicals that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (in the United Kingdom) endorse.
Shea Moisture: Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil lush length conditioner
This conditioner supports thicker and healthier hair with a combination of Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, horsetail extract, and ginseng root.
The manufacturer claims that the hemp seed oil contains no THC or cannabidiol.
Sephora Collection: Multipurpose oil, hemp seed
This product can nourish, moisturize, and soothe the hair and skin. The manufacturer recommends it for the hair.
To use, apply it before shampooing or apply directly to dry hair for hydration.
People seeking hair care alternatives to products that contain hemp seed oil can choose from a number of different products.
Shampoos, for example, can prevent damage to the hair while cleansing and treating the scalp. Manufacturers can formulate them to address everything from dandruff and greasy hair to frizz.
That said, people with frizzy hair should avoid using harsh shampoos, as these can make the problem worse.
Conditioners protect the hair by mimicking its natural outer layer. They can also make hair easier to comb, which reduces the risk of damage, minimizes frizz, and makes it easier to manage.
People can also use other oils for hair care, such as olive oil, mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil. Researchers have found that coconut oil could prevent protein loss for both healthy and damaged hair.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend that people let their hair type determine their hair care practices. For example, a person might only use products designed specifically for their hair type, wash oily hair more often, or use conditioner regularly while concentrating on the tips of the hair.
Several studies have suggested that hemp seed oil shows promise as a treatment for atopic dermatitis and acne. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Although scientific testing has not verified all of these claims, hemp seed oil can reportedly protect, heal, thicken, and repair the hair.