Are there any real differences between cooking oil and hair oil?
Can they be interchanged?
Or more specifically, can you use cooking oil as a replacement for hair oil?
Are there any benefits?
Let’s dive in!
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Can I use cooking oil in my hair?
The short answer is no.
Cooking oils that are specifically made for cooking are refined and treated to heat. They are specifically tailored for heating and have a high smoke point which makes them ideal for cooking.
These oils will not work for hair because their molecules are too large to be absorbed by hair strands and won’t provide as many benefits as oil that is specifically made for hair or oil in its natural form.
However, there are certain vegetable oils (which are used for cooking) that can you can use in your hair.
These are special considerations that I will discuss in this post.
What is the difference between cooking oil and hair oil?
Cooking oil is mainly refined and is derived from old and dry oilseeds and nuts whereas hair oil is not refined and is derived from fresh oilseeds.
Cooking oil is prepared in such a way that it is safe for consumption, whereas hair oil is pretty natural and can be used generously on the hair and skin.
What happens when you use vegetable or palm oil on your hair is, it’s just going to sit on top of the hair shaft and not really penetrate your hair shaft or get absorbed.
This is not going to provide any moisture benefits to your hair.
It is simply going to coat your hair strands and make it greasy – which will also attract a lot of dust and dirt. And because it is so greasy and is coating your hair, you will have to use more shampoo to take it off – this will cause more dryness and scalp irritation.
So, if you have to use vegetable oil in your hair, make sure that it is unrefined. You can buy cold-pressed oils or extra virgin oils. Both of these signify that the oil hasn’t been chemically treated and is unrefined.
Can I use olive oil in my hair?
You have to be very careful when buying olive oil for your hair.
Some olive oils that are used for cooking cannot be used on the hair for the reasons I mentioned above.
However, if you were to use extra virgin olive oil like this one, then you can apply it on your hair because it is:
- Unrefined and not treated with any chemicals or heat
- Has a lot of vitamins and minerals (it’s in a pure form)
So, if you are buying olive oil for your hair, make sure it’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil like this.
I usually mix a little olive oil in honey and then apply it to my hair for 1 hour before washing it off thoroughly with shampoo.
If you have dry hair that requires moisture, then this will really help condition and soften your hair. You’ll notice a stark difference afterward.
If you do use olive oil or any other vegetable oil on your hair, please don’t leave it for longer than 2 hours.
You have to wash it off within 2 hours because the oil left in the hair for longer does more damage than good.
What cooking oils can be used for hair?
1. Olive oil (Extra Virgin)
Olive oil works well to deep condition hair and makes it soft and shiny.
You have to make sure you buy extra virgin olive oil that is unrefined and cold-pressed. This will ensure that the oil penetrates your hair and moisturizes it.
Leave it on for no more than 2 hours and then wash it off with a clarifying shampoo like this.
2. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil moisturizes, repairs, and strengthens your hair. It’s an amazing oil that can be used on hair.
But when buying avocado oil, you need to make sure you are buying the cold-pressed version like this as this will actually work for your hair and make absorption easier.
Avocado oil can also be used as a carrier oil (carrier oils help dilute essential oils and make absorption easier) so it can be mixed with 3-6 drops of lavender or peppermint oil before applying it to your scalp and hair.
3. Coconut oil
I’ve used coconut oil for many, many years since I am an Indian and coconut oil is the rave in most Asian countries.
It repairs damaged hair (colored hair or heat-damaged hair) and really does help your hair become stronger.
But there is a way of applying coconut oil to hair correctly.
For one, because coconut oil molecules are really big, you need to use fractionated coconut oil like this in order to reap the benefits of coconut oil.
And you should never leave coconut oil in your hair for more than 2 hours.
Always wash the oil out of your hair within 2 hours. After 2 hours, your hair won’t absorb anything anyway and the oil only becomes more difficult to wash off.
In my opinion, these are the best cooking/vegetable oils that you can use in your hair.
What are the best oils for hair?
Honestly, if you are looking for oils that will help nourish your hair and moisturize it all while providing it strength so that it grows long and strong, then it is preferable to buy hair oil or oil meant for hair.
Depending on your hair, you can get certain oils.
If you have dry straight hair, I highly recommend olive oil or coconut oil.
If you have low-porosity curly hair, then use light oils like grapeseed oil or argan oil.
But if you want the maximum benefits from oil but don’t want to individually purchase multiple oils, buy mixed hair oils.
I highly recommend getting formulated oils that contain a mix of the best oils that will benefit your hair and skin immensely – something like this which is a blend of olive oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, and vitamin E.
In short, cooking oils specifically made for cooking cannot be used on hair – you won’t get any benefits from it and it is very hard to wash off.
However, certain vegetable oils that are cold-pressed and unrefined can be used for hair.
I hope this helps!