What’s the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

The difference between moisturizing oils v. sealing oils
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Moisturizing v. Sealing Oils

Moisture is the primary key to reduce breakage.  Oils are unrivaled when it comes to treating dry hair.  Natural oils nourish hair deeply for the kind of lasting results that knock the temporary effects of creams and lotions out of the park. Scientifically speaking, there are only really about 3 oils that can easily enter the hair shaft and lock moisture in. The rest of the oils will usually sit on top of the strand and act as a sealant of moisture. In this article we will explain what’s the difference between moisturizing oils v. sealing oils.

This article will help you understand which is which and help you ensure the perfect hair care regimen.

MOISTURIZING OILS

Moisturizing oils are able to penetrate the hair shaft.  These oils tend to work best when used with a water-based leave in conditioner or with water by itself, as the moisturizing agent.  These oils are great for hot oil treatments and pre-shampoo treatments because they won’t leave a film on your hair (since they actually penetrate it).

Here are some examples of moisturizing oils:

1.Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is used in many natural beauty products, and for good reason: It’s naturally antibacterial and antifungal, coconut oil for skin is an excellent moisturizer, it can penetrate hair better than other oils.  The molecular structure of the oil is small enough to allow it to penetrate, unlike most other oils, but in a very limited quantity. It is usually most effective when used with a bit of water or a water-based leave-in. 

What's the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

2. Olive Oil – Olive oil, in particular, can have a major moisturizing effect. Olive oil could add softness and strengthen hair by penetrating the hair shaft and retaining moisture. This oil also can leave your hair with shine because it helps smoothes the outer cuticle of the hair.

What's the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

3. Avocado OilAvocado oil is ideal for hair that is dry due to heat damage and environmental factors. It’s high vitamin E content strengthens hair to prevent breakage, while helping to smooth the cuticle. It is lighter than olive oil, and will absorb into the cuticle without weighing your hair down. Best used as a pre-poo treatment.

What's the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

SEALING OILS

Unlike moisturizing oils sealing oils are unable to penetrate the hair shaft.  These oils work best for your hair when applied after a good moisturizing (water based product) and are used to seal in the moisture you already applied.  Sealing oils are commonly used when doing braiding styles, twist outs.  However, it’s important to note that once a heavy thick oil is applied to your hair it creates a seal.  That seal is a barrier that helps prevent moisture from getting out.  Yet, that same barrier prevents moisture from getting in.  This is why it’s best to use sealing oils AFTER you’ve properly moisturized your hair.

Here are a few examples of sealing oils:

1. Jamaican Black Castor OilIt is no surprise that JBCO makes the list as one of the best sealing oils a naturalista can use.  JBCO helps to soften the hair while drawing out toxins/impurities that prevent hair growth. Because this oil is extremity thick it is a great sealant for thicker textures especially.

What's the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

2. Jojoba Oil – Jojoba most closely resembles the natural hair sebum our body produces naturally. It is a fairly light oil that is most effective in sealing in the moisture added during wash day or other hair regimen activities.  Jojoba is also very good for people suffering with dry or flaky scalps as it helps to restore the proper pH to your hair.

What's the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

3. Grapeseed Oil– This oil is extremely light and possesses an ability to withstand high amounts of heat. This makes it best for women with finer/ thinner strands that want to seal in the moisture for their ends without being weighed down or greasy/oily.

What's the Difference between Moisturizing Oils vs. Sealing Oils?

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Brandelyn Green

Brandelyn Green

Brandelyn Green is the Founder of Voice of Hair, a platform to help women of color find the best hairstyles and hairstylists! After living in 8 cities and in Sweden within a 10 year span Brandelyn became frustrated after trying to find trusted hairstylists who could help her maintain her natural hair. Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 560K+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find hairstylists, advice and trends. VoiceOfHair provides hairspiration (hair + inspiration) as well as styling tips for women with relaxed and natural hair!
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