Thursday, April 5, 2012

Conditioners, Treatments and Mineral Oil

I do believe that cosmetic mineral oil can replace conditioner and treatments for more people than just me, using an acidic rinse beforehand or not, after washing hair with an acidic shampoo, preferably one that does not cause build-up. Acidic rinses can help with hard water issues and are needed after an alkaline shampoo and those are soap based. Most shampoos today are acidic.

Conditioner can coat the hair unevenly because the hair itself is uneven, not only because of possible damage but individual hair shafts have different thicknesses and texture variations on one head of hair. Not all conditioners work well either as many people know. Mineral oil, spreading so evenly, results in smoothing well, reducing friction in doing so and is known for that property (slip).

True story: Years ago a hairstylist told me that the best remedy for hair damage caused by a perm is oil. She did not specify the kind of oil. But the research is clear that mineral oil outperforms vegetable oils and silicone for moisture and slip and more. It makes sense to me.

I do not think most damaged hair needs protein replaced. Cuticles that have been lost through damage (protein loss) can be coated to replace the lost hair shaft protection. That is what most protein additives do in conditioners, some shampoos and even in treatments where some kinds of protein can also penetrate hair.That is exactly what mineral oil does too. It only coats the hair, See this Update but it can be used without the downside of build-up and resulting residue limiting its effectiveness.

The interesting thing to me is that aside from catnip, mineral oil is the only product that has ever left my mostly fine hair tangle-free with a great moisture level, after washing and drying it, until my next hair wash as long as on average, a week later. I let my hair air dry. The shampoo I use that does not cause build-up is Sunsilk Lively Blonde Shampoo.

I used many conditioners years ago. The one thing my hair always did back then was tangle very easily, which led to a good amount of mechanical damage and breakage. My hair was dry then too at the ends and it split badly.

Catnip has solved all of that for me. Now mineral oil can do the same thing for me, when not using catnip, and I have seen no increase in the minimal mechanical breakage I can get when I am sometimes careless with my hair, nor have I seen any split ends.

Update: April 17, 2012
Friends of mine have successfully been using cosmetic mineral oil on their hair since I started recommending it at the beginning of December 2011. Some still use conditioner but much less of it and some now prefer no conditioner or styling aids, just mineral oil after washing. They update me periodically.

Among recent updates I received is one regarding treatments. None were used following a lot of conventional chemical processing a while back. My friend forgot to use any form of pre-treatment which can help considerably and even prevent damage, depending on the choice, method of use, type of processing and how the processing is done. She had used treatments previously after such processing and found most she tried to not be all that helpful in the long run. She used mineral oil drops alone this time at my suggestion, to see if that would help instead. She clarified her hair first as she had been using heavy conditioners and was unhappy with the results. Using the mineral oil has brought her hair back to a healthy looking and feeling state. It looks like that hairstylist was right about most kinds of hair damage and right "on the money", literally too.

Cosmetic mineral oil is much less expensive than most treatments and can be used as one much more simply, as a grooming aid, in place of conditioner and treatments, on fairly wet, damp or dry hair. That is how my friend has been using it, no fuss, no long hours, no fancy application techniques. Her hair's condition has simply, steadily improved.