Whether it is being touted as a harmless hydrocarbon or a malicious catalyst of cancer, mineral oil is a topic of some controversy. But is mineral oil bad for hair? First up, the basics…
What is mineral oil?
Mineral oil is an industrially produced derivative of crude oil. This is the very same oil that many of you put into your car as petroleum. The crude oil undergoes a process of purification, until it is refined into a slippery fluid, ready to be used in a variety of cosmetics.
The problem with this process is that crude oil contains many toxins and carcinogenic materials. If properly distilled, these should in theory be removed from mineral oil. However, if not thoroughly prepared, poorly manufactured mineral oil can retain some of these toxins.
So is mineral oil natural? In the sense that it is derived from crude oil, then it has organic origins. However, in its commercial form, mineral oil does not occur naturally. It is a processed product that goes through a series of industrial steps to reach the supermarket shelf.
Is mineral oil bad for hair?
Despite its dubious origins, most mineral oil that reaches the shop shelf will not put you in mortal danger. However, it is not good for hair and it is not a good idea to slather it all over your skin. But you can sleep soundly, without the fear of death from that cheap shampoo you bought.
Does mineral oil affect growing healthy hair?
Some scientific studies highlight the negative impact of mineral oil on the skin. But does mineral oil keep the hair from growing? Healthy hair growth begins at the scalp. Hair follicles are tiny cavernous structures in the skin, and this is where the hair growth cycle really takes place. Any irritation to the scalp can impair the healthy growth of hair. Although mineral oil is unlikely to stop hair growth completely, some studies suggest that its disruptive effect on the skin could impact healthy hair growth.
Mineral oil vs. natural oils
The benefits of using mineral oils on hair are extremely limited. It’s primary purpose as an ingredient is as a cheap lubricant, which can be mass produced. Anyone considering a product with mineral oil should consider that there are a host of natural alternatives, which offer the same positive effects and help to infuse nutrients into the hair.
Give your hair the attention it deserves, and get rid of that cheap shampoo and conditioner. Viviscal Gentle Shampoo and Viviscal Moisturizing Conditioner are completely free from the mineral oils, SLS, SLES and parabens often included in mass market brands. Our hair wash formula has been specially created to keep hair clean while minimizing damage and breakage, promoting the ideal environment for healthy hair growth.