Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Study || Oil vs. Butter for Gloss, Combing, and Reduction in Split Ends

Many of us already know that in order to avoid breaking, dull hair we need some form of moisturization (i.e., water followed by an oil/butter/cream).  However, if we are just discussing oils and butters, which group is actually better for our hair?

A 2009 study on oils (Brazilian nut, mineral oil, passion seed, palm olein, buriti, palm stearin) and butters (ucuúba, sapucainha, tucum
ã) demonstrated that the former may be the better option when it comes to combing ease, gloss, and reduction in split end formation.  This conclusion is linked to the "molecular chain conformation" of triglycerides in oils versus in butters.  The triglycerides in the butters studied have more branches and higher melting points, both of which may increase friction and thus decrease the ease of spreading.  What does this mean in plain English?  Well, think of it this way: Because butters are harder to spread on the hair, they may not be as effective as oils in terms of combing ease, luster, and minimizing split ends.  (Some of you are probably saying "Duh!!" right now simply based on just experience.  Lol.)

Another conclusion from the study is that 
ucuúba butter improves the tensile strength of hair -- which is something that all the other oils and butters studied did not do.  The thought is that the low molar mass triglycerides of ucuúba butter are able to penetrate into the hair (you know, like coconut oil).

So, in short, choose the oil over the butter if you want more sheen + less breakage and splits.


ABSTRACT TO STUDY:

OILS AND BUTTERS: THE EFFECT OF DIFFERENT FATTY ACID CHAIN COMPOSITION ON HAIR (2009)

4 comments:

  1. Hey Chinwe, I saw your post on the BGLH site and your shrinkage! It's just like mine! Anyway, what I wanted to ask was whether you ever have difficulty removing shed hairs? That's seems to be the main cause of tangles for me. Any tips? Thanks in advance curlyb.co.uk

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    1. Hey! No, I don't have difficulty removing shed hairs so long as my hair is "bounded" beforehand (e.g., in twists, braids). A few points:

      1. I find that the best method for me is to remove them immediately after I take down my twists via detangling.

      2. However, if my hair is in some other style (i.e., stretched loose style), it can be a little difficult; in those cases, I just try to avoid wearing my hair in that style for more than a couple of days OR I remove the shed hairs more frequently (e.g., every couple of days).

      3. I find that flat-ironing my hair for loose stretched styles makes it MUCH easier to remove shed hair (since my shrinkage becomes non-existent). However, I don't like to use the flat iron TOO much.

      I hope that helps! :o)

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    2. Thanks for the reply. So do you just finger detangle each twist with oil as you take them down? and do you make your hair damp or just finger detangle dry?Thanks!

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    3. Yes, I finger detangle each twist with oil as I take them down. Ideally, I let the oil penetrate my hair overnight before taking the twists down.

      You're welcome. :o)

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