Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The "Skinny" (details) On Mineral Oil Baby Oil

My condolences to any and all who have lost love ones and property in the devastation caused by tropical storm Sandy. Its effects hit here in Canada too and have had lasting repercussions.

I use Johnson's Original Baby Oil and I have also sometimes used a generic, unfragranced store brand baby oil. The generic brand is somewhat heavier. I have also tried a sample of a laxative "heavy" mineral oil on my hair. Results from all three compare equally, in terms of lasting moisturization or in my case, maintenance of the good level of moisture in my hair and slip or detangling. All three have washed out of my hair easily. My hair is mostly fine, wavy and thin.

However, the Johnson's washes out the easiest. The shampoo I always use is a little different this new batch that I bought the end of last year and I have found that I now need less than I normally used, to clean my hair and scalp and remove enough catnip not to have it build-up. I am not sure what has changed. My hair and scalp are not dry or reacting differently to account for it. The shampoo does not appear to have any different ingredients and I checked that out to be sure. It is a bit thicker than it used to be but not by much. When I used the other mineral oils, I did need to use my previous normal amount, which is not a lot of shampoo at all and I needed no extra amount in addition to that. With the Johnson's, I can use less shampoo to remove it completely. Johnson's is the most lightweight of the mineral oils I have tried.

The more lightweight a non-drying oil is in consistency, the easier it can be removed from hair with shampoo. I have had no problems with any of the mineral oils tried but I do prefer the lightest weight version. So, for those of you with finer hair, the more lightweight a mineral oil baby oil is in consistency, the easier it can be to remove completely, when the hair is next washed. Not all mineral oil baby oils are equally lightweight, even without extra ingredients.

I recently needed to be out in very humid weather and while I prefer to use baby oil and catnip separately, I tried something different. I used less than one small drop of the Johnson's in total, to "polish" my catnipped hair, used on the length and top and canopy or the top layer of the back of my hair. It worked perfectly to give my hair just that extra bit of style. I used it on mostly dry hair.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To Avoid "The Winter Hair Blues"

Spring is the traditional time to clean your home more thoroughly and get it ready for warmer weather. Now is a good time to prepare your hair for winter and the negative effects it can have on your hair.

1. If you have not clarified your hair in a while, it is a good time to remove any hair product residues.

2. Do not overload your hair with product because of drying indoor heating or low outdoor humidity or both. Use less product on your hair, not more, to help it stay in good condition and delay build-up becoming a problem.

3. If your hair is lacking moisture, moisturize it with water, which is what it needs. Apply a non-drying oil on damp to wet hair, to help keep the water your hair lacks in your hair as long as possible, by delaying its evaporation. Your hair will still dry but the needed water can be retained in your hair and rehydrate it.

4. If your hair is lacking moisture, do not apply any oil on it when it is dry. The oil will help maintain the poor moisture level.

5. If your hair is not lacking moisture, do apply a non-drying oil on dry hair. The oil will help maintain the good moisture level. Oil applied on dry hair helps maintain whatever level of moisture is currently in the hair. Oil does not add moisture to hair.

6. Do not use a drying oil frequently on your hair because it builds-up and usually requires clarifying to remove it and can require repeated clarifying to do so. Clarifying hair too often is harsh and drying.

7. USP/BP mineral oil is an excellent choice of oil to use. Results last longer than those of other non-drying oils and other products. It is inexpensive and it does not build-up, nor is it heavy or greasy on hair, when not too much of it is used. As baby oil, it is a lightweight oil. If it is overused, it can still be washed out of your hair fairly easily and does not require clarifying to do so. It is not sticky. It is antistatic. It has superb slip or detangling properties. It should not need reapplication between hair washes.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some Types Of Hair Damage Are Reversible And Hair Can Heal

In this study, reversible hair damage was observed. What was the key factor in the observations regarding healing? The presence of water.

This explains to me even more why the use of cosmetic or USP/BP mineral oil has been so very helpful to stressed or damaged hair, even bleached and damaged hair, in being able to grow out stronger and have a healthy appearance. The hair is no longer being mechanically stressed or tangled because friction is reduced to a minimum, while the mineral oil helps keep needed moisture in the hair longer than other products like vegetable oils, silicone and natural sebum. The mineral oil is also filling in gaps in the cuticles. The water is vital.

In more than one case I know the details of where mineral oil alone has replaced conditioners and treatments, heat is still being used on the hair damaged by bleach and hair colour. No pre-treatment was used prior to the chemical processing. Results are still great. Mineral oil can help protect hair from thermal damage.

So, in some cases, hair can heal after all.

Note added in response to a blog email: The number of mineral oil drops needed and the size of drops actually used vary with the person and their hair. The idea is to use the least amount you can to not overuse it. Less mineral oil than many people think at first is required for the advantages over other products it can provide. More can be added to make up the difference, if enough has not been used in the first application and areas of hair have been overlooked. Those sections of hair can be rewet or redampened if necessary. Mineral oil does not usually need to be reapplied between washes.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hair: Moisture, Frizz And Build-Up

Moisture in hair is its water content. Moisture is what hair needs in the right amount to stay soft and supple and looking its best. Products that help keep moisture in the hair often contain emollients and detanglers and sometimes styling ingredients, or you can simply use USP/BP mineral oil.

Hair needs access to moisture in the air or water vapour, to help keep it soft. Too much water vapour in the air and hair can become frizzy because there is not enough moisture in it and it swells with the excess water vapour. Too little humidity can draw out moisture from hair and it can become frizzy too. Hair that is lacking moisture needs to be moisturized and have its access to high and low humidity restricted, whether the conditions are atmospheric, or artificial, like indoor climate control.

Genetics play a role in frizzy hair too but the remedies can be the same, moisturization and restricted access to humidity extremes. Do not try to seal hair from moisture in the air or seal moisture in the hair. That often has the opposite effect and dry hair becomes even drier.

Mineral oil used on its own can work very well to prevent frizz. It is safe to use. It keeps moisture in hair longer than silicones, vegetable oils and other products. It slows down or restricts hair access to humidity conditions. It can rehydrate dry hair, used on damp to wet hair. For hair with a good moisture level, used on dry as opposed to damp to wet hair, it can maintain that level. Small drops of it, evenly distributed throughout the hair are all that is needed.

As baby oil, fragranced or unfragranced, without extra ingredients, it is inexpensive, lightweight and available. It does not require a clarifying or sulfate shampoo to wash it out of hair and leave no residue. It is antistatic and protects skin. It is not sticky. It does not seal hair from water vapour and it does not seal water in hair. Oil does not seal hair from water vapour. That has been demonstrated in research.

Product build-up on the hair restricts access to moisture in the air which in some cases is not a bad thing. However, build-up also stresses hair because it eventually causes it to tangle and creates other problems. Too much build-up on the hair is never a good thing. Hair does not require multiple layers of residue on it to look healthy and be strong. Multiple layers of residue on hair can have the opposite effect.

The same products that can make hair "stronger or straighter or shinier in x number of days", based on frequent use, means that the hair is being progressively layered with ingredients that not only are not entirely removed with the shampoo that is part of the regimen but the shampoo itself can and usually does cause build-up. And after that time period? Build-up can dehydrate hair by restricting access to moisture in the air too much and not allowing products applied on top of it help keep moisture in the hair.

Enough dryness causes breakage and split ends. Cosmetic companies know that ingredients in many of their products cause build-up and often include a clarifying shampoo in their product lines. Hair should not need to be clarified too often. That can be harsh on hair. Products that cause build-up should not be used exclusively for extended periods of time without clarifying though.

Hair products need access to the hair to work well. When hair has build-up or residue on it, other products added sit on top of it, instead of being in direct contact with the hair. A detangler for example, used on top of build-up is not going to be that effective. It is designed to work on the cuticles of the hair, not on layers of residue. An oil used on top of a lot of residue is not going to be as effective either, as it can be with more or complete access to the hair.

Products that cause build-up, like all conditioners, styling aids, which include natural ones like aloe vera gel and juice and other botanicals, drying oils and many shampoos, need to be used in lesser amounts and less often than many people use them. Doing that cuts back on and delays build-up causing problems. For conditioner, using smaller amounts of a lighter one as opposed to a heavy, thicker one can be an option.

Added in response to an email inquiry: When you use something lightly on hair, it allows for natural volume. The reason many people get flat, heavy hair is from too much of the product they use or the wrong product. That adds weight to hair and build-up. Course hair benefits from moisture too and does not need to be weighed down by product, as many people think and attempt to do. 

Mineral oil can reduce or eliminate "poofy looking" hair or undesirable excess volume, because it smoothes hair and softens it, when it is used to moisturize, applied to damp to wet hair. It is the water kept in the hair that is doing the softening. Water, not oil, softens skin and hair. Mineral oil also restricts hair access to the humidity level which causes the hair to look that way. "Poofy looking hair" is an indication that the hair is lacking moisture. The hair is often frizzy as well. Any type of hair can become "poofy looking".  

Updated in reply to another blog email: If you washed your hair and forgot to use mineral oil to fight frizz and will not be washing your hair for a while, mist your hair to redampen or rewet it and then apply the mineral oil. Frizzy hair is lacking moisture. If your hair does not have too much product on it or residue, the mineral oil should help in two ways, one, by helping to keep the added moisture in your hair until you do wash it and two, by restricting your hair from the level of humidity that is causing the frizz.

Updated in reply to a blog email inquiry about baby oil and extra ingredients: Some baby oils contain added ingredients like vegetable oils and botanicals. These ingredients and others added can make the hair greasy and heavy easily and cause build-up on hair. They are intended for use on skin, where build-up is not the same issue. Some vegetable oils and butters are sensitizers and can clog pores. 

It is better for the hair and scalp, if it is just mineral oil and fragrance, or without fragrance for those sensitive to it. Tocopherol acetate or Vitamin E is sometimes listed as an ingredient. It is used to stabilize mineral oil and is often not listed separately. It is not a problematic ingredient in the amount used. USP/BP mineral oil is not considered to be a sensitizer or allergen and it does not clog pores. I added a reference regarding that statement. It is the mineral oil that can give the desired results, not the extra ingredients, some of which are added for marketing appeal but can have undesirable results used on hair and skin. 

Unfragranced USP/BP mineral oil without additives is usually available at pharmacies for laxative use and is often sold as "extra heavy" or "heavy" on the label. I compared a "heavy" one to a lightweight baby oil and it was not that heavy or thick to me. The "heavy" one worked well on my hair without any issues. Lightweight grades of mineral oil spread somewhat easier but there was no difference in the slip provided or results. My friends who have tried both kinds agree. None of us tried "extra heavy" laxative mineral oil on our hair.

USP/BP mineral oil unfragranced and without extra ingredients is also sold for use on wooden utensils and cutting boards and it can be used on hair and skin as well. 

Full text pdf

Happi Household and Person Products Industry, "Truly Natural"
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Mineral Oil And Dandruff Update 2012

I wrote about mineral oil (cosmetic or USP/BP) being recommended for cradle cap previously. Now there may be another reason to use it, to not exacerbate dandruff. The same way mineral oil does not support bacterial growth and go rancid, it cannot feed the yeasts that cause dandruff, like vegetable and other organic oils are able to do.

This research article that made the news in August of this year, makes sense to me.

Using a dandruff shampoo or treatment and then oiling the hair from root to tip with a vegetable oil to deep condition it, or as an addition after conditioning may also be counterproductive, given this evidence. The same would apply to using any products containing vegetable oils to condition or style hair, while such dandruff or other scalp problems are present. It is about the saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in the oils.

Update in reply to recent blog emails: Any oil that is overused, lightweight or otherwise, can make hair greasy, in spite of marketing claims to the contrary. Mineral oil is harder to overuse than vegetable oils because it spreads so easily and usually does not need reapplication between washes. Mineral oil can need reapplication to make up the difference if enough has not been used the first time (on areas of hair that have been missed). It has proven superior longer lasting moisturizing effectiveness, compared to silicone and vegetable oils. I added a reference regarding this topic, specific to vegetable oils.

Using a product as often as every day on hair between washes to keep it moisturized and oiling, accelerates build-up on the hair and that is counterproductive to hair being moisturized. Using a drying oil on its own that frequently, creates build-up that usually requires clarifying out of the hair.