Paraffinum liquidum, also commonly known as mineral oil, is a largely used ingredient in the cosmetic industry. There are many contradictory opinions about mineral oil; some say it stimulates hair growth while others argue that it causes hair damage. So, which one is true? Let’s find out!
Debunking the Myths of Mineral Oil
There are many different opinions about mineral oil and it’s time to eliminate the wrong once to protect your hair from the harm.
- Leave it overnight: - Please don’t. Never leave mineral oil in your hair overnight, it would leave you with nothing but damaged and dry hair. Although on the other hand, natural oils can be left overnight because, as the name suggests, they are natural, unlike mineral oil, which is a chemical substance.
- Mineral oil nourishes and repairs hair: - As much as people would like to believe that mineral oil repairs hair, unluckily, it’s not true. As said before, mineral oil is just a beatifying agent and works only on the appearance of the hair. It stays only on the surface – it doesn’t penetrate the hair. That’s why it would be impossible for the mineral oil to fix your damaged hair, cure hair loss or fight dandruff.
- Mineral oil causes cancer: - Some people argue that since mineral oil is derived from petroleum, it contains carcinogens and causes cancer. But be assured that there has been no evidence or report behind this rumor. Keep in mind that every ingredient in the cosmetic industry is subjected to a purification process and is only used when it’s certifiably safe. So, despite being a product of petroleum distillation process, mineral oil is safe to use, just like petroleum jelly.
- Mineral Oil is banned in the European Union: - In 2004, the European Union did move to block all petroleum oils that did not adhere to best practices in terms of manufacturing processes. But the ban was placed with a notable qualification, “Classification of carcinogen need not apply if full refining process is known.” So, it would be more accurate to say ”Poorly refined mineral oil is banned in the EU.”
What is Mineral Oil?
Mineral oil is a petrochemical derived during the petroleum distillation process. It is greasy and is used to apply a protective coating. As stated earlier, it is a very common ingredient in the cosmetic industry as it is cheap and easily available.
Effects of Mineral Oil on Hair
To completely understand how mineral oil affects your hair, you need to know that mineral oil doesn’t penetrate the hair but works as an external coating on it. It focuses on enhancing the appearance and protects the hair from external damaging factors; it doesn’t fix damaged hair. But that doesn’t imply that it’s entirely ineffective, let’s see how mineral oil can affect your hair.
Benefits of Mineral Oil
- Less breakage: While mineral oil might not repair damaged hair, it does prevent hair breakage to some extent.
- Increases shine: Mineral oil makes your hair look more shiny and glossy.
- Increases volume: If you have thin hair and are struggling to make it look thicker and denser, mineral oil might do the trick.
- Easier brushing and less tangling: The greasy coating makes hair smoother and hence, lessens tangling of hair.
Drawbacks of Mineral Oil
- It provides temporary results that last only until the first washing. It only beautifies the hair from the outside and is removed after the washing routine.
- When applied for too long, it may result in scalp irritation.
- If used in excessive amounts, it might weigh down the hair.
- Using it frequently might cause hair dryness instead of protecting it.
Now, the question that arises is ‘how much is too much?’
Here are the answers.
How often to use Mineral Oil?
To obtain the best effects and not the drawbacks, you must remember not to overuse it. Applying it twice a week would be good enough.
How much to apply Mineral Oil?
If you have shoulder-length hair, apply a tablespoon and for long hair, two spoons should be enough.
Also, don’t let it sit in for too long because as mentioned earlier, it can cause scalp irritation.
How to use Mineral Oil?
Apply the right amount of mineral oil in your hair (from roots to end) and scalp. Let it sit for ten minutes. Then, wash the mineral oil off with shampoo. To emulsify it, you can apply a conditioner, wait a moment, rinse hair out and use shampoo.
Is there an alternative?
If your goal in mind is not only good looking hair but also stronger and strengthened hair, then mineral oil may not be the answer you are looking for. Fortunately enough, there is another option that might help you. Natural oils, extracted from seeds, nuts, and fruits, are great sources of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. When chosen correctly according to your hair type, these oils strengthen your hair from within, add volume to your hair, and work on your scalp too.
Mineral oil works as an instant beautifying agent and enhances the hair temporarily. And yes, it’s a harmless and safe substance when used occasionally and in appropriate amounts. Therefore, it can be your go-to option when going to some special event (like a meeting or a party).
But if you’re looking for long-term benefits or internal repair, mineral oil won’t help you much and it’s better to go for a natural alternative.