Sunflower oil is a byproduct of pressing the seeds of the Helianthus annuus plant, lovingly known as the common sunflower.
Sunflower oil is certainly popular as an all-purpose cooking oil — but sunflower oil for hair? Yes, it's true — sunflower oil does have some surprising benefits when it comes to hair health.
In this article, we'll take a deeper dive into the many hair health benefits of sunflower oil, exploring some ways you can use sunflower oil in your healthy hair care routine.
Table of contents:
- What Is Sunflower Oil?
- Are Oils Good for Your Hair?
- 10 Benefits of Using Sunflower Oil for Your Hair
- How Can You Use Sunflower Oil for Your Hair?
- Sunflower Oil for Scalp Treatment
- Make a Hair Mask
- Add to Your Favorite Serum
What Is Sunflower Oil?
Sunflower seed oil has risen in popularity in recent years and comes in different forms — some with linoleic acids, others with oleic acid.
Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, while oleic acid is considered a mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Different sunflower oils yield different concentrations of these complex lipids.
Regardless of their concentrations, all sunflower oils are 100% fat and contain some important fat-soluble nutrients.
But what does this seed oil have to do with hair care? Can you really use sunflower oil treatments to promote healthier hair? The answer is yes. Let's take a closer look.
Are Oils Good for Your Hair?
Aside from style, our hair plays a protective role. That is why keeping it healthy is so important.
Hair health begins at the hair root, which rests within the hair follicle. In the hair follicle, the hair shaft is formed by a hardening protein called keratin.
The hair shaft is made of three keratin layers — the medulla, cortex, and cuticle. Hair oils are particularly helpful for supporting these important components.
Specifically, various types of essential oils are used to promote hair health and hair growth. For example, tea tree oil is commonly used to soothe dry, itchy scalps, fight off dandruff, and even help support hair growth.
Other effective hair oils include Moroccan argan oil, extra virgin olive oil, and jojoba oil. But where exactly does sunflower oil stack up? Well, the hair health benefits of sunflower oil are tied to its abundance of fats and antioxidants. Let's examine some of these benefits.
10 Benefits of Using Sunflower Oil for Your Hair
1.Sunflower Oil Is Rich in Antioxidants
One of the most significant benefits of sunflower oil is its antioxidant properties. While antioxidants are a common buzzword these days, most people may be unaware of what they actually are or why they're important.
In short, antioxidants are molecules that help ward off harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable molecules that wreak havoc on cells, causing damage and contributing to a variety of illnesses and diseases. This process is known as oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA, and more. Of course, this can also have an effect on the health of your hair, especially when it comes to hair aging. Oxidative stress can also impact scalp health, impeding hair formation and growth.
In effect, antioxidants can help support your body's natural defenses against oxidative stress and free radical damage. The good news is that antioxidants are found in many vegetables and plants, including sunflower seeds. Powerful antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
2. Sunflower Oil Is Packed With Vitamin E
One of the most abundant antioxidants in sunflower oil is vitamin E. It also exists in many types of foods, particularly cruciferous vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in many forms — however, alpha-tocopherol is the only form used by the body.
This particularly essential vitamin is well-known for being a potent hydrator for dry hair. In fact, studies have looked at vitamin E's effectiveness in supporting scalp health, promoting hair growth, and increasing visible hair luster and shine.
For example, vitamin E is a go-to when it comes to skin health and hydration, including hydration to the scalp. In short, antioxidants like vitamin E can help support a healthy scalp environment, promoting healthier-looking hair.
3. Sunflower Oil for Added Shine
Another benefit of sunflower oil is the added shine it provides to your hair. Once again, this is thanks to its abundance of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E. This effect also has a lot to do with the hydrating effects of vitamin E and its ability to help lock in moisture.
Dull hair is a major complaint for many. By dull, we simply mean hair that lacks body, moisture, and shine. There are many causes for dull hair, from a lack of nutrients in the diet to harsh chemicals in hair products.
Other reasons for dull hair include:
- Bad hair care techniques
- Environmental factors (cold, dry air)
- Overuse of heating or styling tools
Thankfully, sunflower oil can help promote hydration and restore the lost shine that comes with dull hair. In addition, the vitamin E found in sunflower oil can help add an extra layer of protection and may help reduce the appearance of hair damage.
4. Sunflower Oil Can Help Soothe Irritation
Scalp irritation is a common complaint that can get in the way of hair health. Simply put, scalp irritation affects the skin on the top, back, or sides of the head. Scalp irritation is typically marked by redness, dryness, and flaking.
The good news is that sunflower oil could provide some relief. Most research suggests that these soothing effects are tied to sunflower oil's abundance of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid.
5. Sunflower Oil Promotes a Balanced Scalp Microbiome
There is research that suggests that topical sunflower oil can help promote healthy balances of bacteria on the scalp.
Scalps are not unlike the rest of the body in that they can be susceptible to infection. Bacteria and fungus can enter through hair follicles or damaged skin on the scalp.
For example, folliculitis is a condition marked by infection of the hair follicles. This can cause pain, itchiness, and redness on the scalp.
Fortunately, the linoleic acid in sunflower oil acts can help support your skin barrier to help keep bacteria out, as well as promote healthy balances of good bacteria.
6. Sunflower Oil Can Help With a Flaky Scalp
Having a dry and flaky scalp can be frustrating. This phenomenon is marked by small pieces of dry skin that are shed from the scalp and into the hair.
These small flakes tend to make their way from the scalp and onto the shoulders at the most embarrassing times.
The good news is that sunflower oil can help soothe and moisturize your dry scalp, kicking dryness and flakiness to the curb.
7. Sunflower Oil Acts as an Emollient
Sunflower oil acts as an emollient, which simply means it has moisturizing attributes. Specifically, an emollient is a type of moisturizing ingredient that helps smoothen rough pieces of hair.
This is thanks in part to its high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids like linoleic and oleic acid.
Emollients like sunflower oil help provide a protective barrier to soften, moisturize, and smooth the hair. It also has a lighter texture compared to other oils, allowing it to penetrate the hair shaft more easily, locking in hydration while combating visibly dry hair and hair breakage.
8. Sunflower Oil Can Help Get Rid of Frizz
Unruly hair is a big source of frustration for many people, especially among those who tend to have curly hair types. Thankfully, sunflower oil can help mitigate and tame unruly frizz.
Frizz is caused by hair fibers running in multiple different directions and is made worse by environmental factors — e.g., humidity.
Because sunflower oil helps provide a protective barrier around the hair cuticle, it can help get those hair fibers running in the same direction.
9. Sunflower Oil Enhances Hair Conditioning
Sunflower oil also makes a great addition to your favorite conditioner. It's pretty simple: Just add a drop or two of sunflower oil to your favorite conditioner, apply the conditioner, and rinse as normal.
10. Sunflower Oil Has a Less Greasy Look
Hair oils are great for all the reasons we've already mentioned. However, many folks avoid using them because they fear their hair will be left looking greasy. But we have good news — sunflower oil is much lighter than other oils and has a non-greasy texture.
How Can You Use Sunflower Oil for Your Hair?
We've covered a bunch of the benefits associated with sunflower oil. Now, let's take a look at some of the ways you can incorporate sunflower oil into your hair care routine.
Of course, it's important to make sure you aren't allergic to seed oils first, and this can be verified with a simple patch test.
Sunflower Oil for Scalp Treatment
Due to the benefits we've mentioned above, sunflower oil makes a great option for those looking for a skincare and scalp treatment. Simply take a small amount of sunflower oil and massage it directly onto your scalp. This can be done whether the hair is wet or dry.
Make sure to comb the sunflower oil thoroughly into the strands all the way to the ends. Next, wrap your hair up in a warm towel and let the oil sit in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes. Afterward, shampoo your hair and scalp thoroughly.
Make a Hair Mask
Sunflower oil can be used and incorporated with homemade DIY hair masks. A hair mask is similar to a face mask in that it seeks to moisturize and enrich the hair. Simply apply and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse off.
Adding sunflower oil to your deep conditioning mask is simple and easy. It can even be added alongside other oils, including coconut oil and castor oil.
Add to Your Favorite Serum
We've already talked about adding sunflower oil to your favorite conditioner, but the same thing can be done with the hair serum of your choice.
Also, you can simply use sunflower oil as its own serum. Simply add a pea-sized amount to your palms and rub it in.
Sunflower oil boasts many benefits for your skin and your hair, from its antioxidant properties to its ability to help tame frizz. Make sure to check out WOW for hair care products to fit your hair care needs.
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