The difference between moisturizing and sealing oil

What You Need to Know Now: Moisturizing Oil vs. Sealing Oil?

Olive oil is partially moisturizing and sealing

Hi everyone! Since we are talking about hair oils here, it is important to let you know a few very important facts about them. More precisely what we are talking about here is that not all oils are alike!

There are two different types of oils: Moisturizing and Sealing oils. It is really important to distinguish between a moisturizing oil vs. a sealing oil to gain the best possible results with your natural hair journey. So let’s break the facts down! 🙏   A moisturizing oil is an oil that is able to penetrate the hair shaft and moisturizes it from inside. In contrast to moisturizing oil, a sealing oil cannot penetrate the hair shaft, instead they latch onto the outside of the hair fibre preventing any moisture to escape. Due to this, sealing oil should be added after adding leave-in conditioner or other moisturizing product to lock in the moisture. If added before or solely, actually oiling your hair may result in very dry and brittle hair. As a rule of thumb, we always recommend to add leave-in conditioner or moisturizer after showering. That way if you are not sure, whether the oil you are using is moisturizing or sealing, you can't go wrong with it. Here is some examples of moisturizing and sealing oils:

From our products

Top Moisturizing Oils

  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Capric / Caprylic triglycerides
  • Babbasu oil

Partially moisturizing and sealing oils:

Sealing oils:

    What makes oil moisturizing or sealing?

    The amount of triglyceride and short-chain fatty acids the oil contains defines whether it penetrates the hair shaft or it stays on top of it. Small atoms, like lipid molecules with less than 20 carbon atoms and non-branching structure, tends to penetrate the hair shaft. Example of a short-chain lipids is triglyceride, which is an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids. All the short-chain lipids are usually straight chains with non-branching structure, making them small, compact molecules that penetrates the hair shaft easily. These can include fatty acids such as lauric, capric, oleic, linoleic, myristic, palmitic and caprylic acids. In addition, monounsaturated fats tend to be better at penetrating your hair than polyunsaturated fats.

    Benefits of moisturizing oil

    Since a moisturizing oil can penetrate the hair cuticle, it can moisturize the hair from inside by reaching the cortex and therefore, will not only protect the hair cuticles from damage, but also nourish the hair from inside with much-needed nutrients.  As well, it prevents hydral fatigue and Improves hair elasticity therefore preventing breakage. If you have dry, porous, rough-feeling, or coarse hair, the penetrating oils are good fit for your hair.

    Benefits of sealing oil

    The cuticle layers of the hair can be easily damaged by manipulation, styling tools, chemical treatments or environmental factors. Applying sealing oils to the hair will seal the hair and help to prevent and protect it from these damaging effects. It can be used as a frizz control and to add shine. It works as a hair lubrication, which facilitates the detangling process and decrease number of split ends and hair friction. Sealing oils are good to use after leave-in conditioner or a moisturizer to lock in the moisture. Also it works well for keeping locks and braids in good condition. If you have a fine hair structure, sealing oils works well for you, since they tend to be light-weighted not leaving your hair with a greasy feeling. As well, it works well with all hair types and are very good to treat cuticle damage. They lay on top of the hair fiber to help smooth the cuticles to lay flatter, which attributes to the hair feeling smoother, softer, and looking shinier.

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      Vanessa Martins, Founder TheWildCurl