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Is Mineral Oil Bad For Hair And Why?

What is Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is a colour and odourless oil derived as a by-product of petrolatum. Mineral oil, when used in cosmetic and hair care products, is highly purified and refined and way better than the unrefined petroleum. However, this doesn’t rule out the concern that bothers most of us - what are the mineral oil side effects for hair? 

There are basically two types of mineral oils, one is  mineral synthetic oils and the other is mineral oils  derived from petrochemicals. Mineral oil is mostly used in cosmetics, skincare, and hair care products and are cosmetic grade. 

With so much hype around clean beauty, why is mineral oil getting a bad rep? We’ll leave it on you to decide whether mineral oil is good or bad for hair.   But these pros and cons of using mineral oil can help you make a better judgement.

Pros Of Using Mineral Oil For Your Hair

  • Traps Moisture
    Dry and frizz- prone hair can benefit from mineral oil in shampoos as it can lock in the moisture into the hair strands. The presence of mineral oil in hair oil helps the product create a barrier on your hair cuticles and this creates a shield between your hair and the environmental stressors such as dirt, sun damage, pollution, etc. 

  • Non- Greasy Scalp

    Mineral oil in hair oil is usually a non- greasy formulation, which is why you may find it in most hair products too. Using it in small amounts can leave your hair smooth and shinier without leaving a trace. Curly hair can make the most of it as it can be beneficial in defining the curls. 

  • Protects From Water Damage
    When water penetrates into the hair shafts,it causes the hair to swell and makes your hair  more vulnerable to damage. Mineral oil potentially repels excess waters and protects the hair from repeated swelling
  • Lightweight Formulation
    Being lightweight in formulation makes mineral oila fast- absorbing oil. Light-weight oil can keep your hair from weighing down. If you have low- porosity hair, it is recommended to use light-weighted mineral oil for an easier absorption. 
  • Easy to Detangle
    Dry and stubborn hair can get extremely unruly and form knots that are hard to detangle. Mineral oil can make it easier for you as it makes your hair shinier and easier to comb out the tangles without damage. As an anti-frizz formula in itself, it can keep your hair from being damaged and dry looking after brushing the hair out. 

    While these are some pros of using mineral oil on hair, let’s look at some major  side effects of using them on your hair and scalp. 

Cons Of Using Mineral Oil For Hair

Mineral oil is an inert ingredient, which means it does not get spoiled easily making it harmful when overused. So why is mineral oil bad for hair? This list of mineral oil side effects for hair might give you an answer.

  • Allergic Reactions

In rare situations, mineral oil can often irritate the scalp skin and forehead, leading to allergic reactions, itching, swelling, bumps or rashes.

  • Scalp Irritation

Not only is mineral oil bad for hair, it’s also bad for your scalp as it creates product buildup on the scalp and makes it hard for the hair care products to penetrate into the scalp. Most often, this excess buildup can lead to itching, eczema flares and rashes. One of the mineral oil side effects for hair is hair loss due to clogged pores. 

  • Eye Irritation

If it comes in contact with your eyes, mineral oil infused shampoo can create eye irritation and redness as well. If any irritation occurs in or around your eyes, splash cold water to soothe the inflammation.

  • Acne Breakouts

Mineral oil is not always the root cause for acne. However, it is possible that some drops of oil may run down your face, back, or chest when you wash your hair, and leave a residue on the skin, causing irritation and breakouts.Just like mineral oil there are several other chemicals in shampoos that need to be avoided. Hair care products with chemicals like parabens, sulpahtes and petrolatum are bad for hair and must be avoided to prevent hair damage.

With both pros and cons of mineral oil listed above, it all comes down to how we use mineral oil in our everyday hair care routine. If you are noticing your hair doesn’t react well to the ingredient or if you are unsure if mineral oil is good or bad for hair, you can always switch to products that are natural and safe to use on your hair and scalp. You can try Coco Soul hair care products

Made from the goodness of virgin king coconut oil and many potent ayurvedic herbs such as godapara, kirikindya, hibiscus, etc. Coco Soul’s shampoo and conditioner combo is an all natural hair care solution  to keep your hair stronger, healthier, shinier, and longer without using any harsh chemicals. 

Frequently Asked Questions On Mineral Oil For Hair

  1. Does mineral oil penetrate hair?

    Mineral oil does not penetrate the hair as its molecular size and functional groups prevent it from penetrating in the hair shafts and is easily washed off. 

  2. How do you remove mineral oil from hair?

    Using a clarifying shampoo is a great way to remove any product buildup from mineral oil. A clarifying shampoo is good at removing product buildup without drying out the hair. 

  3. Does mineral oil cause hair loss?

    Mineral oil is often referred to as petroleum, white petroleum, paraffin, liquid paraffin, and paraffin wax. These ingredients cause excess buildup on the strands and scalp, and leads to hair fall.


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