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Why Are Petrolatum Based Products Bad For Hair

Petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, is a combination of  mineral oil and other waxes. Here’s a fun fact - petroleum jelly for hair and skin was discovered in 1859 by American chemist Sir Robert Augustus Chesebrough, who noticed some oil workers using it to heal their wounds. He then patented it as Vaseline and that’s how petroleum products came to be. 

Petrolatum when used on skin or hair creates an illusion of hydration. Petrolatum for hair seals the hair with a water- protective barrier and makes it look moisturised, but  in reality, this is not the case.  

One of the petroleum jelly side effects is it being water- repellant and only creates a barrier. It traps all the moisture below this very barrier along with toxins, dirt, and other contamination while keeping the moisture out. 

We are hoping you are already anti-petroleum products. But if you’re not, read on to know why is petrolatum bad for hair, why you should switch to anti- petrolatum products already and know the possible petroleum jelly side effects

Petrolatum Jelly

Effects of Petrolatum on Hair

Is petroleum jelly bad for your hair or can be used sometimes? Let us answer that. Petrolatum doesn't penetrate the hair and acts as an external coating. Its primary function is to enhance the appearance of the hair and protect it from external factors that can damage it, but it does not fix damaged hair. That does not mean petrolatum is completely ineffective, let's see how it affects your hair and is petroleum jelly bad for your hair.

Benefits of Petrolatum

  1. Less breakage: Petrolatum does not repair damaged hair, but it does prevent hair breakage to some extent.
  2. Increases shine:  Petrolatum adds a layer on your hair that makes your hair look more shiny and glossy.
  3. Increases volume: Petrolatum can effectively make your hair look thicker.
  4. Easier brushing and less tangling: The greasy coating makes hair smoother making it easier to detangle your hair.

Drawbacks of Petrolatum

  1. You will only see temporary results that last until you wash it off. As a result, only the outside of the hair is beautified, and it is removed after washing.
  2. When applied for too long or excessively, it may result in scalp irritation. 
  3. Using it in excessive quantities can also weigh your hair down.
  4. Frequent use will cause hair dryness instead of actually protecting it.
Girl With Dry And Frizzy Hair

    Debunking Myths About Petrolatum On Hair

    There have been many myths about applying petrolatum on hair, let us debunk them to understand its effects on hair. 

    1. Leave it overnight:  Do not do that. Petrolatum based oil or products should never be left in your hair overnight, it will only result in damaged and dry hair. However, natural oils, as their name implies, can be left overnight, unlike petrolatum, which is a chemical.
    2. Petrolatum nourishes the hair:  Petrolatum does not repair hair, despite how much people wish it did. Petrolatum in hair products is merely a beautifying agent that only enhances the appearance of the hair. Does petrolatum cause hair loss? Our hair doesn't absorb it, it only stays on the surface. Due to this, petrolatum in hair products cannot repair damaged hair, cure hair loss, or fight dandruff.
    3. Petrolatum causes cancer:  Mineral oil is derived from petroleum, so some believe it contains carcinogens and causes cancer. It is imperative to note that there has been no evidence or report supporting this rumour. In the cosmetic industry, every ingredient is subjected to a purification process and only used when deemed safe. Mineral oil is a safe substance to use, although it is a product of petroleum distillation

    Use Coco Soul:

    With so many hair care products infused with petroleum products, it can be hard to trace the ingredients in our shampoos and conditioners. The easiest solution to that is to switch to an all- natural hair care routine. Crafted with the goodness of virgin king coconut oil and Ayurvedic herbs, Coco Soul’s shampoo and conditioner are petrolatum- free hair care products curated to leave you with healthier and stronger hair with every wash. Free from parabens, sulphates, and other harsh chemicals, this shampoo conditioner duo restores your hair from damage and strengthens it from within. Just like petrolatum there are several other chemicals in shampoos that need to be avoided. Hair care products with chemicals like parabens, sulpahtes and mineral oils are bad for hair and must be avoided to prevent hair damage.

    Hair Cleanser And Hair Conditioner

    Frequently Asked Questions on Petroleum Jelly For Hair

    1. What does petroleum do to hair? 

      Petroleum jelly side effects go unnoticed as  they are often disguised as petroleum, white petroleum, paraffin, liquid paraffin, and paraffin wax. These ingredients cause excessive buildup on your hair and scalp, which results in hair loss.

    2. Why is petroleum used in hair products?

      It is lightweight and cost- effective to manufacturers and helps trap moisture in its barrier and prevent moisture loss of the skin by blocking the pores on our scalp. 

    3. Are petroleum based hair products safe?

      Petroleum-based products might protect your hair against breakage and dryness, but it won't make your hair grow at a faster rate. Some experts also warn against applying Vaseline to your scalp as it can create a breeding ground for bacteria or even block hair follicles.


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