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Wednesday
Oct262011

Why Jojoba Oil for Locs and Dreadlocks?

During the worst of my scalp disorder, I was unable to use oil near my scalp with the exception of Jojoba oil. Even today, Jojoba oil is the primary oil I use for my hair. While many people know Jojoba oil is good for hair, few know why this oil is such a gem.

Before Jojoba oil, there was Sperm Whale oil. It was used for everything from lubricating machines to lipstick. Once whaling was outlawed, Jojoba oil reigned supreme for healthy skin and hair. Jojoba Oil comes from the Simmondsia chinensis bush which grows in the US and South America. While it's grown in some areas outside the US, most attempts have failed. So in addition to keeping deserts from degrading, Jojoba is primarily an American crop.

Jojoba oil isn't an actual oil. It's the only plant derived wax ester, which give it special characteristics compared to oil. If you hear the word wax and immediately have pictures of buildup dance through your head, breath. Jojoba oil is different from other waxes and very beneficial to hair health. First, Jojoba oil is liquid at room temperature and the molecules are small enough to penetrate the skin and hair quickly making it non-greasy. Second, the oil is extremely similar to our natural Sebum, which moisturizes and protects our scalp and hair. It seals in moisture, is full of antioxidants and anti-fungal. Jojoba oil is also a humectant which pulls water into the hair and is often used as a replacement for cetyl alcohol (a moisturizing emollient alcohol). Additionally, Jojoba doesn't pull water out of the hair and into the air like many humectants can.

With the exception of a few people with genetically dry scalps, most people with "dry" scalp have either a scalp disorder or an imbalance due to products. Jojoba oil can actually work well for both. If your scalp is dry, Jojoba absorbs and lubricates similarly to natural sebum but doesn't clog pores or retard growth. If you have an over production of sebum or a scalp disorder, Jojoba can unclog pores in the scalp and help dissolve or lift buildup. I use it several ways.

I love to massage my scalp with Jojoba oil before washing my hair to loosen sebum buildup. The kinks in afro textured hair prevent sebum’s movement down the shaft and can collect on the scalp. This loosening can also help remove flakes once you shampoo.

After washing, I use Jojoba oil to seal moisture from within an inch of my new growth down the length of my locs (natural sebum doesn’t reach these areas). In addition to providing moisture, the antioxidants help protect against environmental and heat damage.  

I lightly massage Jojoba oil on my scalp to moisturize if my medication or a new product causes an imbalance. Between this and keeping my shampoo and conditioner pH balanced, my scalp quickly to normal so I can cease using it on my scalp.

 

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