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What Are the Benefits of Mineral Oil for Hair?

By Kathleen Howard
Updated May 21, 2024
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Mineral oil is a colorless oil, often made from liquid petroleum, that is commonly included in skin and haircare products. While mineral oil is sometimes said to be inferior to plant-based oils, there are several benefits of using mineral oil for hair. Like many types of hair oil, mineral oil will lock in moisture, prevent frizz, and add shine to the hair. What sets mineral oil apart is its affordable price and light, non-greasy texture. Mineral oil will define curls and improve the appearance of hair without leaving behind an oily film.

One of the greatest benefits of using mineral oil for hair is its ability to hold in moisture. When mineral oil is applied to the hair, it creates a barrier over the cuticles. This prevents moisture from escaping and keeps the hair hydrated. It also prevents additional moisture from penetrating the hair strand. Hair oil should be applied to damp or well-hydrated hair to prevent dryness.

Since mineral oil prevents moisture from penetrating the strands, it also prevents frizz. Frizz occurs when moisture penetrates the hair’s cortex and causes it to swell. This often results in a coarse, unhealthy appearance. Using mineral oil on hair creates a barrier that protects against frizz and reflects light. Instead of appearing dry and dull, the hair should appear healthy and shiny.

Aside from its ability to prevent frizz, a common reason for choosing mineral hair oil is its low price. Mineral oil is affordable and widely available in food and beauty supply stores. Since mineral oil provides many of the same benefits as plant-based oils, many consumers find this oil to be a greater value.

Another unique benefit of mineral hair oil is its texture. Mineral oil is a light, non-greasy substance. Using mineral oil for hair should not weigh the hair down or make the strands appear oily, though this depends on how the oil is used. People who lather their hair in mineral oil will probably find that their hair looks oily or dirty. Like many other hair products, mineral oil should be used sparingly.

The last benefit of using mineral oil for hair is its ability to define curls. People who have wild, undefined texture can apply mineral oil to separate ringlets. Mineral oil will hold the curls together and make them appear smoother. When used on straight hair, mineral oil will also enhance the hair’s sleek texture by decreasing frizz and increasing shine.

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Discussion Comments

By bagley79 — On Oct 03, 2012

I love using mineral oil not just for my hair but also on my dry skin. If you put this on after you have shaved your legs, you won't believe how soft they feel.

I don't do it every day because it is a little greasy, but a few times a week really keeps my skin hydrated. That is why people also get such great results using this on their hair.

I have found there is a balance when using mineral oil on your hair though. If you use too much your hair will feel greasy and oily and you will stop using it. If you use the right amount you will love it and want to use it all the time.

By julies — On Oct 02, 2012

@andee-- I have read that the mineral oil that is used in cosmetics is highly refined and purified and safe to use. On the other hand, if using something like olive or coconut oil would have the same benefits, I am wondering if that might be a better choice.

By andee — On Oct 02, 2012

I have read mixed reports about using mineral oil on your hair or in other cosmetic products. Since this is a liquid petroleum and not a natural product, there is some bad press about it out there.

Some articles say that products that contain mineral oil can eventually cause cancer so I am confused. I have a friend who has hair that is so shiny and healthy looking and when I asked her what her secret was, she said it was mineral oil. I think it would be worth trying to have hair that looked like that.

By golf07 — On Oct 01, 2012

The key for me when using mineral oil on my hair is to use it lightly and make sure my hair is damp when I put it on. I pour some in a spray bottle and will spray my entire head after my hair is towel dried.

This is such a versatile, inexpensive product that I always keep around. If I want to really define my curls, it works great for that. If I want to straighten my hair, it works for that too, and helps keep it from getting frizzy.

I have used a lot of expensive salon products, but using a cheap bottle of mineral oil usually gives me results that are just as good, and a lot less expensive.

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