Most people have heard of several of the types of oil used for hair treatments such as jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, baobab oil, and even food-based oils like lavender, grapeseed, lemongrass and olive oil, but which is best for your hair? Which oils leave your hair shiny and healthy and which just leave your hair plain greasy and weighed down? We have an answer for you.
We won't compare these different oils just yet, but instead, introduce you to an uncontested frontrunner: Abyssinian oil.
You may not have heard of Abyssinian oil but, as an oil treatment, it has many unique properties for hair care and multiple unsung benefits. Let's explore what Abyssinian oil is and the multiple benefits.
What is Abyssinian oil and where does it grow?
Abyssinian oil is an oil produced from the Crambe abyssinica crop, which is a multibranched annually-growing oilseed plant in the Brassicaceae family.The seed is coveted for its high levels of cuticle-smoothing erucic acid and is used mainly for cosmetic purposes.
TheCrambe abyssinica plant originated in eastern Africa in the Ethiopian Highlands known as Abyssinia, which is where it derived its name. However, in more recent years it is also cultivated in the Meditteranean region in southern Europe as a spring crop and is alarge crop for South Africa too. It has a short growing cycle of 90 to 100 days and doesn't require as much water to grow as other plants, making it an environmentally-friendly crop to produce.
What is Abyssinian oil used for?
Abyssinian oil is an oil that is chemically closest to the natural oils produced by our skin, which means it provides the ultimate natural hydration of any oil on the market. The oil is pale yellow in colour and light in texture and can be used to revive dullness in hair and promote a healthy shine (more on the uses later). The oil is a natural alternative to synthetic mineral oils often used in manufactured hair care products.
But what about those natural competitors? Well, we mentioned a few types of oil before, but none is more popular in recent years than Argan oil.
What is Argan oil: how does Abyssinian oil differ from Argan oil?
Diving a little deeper into the science (and technical terminology), Abyssinian oil has concentrations of over 60% of C22 omega-9 long-chain fatty acids as well as C18 omega-6 and omega-9, which are doses much higher than in any other natural oil, including Argan oil.
Due to their size, these fatty acids cannot penetrate the hair shaft, and instead create a net-like structure around the hair, keeping cuticles closed and protected, while locking the moisture inside the hair.
These properties, unique to Abyssinian oil, help to achieve even more gloss and bounce than other oils, even at the cellular level.
With just the right amounts of short- and medium-chain fatty acids (omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9) penetrating the hair, your strands will not be engorged with oil. The correct balance of oil allows the hair to function properly, but too much oil results in bloating, which raises the cuticles and decreases the shine while making hair heavier, which is quite the opposite one would expect from hair oil, right?
This ‘bloating’ is the downside of many other hair oils like Argan oil. Saying this over-saturation will never happen with Abyssinian oil would be misleading, but the risk is certainly much, much lower since the oil is naturally lightweight and nongreasy.
Some more differences...It's important to note that Abyssinian oil is inedible but Argan oil is widely used in Morocco as a food source. Argan oil is produced from the argan tree (argania spinosa) and contains oleic and linoleic acids which can be used as a moisturiser but most of the benefits of this oil come from the consumption of the oil and not from using it for cosmetic purposes.
Furthermore, more recently, Morocco has had to impose sanctions as many of the beauty product exporters do not always export pure argan oil.
Since 2009, only oil produced under artisanal production can be sold as argan oil whereas most Argan oils are labelled as 'Moroccon oil' which is a cheaper, industrialised version.
Argan oil has multiple benefits, but none quite as far-reaching as Abyssinian oil, which is the new superstar oil on the block. Abyssinian oil is ultra-light, non-greasy and natural with a unique molecular structure that isn't found in any other naturally-occurring oil.
The benefits of Abyssinian oil
Now, let's get into the benefits of Abyssinian oil for hair care.
1. Can be used as a pre-heat treatment and the ultimate frizz remedy!
If you read our article on "Everything you ever wanted to know about frizz but were afraid to ask" (read up more about frizz here) you know that frizz is triggered by the movements of humidity in and out of your hair. The very long chain fatty acids, by providing a protective layer on top of the cuticles, can help seal the cuticles and isolate your hair from humidity while preserving a healthy moisture content.
Back to those fatty acids! They do even more! Its fatty chain makes the oil resistant to heat, which means Abyssinian oil can be used as a pre-styling treatment to protect the hair against straightening, curling, and blow-drying. The oil improves hair's condition with many of its properties, but for those who love daily-styling, this product can be a blessing. Make sure you never have heat damage againand improve your hair’s condition. Two of the many bonuses in one product!
2. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for healthy hair and hair growth
Abyssinian oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, proteins and minerals which all promote healthier hair. Plus, Abyssinian oil contains linoleic and linolenic acids, which are important omega fatty acids, responsible for hair growth, maintaining nutrients, cell-communication, skin conditioning, and anti-inflammatory properties. Just as you try and get nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into your body, using Abyssinian oil daily is like taking a multivitamin for your hair and who doesn’t want that?
3. Naturally anti-fungal to protect hair from harmful fungal buildup
Since Abyssinian oil contains a high level of erucic acid, the oil naturally eradicates any fungus growth on the scalp, which causes dandruff and dry, itchy flakes. A common fungus on the skin of all humans called Malassezia is often a cause of dandruff. Fungus can build up around the hair follicles over time, which causes hair loss and thinning. If you’ve never thought about fungus on your scalp before, you’re not alone, but if you suffer from a flaky and unhealthy scalp, you may want to reach for something other than your latest dandruff shampoo. Abyssinian oil can protect and heal your scalp, increasing its overall health and getting rid of those flakes for good.
4. Protects hair against irritants whilst improving condition
As mentioned in the previous point, flaky buildup and fungus can irritate the scalp but so can every day pollution and irritants. Abyssinian oil acts as a shield against this type of unwanted buildup and unwanted invaders. Abyssinian oil improves hair's manageability, shine, and moisture,and, as a bonus, acts as a shield against irritants. Along with its antifungal properties, since the oil is easily absorbed by the hair, it boosts shine and condition and promotes glossiness. It can also be used to help detangle the hair. Since it's a fully natural product, it will not cause further buildup on the hair which happens when using chemical alternatives and silicone-based products. With all of these properties, it's no wonder that the oil is incredibly popular. (And a best-kept secret--for now.)
5. Lightweight and nongreasy
Due to those large-particle omega fatty acid chains that we talked about earlier, Abyssinian oil is light on the scalp without tack, stickiness, or greasiness. It provides moisture without clogging or over-hydrating pores (and is a key ingredient in waterproof mascara!), which can be known to promote hair loss. The lightweight formula means it's perfect for everyday use on the hair. It creates shine and glossiness without opening your hair to damage which happens (as mentioned) when the hair follicle is forced open by the heaviness of other oils, which results in moisture loss and heavy, greasy hair.
6. Naturally conditioning and nourishing for the hair and scalp
With a fatty acid profile that was almost made for hair care, Abyssinian oil does a great job at keeping hair hydrated, mending split ends and maintaining and boosting precious shine-inducing moisture-locking cuticles. This product also benefits the scalp since this oil can smooth the appearance of wrinkles and keep the scalp healthy when used as a pre-shampoo oil treatment.
Since Abysinnian oil contains omega fatty acids, it keeps hair hydrated, nourished, and conditioned better than any other product. Abyssinian oil has been known to stop thinning hair and repair damage. The oil's makeup makes it a perfect, lightweight natural moisturiser that adds much-needed nutrients to the hair and scalp. Plus, the best benefit is that it's all-natural and doesn't contain harmful chemicals which can be absorbed through the scalp and make their way into your body.
What abyssian can do for you
We stock all-natural products which do not contain chemicals, parabens, sulphate, phthalates, or dyes. Our products are cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. We know the benefits of Abyssinian oil are so great that every one of our products contains this figurative liquid-gold. Plus, we like to give back to our environment byplanting a tree for every product purchased. Start fixing your hair and saving the environment!
Why not try ourSuperfood Recovery Shampoo, condition with ourDeep Hydration Conditioner, and top off your daily hair routine with ourSupergloss Hair Serum? If you want a deep, recovery treatment you can try ourProtein Shake Hair Mask. We have multiple Abyssinian oil products that can provide copious benefits to your hair.
If you want all of the multiple benefits of Abyssinian oil, buy your favourite product today before the world catches on!
January 16, 2023
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