Natural Oils For Your Hair

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By Maui V. Reyes for Yahoo! Southeast Asia

It really is true that mother knows best—mother nature, that is. And this especially rings true when it comes to our hair. Thank natural oils for that: what sometimes makes your hair smooth, soft, and manageable are natural oils found in your shampoo.

Not all oils give the same kind of benefit, though. We give you a rundown of oils that could be the ticket to your next good hair day. Keep this list in mind the next time you go shopping for shampoo and conditioner!

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Argan. This oil is made by cold-pressing kernels from the argan tree, which is found in the deserts of Morocco. It's pretty pricey, though, as it takes about 32 kilos of argan to make 1 liter of oil! It's rich in antioxidants, helping repair the damaged cellular membrane of the hair. It also has fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 9 which strengthen the protein bonding structures in hair. No wonder it's been called "liquid gold" by beauty experts!

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Almond. A must-have for those who want longer, more lustrous hair, thanks to its many vitamins and minerals: Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, and E help in nourishing dry, flaky scalps; it has magnesium which helps maintain hair growth, and iron that helps keep hair strong. All these factors help hair grow longer and shinier, incurring minimal damage thanks to all the vitamins and minerals. Some even believe almond oil can make hair grown four inches longer in as short as three months!

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Coconut. Probably the most common oil used to have shiny, healthy-looking hair. Amongst all the oils, coconut oil helps produce less protein loss in both damaged and undamaged hair. That's because coconut oil is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water—giving each strand a protective barrier against free radicals and other harmful agents. That also means it acts as a sealant, sealing in moisture even more effectively. Bonus? It easily gets absorbed into the hair shaft, thanks to its low molecular weight and straight linear chain make-up.

Babassu. Never heard of babassu? It's actually pretty similar to coconut oil. Babassu is a palm tree that grows in Northeastern Brazil, and its oil contains lauric and myristic acids that help fight frizz and moisturize hair. Unlike coconut oil, babassu is non-comedogenic, which means it doesn't clog pores. It also breathes life into dry hair without leaving behind an oily sheen, and it doesn't contribute to oil production.

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Camellia. This oil is derived from a wild flower that grows in China and Japan, and is also called "tea seed oil". It's rich in Vitamins A, B, and E, as well as monosaturated fats, plant collagen, and antioxidants, all of which help produce healthy, strong hair. Camellia is considered an essential hair-care oil in Japan, as it's able to make hair smooth and shiny without weighing it down: an essential for gorgeous geishas with to-die-for hair!

Jojoba. This oil offers not only intense moisturizing, but this non-greasy, odorless, colorless oil can also help develop new cell growth. Glands in our scalp release sebum, which is oil that's meant to keep our hair moisturized. Overproduction of sebum may at times clog pores, or encrust over our scalp, which can block hair follicles and lead to hair breakage and loss. Jojoba helps clean off encrusted sebum, and its antibacterial and fungicidal properties help maintain a healthy scalp for healthy hair growth.

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Olive. Olive oil isn't only good for your heart—it's good for your hair, too! Its intense moisturizing properties may even ward off dandruff, which can be caused by a dry scalp. It's rich in monosaturated fats, which has been used as a holistic, ultra-hydrating remedy to alleviate dryness. Its nourishing antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acid content helps improve elasticity and add shine.