Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Because manufactured conditioners and shampoos often contain unwanted chemicals and ingredients, many people have turned to natural products to help them grow long and healthy hair. Herbs and plants such as marshmallow and babassu contain oils that prevent damage and keep hair moisturized. They also contain vitamins and minerals that nourish hair and help it grow. While many products contain these herbs as ingredients, they can be quite pricey. Fortunately, you can learn to use and mix your own oils.

Marshmallow Oil

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) has been used for centuries both medically and medicinally. It contains a substance called mucilage that coats and soothes the skin. Marshmallow oil has also been used to control bacterial infections. Today, it is valued for its ability to smooth and soften skin and hair, and it is an ingredient in many cosmetics. Marshmallow oil is especially good for treating a dry, itchy scalp because it helps skin maintain its moisture level. It is also an effective detangling agent, preventing breakage that can slow hair growth.

Babassu Oil

Babassu (Orbignya oleifera) oil is extracted from the kernels of the Brazilian babassu plant (also known as crusi). Babassu oil is similar to coconut oil, as it is non-drying and contains approximately 70 percent lipids. Babassu is a good choice for dry hair and skin because it is emollient and moisturizing without leaving behind an oily sheen or contributing to increased oil production. Babassu oil also produces a pleasant cooling sensation on the skin because its lipids melt at human body temperature, drawing heat out from the skin.

How to Use the Oils

There are a variety of ways to use these oils to nourish hair. They can be applied as a pre-treatment before washing hair as usual or after washing hair and left in as an overnight treatment. A smaller amount of oil (to prevent hair from appearing oily) can also be used as a leave-in conditioner. There are also options for preparation. The oils can be used separately, combined or mixed into a carrier oil, such as coconut, avocado or jojoba. To use them with a carrier oil, add 1 to 2 ml of babassu and marshmallow oils to 2 to 4 oz. of carrier oil.


The use of any herb must always be undertaken with caution, as many can interfere with medications or cause unwanted side effects. Both marshmallow and babassu are considered safe, especially when used topically. Be careful not to ingest marshmallow oil if you have diabetes, as it can lower blood sugar. Spills from both oils are extremely slippery, so care should be taken when oiling hair. Spills should be cleaned up immediately.

Cost and Availability

Marshmallow and babassu oils are available through a variety of retailers, both online and at stores. Many retailers also sell specialized, premixed products and conditioners that contain the oils as ingredients, saving you the trouble of mixing your own oil. Babassu oil costs approximately $11 for 16 oz., while marshmallow root oil costs about $20 for 2 oz.



LazyCouchPotato said...

Great info! Thanks!

Unknown said... are very welcome...Enjoy!