The camellia is a flower originating from Asia, used by Japanese women as a skincare treatment. It has long been recognised in China and Korea for its "anti-ageing" properties. Every part of this flower is utilised. While the leaves are used to prepare tea, the seeds are harvested to extract camellia oil, which is beneficial for hair. Let's explore in this article what it can offer to hair.
Camellia oil for hair: what are the benefits?
- Benefit No.1: Camellia oil hydrates and nourishes the hair
- Benefit No. 2: Camellia oil for soothing the scalp
- Benefit No. 3: Preventing the appearance of white hair with camellia oil
- Benefit No. 4: Camellia oil enhances hair resilience
- Benefit No.5: Camellia oil for making hair shine
Benefit No.1: Camellia oil hydrates and nourishes the hair.
Camellia Oil is rich in fatty acids, particularly omega-6 and omega-9. The oleic acid it contains nourishes the hair and coats it, acting as a protective barrier. Furthermore, camellia oil contains palmitic acid, whose structure is similar to the lipids that make up the hair cuticle. This substance has the ability to incorporate itself into the cuticle and act as an intercellular binder. Thus, camellia oil creates a protective layer on the surface of the hair, helping to shield it from dehydration and nourish it deeply.
Benefit No. 2: Camellia oil for soothing the scalp.
Camellia oil is predominantly composed of 90% unsaturated fatty acids. These compounds have demonstrated their ability to reduce levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β and TNF-α, by disrupting the NF-κB signalling pathway. Further research has also highlighted that the polyphenols contained in camellia oil have the ability to mitigate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit the activation of the NF-κB signalling pathway. The anti-inflammatory properties of camellia oil can help soothe an irritated and dry scalp, thus promoting a conducive environment for hair health.
Benefit No. 3: Preventing the appearance of white hair with camellia oil.
Oxidative stress, a phenomenon that occurs when there is an imbalance between the formation of free radicals and the quantity of free antioxidants, can have several negative effects on the health and appearance of hair. It can accelerate the ageing process of hair by damaging melanin, a pigment present in hair responsible for its colour. This can lead to the premature onset of grey or white hair.
Indeed, camellia oil contains squalene, a natural lipid belonging to the triterpene category. This compound is characterised by the presence of six double bonds, creating electron-rich regions that give it the ability to act as a potential electron donor to free radicals. These unstable molecules, having lost or gained an electron, are responsible for oxidative stress. By acting as an electron donor, squalene can stabilise free radicals, thus helping to mitigate oxidative stress and its damaging consequences for the hair.
Benefit No. 4: Camellia oil enhances hair resilience.
A study analysed the resilience of bleached hair in individuals using a conditioner containing camellia oil. Hair samples, consisting of 4 to 5 strands, were randomly taken from each plait, and each strand was then mounted on a capillary traction device for measurement. It was observed that individuals using the conditioner with camellia oil experienced an increase in tensile strength by 139.91% compared to the control group. After 21 days of treatment, hair elongation increased by 137.5%.
These findings are promising regarding the effects of camellia oil on improving hair resilience. However, it is challenging to conclude whether these effects are attributable to the camellia oil or the formulation of the conditioner. Furthermore, the exact reasons behind these observations are not yet fully elucidated. One potential hypothesis focuses on the presence of a variety of fatty acids in camellia oil. Due to its abundant fatty acid composition, camellia vegetable oil exerts a protective function on hair fibres and plays the role of an intercellular binder.
By contributing to the repair and cohesion of the cuticle, palmitic acid and other saturated fatty acids present in camellia oil also promote its impermeability and preserve the internal layers of the hair, particularly the cortex. This region is rich in keratin fibres, giving hair its flexibility and elasticity. Consequently, camellia vegetable oil proves to be a beneficial ingredient for dry or brittle hair.
Benefit No.5: Camellia oil for making hair shine.
Applying camellia oil to the hair also has the benefit of enhancing its aesthetics and imparting a shine. As previously mentioned, the fatty acids contained in this oil help to strengthen the bond between the scales forming the cuticle. When the structure of the hair fibres is reinforced and the cuticle scales are well bonded, the hair appears more radiant, as it is able to reflect light more effectively.
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ROBARDS K. & al. Camellia oil and tea oil. Gourmet and Health-Promoting Specialty Oils (2009).
ZHOU Y. & al. Ultrasonic-assisted extraction and antioxidant activities of polysaccharides from Camellia oleifera leaves. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2014).
XIAO X. & al. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects of Camellia oleifera Abel components. Future Medicinal Chemistry (2017).
SOUSA C. & al. A review on the biological activity of camellia species. Molecules (2021).
AHN C. & al. Effect of rinse-off hair conditioner containing argan oil or camellia oil on the recovery of hair damaged by bleaching. Fashion and Textiles (2022).