Is Mineral Oil Bad For Your Hair?

Remaining diligent about the ingredients you use on your scalp and hair can be tiring, but it’s crucial for those who want genuinely healthier hair – not just the appearance of it. One ingredient found in many hair products, especially conditioners and masks, is mineral oil. It's a contentious ingredient and there are many opinions about whether mineral oils are “good” or “bad” for hair.

We're adding our expert perspective here. Read on to find out what mineral oils are, why they are incorporated in hair products, and the reasons Hårklinikken doesn’t use them.

What are mineral oils?

Lightweight, colourless and odourless, mineral oils are refined liquids derived from petroleum – also known as crude oil. There are various compositions of mineral oil, as there are many different refining processes.

How are mineral oils used in scalp and hair products?

Cheap to manufacture, mineral oils are often incorporated in formulas for scalp and hair care products for several reasons:- boost the appearance of hydrated hair

  • reduce frizz
  • increase shine
  • alter a product’s texture
  • help dilute or solubilise other ingredients

These oils – like silicones – are often used in conditioning and hydrating treatments for their ability to make the hair appear moisturised and detangle strands, as they reduce friction and increase slip. But while they do that, they don’t provide real hydration to hair strands nor improves the health of the hair.

Why are people concerned about mineral oil?

Some of the concern about mineral oil is due to it being derived from petroleum, which can contain carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – chemicals that occur naturally in crude oil. This means mineral oils used in personal care need to be highly refined to remove such components and must come from a reliable supplier with high standards.

What types of mineral oils are used in scalp and hair products?

Various forms of mineral oil can show up on ingredients lists under different names, here are some to keep an eye out for:

  • Cera Microcristallina
  • Petroleum White petroleum
  • Petrolatum Liquid petrolatum
  • ParaffinLiquid paraffin / paraffinum liquidum
  • Paraffin wax Microcrystalline Wax

How do you remove mineral oil from hair?

If you have been using products that contain mineral oils, the best next step is to use a clarifying shampoo like our Balancing Shampoo. Perfect for heavy product users and people whose hair feels greasy, clumpy or weighed down, this formula works to reset and refresh the scalp and strands without creating that dry, tight feeling.