Only a few skin and hair care products have enjoyed a greater amount of buzz online than baobab oil. What really sets it apart, however, is just how sustained that buzz has been.
In our trend-focused hair care market, it isn’t unusual for a quirky new product to rise to the top for a few weeks (or months) before sinking back into some obscure corner of the Internet.
So far, however, baobab oil has maintained a staying power that others have lacked.
This is due in no small part to the fact that it offers a wider range of potential skin and hair care benefits than many leading alternatives.
So what is the real deal with baobab oil, and how can it help breathe new life into your skin and hair?
This article will discuss how to use baobab oil for hair growth, scalp care, and many other benefits.
Table of Contents
- 1 Where Does Baobab Oil Come From?
- 2 What Are the Benefits of Baobab Oil for Hair?
- 2.1 1. Amazingly Rich in Nutrients
- 2.2 2. Maintaining the Skin-Moisture Barrier
- 2.3 3. Moisturizes and Smooths Your Skin
- 2.4 4. Fights Dandruff and Dry Scalp
- 2.5 5. Gently Cleanses Your Scalp
- 2.6 6. Fights Eczema
- 2.7 7. Fights Free Radicals and UV Radiation
- 2.8 8. Baobab Oil Promotes Hair Growth
- 2.9 9. Adds Shine
- 2.10 10. Perfect for Curly Hair
- 3 How to Use Baobab Oil for Hair
Where Does Baobab Oil Come From?
The immense majestic Adansonia digitata trees from which baobab oil is extracted come from Africa. The trees are often called the African baobab.
Baobab oil is a fixture in many traditional forms of medicine for different African groups around the continent.
It has historically been used to treat everything from diarrhea and malaria to fever and smallpox. Even more important for our purposes, it can be used to ease inflammation.
There has been an explosion of baobab goods in recent years, with everything from drinks to creams to hair care products hitting the market.
What Are the Benefits of Baobab Oil for Hair?
1. Amazingly Rich in Nutrients
First and foremost, it’s worth noting how nutrient-rich baobab oil is, containing sizeable amounts of vitamin A, C, and E and omega fatty acids, all of which play a huge role in proper hair care.
Vitamin A stimulates growth, making it a must-have nutrient for anyone looking to boost hair growth.
Just as important is the fact that it helps your skin glands produce sebum, which in turn is essential for maintaining a healthy skin-moisture balance and barrier, as described below.
On the flip side, diets deficient in Vitamin A have been demonstrated to lead to health issues in rats, including hair loss.
Vitamin C is likewise a powerful nutrient when it comes to blocking free radicals, which, as described below, can cause your skin and hair to age quickly. It can combat oxidative stress, which in turn can help fight hair loss.
Vitamin E, meanwhile, contains antioxidants which, as described further on, can help with free radicals and serve as an anti-aging agent.
Like vitamin C, it is especially adept at combating oxidative stress. One study from 2010 found that subjects suffering from hair loss who took vitamin E experienced a 34.5% increase in overall hair growth.
Omega-3 fatty acids, meanwhile, have established themselves as the favorite substance of those looking to boost their hair growth.
One study in 2018 would seem to back that idea, noting that omega-3 had been linked to hair growth via anagen-stimulating pathways.
A 2015 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology centered on a group of 120 participants found that omega-3 improved the hair growth phase for those given it compared to those given a placebo.
Among those that reported hair growth, 90% reported improved hair thickness as well. The findings were promising enough to be reported by the American Academy of Dermatology regarding female-pattern hair loss.
With all of these nutrients contained in baobab oil, you can potentially reap all of these benefits in a single hair oil.
2. Maintaining the Skin-Moisture Barrier
The top of your scalp is a complicated balancing act of oils. Too much, and your hair and scalp can start to resemble a grease spot. Too little, however, and your scalp can become dried out, which can bring huge problems of its own.
You, therefore, need to maintain a delicate balance between these extremes, which means you’ll need the right amount of sebum.
This is what regulates the amount of oil and moisture on your scalp, locking in the moisture and ensuring that your scalp does not dry out.
The substantial amount of vitamin E found in baobab oil helps with sebum regulation and thus skin-moisture maintenance.
3. Moisturizes and Smooths Your Skin
In addition to sebum regulation, baobab oil also helps moisturize and smooth out your scalp in its own right.
It helps your scalp make use of amino acids and proteins to strengthen the connection point between your scalp and the roots of your hair. This can also help prevent follicle damage.
Softening and regenerating your scalp is another step that can aid in moisture retention and the moisturizing process.
4. Fights Dandruff and Dry Scalp
One of the byproducts of all of this moisturizing and scalp-soothing ability is extra protection against dandruff.
Few everyday hair issues are as potentially embarrassing as having dry flakes flutter down from your hair all around you every time something grazes your hair or scalp.
One of the ways dandruff occurs is as a result of dry skin, and so it should come as no surprise that, with its moisturizing and skin-smoothing properties, baobab oil is an ideal anti-dandruff agent.
5. Gently Cleanses Your Scalp
Another cause of dandruff? A dirty scalp.
This can lead to bacteria building up on your scalp, which in turn can cause infections of the kind that can cause dandruff and other hair problems. This can also happen when your pores become clogged with dirt.
Of course, you probably already know how important it is to wash your scalp properly and keep it dirt-free.
What is too often less well understood is that there is such a thing as overdoing it in cleaning intensity. If you choose a cleaning agent that is too intense, it can irritate the skin and cause many other problems.
You don’t want that to happen, of course, which is why baobab oil is a natural hair care choice, cleansing your scalp while doing so in a gentle enough manner to avoid irritating it.
6. Fights Eczema
One of the most problematic conditions that can arise from dry skin and scalp is eczema.
It can cause your skin to become redder, drier, scalier, and more irritated, all of which can lead to some of the many dry scalp-related hair conditions described above.
As mentioned above, baobab oil is rich in omega acids, which can fight inflammation, including eczema and psoriasis.
7. Fights Free Radicals and UV Radiation
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause your skin and hair to age quickly. Ridding yourself of these is essential if you want to keep your hair looking younger and fresher.
Thankfully, antioxidants and vitamin C provide a powerful one-two punch for combating free radicals, and baobab oil contain both of them in abundance. Vitamin C is also loaded with collagen, which can do wonders for your skin and scalp.
A big part of this is how the vitamin E in baobab oil helps preserve collagen, which accounts for as much as a third of the protein present in your body, and which is what helps give your skin its stretchability and strength.
This is also why collagen features prominently in some plastic surgeries – when you get older, collagen production drops off, which in turn can lead to skin that starts to sag.
The vitamin E and antioxidants in baobab oil can help preserve your skin’s collagen and keep your skin looking and feeling younger and stronger over time, helping your scalp and hair.
UV radiation can also help speed up the aging process. Thankfully, vitamin E can soak up that energy and prevent it from creating more free radicals.
Baobab oil is not a full substitute for sunscreen in this regard, but it is an excellent supplement in addition to it.
Add to that the fact that baobab oil can also help repair damaged cells, and it’s no wonder why this is one of the go-to anti-aging oils for skin and hair care aficionados everywhere.
8. Baobab Oil Promotes Hair Growth
As mentioned above, baobab oil contains vitamin A, which can provide a huge boost to your hair growth hopes.
Its vitamin C content can also help immensely in that regard, as it is connected with improving both hair elasticity (thus keeping it from simply falling limp) and strength.
Baobab oil can also help you absorb iron better, which can help further strengthen your scalp and your hair follicles.
All of these factors create a scenario where hair growth is much more possible.
Vitamin A helps stimulate the growth, while vitamin C and E help soothe your scalp and ensure it remains in good enough condition to be primed for positive growth.
9. Adds Shine
As much as you may care about the healthy side of hair care, you probably care about the aesthetic aspect just as much, if not more.
If you’re looking to improve your hair’s sheen, baobab oil may be the answer to your hair care prayers. It helps make hair softer and shinier, thus giving it a more lively look and feel.
10. Perfect for Curly Hair
If you have naturally curly hair, baobab oil may be the perfect hair care product for you. Of the many essential oil-based hair care products on the market today, baobab oil is one of the best for those with curly hair. It can help retain the integrity of your curls by combatting split ends and frizzy hair.
How to Use Baobab Oil for Hair
Scientific studies such as this one in Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia found baobab oil to be quite effective when applied topically, which is the way you’ll want to use it.
Now, if you spend any amount of time Googling for different hair care usage recommendations with baobab oil, you’re bound to come across the term “pre-poo” and become quite confused (and perhaps concerned).
Thankfully, you can “flush” those concerns away, since in this case, “poo” simply refers to “shampoo,” and so this process refers to the pre-shampoo phase of your hair care regimen.
The purpose of the pre-poo phase is to strengthen your hair and protect it from the stripping effects that can occur while shampooing. This helps make your hair softer, more manageable and helps lend it an extra shine.
To get the most out of baobab oil in your pre-poo routine, you’ll want to warm it up, apply it to your scalp, and then massage it in.
For best results, consider allowing it to seep in overnight. You can rinse out the remnants when you shower and shampoo your hair in the morning.
You may also want to consider mixing it in with other oils. Shea butter, tea tree oil, honey, jojoba, and eucalyptus all make excellent partners.
Once again, you’ll want to let it soak in overnight to take full advantage of its nutrients. Finally, you can use it as a conditioner to help soften your hair.
A Quick Caveat
There have been no widespread reports of any severe medical problems from those taking baobab. That being said, long-term knowledge of its future effects is severely limited.
While there is no reason to expect that there may be any negative effects of great consequence, it is still something you should always consider when using any new hair care or medical product.
There is a lot to love about baobab oil as a skin and hair care product. It can help your skin and hair in a wide range of aesthetic as well as health-related ways.
All of this makes it a highly comprehensive product. If you are looking for a single hair care product to help take care of your hair from the root to the tip and add life to it at every point in between, baobab oil is definitely one to consider.