Have you ever considered using vitamin E for hair growth, breakage or thinning issues?
If so, this article will provide you with the key factors for incorporating vitamin E into your curly hair routines.
Let’s get started.
Vitamin E has been a staple within the skin care industry dating all the way back to the 1950s. In fact, years ago dermatologists were prescribing vitamin E for inflammation and sun damage.
They were evening using vitamin E as a form of preventative care to slow down the premature aging process.
As we entered the early 2000s bold and creative natural hair pioneers began using vitamin E to address some of their most stubborn hair problems.
But what does science have to say about the benefits of introducing vitamin E to your curls?
It turns out that early studies regarding the use of vitamin E are promising for hair care. There are several firsthand accounts of vitamin E and it’s benefits for your curls.
What Are the Benefits of Using Vitamin E for Hair Care?
Vitamin E Can Prevent Hair Loss
In 2010, there was a small trial (“case study”) in which the participants suffered from hair loss due to various factors.
There 38 participants in the trial. 21 participants were asked to use vitamin E supplements and 17 participants received a placebo. The study concluded that vitamin E stimulated hair growth in the 21 participants that used a vitamin E supplement.
But what exactly is it about vitamin E that makes it a good supplement for people suffering from hair loss, thinning edges, or other alopecia related issues?
Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties that can help reduce the unnecessary stress on your scalp, making it a key supplement for promoting hair growth and encouraging overall hair health.
Vitamin E Can Make Your Curls Shine
According to the Academy of Dermatology, this lack of shine occurs when the protective lipid layer of fat on the outside of the hair strand is removed. This protective lipid layer is responsible for making the hair shine.
This is critical because damaged hair no longer has a protective lipid layer intact, leading to a dull, dried-out appearance. If your curls constantly look frizzy and damaged, chances are they have been stripped of the protective layer of fat.
If your hair is in this condition, we recommend using vitamin E because of its ability to preserve the protective layer and create a shiny appearance.
Vitamin E Supports a Healthy Scalp
We know that vitamin E is an essential element to maintaining healthy skin. The relationship between a healthy scalp and healthy hair is pretty similar to the relationship between good soil and healthy plants.
The better condition your scalp is in, the better condition your kinks, curls, and waves will be. It’s important to take care of your scalp.
Vitamin E benefits the scalp in two crucial ways: 1) it reduce oxidative stress and 2) it also preserves the protective layer of fat outside the hair’s cuticle (source).
Some Vitamin E Claims Still Need More Evidence
Can Vitamin E Improve Scalp Circulation?
A study in 1999 verified that high doses of vitamin E can increase blood flow to the eyes. However, the study was focused on participants suffering from type 1 diabetes, not patients who were suffering from hair loss.
In 2001, researchers found that there was a strong correlation between blood supply and hair growth.
Scientists found that the more they increased blood flow within mice the faster their hair began to grow. They even noted that the size of the mice’s hair follicles also grew with increased blood flow.
However, for now, additional research is needed to provide conclusive evidence proving that vitamin E can actually increase blood flow to your scalp and therefore stimulate hair growth. As usual, we’ll update this article if we find a study that provides more conclusive evidence.
Can Vitamin E Balance Oil Production?
We mentioned earlier in the article that vitamin E is an essential element to maintaining healthy skin. It works by creating a layer of protection (i.e., a barrier) on the skin’s surface.
This layer of protection helps your skin stay moisturized by “locking” in moisture. If you have dry, flaky, irritated skin you may have a vitamin E deficiency. Although, we recommend that you check with a medical professional to confirm.
From a hair and scalp care standpoint, it’s not completely clear whether vitamin E can balance the scalp’s oil production. However, certain oils that contain vitamin E may help keep the scalp moisturized.
One of our favorite oils, avocado oil, is an example of an oil that’s rich in vitamin E. These vitamin E rich oils may also mitigate excessive oil production by the scalp.
How Can I Boost My Vitamin E Intake?
There are many sources of vitamin e (including vitamin e capsules). If you’d like to up your vitamin E levels, we’ve outlined the ways that we commonly recommend to members of the Curl Centric community.
Eat a Healthy Diet
You need to make sure you are eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein. If you eat clean whole foods, not only will you have a diet that is rich in vitamin E, you will also get a whole host of nutrients that are necessary for your body.
It all goes back to balance. Low-calorie diets, that lack certain proteins, and micronutrients (like vitamin E), can impact the structure of your hair and your overall hair growth.
Foods High in Vitamin E
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Dark leafy greens
How to Apply Vitamin E Oil to Your Hair
Even though vitamin E oil has many benefits, it can be challenging to use. Follow our steps and you’ll be able to breeze through the process of slowing down breakage, preserving your hair’s protective layer and creating a shiny, healthy appearance.
- Wide tooth comb
- Microwavable plastic bowl
- Small glass jar
- Shower cap
- Vitamin E oil blend
- Hot water
- Start by parting your curls into sections (approximately 4 sections for medium hair, 6 sections for thick hair) with a wide-toothed comb. We’ve estimated the number of sections, but you should adjust as needed based on the length and thickness of your hair.
- Fill-up the microwaveable plastic bowl halfway with water. Place the bowl in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes. The goal is to warm up the water. If you don’t want to use a microwave, you can use hot water from the sink or any other method that creates hot water.
- Fill one-third of the small glass jar with your vitamin E oil blend and place the jar in the plastic bowl with the hot water. Cover the jar with a towel and let it sit for 2 minutes. The goal during this step is to warm up the oil blend. We don’t recommend microwaving the oil blend as you may burn your hair and scalp. Please be careful.
- Set a timer for 2 minutes and then remove the glass jar from the bowl. At this point, the oil blend should be warm (not hot). Please test to ensure that the oil is only warm.
- Choose a section of your scalp to start applying the oil blend. Concentrate on massaging the oil with the balls of your fingers into your scalp.
- Next, you can gently apply the oil blend to your hair using your fingertips. Slowly massage the oil down the length of your hair to evenly coat your curls with the oil blend. You will repeat this step for each section of your hair.
- Cover your curls with a plastic shower cap and allow the oil to sit on your hair and scalp for at least 15 minutes.
- Finally, wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo. It’s important to note that rinsing oils out of your hair in the shower can get very slippery. Please be careful. As an alternative solution, you can use a sink to mitigate the possibility of slipping.
For a more detailed explanation of using oils to deep condition your hair, we recommend reading the following articles:
- How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? Plus, Should You Use Shampoo?
- The Deep Conditioning Article That Will Change Your Hair (and Your Life)
While you can always create an oil blend (if you’re a DIY girl), we usually prefer and recommend using a hair oil that already contains vitamin E as a secondary ingredient. Here are some of our favorite products including the oil as a secondary ingredient:
- Aunt Jackie’s Girls E-Blast
- TGIN Twist and Define Cream
- Briogeo – Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
DIY Hair Mask
This DIY hair mask is intended to soothe your scalp. While vitamin E may help you retain the protective layer of your hair’s cuticle and encourage moisture retention, it can’t “repair” your hair strands if they’re severely damaged. As such, this treatment is designed for the scalp.
Use These Steps to Make a Hair Mask That’s Rich in Vitamin E
- 1 Banana
- 1 Avocado
- Coconut oil (1 tbsp)
- Avocado oil (1 tbsp)
- Honey (1 tbsp)
- Small bowl
- Wide tooth comb
- Shower cap
- Add the banana, avocado, coconut oil, and honey together in your blender and blend until smooth. Keep an eye out for the bananas because they can occasionally leave behind chunks.
- Use the spoon to double check that all of the ingredients have been blended together well.
- Section your curls into 4 – 6 sections with a wide tooth comb.
- Pour your mask into a small bowl and use your fingertips to massage the mask into your scalp.
- Cover your curls with a shower cap and allow the mask to sit on your scalp for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Wash your hair and scalp with warm water and a gentle shampoo.
Are There Any Risk Factors for Using Vitamin E?
Don’t forget, pure undiluted Vitamin E oil often causes skin irritation, so you’ll need to dilute it to avoid any complications.
Don’t Overdo It
Not all vitamins are created equally. For instance, Vitamin C is a “water-soluble” vitamin which means that if you end up ingesting more than the recommended daily dose, your body will flush the rest out of your system.
Vitamin E, however, is actually “fat soluble,” which means that your body cannot easily get rid of the excess.
Even though many women rely on taking supplements (“capsules”) to support their hair, skin, and nails, you can easily max out your daily limit, so pay attention to your body. It’s important that you can pick up on the signs of overindulging because you can ingest dangerous amounts of vitamin E if you’re not careful.
According to the National Institute of Health, you should only have a maximum of 1,500 IU of natural-occurring vitamin E or 1,100 IU of synthetic vitamin E each day.
Those levels may sound like a hard target to reach, but it is pretty easy if you’re eating whole foods. To give you an idea, you can reach your daily dose of vitamin E by snacking on a few ounces of dry roasted almonds each day.
Realistically, supplements aren’t necessary if you have a balanced diet (in most cases). Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that people get their vitamins and other nutrients from food if possible.
What Are the Signs of Vitamin E Overload?
- Weak bones
- Inconsistent thyroid hormone production
Long story short, if you’d like to introduce a vitamin E supplement into your daily diet, please talk to your primary care physician first.
Vitamin E can help your curls by not only improving your hair and scalp conditions but it can also add shine to dry, frizzy, kinks, curls and waves.
Luckily, it’s actually pretty simple to up your vitamin E intake if you feel like you’re lacking. Adjusting your diet to a plant and whole food-based meal plan will not only introduce more vitamin E into your diet, but it will also be beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing.
You can also pick up a bottle of pure or diluted vitamin E oil and add it to your hair care arsenal or check out some of our recommendations for curly hair products that include vitamin E.
We’d love to hear about some of the ways that our readers use vitamin E to promote healthy curly hair. Do you have any favorite shampoos, stylers or conditioners that include vitamin E? What about any DIY recipes?
Share your favorite products and DIY recipes below in the comments!