First it was rethinking silicones… now it’s mineral oil! Check out this excerpt from the natural hair science website The Natural Haven;

Be adventurous – try mineral oil……………yes mineral oil/vaseline/dax pomade. It is a better ‘sealant’ than many natural oils. Let me repeat that in bold – mineral oil prevents water evaporating from hair much better than most natural oils. I know that you know that I generally do not recommend mineral oil because I prefer natural oils but I need to set the record straight mineral oil as far as maintaining water inside your hair is supreme. If you are struggling with keeping dryness at bay and have no qualms with mineral oil – try it, it may work for you.

Click here for the full piece.

I also found an interesting article about this on beauty science site The Beauty Brains;

We often see the advice that people should avoid mineral oil at all costs. This idea is propagated by numerous “natural” companies. Well, this advice is just bogus. It’s not based on any scientific studies. Mineral oil is a perfectly fine ingredient and has been used in cosmetics for over 100 years.

They go on to list the 5 Top Myths associated with mineral oil, and suggest that its demonization may have to do with profit for natural hair companies;

They want you to buy from them instead of the big manufacturers. This is the primary explanation for mineral oil bashing. Little companies have to find a way to convince consumers to use their products instead of the less expensive, name brands produced by large manufacturers. They can’t possibly advertise as much as the big guys so they need other ways to motivate consumers. Spreading rumors, half truths, and lies about mineral oil (and a host of other ingredients) will scare a significant amount of people.

Here’s the link to the full Beauty Brains article.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Do you think naturals’ fear of mineral oil is baseless? Really looking forward to the responses on this one!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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97 Comments on "Rethinking Mineral Oil?"

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I think it depends on what you want for your hair. For me, mineral oil makes my hair look dingy and weighed down. It feels greasy and doesn’t absorb well at all. If I can find something that seals moisture in (for me, castor oil), doesn’t have the drawbacks that mineral oil has AND doesn’t come from fossil fuels? Then I’m going to go with that.

Well,when I decided to go natural and started researching on the internet and I was really looking for some great alternatives to mineral oil. While mineral oil didn’t harm my hair as far as I could see,I really hated having greasy/tacky hair.So during my transition I started using oils and butters…and guess what? since then, I am dandruff and acne + bacne free!!!Now I’m 9 months natural,loving to touch my hair and no more itchy scalp….I’m happy that it works for some and I say go for it if you like it, but I’m not going back to it b/c… Read more »

Glad I didn’t give my trusty Softee coconut oil the boot! 🙂 Use what works, ladies!

I don’t avoid mineral oil. It is not in any of the products I like, but I don’t avoid. I do avoid companies that make products with mineral oil and still charge a premium. If I am going to buy a product that is mineral oil based, it must be $3 for 16 oz or no thank you. What is with this bashing of small businesses in favor of the corporate big boys. So, it is good and dandy the large corporations sell and market things to you, but when it comes to mainly black-owned, female small businesses, they become… Read more »

Here you on the small business bashing…

I third that comment. Large Corporations are the main ones lying and cheating the consumers. Then they use their commercials ( which run over and over and over again until they are embedded in your subconscIous) to make you buy products that may actually make your hair “softer, more luxurious” , but by any means necessary. Even if the long terms effects of using it are toxic to the body (sulfates, parabens) they’ll still market it. If we, the consumers keep supporting the small independent all natural products, the large coporations will start using their money to research how to… Read more »

When I used to use mineral oil and petroleum-based products, my scalp was always covered in flakes. Since avoiding these products, I no longer have dandruff or itchy scalp. My skin’s noticed a difference too. Now that I use coconut oil as a base in my makeup remover and moisturizer, I no longer have breakouts.


I’ve noticed the flakes with mineral oil too. All ‘good ole grease’ did was make me too embarrassed to wear a black shirt.

I always thought relaxers were what made my scalp flaky, but my bf who had long natural hair for years always developed huge flakes when he used mineral oil based grease, but they stopped when he switched to Luster’s S-curl activator/moisturizer.

mj labonte

My man and I still slather on Vaseline and baby oil in the fall/winter because they seem to be the last ones standing, protecting our naturally dry skin, after a day in typical Canadian winter. It just never occurred to me to try it on my hair to combat the excessive winter dryness as well. Will def give it a shot this winter and see how my hair responds.


I find that mineral oil works great on my skin, but not in my hair.


+1 I can use baby oil etc on my skin all day but my, negative. Only when I blow dry I use it and that’s the Chi Silk Infusion.


I always thought the attack against mineral oil was baseless. I used good ole grease and my hair thrived. But I was also using a sulfate shampoo to clarify. I understand that it may harm some, but I never got how folks would make the leap that it wad bad for all. Then again, that’s how bandwagons are born.

Le Le
I use mineral oil products from time to time. I don’t think they are the devil, either. I don’t like them for regular use, but I do use them from time to time, and when I do, they work just fine, except they do seem to attract dirt and dust more than natural oils. What I never understand about oils and sealing moisture in is this: If you apply water to hair and then oil in order to seal it, then does the hair stay moisturized without having to re-moisturize and re-seal days later? Like, usually, I apply glycerin water,… Read more »
The Natural Haven
Le Le to answer your question, yes if you feel it necessary, you should repeat the cycle after 2-3 days. The effects of a humectant and oil mix (which is what you are using with glycerin, water and oil) usually last for 24-48 hours depending on your environment. The reason to wash your hair all over again comes in if you want to redeposit the surfactants in conditioner which make hair feel soft. You can of course cheat and use conditioner as a leave in but you will need to be careful about build up later (as long as you… Read more »
Le Le

Oh, ok. My mind kind of hates the idea of moisturizing, sealing, and doing it over again. It just seems like product, over product, over product. I can see why washing my hair twice weekly might be a good idea…except that I don’t have time for all that.

Kandace Stephens

The problem with mineral oil is not that it blocks the exit of moisture i.e. but it also blocks the entry of moisture also, perpetuating a cycle of dryness. Then it creates a film that requires a surfactant namely a shampoo that includes harsh sulfates to remove it. The actual mineral oil is not evil per se but you have to know what it will and will not do. I personally prefer effectively layering a moisturizing product and an oil based sealant that will quickly wear off providing an opportunity to remoisturize with having to wash every time.


I rinse out my hair every other day because I work out a lot, but I would like to know the answer to that question in the event I am going somewhere and I don’t workout for a week.


that is ALWAYS my question! Then if you do it on Monday do you have to wash it again and do the whole thing again by Wednesday? Are we supposed to just moisturize on top of it? Wouldn’t that then be a waste of product since our sealant is blocking things out?

Sorry for the fifty questions in one but I’ve always wondered


It’s cheaper for oil companies to throw mineral oil in cosmetic products than it is to dispose of it.

I’m not supporting them.

Besides, it makes me breakout and backacne isn’t a good look.




I recently tried a product with mineral oil & my hair loves it. As with ANY product, you just have to understand what its uses are how to use it properly. Everything isn’t going to work for everybody’s hair either. some will like mineral oil, others won’t.


I done rethunked (lol) it. I used grease all the way up until i went to college. Then i started experimenting and ditched the grease. At the time grease wasnt doing anything for me. but now im right back to grease just with alot more knowledge on how to use it well. I am now using it in place of shea butter (which left my hair soft but ashy looking) to seal. After wetting, leave in and a light oil—> GREASE. i think if used right mineral oil is beneficial. My hair is back to happy in terms of moisture.


I’m gonna try this. I have been trying EVERYTHING, and my hair still does not seem to retain enough Moisture. And I purchase all of the go to ALL NATURAL stuff. I’m going to do an experiment for a month with Mineral oil and see what happens….


I bought into the whole no mineral oil/no petrolatum hype early on and my hair suffered and so did my pocketbook. I recently went back to my mineral oil/petrolatum and Im not looking back…my hair loves the stuff (silicomes and sulfates too). My wallet and my hair is thanking me…

Petroleum works well for me if I’m gonna have my hair braided w/ weave for awhile. But I only use it when I’m out of shea. Which I have found in all my years(10)of being natural has worked best. I can only use light oils on my scalp. But I feel you on the silicon, it does wonders for my hair. so I say try it ALL. Different products and regimens work differently for everyone. You never know how it may turn out. I’ve recently taken a dive into Creme of nature Argan oil shampoo. in which i wrote off… Read more »
lol I bought into the no mineral oil and no petrolatum bandwagon too. Now a closet full of hair products later I cant really say what I feel bc I keep looking for the next best product… I do agree with the post’s logic that it just might be a tactic of small business to sell their products. When I wear braids my no.1 hair grease is Africa’s Best Super Gro (even though they cant seem to spell grow that joint smells fantastic!) found at your local beauty store for like $4 and the first ingredient is- drum roll- petrolatum.… Read more »

I hated when a product didn’t work for me because I was not going to buy another one until that one was done. Thankfully, I have found my holy grail conditioners (only commercial products I use) and I am not looking anymore. I use a castor/argan/camellia oil mix to seal my hair and it seems to work very well.


MY doctor actually recommends mineral oil for this same reason. It is a good emollient (sp?) for the hair and skin. My daughters had horrible excema and after about a week of bathing them, then not drying them off, then rubbing their arms and legs down with mineral oil, it seemed to practically disappear.

Le Le

That makes sense. Eucerin contains petrolatum and mineral oil as ingredients, and that stuff works great for my whole family including my kids who have eczema.


I agree with Lele and Cris; my son has eczema and I was spending loads of money on all these natural products only to have his eczema worsen. Finally, in frustration, I bought a jar of vaseline(petroleum jelly) and his eczema healed up immediately. So now I’m stuck with all this shea butter…


It’s because mineral oil doesn’t work for my skin that I skipped it for my hair, and specifically, my scalp. My understanding, is that it’s great at sealing, but that the skin finds it hard to produce its own oils after prolonged use, and you end up in a vicious cycle. Also, it seals moisture in, but prevents any more from being absorbed, and doesn’t nourish in any way. I found this all to be true for me.


I don’t think you need mineral oil for that. I used to have horrible eczema as well but swore off mineral and soap a few years ago. It did nothing for my skin but make it itchy. Instead I use a soap-free washing gel and almond oil on my wet skin. It works wonders as it has softened my skin tremendously. The mere feeling of mineral oil makes me cringe now, I can’t stand the stringy feeling. No more mineral oil for me.


Maureen, what is the name of your soap-free washing gel?


An awesome soap free wash is Softsoap’s line of shower gel. Better late than never.


dries my hair out to the BONE. but i do know that it seals well. even still, i don’t recommend it for kinky hair unless it’s a last resort because natural oils will always be the better choice. however if it works then i see no harm in it.

it just tears my hair to shreds. it’s been so long that i’ve used a product with mineral oil that i don’t even consider it an option anymore. the last time i tried some miss jessie’s – the queens of mineral oil – tore my hair up. i.just.can’t.


+1. Girl leaves my hair feeling horible…