How Omegas 3, 6 & 9 Promote Hair Growth + 15 Oils that Contain Omegas

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essential_oils

I’m sure you’ve heard over, and over, and over again that omegas (3, 6 & 9) are great for your health and can help alleviate, cure, or ease any number of ailments. But did you know that they are also great for the health of your hair? Let’s explore.

I’m about to get a little science-y for a second…just hang with me. Omega 3, 6 and 9 are all fatty acids — two of which are considered essential to human body functioning (3 and 6). All three are molecular chains of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon.

                 omegas1

The differences between the three and how they perform in our bodies are at the molecular level. All fats have COOH (Butyric acid) at the beginning of the chain (known as the alpha end). Omegas get their name because they are the carbons furthest (omega = end/last letter of Greek alphabet) away from the Butyric acid in the chain.

 omegas2

Their number (3, 6, 9) indicates the number of carbons from the omega carbon to the first double bond. Let’s take a quick look:

omegas3

 Still with me? Good. Now that you have a feel for what omegas are, let’s talk about what they do for our bodies and our hair.

 Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acid is considered one of the essential fatty acids, because our bodies cannot make it. It is chiefly famous for being an anti-inflammatory agent, which can ease any number of medical conditions. Additionally, it counteracts the pro-inflammatory properties of omega-6. In terms of hair benefits, omega-3:

  • Increases hair elasticity (less breakage)
  • Nourishes hair follicles
  • Can help re-start hair growth
  • Increases hair strength and thickness
  • Prevent or reverse hair loss
  • Improve flaky/dry scalp
  • Improve scalp circulation

Get omega-3 in your diet with: seafood (salmon, sardines, halibut, tuna, herring, mackerel, cod), seeds & nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds), and fruits & veggies (strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens, spinach).

Omega-6

Omega-6 is another essential fatty acid that our bodies cannot produce. It supports brain development, the immune system, and helps regulate blood pressure. When it comes to hair, omega-6:

  • Controls water loss in hair
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Controls/helps improve eczema and similar skin/scalp conditions

Get omega-6 in your diet with: vegetable oils (you really can’t go wrong, as long as your cooking oil is vegetable-based).

Omega-9

Omega-9 is a non-essential fatty acid, because our bodies are able to generate it from unsaturated fats. Omega-9 helps regulate bad cholesterol and supports immune function. Omega-9 in the hair:

  • Controls water loss in hair
  • Makes hair softer and more pliable

It’s not difficult to get omega-9 in your diet. Chances are, something you’re eating is getting you enough already!

Getting omegas in your body is one thing, getting them on your hair is another. If you’re in the market for a new oil, and you want some omega benefits, maybe this chart will help you. Or, if you already have a favorite oil, see how it stacks up!

 

Oil

Omega-3

Omega-6

Omega-9

Almond

(X)

X

Avocado

(X)

X

Coconut

(X)

X

Evening Primrose

X

(X)

Flax Seed

X

(X)

(X)

Grapeseed

X

(X)

Hemp Seed

(X)

X

(X)

Kukui Nut

(X)

X

Macadamia Nut

(X)

X

Neem

(X)

X

Olive

(X)

X

Palm Kernel

X

Safflower

X

(X)

Soybean

(X)

X

(X)

Sunflower

X

(X)

X = highest fatty acid content
(X) = contains this fatty acid, but less than 20%

Isn’t it amazing what a little omega can do for your hair?  I shared the information below in my post on Apricot Oil, but it’s always good to keep this at the forefront of your mind when choosing oils. When the fatty acids in oils come together, they help serve three wonderful purposes:

  1. Cement: They shape the substance that seal scales of the hair cuticle, in the same way that cement keeps together the bricks in a wall. Because the scales are “cemented” together, they make for a smooth surface, which enables the hair to protect itself against external aggressions, and to reflect light (shiny hair).
  2. Barrier: Also known as sealing. They prevent the water that was absorbed by the hair from evaporating.
  3. Sponge: Fatty acids are also mild humectants. They are able to absorb small amounts of water from the air’s humidity in order to help maintain hair hydration.

 
This is no news bulletin to most naturalistas, but for those that are newly natural or transitioning, remember this important information when purchasing oils. Make sure your oils are:

  • Virgin or Pure: Meaning that the oil was obtained by mechanical processes, without industrial refinement or chemical additives.
  • Cold Pressed: Meaning that the seeds, nuts, or kernels are pressed to release their oils without heat. Cold pressed oils best retain the nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids that provide the benefits you seek. Heat diminishes their presence and effectiveness.
  • Organic: Which guarantees that there is has been no fertilizer, no herbicides or chemical pesticides in the environment where the product source is cultivated. Because those elements are soluble in greasy substances, they end up in the raw product (unrefined/cold pressed). Only industrial refinement can then eliminate the impurities…then the oil itself loses its effectiveness. Talk about a vicious cycle.

 
For a rundown on some of the best natural hair oils, click here.
 

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Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

 

26 thoughts on “How Omegas 3, 6 & 9 Promote Hair Growth + 15 Oils that Contain Omegas

  1. Very useful information, thank you. I especially like the chart… I use coconut oil because of the numerous benefits it provides for both general health and hair; i however did not realise it also contains omega 6 & 9. Good to know!

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  2. This is exactly the kind of piece I like to see: informative, well-researched, and highly applicable to everyone. Nice job, Christina! Keep awesome articles like these coming BLGH!

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    • How exactly does putting a scientific spin on something make it more complicated?

      I don’t think she’s making it complicated; she’s just sharing factual information about oils that most naturals already use in some way, shape, or form.

      If you’d like to see complicated, go read a chapter on lipids in a biochemistry textbook–this is nowhere close to that.

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      • It’s okay. Let her stay ignorant to what she puts on and in her body while we all thrive and survive.

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    • the haircare industry does not give a crap about curly/kinky haired folk so yes, we ourselves have had to step in to educate ourselves to take better care of our hair. If you think it’s too complicated then ignore it! It’s not like this is all part of a mandatory class we have to take at school.

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    • What’s complicated about this, though? It boils down to eating right, perhaps taking some Omega 3-6-9 supplements, and using oils on your hair, with some explanation of the science behind the practices. I think the author did a good job of making the science stuff readable and comprehensible to us non-scientists.

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    • this is simply letting us know which oils contain what nutrients, etc. I love knowing this stuff, it helps me to know what to use for what benefits I want. No different than checking an ingredients list in a new conditioner you’re buying. If it makes your head spin, you can ignore it. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, just pick one or two oils that have something or do something you want, and keep it moving.

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    • “Heat diminishes their presence and effectiveness.”: This statement is in reference to the way the oil is produced, not how it is used as the end product. Using the final oil as a hot oil treatment is great for your hair, but when the oil is extracted from the nut or seed during production heat should not be used by the manufacturer. Hope this addresses your question and helps you!

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  4. I take two capsules of Omega 3-6-9 daily. The essential fatty acids do wonders for your overall health and I do notice a difference in my hair for sure! I also use coconut and olive oil. After reading this article, I think I’ll have to check hemp and flaxseed oil as well. One oil I didn’t see was Argan oil, I would be interested to see if it has any fatty acids.

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    • Right now I’m taking a complex supplement of fish oil, flaxseed and borgana(sp?) It says the last oil is an essential mix of Borgana, Evening primrose and another oil I forget which. This combination is great.

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  6. Pingback: Home » Blog Archive » Omega 3 Benefits For Pain – Discover About Omega 3 Benefits For Pain And Other Physical Disorders

  7. Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 fatty acids) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.-….’

    Please do view our own web blog <http://healthmedicine.co/

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  8. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness on your post is simply cool and that i could suppose you are knowledgeable on this subject. Well together with your permission let me to clutch your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

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  9. Just wanted to add that Avocado Oil, does have Omega 3, not just 6, and 9. Other than that, awesome article! Very well put together!

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  10. Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make
    my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Bless you

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  11. I’ve been taking Laminine Omega and so far I’m satisfied with it. It
    has Omega fatty Acids 3 (EPA and DHA), 6, and 9 + CoQ10(Extended
    Release), Vitamin K2.. It is patented and is made in USA; head office is in Lake Forest,California.

    The fish oil is sourced from Engraulis Ringens, a member of the anchovy family, found in the Humboldt Current off the coast of South America near Peru, where the waters are clean and clear. Phytoplankton that the Engraulis Ringens species consumes in this region is rich in DHA and EPA, giving the fish the highest naturally occurring ratios of DHA and EPA of any other fish species. The fish oil also undergoes molecular distillation, and is tested before and after the process to remove gunk and toxins and ensure the safety of the oil.

    It can be ordered online http://tinyurl.com/q8fjc93 and delivery varies from 3 to 7 days. You may click Join if you want to be a member and get the member’s price Or click RETAIL ORDER if you don’t want to be a member.

    CoQ10 ER is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight oxidative stress in the blood vessels, leaving them clear for proper blood flow.

    Vitamin K2 helps to direct calcium to the bones and teeth, where it belongs, keeping the calcium from attaching itself to the arteries.

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  12. I was recommended to use Omega 3 to start growing healthier hair. I started eating lots of food with omega 3 but eventually need a supplement, and that was when Visage’s Omega 3 joined the picture. I personally enjoyed the presentation and taste, but most of all, how natural the product is. It is based solely on Clary Sage’s plant’s oil which is 100% natural and has a whole history as a medicinal plant. I also enjoyed how the product is free from toxins and substances like mercury, which are present in most of today’s Omega 3 supplements since they are made from fish (which are exposed to those substances on the ocean). I assure you, you are going to love Visage’s Omega 3.
    Omega 3 Visage Clary Sage Oil: http://goo.gl/FhguzH

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