It seems like there’s always a new oil trending in the beauty industry. Coconut oil, argan oil, rosehip oil, tamuna oil, and marula oil have all had their time to shine. This year, however, black seed oil is getting its moment in the spotlight—thousands of years after it was first used. This natural oil is used in healthcare as well as the beauty industry because of its wide range of benefits. In terms of hair care, it’s been proven to promote hair growth while making hair sleeker and shinier. Its proponents claim it can prevent hair loss, improve scalp health, seal in moisture, and prevent dandruff.
Nigella sativa, the plant that black seed oil is derived from, is a flowering shrub that is native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It goes by many different names, including black caraway, black cumin, and kalojeera. The plant flowers annually and produces a high quantity of seeds, which are used as a spice in cooking. Throughout history, these seeds have also been used as home remedies for a variety of ailments and they were even found in King Tut’s tomb. Black seed oil is extracted when these seeds are pressed.
Black seed oil is also used in modern-day alternative medicines. Beyond that, however, it’s also respected in modern Western medicine. Even organizations like the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center extol its benefits. It has been proven to have antioxidant properties, reduce inflammation, improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, treat diabetes, and lower hypertension. Studies on animals have even shown that it can reduce the size of tumors. When taken as a supplement, it is proven to have a positive impact on gastrointestinal health, and can improve digestion and reduce bloating. It can even potentially promote weight loss. Always consult a doctor, however, before using natural remedies to treat medical issues.
In addition to its health benefits, black seed oil has also proven to be beneficial in terms of both skin and hair care. A study by the Journal of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery showed that it has a significant effect on acne. It’s also used to soften skin, treat psoriasis, and even heal wounds.
The presence of thymoquinone is one of the reasons black seed oil is popular in both medicine and beauty treatments. It’s a compound that acts as an antioxidant, and is responsible for many of the benefits the oil provides. A 2016 piece in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research explored a number of studies involving the use of Nigella sativa seed in the beauty industry. The authors found that it was proven to be antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. It was also confirmed as an effective anti-aging ingredient and a sun protector.
Proponents of black seed oil as a hair care ingredient claim it has a number of benefits. It can revive dull tresses, prevent hair loss, and promote the growth of thicker, shinier, stronger hair. Thymoquinone is an antihistamine, and antihistamines have been proven to improve hair growth in patients suffering from alopecia. It also improves the health of hair follicles and helps hair grow back. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, when diluted black seed oil can also be applied directly to the scalp to soothe irritation.
It’s used in shampoos, conditioners, hair serums, masks, and more. While it’s still emerging in popularity, there are an increasing number of products on the market containing this powerful ingredient.
Black seed oil is sold in both capsule and liquid form. Capsules are taken orally as supplements and provide holistic benefits. In its liquid form, it can be applied directly to the hair. Applying the oil topically is likely to have more noticeable results. By taking capsules, however, you may see improvements to your general health. It’s important to note that because supplements aren’t controlled by the FDA, they can potentially have negative side effects.
There are a number of products on the market that contain black seed oil. It can also be purchased in its undiluted form and used in DIY beauty recipes. When shopping for pure black seed oil, look for oil that is 100 percent pure, unrefined, and cold pressed. Look for oils that are packaged in dark-colored bottles so they won’t oxidize when exposed to sunlight. On its own, black seed oil is too strong to be applied directly to the hair. To dilute it yourself, mix it with an equal amount of a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil. Apply the mixture to your scalp and massage it in. Let it sit for half an hour—or longer—before rinsing it out in the shower.
When it comes to natural hair care products, expect to begin seeing results after three or four weeks. Try it for yourself and see if it has an effect on your hair.
Looking for more ways to upgrade your hair care routine this year? Check out this piece about what to look for when shopping for hair products.