February 26, 2020 at 07:00PM by CWC
Long before CBD was the cannabinoid star of the beauty aisle, hemp seed oil reigned supreme. The OG plant-derived ingredient—which has always been legal—might not have the same name recognition as its buzzier cousin, but it does have plenty of benefits worth being aware of. One worth diving into? Hemp oil for hair.
But before we get into the wonders of coating your strands with hemp seed oil, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what’s what in the world of cannabis derivatives. Certain ingredients—namely hemp oil and hemp seed oil—may sound the same, but ultimately, these ingredients do different things for your hair and skin, so it’s important to understand what you’re spending your money on. Allow us (and the pros!) to break it down for you, so you know exactly what’s worth buying… and why.
The difference between hemp seed oil and hemp oil
First things first: you need to understand the terminology, because hemp oil and hemp seed oil are two completely different things. They both come from the cannabis plant, but hemp is derived from the leaves and the stalk. Meanwhile, hemp seed oil is derived from—you guessed it!—the seeds, and is cold-pressed the same way other carrier oils like jojoba and sunflower seed. The biggest difference between the two is that hemp oil is chock full of cannabanoids, like THC, CBN, and CBD, while hemp seed oil doesn’t have any of these.
Hemp seed oil, however, does have antioxidants, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have made it a skin-care staple for decades. It’s known for its moisturizing and non-comedogenic properties, and considering that your scalp is skin, too, that means potentially great things for your hair as well.
“Hemp oil contains anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory topical properties, it’s rich in amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants which provide nourishing and soothing benefits for the scalp,” says Fabian Lliguin, co-founder and president of Rahua Beauty. He notes that in the same way that all skin types can benefit from using hemp seed oil, all hair types potentially can, too.
The potential benefits of using hempseed and hemp oil for hair
While there isn’t any declarative scientific evidence to support the specific benefits of hemp seed oil or hemp oil for hair, pros say there are still some reasons it could be worth integrating a few drops into your hair-care routine. “Hemp oil provides nourishment and hydration, because it has one of the highest concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids of all naturally occurring oils,” says Jennifer Weiderman, the CMO of Hempz. “It is non-greasy and provides an optimal balance for moisture retention.” There have also been murmurs on the Internet that hemp seed oil can help with hair growth and strengthening strands, thanks to the fact that it’s packed with proteins, but there has yet to be any research to back this up.
What we do know, however, is that hemp-derived oils are natural oils, and that other natural oils like coconut, mineral, and sunflower have been tapped all over the world used as hair treatments for centuries and have well-documented benefits. A 2015 study from the International Journal of Trichology found that oils play an “important role in protecting hair from damage,” and that “applying oil on a regular basis can enhance lubrication of the shaft and help prevent hair breakage.” While hemp seed and hemp oil for hair in particular haven’t been studied, it’s not a huge leap to say that they could potentially have some of the same benefits.
How to use hempseed and hemp oil for hair
If you want to integrate any sort hemp seed oil or hemp oil for hair into your routine, pros suggest doing it by way of a shampoo, conditioner, or treatment that combines it with other nourishing ingredients. Shop our picks, below.
This treatment mixes hemp oil with palo santo, sunflower, and rahua Oils, plus shea butter and quinoa. “These star ingredients strengthen the user’s follicles, balance the scalp’s moisture levels, act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant, as well as nourish and sooth the scalp,” says Lliguin.
Yup—you can get your hemp oil for hair fix at the drugstore. Love Beauty and Planet’s sulfate-free shower products use hemp seed oil and nana leaf to cleanse your scalp while nourishing your skin and strands. Users have raved about how gentle it is, and love it for its cooling sensation.
Want to use hemp and hemp seed oil together? Try this treatment. It combines CBD (aka hemp) with its close cousin hempseed oil, plus arnica flower and tamanu oil, to calm your scalp before you even step out of the shower.
Here’s what happened when our beauty editor tried CBD shampoo and conditioner for herself. Plus, why argan oil is another natural ingredient worth adding into your haircare routine…. especially if you want to grow your stands, STAT.