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is hemp oil good for hair

What Pros Have to Say About Using Hemp Oil for Hair

Zoe Weiner・ February 26, 2020

L ong 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.

Rahua Founder’s Blend Scalp & Hair Treatment, $40

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.

Love Beauty and Planet Hemp Seed Shampoo and Conditioner, $7 each

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.

Briogeo B.Well 100mg CBD + Arnica Flower Soothing Skin & Scalp Oil, $48

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.

Hempz Herbal Healthy Hair Fortifying Shampoo and Conditioner, $18

Formulated for the sake of strengthening hair, these products use hemp oil alongside pomegranate and sunflower seed oil keep strands healthy and well-fortified.

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.

Using hemp oil for hair has many benefits, including nourishing your scalp and preventing breakage. Here's how to integrate it into your routine.

Hemp Seed Oil for Hair

Hemp is a member of the Cannabis sativa species of plant. You may have heard this plant referred to as marijuana, but this is really a different variety of Cannabis sativa.

Hemp seed oil is a clear green oil made by cold-pressing hemp seeds. It’s different from cannabidiol (CBD), which is an extract produced from hemp flowers and leaves.

Hemp seed oil typically doesn’t contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which provides the high associated with marijuana use.

Hemp seed oil is said to have many health benefits, among them that it protects hair from damage. Read on to find out more.

There isn’t much clinical research on the benefits of using hemp seed oil on your hair. Advocates of the practice suggest that research on other similar oils that benefit hair may also apply to hemp seed oil.

For example, according to a 2015 research article , certain oils — such as coconut oil — can play a role in protecting hair from damage by:

  • preventing too much water from being absorbed by hair
  • helping to prevent the penetration of certain substances into hair follicles
  • prevent hair breakage by enhancing lubrication of the shaft.
  • prevent hair breakage by reducing the combing force of wet hair

Some believe these may also apply to hemp seed oil.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are considered to be good for hair when taken as an oral supplement. Hemp seed oil has plenty of both.

For example, a 2015 study found improvement in the hair diameter and hair density of participants who took omega-3 and omega-6 oral supplements over the course of six months.

Researchers on the study also discovered that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in combination with antioxidants prevented hair loss in participants who took them.

Hemp seed oil has 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids. It also contains smaller amounts of three other polyunsaturated fatty acids: oleic acid, stearidonic acid, and gamma-linolenic acid.

A tablespoon of hemp seed oil contains 14 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 12.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

Hemp seed oil also includes:

  • antioxidants, such as vitamin E
  • carotene
  • phytosterols
  • phospholipids
  • chlorophyll

Along with modest amounts of iron and zinc, hemp seed oil also contains a number of minerals, including:

  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • sulfur
  • potassium
  • phosphorus

Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the same plant. Advocates of hemp seed oil for hair claim that it can moisturize and strengthen hair, as well as stimulate hair growth. We'll discuss the possible benefits of hemp seed oil for hair here.