Mineral Oil & Hair

by Audrey Sivasothy ; Updated September 28, 2017

Oil is important for the care and maintenance of our hair. Mineral oil is a common ingredient found in many hair care products. However, its usefulness has been the subject of much debate.

What is Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is a lightweight oil that is derived from petroleum.


Mineral oil is used in many personal care products like moisturizers and conditioners. It is also used in the medical field as a laxative and skin protectant, and in the food industry to prevent food from sticking to bakeware and pans.

Mineral Oil in Hair Products

Mineral oil is used in hair care products such as glosses, conditioners, moisturizing creams, and pomades as a moisturizing ingredient.


Because mineral oil is often used to coat and protect the scalp skin and hair, proponents of "natural" hair care products argue that mineral oil blocks out much needed moisture and dries out the skin and hair. Mineral oil supporters cite studies that show while industrial grade mineral oil clogs pores, cosmetic grade mineral oil does not.

Fun Fact

Baby oil is often 100% mineral oil.

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Photo Credits

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About the Author

Audrey Sivasothy, a Houston-based freelance writer, specializes in writing health, beauty, science, and policy pieces. She has published content for Turner and other clients for 4 years. She is currently writing a comprehensive hair care book on black/textured hair. Sivasothy holds a Bachelor of Science in health science/policy studies from Rice University.