Why Are Petroleum Based Products Bad for Black Hair?

by Lisa Michelle

Many hair products formulated specifically for Black hair contain petroleum-based ingredients. These have historically been used to add shine, and they have been known to make the hair appear soft, smooth and healthy. However, using petroleum-based hair products is not recommended.

Mineral Oil is A Common Culprit

Mineral oil is a common culprit that actually accumulates on the scalp, which in turn blocks the hair follicles, slowing hair growth. If it builds up on the hair itself, it attracts and holds dirt and residue, which make the hair appear dull and unhealthy.


Mineral oil does not penetrate the hair shaft. It only coats the hair and serves as a temporary “solution” for making the hair look slick and shiny.


According to information found on www.hairgrowthaids.com, mineral oil, which is derived from crude oil, prevents the hair from “breathing.”

Adverse Effects

Because it shields the hair’s surface, moisture cannot penetrate into the hair and with continued use the hair will eventually dry out, making it more prone to breakage and damage.

Study Conducted

For more information on the non-effectiveness of mineral oil on the hair compared to natural, vegetable-based oils like coconut oil, refer to the following study posted on PubMed.org: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12715094.

About the Author

Lisa Michelle worked in sales and marketing after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Chicago State University. She has been writing professionally for more than four years and is now a regular contributor to several online forums. Her most prominent published work includes articles on health and wellness, travel and women's interests.