I was sitting looking at some of my older entries when something hit me – I talk a lot about ceramides but never explained why! I could imagine how confusing it would be to see me singing the praises of ceramides without actually explaining what they are and why I love them so much. I first learned about ceramides on LHCF in 2010 after seeing a “Ceramide Challenge”. I became extremely curious, “What is a ceramide and why did it need a challenge?” Admittedly I skimmed over the nuts and bolts about ceramides, my eyes being immediately drawn to the photos of women sharing pictures of how ceramides changed their hair. Everyone’s hair looked so shiny and healthy and, since I was early in my hair journey, I was willing to try anything that could help repair my hair and make it look good at the same time.

What are ceramides and what do they do?
Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids (a type of fat) found in the inner layer of the hair cuticle, as well as the epidermis of the skin. For now let’s start by discussing ceramides in the hair strand; the hair cuticle is compromised of multiple overlapping layers of cells that, when healthy, lie flat which in turn keeps the hair strand looking healthy and shiny. This is all thanks to ceramides, which act like a glue that binds the layers of cells together. However when the hair suffers regular wear and tear (via shampooing, combing, brushing, etc) or chemical processes are performed the cuticles become raised and can cause hair to look dull, feel rough and cause breakage. By using ceramides, it helps keep the hair cuticle flat and returns it to its healthy state. Due to it’s ability to strengthen and protect hair, ceramides can act like a protein as well as prevent loss of moisture from the hair strand (ceramides shouldn’t be considered as a replacement for regular protein treatments though). Ceramides are especially beneficial for those with chemically treated hair or who are frequent heat users. As for skin, ceramides have a similar purpose of acting as a barrier to prevent moisture loss and keeping the skin soft and supple.

Although I am not a product junkie, oils are something I had no shame in exploring. The first ceramide oil I tried was Megacare Grapeseed Oil (I was in high school, so the beauty supply store was more my price range) and I loved it. As I broadened my horizons, I began trying other oils like hemp seed oil, safflower oil, wheat germ, Hot 6 Oil, etc. It was amazing to watch my hair become shiny and soft to the touch. Including ceramides in my regimen was one of the best things I did for my relaxed hair, along with switching to lye relaxers. With my natural hair, I feel ceramides do more for keeping my hair soft and help it hold moisture better. I literally can go close to a week without moisturizing (I know, I know…) and my hair never gets ridiculously dry (not even my ends!). I use ceramides in
every aspect of my regimen, from prepoos to sealing and I even use it on my skin.

Here is a list of oils containing ceramides that I have been referring to for years. I found it here:
Safflower oil  78%
Grape seed oil 73%
Poppyseed oil  70%
Sunflower oil  68%
Hemp oil  60%
Corn oil  59%
Wheat germ oil  55%
Cottonseed oil  54%
Soybean oil 51%
Walnut oil 51%
Sesame oil 45%
Rice bran oil 39%
Pistachio oil 32.7%
Peanut oil 32%
Canola oil 21%
Egg yolk 16%
Linseed oil 15%
Lard 10%
Olive oil  10%
Palm oil 10%
Cocoa butter 3%
Macadamia oil  2%
Butter 2%
Coconut oil 2%

Some of the oils on this list surprised me. It’s interesting how many of the more popular hair oils are either low in ceramides (olive and coconut) or aren’t even on this list (argan, castor oil). As for products with ceramides, I feel like they are in many products due to them getting a surge in popularity a few years back (I know people from LHCF definitely remember Skala). I personally prefer oils since they are multifunctional. I couldn’t even begin to compile a list of all the products with ceramides, but I know many Dominican conditioners have them and L’Oreal’s Damage Repair Line does as well. I hope this was helpful for someone, whether you are just learning about ceramides or are looking for new oils to try ☺

Have a Nice Weekend!

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