Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a plant belonging to the family Compositae, and is native to countries like Iran, northwestern India, North America, and the Far East. Safflower oil is the oil extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant, which has been used to treat baldness, high cholesterol, essential fatty acid deficiency, and hair loss.
There are two methods by which the oil is extracted from the plant seeds - the mechanical process and the chemical process. In the mechanical method, the oil is extracted from the seeds by using a natural expeller, which helps in retaining the essential nutrients found in the seeds. On the other hand, during the chemical process, certain chemicals are added to refine the oil. The process results in removal of most of the nutrients found in the oil, and contaminates it with some harmful chemicals that may cause a negative effect on the body.
➺ Safflower oil is highly rich in polyunsaturated fats, containing 77% linoleic acid (omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids - EFAs), 10% saturated fats, and 13% oleic acid (omega-9 fats - monosaturates).
➺ It also comprises high levels of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, vitamin K, and phytosterols, and so, helps in preventing and treating EFA deficiencies in the body.
➺ The oil contains high amounts of oleic acid, which is light in texture, and penetrates the skin easily. It protects, nourishes, hydrates, and firms the hair. It promotes hair growth and thickness.
➺ Being extremely rich in essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is highly beneficial for dry, color treated, or permed hair.
➺ When applied to the scalp, it acts as a vasodilator which can dilate the blood vessels, resulting in more nutrients supply to the hair follicles through blood circulation, and a healthy environment for hair regrowth.
➺ Oral consumption of safflower oil is also beneficial in various ways. It helps keep hair moist and strong. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E fight free radicals (that develop as a result of stress and exposure to UV rays), and help prevent baldness and hair loss. Vitamin E and K play an important role in keeping the hair moist and healthy. The oil can be used for cooking and salad dressing.
➺ The oil is odorless. So, there should be no reason for not using it. The oil can improve the hair quality, and can give the hair a lustrous sheen.
Our hair normally contains a moisture content of approximately 10%, which when drops below this level, needs to be retained. As the hair grows past the neckline or doesn't have a direct contact with the scalp, the essential natural oils present in the scalp are not utilized throughout the hair shaft. Therefore, to increase the hair's ability to attract and retain moisture in the cortex of the hair, one can use moisturizers that are rich in essential fatty acids (EFA). Safflower oil is one of the best and cost-effective oil for dry hair. Following are few steps that will help you to replace the lost EFA and moisture from the scalp:
- Put 1 or 2 drops of safflower oil in your palms, and rub them together.
- Apply the oil at the ends first, and then work towards the scalp.
- Leave this in your hair for an hour or so, and then rinse.
- By regularly applying safflower oil in your hair, you will retain the moisture and have healthy, shiny hair.