No Mineral Oil or Petroleum-based products

This one points right back to keeping your hair moisturized. Mineral oil and petroleum-based products can really be counterproductive to that goal. These types of products work well at either sealing moisture in or keeping moisture out. Problem is, the porosity of nappy hair make it difficult for the cortex (the hair’s inner core) to retain moisture in the first place. So if your hair doesn’t hold moisture, there is nothing to seal in. And if you’re using mineral oil or petroleum-based products you’ve now created a water-resistant barrier that will keep moisture from getting in. And since nappy hair is inherently dry, you’re only compounding your problems with having dry hair. Again, if you’ve got issues retaining moisture to begin with, best to steer clear of these types of products. And if you must use oils, opt for essential oils and butters. They’re permeable, meaning they mix well with water and allow your hair to breath.

23 Responses to “No Mineral Oil or Petroleum-based products”
  1. larain says:

    if your hair is kind of straight,will petroleum jelly help grow it and keep in moisture or it won’t,im having trouble growing my hair ?i love your advice,can u help me?

  2. nappyme says:

    Hi Larain,
    Welcome to NPP101!

    I’m perplexed about what you mean by kinda straight. Do you have naturally “kinda” straight hair or do you have a relaxer or a texturizer, which is basically a weak relaxer?

    If you have relaxed hair, I can’t help ya. If you have naturally straight hair I don’t really have any advice for you either. But I will say that no, there is no substance out there that will help you “grow” your hair. Time and genetics takes care of that and your hair will grow accordingly. Now if you’re talking about retaining length, that’s a different story. If you’re having trouble retaining moisture, then it sounds like your hair is dry, brittle and breaking. But like I said, I know nothing about taking care of straight/relaxed hair; if I did, I wouldn’t have seven distinct stories about how all my relaxed hair fell out.

    Sooooo, my best bet is that you try a site like or They can probably steer you in the right direction.

    Good luck!

  3. npurple31 says:

    Hi nappyme,

    I just bought a product without looking at the ingredients list. Although the product has petrolatum in it, it also has all these other great extracts and oils mixed in. Would it be alright to use this product?

  4. nappyme says:

    Hey npurple31,
    Is petrolatum the base? In other words is it the first, second or third one on the list? If so, I personally wouldn’t use it. In my opinion, there are tons of products out there that are petroleum based and have good ingredients mixed in. But the presence of petroleum over shadows any good that the other ingredients would do. Soooo to that end, sure you can find something that doesn’t have petroleum in it.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Ree says:

    Look at you! Spreading the Nappy Love!! I used to be on Nappurality ages ago (SN: Charise), and you were so knowledgable!!! Thanks for posting this…I’m going to start sending people to this site as a resource!

  6. nappyme says:

    Hi Charise…I remember you. Well, I thought I did and I had to go look you up on NP and yep that’s exactly who I thought you were.

    Well thanks for stopping by and the encouragement to continue being a resource for nappy sistas everywhere. Glad you like the site and yes, please do send folks my way and please, stop back by yourself and say hi!

    Take care,

  7. Kim says:

    Hi Nappyme,

    I really like you and your niece’s hair. What products do the both of you use? I like how your hair doesn’t look dry. I’ve been using Curls products on my daughters hair but am wondering if there is something better.

  8. Not only is petroleum bad for your hair it’s bad for your health. This is a bit long but hope it helps to educate and enlighten. Thanks for passing on this important info. Mineral oil, aka Glyceryl Stearate and petroleum are the basic ingredients in many cosmetic products today. Both mineral oil and petroleum have the same origins in fossils fuels. Cosmetics such as foundations, cleansers, and moisturizers often contain mineral oil. By locking moisture against the skin, mineral oil sits on the skin’s surface and can potentially block pores. This may cause the appearance of pimples because the skin cannot properly ‘breathe’.
    Fragrances in lotions, shampoos, and many other cosmetic products are composed of aromatic hydrocarbons. Perfumes
    and products containing fragrance can contain many hundreds of chemicals to produce a distinct scent. A significant number of these
    aromas are derived from petroleum.
    One popular chemical additive that carries moisture in cosmetics is propylene glycol. It is also a derivative of petroleum. Some
    products that list propylene glycol as an ingredient include: anti-freeze, laundry detergent, paint, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, even some foods such as sweetened coconut. Past research links propylene glycol to serious health problems as liver and kidney damage as well as respiratory irritation or nausea if swallowed. An antiseptic, isopropyl alcohol, kills bacteria on the skin. You can find it on the ingredient list of cleansers, toners and other cosmetic products. Unfortunately, this derivative of petroleum dries the skin and may cause miniature cracks in the skin that allow bacteria to enter, potentially causing irritations or pimples.
    Do these petroleum-derived products affect your health? Your skin covers your body and acts as a physical barrier to many
    of the pollutants in the atmosphere. When you use products on your skin such as cosmetics, lotions, and shampoos, the ingredients in
    these products come into direct contact with your body’s largest organ; your skin. You may ask yourself, where do the ingredients in
    the products go? Modern research at the Herb Research Foundation found that the skin absorbs up to 60% of the chemicals in products that it comes into contact with directly into the bloodstream. Today, hormone therapy treatments and smoking cessation medications are often prescribed as patches that you apply directly to the skin. The medication passes through the skin and directly enters the bloodstream.
    For pregnant women, the risk is not only for her body but also for the developing fetus. If the chemicals found in cosmetics
    readily enter the bloodstream when applied to the skin, then they will also reach the developing baby. Researchers at the Brunel University in England are looking closely at a family of preservatives called parabens. Their research has recently linked parabens to the possibility that male babies will have lower sperm counts and the rise in breast cancer because parabens mimic the hormone estrogen. These preservatives are derived from petroleum and help to maintain the freshness and integrity of the product. Currently, many manufacturers add parabens to cosmetics to allow a minimum of 3 years shelf life. Therefore, the parabens kill any bacteria that could potentially enter the product. If these chemical ingredients can kill the bacterial cells, what are they doing to your skin cells? In most cases, there is no conclusive answer to this question. However, the research mentioned strongly suggests that the synthetic ingredients may have a significant impact on our bodies.

  9. loquacious says:

    The above comment about mineral and petroleum was so informative. I will use natural products from here on out.

  10. Help says:

    I am new not to this website but to being natural and I have use blue magic for ever since I can remember. Now that Im natural I have tried to use ALL NATURAL hair products but it leaves my hair stiff and soo dry. Recently I switched back to Blue magic and my hair is soft and moist and not dry and wool like… so is it something that I am doing wrong. I did notice that I wash my hair like 3 or more times aweek maybe thats why? Clue-less Natural since 2/19/09

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Help!

      Congrats on becoming natural. If Blue magic is working for you don’t fix what ain’t broke. As far as natural products are concerned, you have to remember that oil/grease is not moisture. Water is moisture. Oil/grease is a lubricant. It can at best seal moisture in and it can also provide a water resistant barrior to keep moisture out. Perhaps your hair is not very porous and does a good job retaining moisture and then when you put grease on it, it further seals that moisture in. On the flip side, my hair is very porous. It doesn’t hold moisture well, so I do better with water based moisturizers that contain humectants. In the spring, summer and early fall, my hair does fabulously well with these types products…in the winter not so much and I really struggle with dry hair.

      Just remember that everything you read about the dos and don’ts with regard to taking care of nappy hair is not the GOSPEL for everyone. Some folks will have hair that responds well to ingredients that most others would run from. But from what you’re telling me, Blue Magic is working just fine. So I’d say it doesn’t seem like you’re doing anything wrong and you should stick with what works for you.

      Good luck and take care,

  11. Alexandar J. says:

    I am so glad I not only stumbled upon this website but this article. I did the BC myself about four years ago and kept my hair in braids extensions and barely took care of it because I just gave up basically. Recently it hit me that all my life I mostly had braids…not counting the times I put the crack creme in it to attempt tame this 4b hair and it fell out which motivated me to do the BC..I’ve never let my hair out without chemicals. So now I’m actually teaching myself about hair..its hair care, hair products and what to avoid. I recently stumbled upon something at my local hair care store. It was called Hollywood Beauty Olive Oil Creme and it seemed to have all the essential things I’ve read that my hair needed but then I saw mineral oil on the bottom of the now I’m wondering, should I avoid it altogether? I researched it and it recieve rave reviews on various sites.. I am so confused lol

  12. Henrietta. E says:

    Okay. I recently went Natural. Been Natural for 3 months now. I use this oil product called Amla oil. I saw great reviews about it in a natural hair forum i recently joined. When i read the ingredient, i read it has mineral oils in it. Should i avoid it or should i not? I’m confused. It did wonders to grow my edges back but after that, i haven’t seen much improvement while using the product.

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Henrietta,
      It bugs the heck out of me that companies put mineral oils in their products. They do that because it’s cheap. There are so many other oils that companies could use to make a better product but no they choose mineral oil instead. I personally wouldn’t buy it, especially if it’s listed near the top of the ingredients list. That means that’s the most prevalent ingredient in the product. You can always try it to see what you think, but I’ve personally used enough products that have had mineral oil in them to not ever want to put another one in my hair ever again.

      Good luck!

  13. Itsaprocess says:

    Hi, Nappy Me!
    Overwhelmed by the volume of great knowledge and advise here on you site. Love it. I have been natural since I was 13, 36 now, been through some mad hair changes and learning more each day, your site has helped me to realise that I been working against myself with this grease application!!! Been two weeks since I applied any grease and my hair is happy. Currently learning as much as I can about these cheap products, trying to make my own, and I would like to salute you for providing a well thought out, coherent, informative and TRUE site to suffering sistas world wide! I will come back often!

    Peace, Love and Nappiness,


  14. liselle says:

    Coco butter works the best as a moisturizer

    • nappyme says:

      Coco butter is, well, um butter. You know like a solid oil. So it’s NOT a moisturizer. Coco butter, like any oil-based product can be used to seal and lubricate. It can also soften the hair by acting as an emolient. But if you don’t have adequate moisture content in your hair to begin with, by using coco butter, you’ll just end up with DRY, GREASY, OILY hair.

  15. Akeyla says:

    Okay,Petroleum,Isn’t good for your hair at all.The truth is that it clogs your scalp and keeps your natural hair from growing.You will just end up with dandruff buildup and dirt and grease.It also clogs sweat.I prefer you use naturals oils.
    -Hope this help,If you don’t agree with me or have any questions feel free to ask.

  16. louise says:

    im very confused about all of this, i recently stopped using hair greases, and i have curly hair thats tends to get dry, i havent find a daily moisturizer yet because everyone makes it seem like everything is dangerous that you put in your hair, and its so important to find a moisturizer for me but i dont know where to look for one! what products SHOULD i use on my hair, nowadays im using beautiful ends daily leave in by herbal essences but it doesnt really do much for my hair and i need a stronger product.


    very confused girl;(

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Louise,
      Sorry you’re so confused. There’s no product out there that you put on your hair that’s going to kill you. Problem is there’s no one size fits all. You’re going to have to come out of your confort zone and start experimenting to figure out what your hair likes and does not like. If you’re looking for moisture, then start by reading the labels and looking for products that have WATER listed at the top of the ingredients list. The closer to the top of the list an ingredient is the more prevalent it is in the product. The best thing to remember is that WATER moisturizes and OILS/GREASES/BUTTERS etc. act as lubricants and sealants to hold the moisture in.

      I’m hard pressed to recommend a product just because I don’t know what your hair will respond to. In addition, what you use on your hair and what you decide works will also depend on your styling goals are. So I say take a look around my site some more to get an idea of what your goals are. Some additional sites that may be able to steer you in the right direction includes and

      In the meantime, good luck!

      • louise says:

        Thanks ;);)

      • nappyme says:

        Hi Louise,
        Cons are ONLY bad if they do bad things to your hair. Personally, I never noticed that back when I used to use conditioner. I ONLY stopped using conditioner because I never thought they did THAT much for my hair whether they had cons or not. So now I just shampoo and reach straight for my moisturizer.

  17. garynn bonds says:

    i absolutely agree with this post(and you). petroleum, mineral oil based products do nothing but coat the hair shaft, making it impossible for your hair to receive the correct moisture it needs. another product to stay away from is OIL SHEEN; im actually gonna do a review on that on my website. and ive been on a natural hair care journey for a year now, and LET ME TELL YOU!!! im loving it! i wear hair extensions alot just to be able to style my hair like i want it, avoiding heat as much as possible and sew ins have really helped my hair growth. i really like mizani, and argan oil hair products.
    i know its lots of ladies out there going thru the big chop, or even just struggling with their natural hair. the right products, moisture, and care will do it. i think sew ins/ hair extensions are actually a good protective hair style.

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