The nigella, commonly known as black cumin, has been used as a comprehensive treatment since ancient Egypt. Its oil has numerous benefits for health, but also for the skin and hair. Let's explore together the hair properties of nigella oil.
Black Seed Oil: What are its benefits for hair?
What is black seed oil?
Nigella is a herbaceous plant cultivated in many countries, including Egypt, Turkey, Syria, India, and Pakistan. It is highly valued for its health benefits. Nigella boasts beautiful blue flowers that annually produce aromatic black seeds used to enhance the flavor of Eastern dishes. By first cold pressing, a clear oil of an amber-orange hue is obtained, emitting a characteristic spicy scent and exhibiting a greasy touch.
Theblack seed oil has a rich composition. It is primarily made up of linoleic acid (≈ 56%), but also contains oleic acid (≈ 24%) and saturated fatty acids (≈ 25%), such as palmitic acid and stearic acid. The black seed oil can be used both topically and for hair application, providing the skin, scalp, and hair with numerous benefits.
Nigella oil strengthens the hair.
Due to its composition rich in unsaturated fatty acids, black seed vegetable oil has a protective effect on hair fibers. Indeed, the oleic acid it contains is naturally present in the hydrolipidic film that coats the hair and acts as a shield to protect the fibers from external aggressions (UV, wind, temperature variations...). Black seed oil also contains palmitic acid, which has a structure similar to the lipids that make up the cuticle of the hair. This active ingredient is thus able to insert itself and play the role of intercellular cement.
By contributing to the restoration and cohesion of the cuticle, palmitic acid and other saturated fatty acids in black seed oil also promote its impermeability and the protection of the inner layers of the hair fiber, such as the cortex. This is rich in keratin fibers, giving hair its flexibility and elasticity. Therefore, black seed vegetable oil is an interesting ingredient for dry or damaged hair.
Nigella oil makes the hair shine.
Applying black seed oil to hair fibers also enhances their aesthetic appeal and shine. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, the saturated fatty acids present in this botanical extract can strengthen the cohesion between the scales of the cuticle. When the structure of the hair fibers is robust and the scales forming their cuticle are properly linked, the hair appears more shiny, as they are better able to reflect light.
The nigella oil soothes scalp itchiness.
Black seed oil is a valuable ally against scalp tingling, due to the presence of thymoquinone in its biochemical composition, its active ingredient. Indeed, this molecule possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have particularly shown that thymoquinone reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukins 6 and 12 (IL-6 and IL-12) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α).
Furthermore, thymoquinone inhibits the signaling pathway related to the nuclear factor NF-κB. However, NF-κB plays a crucial role in the production of interleukins 1 and 2 (IL-1 and IL-2), other pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) in T lymphocytes. IFN-γ is a cytokine produced as part of the innate immune response and is involved in the regulation of various inflammatory mechanisms. Thus, the application of black seed oil on the scalp can alleviate itching.
Nigella oil prevents the occurrence of split ends and white hair.
The thymoquinone found in black seed oil also has antioxidant properties, allowing it to combat free radicals and oxidative stress. Studies have indeed shown that this molecule can increase the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and catalase, which are antioxidant enzymes.
Indeed, free radicals, generated following exposure to UV radiation or pollution, are reactive species that can weaken the hair follicle and promote hair loss and split ends. They are also capable of triggering a cascade of biochemical reactions leading to the degradation of melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color, and thus accelerate their whitening. The black seed oil helps to counter these mechanisms and protect hair fibers from oxidative stress.
SEIBERG M. Age-induced hair greying - the multiple effects of oxidative stress. International journal of cosmetic science (2013).
KIM B. & al. Black Cumin ( Nigella sativa L.): A Comprehensive Review on Phytochemistry, Health Benefits, Molecular Pharmacology, and Safety. Nutrients (2021).