Black seed oil, derived from black cumin seeds, is highly valued for its numerous hair properties. It's even said to accelerate hair growth. Myth or reality? Let's untangle the truth from the fiction.
Does black seed oil truly stimulate hair growth?
- The characteristics of black seed oil
- The life cycle of hair
- Black Seed Oil and Hair Growth: Is there a connection?
The characteristics of black seed oil.
The Nigella, also known as black cumin, is an aromatic plant with beautiful blue flowers that primarily grows in Egypt. Beyond its aesthetic properties, it produces a large quantity of aromatic black seeds each year, which are commonly found in Oriental dishes. The cultivation of Nigella dates back to antiquity. Under the reign of Nefertiti, around 1300 BC, Nigella was considered a universal remedy and was referred to as the "blessed seed".
The black seed also finds its place in cosmetics, in the form of an oil extracted by cold pressing its seeds. This oil notably possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and moisturizing properties, allowing it to provide numerous benefits to both the skin and hair. The hair benefits of the black seed oil come from its composition, particularly the fatty acids it contains.
The life cycle of hair.
Comprised of over 80% keratin, the hair develops in the hair follicle before growing and falling out. Each hair grows independently of its neighbors, as each hair follicle has its own unique cycle. It's worth noting that a hair follicle typically goes through between 25 and 30 cycles in its lifetime. There are three phases in the life of a hair:
The anagen phase : this is the growth phase of the hair. It lasts for two to five years. The synthesis and pigmentation of the hair shaft only occur during this phase. On average, a hair grows one centimeter per month.
The catagen phase: this marks the end of fiber production. The follicle then retracts to the surface of the scalp. Also known as the "involution phase", this resting phase typically lasts for two to three weeks.
The telogen phase: During the telogen phase, the hair no longer grows but remains attached to the hair follicle. After approximately three months, the hair falls out and detaches from the hair follicle, which is already beginning to produce a new hair.
Black Seed Oil and Hair Growth: Is there a connection?
Black seed oil is a vegetable oil rich in benefits for the hair. It notably helps to strengthen the hair fiber and protect it from oxidative stress. Furthermore, black seed oil contributes to the restoration and cohesion of the cuticle, the most superficial layer of the hair fiber. This also promotes its impermeability, thereby protecting the inner layers.
Regarding the supposed ability of black seed oil to stimulate hair growth, there is to date no scientific evidence supporting this claim. This ingredient does not appear to be associated with the induction of the anagen phase nor the delay of the catagen phase, and it does not interact with hair follicles. However, it is true that the hydrating and strengthening effects of black seed oil can prevent the occurrence of split ends, and healthy hair less frequently needs to be cut. Therefore, one could possibly consider that, indirectly, black seed oil promotes hair growth, although this remains debatable.
KIM B. & al. Black Cumin ( Nigella sativa L.): A Comprehensive Review on Phytochemistry, Health Benefits, Molecular Pharmacology, and Safety. Nutrients (2021).
AL-FARGA A. & al. A Narrative Review on Various Oil Extraction Methods, Encapsulation Processes, Fatty Acid Profiles, Oxidative Stability, and Medicinal Properties of Black Seed ( Nigella sativa). Foods (2022).