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Nothing transforms dry, dull strands like a good hair oil. And these days, they're not difficult to come across. There are tons of options—coconut, argan, jojoba, and castor just to name a few. But, now we've got one more gem to add to the list.
Enter: Pracaxi oil, a vitamin-rich hair oil that's pretty much liquid gold (it hydrates, promotes growth, and strengthens damaged hair). Below, we consulted with two hair experts, Glamsquad's Artistic Director Giovanni Vaccaro, along with founder of Phenix Salon Suites, Gina Rivera, to get the low-down on pracaxi oil.
TYPE OF INGREDIENT: Oil, hydrator, protector, emollient
MAIN BENEFITS: Hydrates dry hair, promotes hair growth, strengthens damaged hair
WHO SHOULD USE IT: Anyone looking for hydrating benefits, especially those with thick, coarse hair and dry scalp
HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT: On its own, pracaxi oil should be used sparingly, as a little goes a long way.
WORKS WELL WITH: It pairs well with conditioner or leave-in conditioner, although it can be used on its own
DON’T USE WITH: There are no specific ingredients known to have a negative interaction with pracaxi oil
What is Pracaxi Oil?
Pracaxi oil is derived from the pentaclethra macroloba tree native to the northern Neotropics. Because it contains one of the highest concentrations of behenic acid (a fatty acid responsible for hydrating and protecting when used in skin and haircare), it's often used in cosmetic products around the world. Commonly referred to as a "conditioning miracle," pracaxi is ideal for those with thick, coarse, coily hair, and can be used on its own (in natural oil form) as well as in shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins, and styling products. And while pracaxi oil is much more prominent in skincare, Vaccaro says that its wide range of benefits means we'll be seeing more of it in our haircare products.
Benefits of Pracaxi Oil for Hair
Both Vaccaro and Rivera agree that pracaxi oil has a slew of benefits, from offering intense hydration to inducing shine.
- Deeply conditions: For the skin, pracaxi oil promotes collagen and hydration, and the same is true for the hair. Vaccaro says that the rich fatty acids found in this oil makes it especially beneficial for those who have curly, dry or very coarse hair, as this texture is naturally dry.
- Protects hair: Vaccaro says that pracaxi oil can protect hair fibers against damage, whether it be from the sun, chemicals in other haircare products, or pollution. Because it is so high in fatty acids, it also protects against losing keratin and water.
- Provides shine and smoothness: Both Rivera and Vaccaro attribute pracaxi oil for promoting smooth, shiny hair. "After using, the hair gains elasticity, softness, and is easier to comb and style," says Vaccaro. Rivera agrees, noting how "this oil has terrific smoothing properties for those looking to straighten hair."
- Treats dandruff: "Pracaxi oil can be a rescue to overly dry hair and scalp due to the presence of lignoceric acid," says Vaccaro. "It helps to protect and regenerate skin that requires greater care, such as the skin found on the scalp (which is prone to dryness and dandruff)."
- Promotes hair growth: According to Rivera, because pracaxi oil can be used during a scalp massage, it not only generates blood flow to the scalp (which promotes hair growth), but it serves as a deep moisturizer as well.
Side Effects of Pracaxi Oil
Both Rivera and Vaccaro agree that a little bit of hair oil goes a long way. "As with any oil, you always want to make sure you don’t apply it so heavily that you clog the hair follicles," explains Rivera. "Moderation is key with everything when it comes to your hair and taking good care of it." Vaccaro adds that because oil can impart greasiness, it's best to layer it on before applying too much.
How to Use It
If you're using just pure pracaxi oil, you can apply it before bed as an overnight treatment and rinse out the following morning. Or, you can apply a few drops post-shower, pre-blowout to ensure a smooth, shiny result. Rivera recommends mixing the oil in with your conditioner to amp up its moisturizing formula. "You can also mix a small amount into your spray-on conditioner if your hair needs extra hydration," she says. "Spray a light coat of the mix onto your hair after towel drying and style as usual."
The Best Products With Pracaxi Oil
Both Vaccaro and Rivera have good things to say about OGX's entire Pracaxi Oil line, especially for those with dry or frizzy hair. The shampoo, which highlights a mix of deeply nourishing pracaxi oil and murumuru butter, is color-safe and anti-frizz, leaving strands looking (and feeling) silky smooth.
A must-have for waves and coils, Vaccaro recommends this moisture-rich leave-in for its curl-defining, frizz-controlling properties. Plus, it adds shine without weighing the hair down.
Rivera recommends this botanical-rich hair cream that utilizes the hydrating benefits of murumuru butter, marula oil, and pracaxi oil. Ideal for coarse, afro hair, one douse of this hair cream will keep your hair nourished and moisturized for days.
This blend of hydrating oils (think coconut oil, pracaxi oil, and soya oil) makes hair appear softer, smoother, and more manageable. Vaccaro recommends using it as a pre-shampoo hair softener or as an overnight treatment.