Vitamin E oil is a master multitasker for your hair that can add some instant moisture and shine to your hair, while helping to protect your scalp from environmental damage. This is because of the antioxidant properties in Vitamin E oils and depending on the oil, their ability to penetrate into your hair shafts. But oil isn’t the only way to get this ”e”ssential nutrient.
If hair oils aren’t your thing, or you don’t want to overuse them, a few lifestyle changes can help you get enough Vitamin E by taking a supplement or modifying your diet. Foods that are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner like spinach, mango, and tomatoes are all Vitamin E rich and can work to supplement a deficiency.
But too much of this good thing can lead to some “hairy” results. So, let's venture into the world of Vitamin E oils, supplements, and foods to detangle the facts and let the truth (and your hair) shine.
How Vitamin E Oil benefits for your hair
Vitamin E oil is like your hair’s personal bodyguard because unlike a supplement that goes through your digestive track, Vitamin E oils are applied directly to your hair shaft and acts as a mighty antioxidant. This vitamin in particular battles against environmental damage from pollution and UV radiation helping to reduce their harmful effects. But not all of them are equal.
Vitamin E oils that use coconut or argan oil as the base have the lowest molecular weights which helps them to penetrate into the hair shaft’s cortex keeping it moist and helping prevent excessive swelling from humidity or hot showers. If the molecular weight is too large then it won’t be able to get into the shaft and will instead cause buildup around your cuticle. The weights to consider are for the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle layer which allows for the largest molecules. But that is for a different post. As far as vitamin E oils are concerned, coconut and argan are your best choices as they tend to meet the needs of each element.
Also, according to this guide from Oregon State, Vitamin E oil compliments your body’s natural sebum to help prevent dryness, keeping your hair naturally shiny, smooth, and frizz-free!
The side effects of too much Vitamin E
While Vitamin E is essential for healthy hair, overdoing it can lead to some unfortunate “fallout.” According to the NIH, too much of this nutrient can cause symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fatigue. In more severe cases, it could lead to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and even death. This is why some people with sensitive stomachs or careful nutrition plans may choose vitamin E hair oils over changing their diets.
How much Vitamin E an adult needs each day and how to know if you have a deficiency
The recommended daily intake (according to the NIH) for adults is 15 mg or 22.4 IU. But beware of Vitamin E deficiency. It's rare, but symptoms include things like muscle weakness, nerve pain, deteriorating vision, balance and coordination issues, and numbness or tingling in your arms and legs. If you experience any of these, definitely check with your doctor and they can run a blood test to check your Vitamin E serum levels.
Now that you know about how vitamin E oils work and why they work, it’s time to dive into using them. There will be instructions on the package that you buy, but a good rule of thumb for healthy hair is 1-2 times per week. This frequency gives you the shine and antioxidant benefits without oversaturating your hair with the oil.
Oversaturation can lead to buildup causing your hair to look greasy and make your scalp itchy. With that said, if you wash more frequently than recommended or you have regularly dry hair, try using it a bit more as you may be washing it out before it can do its job, and you’ll have eliminated the excess build up while cleaning. And some shampoos will have vitamin E as an ingredient so you may be able to skip the oils.
Pro-tip: If you use clarifying shampoos, the sulfates (sulfate shampoos are not bad for your hair) may remove the vitamin E oils also reducing their effectiveness for you. If this is the case, apply the Vitamin E oil 15 minutes before washing, or apply the vitamin E oil after you clean your hair. By applying the oil before you give the coconut or argan oil time to penetrate the shafts and begin taking effect.
And speaking of cleaning your scalp, Vitamin E oils can be good for your scalp and help prevent hair loss too.
According to the International Journal Trichology, Vitamin E's antioxidant properties can reduce oxidative stress in the scalp, which is often linked to hair loss. Its antioxidant properties come to the rescue, promoting a healthy environment for hair growth by improving blood circulation and ensuring optimal nutrient distribution to the scalp. Vitamin E also soothes and heals the scalp, reducing inflammation, and creating a nurturing space for your hair to flourish. Healthy follicles and shafts mean fewer split ends and hair that's more resistant to damage.
Maybe oils and supplements aren’t for you. No sweat, there are lots of foods that can be combined into your breakfast, a shake after the gym, lunch, or dinner. And many taste amazing.
Top 10 foods that Contain Vitamin E
You can get a healthy dose of Vitamin E for your hair with several delicious foods and snacks. Enjoy some sunflower seeds on a salad, indulge in some hazelnuts when the weather gets chilly, or splurge for some avocado toast at brunch. Avocado is a hair superfood.
Just be patient because it takes at least seven days before the vitamin E starts to show up in your body’s sebum.
- Wheat Germ Oil (1 tablespoon provides 20.3 mg)
- Sunflower Seeds (1 ounce provides 7.4 mg)
- Almonds (1 ounce provides 7.3 mg)
- Hazelnuts (1 ounce provides 4.3 mg)
- Spinach (1/2 cup cooked provides 1.9 mg)
- Broccoli (1/2 cup cooked provides 1.2 mg)
- Kiwi (1 medium provides 1.1 mg)
- Mango (1/2 cup sliced provides 0.7 mg)
- Tomato (1 medium provides 0.7 mg)
- Avocado (1/2 provides 2.1 mg)
Adding Vitamin E into your daily hair care routine can give your hair a healthier, shinier look. But remember, balance is the key. Too much of a good thing can end up causing more harm than good. If you found this guide to Vitamin E oils and your hair helpful, subscribe to the TELETIMES blog below.