According to some, macadamia oil can calm, smooth, and add shine to hair when topically applied.
Macadamia oil comes from the nuts of macadamia trees. It has a clear, light yellow appearance. Unlike coconut oil, it’s liquid at room temperature.
Macadamia oil is rich in fatty acids and potassium. Its concentration of palmitoleic acid, in particular, makes it a popular ingredient in cosmetic products that are meant to smooth skin and hair.
Macadamia oil is popular in its pure, cold-pressed form as a cooking oil and as a hair-styling product. Macadamia oil is also found in hair masks, skin lotions, and face creams.
Macadamia oil can strengthen hair
Macadamia oil penetrates hair more efficiently than some other oils, like mineral oil. Mineral oil can build up on your scalp. Over time, it can make your hair feel heavier and look duller.
But vegetable and fruit oils (for example, coconut oilTrusted Source) have been found to penetrate the hair follicles more effectively. Macadamia oil shares this property.
When macadamia oil binds to the hair shaft and infuses it with fatty acids, your hair follicles may be left stronger and healthier. Macadamia oil also contains antioxidants, which help hair to recover from environmental exposure to things like pollutants in the air.
Macadamia oil can smooth hair
The emollient qualities of macadamia oil can help smooth hair, giving it a shinier appearance. Anecdotally, hair that’s treated daily with macadamia oil may hold its sheen and become glossier over time.
Macadamia oil can make curly hair more manageable
Macadamia oil is especially popular for curly hair. Curly hair types can be especially vulnerable to damage from the environment. Curly hair that’s dried out and damaged is very hard to style and can break easily.
But macadamia oil helps restore moisture to the hair shaft, locks it in, and adds natural protein to the hair. Curly hair that’s properly moisturized is easier to untangle and style.HEALTHLINE RESOURCECOVID-19: How we’re finding hope in the heartache
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Macadamia oil is a safe ingredient for almost everyone to use on their hair.
If you’re allergic to tree nuts, it’s possible that you’ll have an allergic reaction to macadamia oil. However, the oil contains less of the tree nut proteins that trigger a reaction, so there’s also a chance that you won’t react to it.
Otherwise, using macadamia oil for long-term hair treatment shouldn’t cause problems with your hair or scalp.
If you have a history of allergies or are concerned about an allergic reaction to macadamia oil, do a patch test of the oil on your skin before trying a full application. Put a small amount on a dime-sized spot on the inside of your arm. If there’s no reaction in 24 hours, it should be safe to use.
If you do develop allergy symptoms, discontinue use.
You can use macadamia oil on your hair using several methods. You might want to start by trying pure macadamia oil on your hair to add shine after blow-drying or straightening it.
It’s not a good idea to apply macadamia oil to your hair before heat styling because the oil may damage your hair if it’s heated above a certain temperature.
Take a dime-sized dollop of virgin, cold-pressed macadamia oil. Rub it between your palms and then smooth it throughout your hair. Pay careful attention to getting the oil to the ends of your hair to help repair split ends and damage.
Pure macadamia oil can be purchased in a small amount specifically for this purpose. Shop for these products here.
You can also purchase or make your own deep-conditioning hair mask using macadamia oil.
Mix macadamia oil with a fresh avocado and let it sit on your hair for 15 minutes. Then rinse your hair well. This may thoroughly moisturize your hair while restoring essential proteins.
Macadamia nut oil should make hair look shinier and stronger within one application. If you continue use, the consistency of your hair may change to be healthier and easier to maintain.
For curly hair and natural hair types, macadamia oil may be an especially valuable tool to combat frizz and flyaways. But we don’t have solid clinical evidence to understand the mechanism that makes macadamia oil work.
Macadamia oil contains high concentrations of palmitoleic acid. This makes it unique in comparison to the other tree nut and plant oils, many of which are richer in linoleic acid.
Macadamia oil is much more expensive to purchase and use than coconut oil, avocado oil, and Moroccan oil. While it promises similar results, we have less research to tell us how macadamia oil influences hair strength and health.
Compared to other popular hair oil treatments, macadamia oil is one of the lesser studied plant oils. It would appear, though, that macadamia oil is one of the more efficient treatments for curly or natural types of hair.
Macadamia oil is rich in fatty acids that bind to hair and make it stronger and easier to manage. For certain hair types, macadamia oil may very well be a “miracle ingredient” that hydrates hair without making it appear heavy.
But the evidence we have about macadamia oil and how well it works is almost completely anecdotal. We need more information to understand how macadamia oil works and who it works for.
If you’d like to try topical macadamia oil, there is very little risk of an allergic reaction, even if you have a tree nut allergy.
But discontinue use of any product if you experience hives, a fever, raised skin bumps, or clogged pores after treatment.
Last medically reviewed on May 4, 2018
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Kathryn Watson — Updated on