It’s never a bad idea to add a good hair oil to your routine. Oils are designed to make locks look (and feel) hydrated, regardless of hair type of texture. They can improve volume, shine, and smooth even the most stubborn of frizz into submission. While there may be plenty of oils on your radar right now, (coconut, jojoba, argan, and tea tree are just a few good ones) we think there’s one that deserves to be at the top of your list.
Hailed as liquid gold, Pracaxi oil is a vitamin-rich hair oil that hydrates, promotes hair growth, and strengthens damaged hair. Traditionally used in Brazil to treat snake and scorpion bites, it’s “a gift from the Amazon” now a go-to oil used in beauty products around the world. It’s excellent moisturizing properties make it a go-to oil for keeping your hair hydrated and healthy. Below, we’re giving you the inside scoop on this miracle oil.
Pracaxi oil basics
Pracaxi (pronounced “pra-ca-shee”) is the Portuguese name for the Pentaclethra macroloba, a canopy tree that grows from Nicaragua down to the Amazon basin of South America. The seeds, which resemble almonds in shape, are housed within large pods. Indigenous populations use the seeds for medicinal purposes, as the oil contains antiseptic properties. They also contain one of the highest concentrations of behenic acid (a fatty acid known for its ability to hydrate and protect hair) and linoleic (omega-3) fatty acids which help lock in moisture. The oil ranges from a light yellow to golden brown in color and has a mild, nutty smell that won’t go unnoticed.
With a reputation for being a miracle conditioner, Pracaxi oil is ideal for people with thick, curly, or coarse hair types. It can be used on its own or in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. The oil is currently found primarily in skincare products, since it helps treat skin spots, depigmentation, scars, and acne, all while keeping skin hydrated and refreshed. Experts say that we’ll soon be seeing more of it in our haircare products due to its wide range of benefits.
What are the benefits of Pracaxi oil?
Pracaxi oil has a ton of awesome benefits, from intense hydration to shine-boosting effects. Here are some of the "mane" benefits:
- Hydrates dry hair: The fatty acids found in this special oil make it super beneficial for those with curly, dry, or very coarse hair types.
- Skin support: The hydrating effects also work wonders for your skin. Pracaxi oil promotes collagen and hydration, supporting the renewal of cells.
- Promotes hair growth: Since Pracaxi oil can be used during a scalp massage, it can generate blood flow to the scalp (which promotes hair growth) and act as a deep moisturizer.
- Strengthens damaged hair: This magical oil hinders hair loss, strengthens hair bulbs, and provides hair follicles with optimal conditions for regrowth. It makes brushing your hair easier and tames even the most unruly of strands.
- Protects hair: Experts say that this oil can protect hair fibers against different kinds of damage, including sun, pollution, and chemicals in other hair products. It also helps protect against keratin and water loss, due to the high fatty acid content.
- Makes hair more manageable and easier to style: If your tresses are difficult to style and care for, Pracaxi oil can help. After using, your hair gains elasticity, softness, and is easier to comb and work with. It’s a great product to use if you want to straighten your hair or wear clip in hair extensions, thanks to its excellent smoothing abilities.
- Fights dandruff: Pracaxi oil can be a lifesaver for overly dry hair and scalp since it contains lignoceric acid. It protects and regenerates skin that requires more care, such as skin found on the scalp (which is prone to dandruff). It just takes a few drops in your shampoo or conditioner to banish flakes and calm your scalp.
- Balances color and tone of skin: Due to its antibacterial properties, this oil is also used to effectively treat skin depigmentation, eczema, and acne scars.
How to use Pracaxi oil for your hair
Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of Pracaxi oil, it’s safe to assume you’ll want to add it to your routine. As with any oil, a little goes a long way. Pracaxi oil should be used sparingly on its own (just a few drops should be enough!) It pairs well with conditioner or leave-in conditioner, although it can be used by itself. If you’re using the pure oil, apply it before bed as a nighttime treatment and rinse out the following morning, or you can also apply a few drops post-shower to ensure smooth and shiny locks. Creating a DIY hair cocktail is popular with many members of the curly community, so you can also consider adding this hair oil into your favorite oil blend or mixing it with your deep conditioner to amp up its moisturizing power.
No matter how you use Pracaxi oil, it’s important to pay attention to the ends of your hair while applying. They are the oldest and therefore typically require the most TLC. Also be gentle when massaging your scalp with the pads of your fingertips. Avoid using your nails, since this can be damaging to the scalp.
Side effects of Pracaxi oil
There are no ingredients known to have a negative interaction with Pracaxi oil. That said, it should only be used in moderate amounts and sensitive people might experience allergic reactions. If you haven’t used it before, you can perform a self-patch test. Simply apply a small amount of the oil to the inside of your wrist, then cover with a bandage and wait 24 hours. If no reaction occurs, you should be good to go ahead and start using Pracaxi oil in your hair care routine with confidence.
The best Pracaxi oil products
If you’re looking to update your regimen with some Pracaxi oil, we can happily recommend a few tried and true hair products. With nourishing ingredients and hydrating formulas, the following products will leave your hair moisturized for days. Check them out:
1. Carol’s Daughter Pracaxi Nectar Wash N’ Leave-In
This lightweight leave-in is a must for waves and coils. The moisture-rich formula brings long-lasting hydration and shine to hair, without weighing it down. Its curl-defining and frizz-fighting properties never cease to amaze.
2. Soultanicals Marula-Muru Moisture Guru
Ideal for coarse hair, one dose of this botanical-rich hair cream keeps hair nourished and moisturized for days at a time. The formula actually penetrates the hair cuticle, leaving your strands feeling pillow-soft. The yummy banana and cocoa fragrance earns plenty of bonus points.
3. The Body Shop Coconut Oil Pre-Shampoo Hair Oil
Made with a blend of hydrating oils, including coconut, soya, and pracaxi, this hair oil boosts shine, promotes softness, and makes strands more manageable. For best results, use as a pre-shampoo hair softener or as an overnight treatment.
4. OGX Pracaxi Oil Deeply Restoring Deep Conditioning Treatment
Composed of deeply nourishing Pracaxi oil and murumuru butter, this conditioner is color-safe, anti-frizz, and leaves hair looking (and feeling) super smooth. It ensures that dry ends get nourishment while roots stay light and bouncy.
5. Carol’s Daughter Pracaxi Nectar Curl Twist Custard
Formulated with Pracaxi oil, acai extract, and shea butter, this twisting custard will help you layer your hair with moisture without leaving behind a sticky residue. It’s also perfect for creating a defined, twist-out style that is soft to the touch and full of shine.
6. Kerastase Elixir Ultime Oleo Complexe
Kerastase Elixir Ultime contains four natural oils: sunflower, argan, camellia, and pracaxi. This powerful blend of oils ensures hair will be protected during your blow-dry sessions, eases styling, and tames unruly strands. It even has antioxidant properties to slow down hair aging. What’s not to love?
7. The Body Shop Rainforest Shine Shampoo
Sulfate-free and all-natural, this shampoo is especially recommended for drier hair types. A little amount is all it takes to work up a nice lather on already wet hair, and afterwards your scalp will feel refreshed and cleaned up. Not to mention your hair will be super soft and manageable.
How to make your own Pracaxi oil treatment
While there are tons of great store-bought Pracaxi products on the market, you can also create your own magical hair potion to moisturize your curls, waves, and coils. It’s super easy to treat your tresses to a homemade Pracaxi oil treatment. Simply mix three parts aloe gel, one part coconut oil, and one part Pracaxi in a bowl. Gently massage the mixture into freshly washed hair, making sure to focus on your ends. Then, cover your hair with a plastic cap, letting the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes. After, rinse out your hair and let it air dry.
Have you tried Pracaxi oil on your hair before? Ever mixed up your own hair oil treatment? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Written by: Mikayla Uber