What is the Best Oil for Your Hair?: Argan Oil vs. Pequi Oil Review

Hair Care, Q&A

spa salon #14

Recently, my mother stopped over my place with Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment.

“You have to try this!”  she gushed.  “Everybody on TV is raving about it!”

“But I’m already using argan oil,” I informed her.  “I can’t use them both at the same time, or my hair will be like an oil slick!”

Well, one woman’s plight is about to become others’ reason for enlightenment, at least when it comes to hair oil, because I just had to know:  What should I be using?  What is the best hair oil?!

Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum

Argan Oil:  Best for Flat or Straight Hair, UV Protection (for Now)

Dubbed ‘the gold of Morocco,’ argan oil contains two essential fatty acids (linoleic and oleic acids) and antioxidant polyphenols. For hundreds of years, argan oil has been to the Moroccans something of a miraculous oil, as it was believed to do everything from prevent miscarriage to treat chicken pox to eliminate wrinkles, according to the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, argan oil has significant UV-protective properties.  While pequi oil has a similar chemical makeup (see below) to argan oil, and therefore is also highly likely to be a significant UV protectant, pequi oil has not been directly proven as a UV-protective agent in any independent published research study as of yet, at least to the best of my knowledge.  So, for the time being, given that my hair is straight, more flat than frizzy and now being exposed to summer sun, I’ll stick with argan oil for my daytime UV protection. :-).

Couture Colour Pequi Oil

Pequi Oil:  Best Before a Date (Incredible Scent!), Best for Curly, Frizzy, or Very Dry/Brittle Hair

Also known as Caryocar brasiliense fruit, pequi is an edible fruit popular in the central-west portions of Brazil.  For centuries, the yellow-orange fruit has been used in popular meals and recipes, such as chicken with rice.  However, after a 2009 study in Genetics and Molecular Research found that pequi oil consumption was a significant enough antioxidant to lessen DNA damage in runners, interest started to in pequi started to pique.

While research on pequi oil is still limited, in addition to being a potent antioxidant, it has been found to be a source of lipid-rich hydrating agents in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture. Pequi oil is actually comprised of numerous other oils, including olive oil chief component oleic (55%), palmitic (34%), heptadecenoic (5%), and linoleic (2%), amongst others, according to the International Journal of Food Properties.  Note that argan oil conversely contains mostly linoleic and oleic acid, a chief difference between the two.

From personal use, pequi oil has the best scent of any of the other oils we have tested.  I describe it jokingly as the scent of a “romantic nut” – it’s sweet and almond-like, with a hint of something deeper and sultry, like amber.  I thought I was nutty (ha) for having this assessment, but research has actually been published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis on the complexity of notes in pequi oil.

Although I cannot find research to substantiate this yet, it seems to me that pequi oil is better for frizzy, dry, or brittle hair than argan oil.  Pequi oil [with mostly oleic acid] feels a bit heavier on the hair than argan oil [with mostly linoleic acid], and this makes sense, given that oleic acid is heavier than linoleic acid (282 g/mol versus 280 g/mol).  Pequi oil is therefore also more likely to flatten the cuticle, making curly or frizzy hair reflect the light somewhat better.  After testing it, although there were no scientific conditions and a very small sample size, we agreed with our hypothesis:  argan oil for straight hair, pequi oil for curly.

Bottom Line:  Both Great Oils for the Hair

The bottom line is that it seems argan oil is best for those with straight, thin, or flat hair, owing to its high lightweight linoleic acid content.  On the other hand, pequi oil seems better for those with curly, frizzy, or very brittle hair, owing to its high concentration of slightly higher-weight oleic acid.

Both oils are likely to impart softness, shine, and UV protection to the hair.  My best recommendations from each group include Josie Maran Argan Oil and Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment.  I’m currently using Josie Maran Argan Oil on my hair during the day and Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment before I go out with my boyfriend (I told you, it smells a-maz-ing!)

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Image source: Adam Borkowski

by Nicki Zevola

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4 thoughts on “What is the Best Oil for Your Hair?: Argan Oil vs. Pequi Oil Review

  1. Moxie says:

    I received a deluxe sample of Pequi Oil with an order from a cosmetics store, and I love it! I have wavy/curly hair. Great review, thank you! xo

  2. Trish says:

    I receive sample boxes from a couple different companies and have received both the argan oil and pequi oil from those boxes. For me, with colored, wavy hair, the pequi oil seems to be the winner. Both oils work well but the Pequi seals the ends better and even though I have a ton of split ends right now it looks like I have none. I can say that for me, the oils work better when I put them in my hair when its wet. When I put them in dry, they add shine, but the softness and end sealing happens with damp hair. Thanks for the comparison! :)

  3. Mary says:

    I’ve tried Argan and Mongongo oil but not Pequi – and I have to admit I really like Mongongo better than Argan. Mongongo does have info on its UV protecting ability and I find it soothes my curls much better than Argan. You may want to try some Mongongo. I’ve found it helps my color hold better during summer sun…..

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