While some of you might already use coconut oil, rosemary oil or castor oil in your haircare routine, there’s a new ingredient that’s gaining popularity lately. Meet batana oil, a fatty acid that’s known to nourish and repair dry, damaged hair. It’s also purported to help with hair growth and the reversal of grays, but we had to ask a few experts if there was any truth to those claims.
Should We Be Using Batana Oil for Hair Growth?
A panel of cosmetic chemists weigh in.
Meet the Experts
- Reham Essa is a pharmacist, cosmetic chemist and founder of Radixir Skincare. She has more than 12 years of experience in the health, nutrition and wellness space. She has a bachelor’s degree of Pharmaceutical Science and is certified in health coaching for patient care.
- Alec Batis is a former cosmetic chemist and founder of Sweet Chemistry. He has a decade of experience in the fashion and beauty space. He was previously a cosmetic chemist for L’Oréal and a vice president of global marketing for NARS before launching his own skincare brand.
- Ron Robinson is a cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat. He has 15 years of experience in product development and concepts for Revlon, Lancome, Estee Lauder and Avon. He also has a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry.
- David Richard Petrillo is a cosmetic chemist and founder of Perfect Image. He has two decades of experience, specializing in non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels and clarifying treatments. He currently has his own skincare line, which targets concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, breakouts, enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation.
What Is Batana Oil?
Batana oil is derived from the nut of the American Palm tree, which is native to Central America. It was first discovered by the indigenous Miskito tribe (also known as “the people of beautiful hair”) in Honduras, where it was used as a holistic treatment in hair and skincare. “Batana oil is composed of fatty acids and phytosterols, which are excellent emollients that can impart shine and softness to the hair, and its occlusive nature helps to avoid water loss and support skin hydration,” says Batis. “It also has a rich source of vitamin E, a free radical scavenger to help maintain skin elasticity over time.”
What Are the Benefits of Batana Oil?
Once batana oil is applied to the scalp and hair, it releases a host of benefits as listed below.
- It can improve dry hair. This hair oil promises to combat dryness and deeply nourish your locks. Just add a few drops into your styling spray or leave-in conditioner. Or you can apply it on its own, as the final step of your haircare routine.
- It can repair damaged locks. Try a hot oil treatment (or add a few drops into your deep conditioner) so the ingredient penetrates deeply into your hair to strengthen strands. Once you apply the oil, use your fingertips to massage it gently onto the scalp. Then, wrap your hair and put it in a plastic cap for 15 to 30 minutes. Finally, rinse and continue with the rest of your wash routine.
- It can restore shine. If you’re experiencing any dullness, batana oil can help. “The natural emollients can add a lustrous shine to the hair and enhance its overall appearance,” says Petrillo.
- It can reduce frizz and breakage. According to Petrillo, batana oil can help prevent split ends, while taming any frizz, keeping hair smoother and more manageable.
- It can soothe dry skin. “Since it’s rich in vitamins and omega-6 fatty acids, it can work as an emollient to help moisturize the skin and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits,” says Robinson. “And given the antioxidant properties, it may protect the skin from fine lines and wrinkles.”
What Are There Any Downsides to Using Batana Oil?
While batana oil has a ton of benefits, there are also some side effects you should consider.
- It can be heavy for some hair types. According to Essa, those with fine or oily hair should avoid using this as it can “result in clogging the pores and causing hair to fall.”
- It can cause breakouts and irritation. “Batana oil has a high oleic fatty acid content, which means it’s thicker and takes longer to penetrate than oils that are higher in linoleic fatty acid. The results can be wonderful for those with dry skin and/or a dry scalp but it can clog pores on those with oily or acne-prone skin,” explains Batis.
- It can cause an allergic reaction. If you’re trying batana oil for the first time, the experts recommend doing a patch test on your inner forearm and watching out for any reactions. As Petrillo explains, “As batana oil is derived from the nut of the palm tree, individuals with nut allergies should avoid using it. Allergic reactions can range from mild to more severe symptoms, so a patch test is crucial before widespread use.”
- It’s not widely available. It’s still a fairly new ingredient in the market (despite its long history). As a result, there aren’t enough credible suppliers out there. Our experts suggest looking closely at who you’re buying these products from before purchasing.
Does Batana Oil Help with Hair Growth?
There’s not enough scientific evidence to prove that batana oil encourages hair growth. “While batana oil is often praised for its moisturizing and nourishing properties, there are limited studies supporting its role in promoting hair growth. Batana oil can contribute to overall hair health, but it may not necessarily lead to hair growth,” explains Petrillo.
Does Batana Oil Reverse Gray Hair?
Similar to the hair growth claims, there aren’t enough clinical studies to suggest that batana oil reverses gray hair. As Batis points out, “There are anecdotal accounts of miraculous reduction of hair loss, while simultaneously slowing the onset of graying hair. However, there is no direct evidence that using batana oil to prevent gray hair works. There are no credible robust clinical studies proving its efficacy [in this application].”
How Often Should You Use Batana Oil?
The experts recommend using it at least once or twice a week depending on your hair type and condition. Use it on its own as a pre-shampoo treatment or mix a few drops into your conditioner and leave it on for at least 15 to 30 minutes to use it as a mask. If you want to use it as an overnight treatment, Batis suggests putting on a bonnet to avoid staining your pillowcases and sheets. He adds, “The worst part about staining your sheets with botanical oils is when they get rancid, it’s extremely hard to wash out.”
Are There Any Alternatives to Batana Oil?
If you’re looking for ingredients to target hair loss, consider minoxidil and biotin, which have both been proven to encourage healthy hair growth. And if you’re trying to prevent graying hair, unfortunately there’s no specific ingredient or product that can slow that process down as of yet. As for other oil alternatives to moisturize your scalp and strands, you can also try coconut oil, peppermint oil, jojoba oil and castor oil.
Our Main Takeaway
Though we can’t promise that batana oil will help with hair growth and the reversal of gray hair, we’re confident that it can at least help moisture and repair damaged strands. So, if you have dry or brittle locks, consider adding the buzzy ingredient into your haircare routine.
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