Are Ayurvedic cosmetics better for hair?

Weronika wants to know…Are Ayurvedic cosmetics like Sesa Oil working better?

The Beauty Brains respond:

For those of you not familiar with Ayurvedic medicine, it is an Indian practice based on the principle that a person’s health is the result of the balance (or imbalance) of three elemental substances which are collectively known as the Dosha.  I can’t comment on the validity of this practice from a medical perspective but I can review this Ayurvedic product from a cosmetic science point of view.

What is sesa oil?

I’d never heard of “sesa oil” before and I just assumed it was the oil of the sesa plant. It turns out there is no sesa plant, the oil is actually a blend of a BUNCH of other plant oils:

Eclipta alba (Bhrungraj) 3.00% w/v
Centella asiatica ( Brahmi) 1.00% w/v
Jasminum officinale (Chameli Pan) 1.00% w/v
Abrus precatorius (Chanothi) 0.50% w/v
Datura metel (Dhaturo) 2.00% w/v
Elettaria cardamomum (Elaychi) 0.50% w/v
Indigofera tinctoria (Gali Pan) 1.00% w/v
Citrullus colocynthis (Indravarna) 1.00% w/v
Nardostachys jatamansi (Jatamansi) 0.50% w/v
Pongamia glabra (Karanj Beej) 0.50% w/v
Azadirachta indica (Limbodi) 0.50% w/v
Lawsonia alba (Mahendi Pan) 0.50% w/v
Ferri peroxi dumrubrum (Mandur) 4.00%w/v
Berberis aristata (Rasvanti) 0.50% w/v
Trifala 3.00% w/v
Anacyclus pyrethrum (Akkal Kara) 0.50% w/v
Acorus calamus (Vaj) 0.50% w/v
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Yashti Madhu) 0.50% w/v
Triticum aestivum (Wheat Germ Oil) 1.00% v/v
Citrus medica (Lemon Oil) 1.00% v/v
Nilibhrungandi Oil 8.00% v/v
Sesamum indicum (Til Oil) 25.00%v/v (This might account for the name.)
Sugandhit Dravya 2.00%v/v
Coconut Oil Q.S. to 100% v/v
Colour: Quinazarine Green SS

Sesa oil is composed of approximately 60% coconut oil, 25% sesame oil, and 15% of a mixture of over a dozen different oils and botanical substances.

Is sesa oil good for hair?

Since the product consists primarily of coconut oil it will be very beneficial to hair if allowed to penetrate where it can strengthen from within.  But while I couldn’t find any data on what else this specific blend might do for hair, I did find some interesting tidbits: 

  • One study indicated that creams containing either 2% or 5% Eclipta alba increase hair growth better than 2% Minoxidil.
  • While the leaves of Abrus precatorius are used in tea, the seeds are highly toxic. They have a beautiful lady bug appearance and are used to make jewelry – but apparently people have died while poking themselves with a needle while stringing these seeds.
  • Lawsonia alba is henna extract which is useful for staining hair and skin (although the 0.5% contained in sesa oil won’t impart much color.)
  • Citrullus colocynthis is purportedly a cure for lycanthropy (werewolf-ism) and one study shows that it can increase hair growth on rats. I don’t know why it would remove hair from a werewolf and grow hair on rats, but that’s what Wikipedia says.
  • Technically this product is not allowed in the US because the colorant is not labeled correctly. Quinazarine Green SS is not allowed in cosmetics unless each batch has been analyzed to ensure it complies with safety standards for synthetic organic dyes. If it has been properly certified it should be labeled as D&C Green No. 6.