What Are Ceramides And What Do They Mean For Your Hair

Normal hair cuticle vs damaged

So what are ceramides and do you need them in your regimen?

Ceramides are one of 3 naturally occurring lipids aka fatty material found in the hair’s cuticle. Not to be confused with Sebum which is found on the surface of the cuticle, ceramides’ function in the cuticle is to act as a binder to keep the cuticle layer in place. So why are they important in hair care I hear you ask.

Well as we know the cuticle is the hair strand’s defense layer which is why you hear about cold water or acv rinses to close the cuticles after a wash.

Closed cuticles give your hair that shine/sheen that practically screams ‘healthy hair’ hence closing the door to potential damage that may threaten the vulnerable cortex inside.

The cuticle layer is also the thinnest layer of our hair and can be damaged or removed by just vigorous combing or shampooing (typical)! With the cuticle layer gone, the cortex is exposed and breakage inevitable.

Along come ceramides to save the day; they create a protective barrier around the hair to hold in moisture and protein while also guarding the hair from chemical damage, heat damage and  UV rays as such ‘repairing’ the cuticle layer.

Now we all know the trilogy of healthy hair is moisture, elasticity and strength, ceramides fit quite snugly into the strength category. They are not proteins but studies show that hair which has been treated with ceramide containing conditioners showed an increase in tensile strength which is fabulous news for the protein sensitive among us. Ceramides give all the benefits of protein treatments without any of the downsides!

We now have companies with patented synthetic ceramides in their products, I seem to remember a L’oreal product with ‘Ceramide Cement’ in an advert recently so clearly ceramides are here to stay.

Before you run out of the house to load up on ceramide containing products, you should know that ceramide ‘take up’ that is to say that ceramides that bind to the hair and are not washed off mostly happened in lye processed hair (63%), a bit less in No-lye processed hair (53%) and much less in natural untreated hair (18%).

It is no secret that relaxing strips most of the natural hair oils so ceramides in a relaxed hair regimen would seem vital. I would also imagine that those of us who are natural but straighten our hair regularly would certainly benefit from ceramides too.

As mentioned before, there are both naturally occurring ceramides and synthetic ones. There isn’t much evidence to show any difference better or worse between the natural or the synthetic ones but it may be worth considering that commercial products with ceramides in them have been specially formulated to provide these lipids in ample amounts to ensure maximum up take.

Rather than create my own list, From Short To Long Blog has already provided a handy list with natural and commercial products containing ceramides:


Barley Malt Oil

Eucalyptus Extract

Hemp Seed Oil

Kukui Oil

Sunflower Oil

Walnut Oil

Wheat Germ Oil

Safflower oil

Grapeseed oil

Poppyseed oil

Corn oil

Cottonseed oil

Soybean oil

Hot 6 Oil

About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.

  • I haven’t had a perm I’m 4 months but my hair is straight when I use jam and its so wavy. I love it!

    • I LOVE jam, too! Especially for moisturizing when I do braided or cornrowed styles. You should also try Eco Styler Gel – the olive oil kind. It gives a smooth, non-greasy effect.

  • Does ne 1 no how i can keep my hair moist bcuz its so dry especially after i co wash & dry

  • I use hot 6 oil myself

  • Alicia Miller, first make sure you are using a sulfate-free shampoo – I like Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming shampoo, (sulfates are very drying to our hair), a moisturizing conditioner (never skip the conditioning), and periodically deep condition. It also helps to add a natural oil to your conditioner like coconut, olive oil or jojoba oil (or put the oil on your hair and scalp before you put your conditioner on). Then try using a spray, wet leave-in conditioner/detangler (like Design Essential’s HCO) followed by a cream moisturizer (I like ORS Olive Oil Incredibly Intense Moisturizing Hair Lotion) followed by some type of hair dressing (what we used to call grease) that helps to seal in the moisture. Also, I like to take a little of a good creamy conditioner and put it in a spray bottle, add water and some natural oil and spray it on my hair before I tie it up at night. If you need anymore help, advice or product reccomendations, check out my page at http://www.facebook.com/BackToBeautifulHair

  • Ty Andrea Simpson-Jones this was very helpful & i will b purchasing some produts & follow these steps & does ne 1 no of a good regimen 2 follow i dnt no ne thing bout this like do u follow this regimen day 2 day r wk r mth ive visited YouTube numerous times but no help i would gratefully appreciate it if some 1 can inbox me r post me a regimen 2 follow thanks so much ladies on my transitioning 2 natural sooo ruff 4 me but i no its well worth it

  • How do u ladies use evoo extra vigin olive oil for ur hair,do u just apply r mix it n something


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