Japanese grandma´s wisdom – Tsubaki oil is good for the hair –

October 16, 2015 Juju Kurihara Beauty, Culture, History Tags: , , , , 3 Comments

Old people know many things from their experiences. Japanese grandparents are of course included and especially grandmas when it comes to keep you healthy. Umeboshi is one of them. (http://www.iromegane.com/japan/medicinal-food-umeboshi/) Japanese grandma´s wisdom is sometimes much more effective than any other chemical products. 
Tsubaki oil is another natural remedy. I can´t think of any other products that reminds me grannies. This is a typical and the only (I may be exaggerated) hair product any Japanese grandmas will recommend you for your hair. 
Tsubaki is camellia in English and flower look like this. This flower is often used for Japanese traditional design and is also one of the popular patterns for irezumi. 
The one used for the oil is Yabu-tsubaki (ヤブツバキ/ camellia japonica), which indigenous to Japan and it grows all over Japan except Hokkaido. I actually didn´t know camellia seeds are so big. Tsubaki oil is made by pressing the seeds. The oil is rich in oleic acid which doesn´t evaporate or get dry. This means it doesn´t get oxidize. 
In the ancient period when there was no Nivea, it was tsubaki oil that protect women´s beauty from the tough life in volcanic areas. She is Oshina Obaachan (オシナおばあちゃん/ grandma Oshina) who has been promoting tsubaki oil as a part of life improvement in Sakurajima (桜島) in Kagoshima. She is 85 years old and look how her skin shines! This is the camellia oil effect.  
Izushoto (伊豆諸島http://www.divejapan.com/map_Izu_3.htm), Sakurajima are the main producers of camellia and even now, locals are picking the camellia seeds by hands and extract the oil at the local factories. So you know how carefully the oil is made. 
Tsubaki oil has been used for the hair care very long time in Japan. It´s even mentioned in a document written around in the 8th century. The oil is applied with a comb made by box wood. It is said that the material of this wood sits well with the camellia oil. 
Until Edo period (江戸時代, 1603-1867), women commonly let the hair down and since they didn´t cut it all their life, some women´s hair grew to 7m long. It looks very silky and well groomed but you can imagine how difficult to maintain such hair when there was no hair dressers available. 
Back then, one of the requirement to be a beautiful woman was to have a super long black straight hair. Of course they didn´t have a hair iron or a hair spray. What they had was a comb. Surprisingly the ancient women didn´t wash the hair so often but once a year! (Could be some more, let´s hope) To wash such a long hair was an one day event. Probably tsubaki oil was also used to hide the small of the dirty hair. 
My major worry is applying the oil on to the hair and get greasy and sticky. The most common way to do is, drop some oil in the small tub filled with warm water and apply it your hair after the shampoo. In a way, you use it as a conditioner. But this seems to give oily feeling to your hair. So for the tsubaki oil beginner, better way is head skin massage. Apply some oil on your hands and give it a good massage to your dry head skin then wash as usual. If you have very dry hair, you can also do this before using the hair dryer. And look, this is the result. (Not my hair)
Camellia oil is good for other things and you can use it for cooking too. It´s actually a magic oil. 
– Dry skin
– Sensitive skin
– Insect bites
– Burning
– Bruises
– After shave for men
– Antioxidant for blades






There are many good aroma oils or organic beauty products but maybe it´s good to go back to basic and try out tsubaki oil. 
References : 
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  1. Thanks For The Tips Honestly I Have Tried Many Hair Care Products None Were Effective I Look Forward To Try Camellia oil.

  2. Thomas Francisco 7 years Reply

    Could this oil be found in Asian markets?
    Like Korean/ Chinese stores?

    I don’t have many Japanese stores in my State, I live in Virginia, USA.

    Very nice article, I have terribly dry scalp and cut myself while shaving!!

    • juju.kurihara 7 years

      Hi Thomas,

      Thank you for your comment. 

      I can see online “Chinese” camellia oil. This is one of them : http://www.camdengrey.com/essential-oils/camellia_seed_oil.html

      It seems like it´s possible that some Asian shops have or at least you can ask them for an information.

      Also you can also check Amazon : http://www.camdengrey.com/essential-oils/camellia_seed_oil.html

      Probably you can find different brands and different prices.

      Let me know the result when you try it.


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