Oils are a great addition to any natural/relaxed/transitioning hair care regimen adding benefits such additional moisture, less breakage, easier detangling, minimizing frizz, thickening hair, reducing hair fall, promoting growth, and improving scalp health. Sounds awesome right? Totally!
Right, but wait just a second. Before you high tail it into your kitchen and begin slathering oils onto your hair in the name of hair health, remember there are many amazing perfectly formulated oils widely available on the market that combine a lot of amazing ingredients. BUT, if the DIY bug bites you and you want to venture outside the aisles, let me give you some basic inormation on oils along with some great ways to purposely and productively incorporate some amazing oils into your hair regimen.
So, there are two categories of Oils that can be used in hair and skin care. These are Essential oils and Carrier oils, which are also known as Fixed oils.
Carrier/Fixed Oil is a vegetable/plant oil usually derived from the seeds, nuts or kernels of a plant. Carrier oils are pressed from the fatty parts of the plant. They do not evaporate quickly and do not have too strong of an aroma.
Essential Oil is distilled from the leaves, bark, roots and other parts of a plant. Essential oils are very concentrated and are volatile. Rarely should essential oils be used neat or on their own. Essential oils should always be diluted in a Carrier oil and then applied.
OILS DO NOT MOISTURIZE your hair in the same way that water will. An oil that has lipid moleculesthat are small enough to penetrate the cuticule layer will nourish. This penetration of oils will feed your hair strands from the inside out.
Let's change the name of Moisturizing oils to Penetrating Oils, because this is how things get confusing. If you're new to using oils for haircare or to new to the world of natural hair, you're going to think "hey, my hair is dry, let me use this oil that is supposed to moisturize my hair" No girl, dont do it. All you will end up with is a Soul-Glo stain left behind wherever you go.
Say it with me: oils can penetrate, oils can nourish, or oils can seal. Oils can't moisturize or hydrate my hair like water, water based or other liquid products.
Now, that that is settled, let's keeping moving along. Carrier oils can be further broken down into two different types.
They are either Penetrating(formerly known as Moisturizing) or Sealing(Barrier Forming).
Sealing Oils are heavier(scientifically speaking, they will have a longer chain) and will coat your hair strand with a protective layer and lock in any moisture.
Penetrating oils are best used to oil(or grease, just as long as you aren't using a petreloeum based product!) your scalp, added to a water/water-based leave-in conditioner, as a pre-rinse or in combination with a hair steamer, using as an oil rinse.
With any hair product, it’s all about application and the same for goes for the application of oils. Level your oil game by applying oils and using them where they work best!
Sealing oils are best applied after leave-in conditioner and other styling products have been applied. Sealing oils will sit on top of the hair strand adding sheen and luster to your hair strands. The heavier the oil is (determined by the scientific make-up of the oil) the less it will penetrate and more of the oil will remain on the outside of the hair strand. The heavier oils have a barrier ability to coat the strands while locking in moisture. There are also oils that contain both Sealing and Moisturizing properties. These oils can penetrate but at a lower rate with the remaining oil left to nourish your strands.
In its unrefined extra virgin state Coconut oil is actually both a moisturizer and a sealant. Coconut oil is capable of penetrating the shaft due to its molecular structure in limited amounts. This results in the remaining oil staying on the outside of the hair shaft and acting as a sealant.
Is a nice lightweight oil for hair types that can be easily weighed down by oils. Sunflower oil is also rich in vitamins A, B, C and E and iron, potassium and calcium. The presence of these essential nutrients, antioxidants and fatty acids in sunflower oil make it highly beneficial for hair health.
also known as Tea Seed Oil is similar to Olive Oil and is a great oil to use in a Hot Oil Treatment. Camellia Seed Oil it helps to condition the hair shaft, stimulate scalp circulation, and promote healthy hair growth by preventing breakage and split ends.
Has a molecular structure that is very similar to Coconut Oil but it is more lightweight and leaves a less greasier feeling than Coconut Oil. Babassu can also be a better choice for kinkier/drier high types of those with different porosity in their hair.
Think of penetrating oils as oils that will "poke" through the layers of your hair strand to nourish your hair on the inside.
has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and is high in Vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and Omega 6 and 9 beneficial fatty acids. Its unusually high ricinoleic acid ratio makes it beneficial to skin and hair and can be used on the scalp to help prevent and remedy hair loss, increase circulation and improve hair growth.
Protects against moisture loss due to the high amount of linoleic acid that can combat against dryness.It’s optimal for dry scalps! Grapeseed Oil is also fairly light like Jojoba Oil but is more bank account friendly than Jojoba Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s also odorless which makes it a great oil to use without needing fragrances.
Most closely resembles the natural hair sebum our body produces naturally. It is a fairly light oil that is most effective in sealing in moisture. It’s also great to add to shampoo or as a pre-poo because it can seep deep into the follicles and dissolve sebum build-up, clearing blockage and promoting growth.
Rice Bran Oil
is a good source of antioxidants, omega-3 and 6, and vitamin E. These properties are essential for restoring damaged hair, especially brittle hair. Rice bran oil also contains ferulic acid and esters, which when massaged into the scalp improves hair growth. Rice Bran Oil can also normalize oily scalps, help prevent split ends if applied regularly, and fight dandruff with massaged into the scalp.
is also a rich source of Vitamin E which is an antioxidant and moisturizer. Safflower has been used for problems like baldness and hair loss. This versatile oil has very high amount of oleic acid which is light and has the ability to penetrate into the skin easily. It’s great for protecting hair and stimulating blood circulation. Safflower is also great for chemically treated hair.
Penetrating and Sealing
There are some oils that have a chemical makeup that allows for partial penetration of an oil, with the remainder staying on the outside of the cuticle layer for sealing abilities.
great for moisturizing when used in your deep conditioner as it increases shine and manageability of your strands. Olive Oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties that promote scalp health and prevent dandruff.
has large amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients that are able to penetrate through the shaft of the hair. This oil also helps to increase growth stimulation if used on a regular basis. Avocado Oil is also great for deep conditioning, strengthening hair, and adding shine.
Sunflower Oil-Is a nice lightweight oil for hair types that can be easily weighed down by oils. Sunflower oil is also rich in vitamins A, B, C and E and iron, potassium and calcium. The presence of these essential nutrients, antioxidants and fatty acids in sunflower oil make it highly beneficial for hair health.
The above list is by no means all-inclusive. There are a vast amount of oils that have countless benefits for all types of hair. We’d be here all day if I listed every single oil and its benefits. I've just listed some notable oils that are key and easily accessible to add to your stash, whether you’re natural or relaxed! Make sure you are not allergic to the ingredients of any natural beauty product before using homemade treatments.
Ways to Add Oils Into Your Hair Care Regimen
Moisturizing Layering Method (some choose to apply Cream before Oil or vice-versa). Make sure you are using this method in a mindful way. Don't overapply, dump handfuls of oil or cream or lotion on your hair. What doesn't penetrate in will be wasted. Usually a dime-sized to a quarter-sized amount is *really* all you need.
L-Liquid Water or water based leave-in.
O- Oil Using a Penetrating Oil to seal in Liquid.
C-Cream Using a cream based moisturizer to lock in the Liquid and Oil.
Pre-shampoo rinse most effective with one of the penetrating oils. Apply in sections, even take this time to detangle. Let the pre-poo work for about 10-15. Then shampoo as normal.
Oil rinses are done after you shampoo but before conditioning. Oil rinses your your hair feeling soft and moisturized, minimizes tangles, adds shine and helps eliminate frizz.
The ends of your hair are the oldest and need the most love. Handle with care! Apply a heavier sealing oil like Castor for some extra tlc.
Hot Oil Treatments:
A great way to give your strands some extra moisture and help combat breakage. You can choose a combination of your favorite fixed oils, add a couple of drops of essential oils and warm them up. (Please don’t microwave!) You can apply before you shampoo(like a pre-poo), before you steam your hair or add to your favorite deep conditioner.
“Greasing your scalp” is a great old school intention but works best when applied with the right intentions, the right tools and products. Jojoba oil is great becuase it mimics the hair's natural sebum. Babassu oil is great because it's a penetrating oil and coconut oil is optimal because it will peneterate and seal. Using a Sealing Oil on your scalp has the potential to clog your pores and stunt growth since those types of oils don’t penetrate the hair strands. Adding a few drops of an essential oil for an increased boost for your scalp care or just massage the oil with your fingertips or a scalp massager to stimulate blood flow for hair growth.
How do you use oils in your hair care regimen?
Do you store bought oil products or are you a bit of a DIYer?
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