Oils make all the difference when properly used in hair regimes. Recently, Lorraine Massey came out with a video detailing the dangers of using oil in your regime. This video has circulated with time and I wanted to take this opportunity to formally and scientifically break down oils, so you have all the information you need to make the right decision for your hair.
The first thing to acknowledge on the subject of oils is all oils are different. The choice of what oil you choose to use during any given part of your washday regime is crucial. Knowledge and this article will be the difference between perfect frizz free curls and a weighed down oily and dehydrated mess.
Let’s start with moisturizing oils. Moisturizing oils are oils that have the ability to penetrate the hair shaft, deep down to the cortex, giving it a unique ability to moisturize and repair the hair from within the strand. Moisturizing oils are best utilized on the scalp, to absorb into the follicles and moisturize the scalp on top and within. Moisturizing oils are activated by water and best used with water or water based leave-in conditioners for maximum impact. Moisturizing oils often remove buildup, dandruff, and other scalp issues (not always, and not a definitive cure for everyone).
Healthy hair requires a healthy Cortex (the largest and thickest component of the hair, provides the hair with all of its strength and elasticity). A healthy cortex ensures that hair strands will have the ability to sustain the stress and tension of stretching and still easily revert back to its original shape without losing it’s form. The best way to keep the cortex healthy is by using the right oils to moisturize the hair from within, healing damage, and leaving nothing but bouncy shiny, frizz-free curls.
Moisturizing oils include:
- Olive oil
- Jojoba oil
- Ucuuba butter
- Shea butter
- Babassu oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Argan oil
- Monoi oil
- Apricot oil
Sealing oils are the exact opposite. These oils contain very bulky lipid chains, meaning the molecules are much bigger and therefore unable to effectively penetrate the hair strand. They often sit right on top forming a barrier to ensure the moisture you just put in your hair will remain for longer periods of time. Sealing oils often seal slightly beyond the outer cuticle layer of the hair, but their main purpose is to seal, coat and lubricate the hair to prevent moisture loss, increase manageability, and decrease the chance of experiencing frizz. Sealing oils are most effective when utilizing protective styles such as braiding and twisting. Apply a few drops of the oil on your hair after you apply your leave-in conditioner or after you wet your hair with water). Sealing oils are often incorporated in the L.O.C Method.
Sealing oils include:
- Olive (Best used for thick and coarse hair, might be too heavy for fine hair)
- Rice bran oil
- Jamaican Black Castor
- Almond oil
Final Tips from Red Carpet Curls:
The best tip I can give about determining which oil to use is to find out what your porosity is. Different oils serve different purposes, but always remember different hair types need different things for example:
- Fine hair will experience better results incorporating light but moisturizing oils like grapeseed and avocado oils.
- Thick coarse hair will experience better results using heavier oils like apricot, almond, castor, or Jamaican black castor oil
- Some oils can serve a dual purpose; (Ex: argan oil both moisturizes and seals the hair. Use a few drops in a deep conditioner with heat to moisturize. Use a few drops after hair is dry to SOTC to seal the moisture in the ends of your hair)
- Mixing both carrier and essential oils during treatments like pre-poo and oil rinses help penetrate the shaft and boost the benefits given from multiple oils, Just make sure they are moisturizing oils not sealing!)
- Coconut oil is best used in small amounts since it’s molecular structure is small enough to penetrate the shaft it will moisturize the hair in small amounts, too much coconut oil will seal the hair and scalp, clogging the follicles and hindering hair growth
- Base oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint oils are the perfect way to dilute essential oils!
- Sealing hair is absolutely essential for high porosity hair or hair that contains multiple textures (for example multiple hair porosities or curl types).
- For low porosity to effectively use oils make sure to use some type of heat like the Q-redew hair steamer or the Thermal Hair Care Hot Head.