Beginner’s Guide to Oil for Hair
Remember the old days before YouTube and natural hair was a thing? When, after spending hours taking out the braids for school, you would watch as your hairdresser dried your hair until it was crisp then fill her palm with some petroleum-based grease or oil? And that was for one section of your hair! Thankfully, those days are rapidly becoming a faint memory.
While the method may be outdated, the concept behind oiling hair is one that has existed for centuries. Women have used oils as a protective barrier against the weather and to prevent lice and other bugs from taking root on one’s scalp. The use of oils, pomades and waxes has been found to be an effective method of prevention and remedy for the treatment of lice as it suffocates lice very quickly. Based on that one benefit, oil should remain an important step in your hair care routine.
Deciding which oils to use is a difficult process but how to use them is even more difficult to figure out. The use of mineral-based products continues but many naturals have moved on to using organic oils such as coconut, olive, rosehip, avocado, and jojoba oil. These organic oils are currently the most widely used oils, recommended by many natural hair gurus. The information on oils for natural hair is easily accessible but there are a few more great reasons on the importance of using oil.
OIL AS A PROTECTIVE BARRIER
As I have already mentioned, oil acts as a protective barrier for your hair shaft. It prevents atmospheric pollutants from penetrating into your hair shaft, thus promoting your hair’s health. In addition, it prevents moisture from leaving your shaft, promoting moisture retention by allowing your strands to be moisturised for days after a wash. Certain oils provide additional benefits such as delivering nutrients that aid in hair growth and nourishment for a healthy scalp. The simple act of massaging your scalp with oil increases blood circulation to the scalp, sending additional oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.
Nevertheless, it is important to use the right oil for your hair type, texture and porosity. Oils prevent pollutants from entering your hair, but they also prevent the addition of moisture and other nutrients once applied to the hair. And while they prevent moisture from leaving your hair, there must be moisture in your hair shaft to maximise the benefits of the oil used.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Start by testing the oils that are easy to find anywhere and lighter on the pocket. Coconut and olive oil are hair staples and should be used in their virgin form. They can be used to fight dandruff and dryness.
- Mixing oils is an option to consider. This can reduce time spent sealing the hair and make the oils stored last longer.
- Try to avoid overloading your scalp with oils, particularly the heavy oils. Instead, allow your natural sebum to do its work.
- Perspective by Pai