Oils can be very nourishing for your hair. Regular oil application can provide much needed nutrients to the hair follicles, strengthening the hair and reducing further damage. Oils can also add shine to your hair, help improve a flaky scalp, and encourage healthy hair growth. Living in the dry California climate, I use oil in my hair every day to combat the dryness, build volume, and help it shine.
The best way to use hair oils is to treat your scalp, by first rubbing oil into your scalp then working your way down your hair with your hands or a comb. Allow the oil to sit on your scalp and hair for 20-30 minutes, then wash.
If your hair is dry and frizzy like mine, or if you want a little extra shine and conditioning for the day, try applying your oil as follows:
- First, shower and start with wet hair.
- Pour a small amount of oil into your hand then rub your hands together to disperse it.
- Starting from the bottom of your hair, rub or scrunch your oily hands into your hair, stopping when you’re within an inch of your scalp.
- You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your carrier (base) oil. Jasmine, ylang ylang, and neroli are some of my favorite floral scents.
- Leave the oil in for the day as you would do with a leave-in conditioner.
The following list will help you choose the right oils for your hair and scalp type.
1. Argan oil comes from the argan tree (Argania spinosa) and is native to Morocco. It is one of the most expensive oils available, but it can be amazing for your hair. It is high in essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and antioxidants. In one study, it was found to reduce damage to Caucasian hair after dying. Use it on dry, frizzy, or damaged hair.
2. Avocado oil is a thick, highly nutritive oil that’s great for thick or dry hair. A few years ago, this was not an easy oil to find, but it has become more popular over the last few years and is now available in the cooking oil section at most health food stores. Avocado oil contains fatty acids, protein, and vitamins A, D, & E to heal damaged hair and prevent further damage and breaking.
3. Castor oil has been used traditionally for stimulating hair growth and reducing dandruff. It is a very thick and sticky oil that most people prefer to dilute before using on their scalp. I like to add it to another carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil, making the castor oil about 25% of the oil blend.
4. Coconut oil is also heavy and great for thick, dry, damaged, or frizzy hair. It’s been found to help reduce protein loss in hair, reducing damage when used before and after washing. Coconut oil is also easy to find at your local grocery store, but for best results, buy unrefined coconut oil. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so when you apply it to your hair, you’ll first need to melt it by putting a small amount in your palms and rubbing them together.
5. Jojoba oil is a lighter oil and can either be combined with heavier oils to create a lighter blend or used alone for people with thin hair. Jojoba oil is not actually a true oil, it’s a wax. This makes it great for adding shine to your hair without weighing it down.
6. Olive oil is a medium weight oil that can be used lightly on thin hair or more heavily on medium to thick or frizzy hair. Olive oil is known for being high in fatty acids and nutrients, making it a wonderful addition to your hair and flaky scalp care routine. When shopping for hair oil, be sure to buy extra virgin olive oil for the best benefits.
7. Shea butter is solid at room temperature and is thus considered a heavy oil. It’s highly moisturizing and full of nutrients like vitamin E and fatty acids. It comes from the shea, or karite, nut in western and central Africa where it has been used traditionally for dry hair and skin, as well as sun damage. It moisturizes dry, damaged, or frizzy hair. To use shea butter as a deep hair treatment, you can melt it over a burner at very low heat or by using a hot water bath, then apply as directed above to the scalp and hair. For daily use, either melt a small amount by placing it in your palms and rubbing them together, or melt it into another carrier oil, like jojoba, over very low heat.