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Hair Oil - How To Oil Your Hair Properly

Karen Marie Shelton - Copyright - All Rights Reserved 
Revised Date:  12/31/11

Introduction

Haap Media

One of the key ingredients of beautiful hair is moisture.  It's impossible to have silky, shiny tresses, if they happen to be dehydrated and lacking proper moisture.

People from cultures where long hair is admired and cherished often use a variety of different oils (carrier oils, not cooking oils or salad oils) on their treasured tresses.  The oils are applied in a method widely known as oiling. 

Note:  Carrier oils (CO) are used as a base for essential oils (EOs) to be diluted into.

Although women are often more prone to perform hair oiling, men, especially those with long locks, may also partake of the time honored practice.

While there are basic rules for proper oiling of the hair, it's important that anyone undertaking a hair oiling routine experiment to find the best method for their hair type, texture, condition and overall needs.

When done properly, hair oiling can be time consuming.  Be prepared to dedicate enough time to achieve the best possible results.

Hair oiling can be performed for the following hair treatments:

1.  Pre-treatment oil treatment before cleansing.
2.  Leave-in oil based conditioning treatment after hair has been washed and/or dried.
3.  Deep conditioning treatments in between shampoo sessions as a temporary or overnight treatment.
4.  Treatment for split ends on a regular basis.
5.  Daily oiling for long tresses to protect from ongoing damage
6.  Oiling to add shine, soften or for other hair care options.

Advantages To Oiling Your Tresses

Olive Oil

Oiling is a fabulous way to keep the moisture content high all the way from the roots to the tips, and works best in combination with other healthy hair treatment methods.  

Celebs like Katy Perry and Ashlee Simpson are rumored to oil their tresses.

It's the combination of oil treatments with constant healthy hair maintenance that creates beautiful hair. 

These ongoing healthy hair maintenance include:

  • Careful wet and dry hair detangling.
  • Proper washing. It is important to avoid piling hair on the top of your head which makes it prone to breakage.
  • Ongoing use of highest quality shampoo, conditioning and styling.
  • Highest quality detangling tools such as horn combs with no burrs and seams.
  • Consistent hair oiling
  • Split end prevention and maintenance through trimming and dusting
  • Keep hair properly styled to prevent damage (braids, ponytails, updos)
  • Utilizing smooth surface pillowcase such as a satin pillowcase, even when keeping hair protecting by wearing braiding or bunning.

What You Need To Oil Your Hair

Hair Oil

Oiling your hair requires the following items:

1.  Desired oil or butter (see list of oils and butters below)
2.  Wide tooth comb with very smooth teeth to prevent hair breakage
3.  Regular tooth comb - bone or high quality comb is preferred
4.  Clean rags or old towels to catch oil splatters

If hair is oiled before cleansing you will also need shampoo and appropriate conditioners to remove oils.

Getting Started - Oils To Use

One of the key differences in how hair is oiled is tied to the type of oil that is utilized. 

Types and brands of oils that may work for one person may not work for everyone.  Be prepared to experiment with different oils.

Some oils will initially make your hair feel soft but over time may make the ends or other sections of your hair feel greasy, oily or crunchy.

Some of the most common oils include but are not limited to the alphabetically arranged list below:

  • Africa's Best Ultimate Herbal Oil - Non-greasy oil which can be applied directly to the scalp, for sealing ends or pre-shampoo treatment.  It does not contain mineral oil.  Use to add shine to finished styles. Cowashing removes oil easily.  No build-up Okay for fine hair without looking greasy.
  • Amla Oil - According to reports it slows down shedding and related hair breakage.
  • Aloe Vera Oil - Used to induce cell regeneration, treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and skin ulcers.  Contains vitamin E and C, as well as zinc and polysaccharides which aid in stimulating epidermal growth and cell repair.
  • Apricot Kernel - Lighter than olive oil, but with similar moisturizing properties.  Excellent oil for sealing hair.
  • Argan Oil - Exotic but tends to pricey.  Made from the nuts of the Moroccan argan tree.
  • Avocado Oil - Tends to be moisturizing.  May prove to be better on dry hair than wet. Many find this better on dry hair than wet.
  • Babassu Oil -
  • Baoabab Oil -
  • Beautiful Hair Oil - Made from a 100% organic jojoba base with essential oil designed to add moisture and health to hair.
  • Black Current Seed Oil
  • Borage or Borage Seed Oil
  • Broccoli seed oil - This oil may mimic cones on some types of hair.  Good as a conditioning oil but not as good as a styling oil.  Leaves hair very shiny.  Strong aroma.  Similar to jojoba oil.
  • Carrot oil
  • Camilla Oil
  • Castor Oil - Not recommended for most hair types.  Very heavy and oily.  It is recommended this oil be mixed with other oils to minimize the oiliness.
  • Coconut - Some people swear by this oil while others find it too heavy and/or oily. It's antibacterial properties are well documented.  Results vary in a very wide spectrum.  Some claim it extends and protects hair color.
  • Cranberry Seed Oil - Offers balanced blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids not available in other natural vegetable oils.  Rich in Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) and Vitamin A. May help with eczema, psoriasis and scarring on scalp.  Short shelf life.
  • Emu Oil - Although some find this oil very moisturizing,it's very controversial because of the methods used to harvest the oil from the Emu which must be killed to harvest the oil.
  • Evening Primrose oil (EPO)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) - Very heavy and not universally helpful to all hair types and textures.  This oil may be too heavy for hair that is thin or fine.  It has a very distinctive aroma.
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil - Is often described as light without scent. Not quite as moisturizing as sweet almond oil.  For some it can provide a good balance of moisture.
  • HairTopia Beautiful Hair Oil - Made from a 100% organic jojoba base with essential oil designed to add moisture and health to hair.
  • Hazelnut Oil
  • Hempseed Oil
  • HobaCare Oil - A very high quality oil that is cold expeller pressed exactly once.
  • Jojoba - A popular basic oil, which is generally more expensive than other oils. Works well on both dry and damp hair to condition it.  Also works well when mixed with aloe and glycerin as a leave-in and styling product.  Excellent also as scalp massage oil and for skin moisturizing.  Great on the ends.  Blends exceptionally well with essential oils and fragrances.
  • Lindseed Oil -
  • Macademia Nut Oil
  • Meadowfoam
  • Mineral Oil
  • Monoi Oil - Too light for some hair, may feel drying.  Thought to work best for pre-shampoo treatments.  Leave-in treatments may not be as moisturizing.
  • Monoi Pitati oil - Very strong tropical jasmine scent. just too strong
  • Monoi Sandalwood oil - Too medicinal smelling for me
  • Monoi Tiare - Floral gardenia scent. Rich sultry summer evening scent. A great summer oil.
  • Monoi Vanille- Delicious aroma. The oil blends well with any perfumes that have a vanilla base note.
  • Monoi Ylang ylang oil - Just yucky, also kind of medicinal
  • Moonchilds/Moonchaser's Sweet Success Oil - For some hair types and textures this oil can by quite oily.  Many find this as a great leave-in conditioner.  Works well as a detangler on dry hair.  Also recommended as a scalp massage oil to enhance growth.
  • Moroccan Oil - Popular brand of Moroccan oil based products.
  • Neem oil - Very thick, heavy with strong aroma. Antiseptic properties.  Great for dandruff and itchy scalps. Used to treat acne, psoriasis and eczema. Not recommended for pregnant women.
  • Olive Oil - See Extra Virgin Olive Oil above.  A popular deep treatment involves mixing olive oil, honey and eggs.  Can be heavy in a good way for super curly or wavy hair.
  • Poppy Seed Oil
  • Red Palm Oil - Great for deep moisturizing treatments.  Works especially well with mixed with honey and conditioner.
  • Rose oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Shea oil
  • Strawberryseed oil
  • Sweet almond oil - Care must be taken with this oil to make sure it doesn't become rancid quickly.  Sweet almond oil may appear to penetrate better than olive on some types of hair.  How oils perform seem to be directly linked to the hair's type and texture.
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut
  • Pitta oil (Maharishi Ayurveda)
  • Quinoa Oil
  • Red Turkey Seed Oil
  • Rose oil
  • Tea Seed Oil - Another name for camilla oil.
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Vatika's Herbal Coconut oil
  • Watermelon seed Oil - May mimic cones on some types and textures of hair.
  • Wheat Germ Oil

Camilla and safflower oils are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, similar in concentration to avocado and olive oil.

Olive Oil

It should be noted that Qhemet Biologics Indian Macassar Oil is another oil that is growing in popularity.

Try new oils by buying in the smallest quantity possible and use a glass dropper to apply to hair in small doses.

Many hair consumers find that a variety of oils can be used on wet and/or dry hair.  Some of the better known multi-task oils include virgin coconut oil, monoi de tahiti, shea and carrot seed oil.

Butters Versus Oils

One of the key differences in how hair is oiled is tied to the type of oil utilized.  Some people actually prefer to use hair butters rather than hair oils.

The technical definition for butter is “a lipid which is characterized by a low melting  point usually not higher than 500C”. The term lipid includes all substances which show strong hydrophobia (inability to dissolve in water) obtained from plants or parts of plants through a physical extraction process. These substances show chemical structures based on esters, fatty alcohols, fatty acids and hydrocarbons.

In simpler terms, butters are natural fats which can be solid or semi-solid at ambient temperature and are derived from a wide variety of natural sources – plants, nuts, fruits, etc. They are comprised primarily of saturated fatty acids, in particular, stearic acid and monounsaturated oleic acid.

Some people prefer to use butters instead of oil and butters come in a wide variety of options including but not limited to:

  • Aloe Vera Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Apricot Butter
  • Avocado Butter
  • Capacu butter
  • Cocoa Butter (Natural & Deodorized) - Turns solid at room temperature.  Some find this butter to be too stiff.  The scent is a very personal matter, some love it and others don't.
  • Canola oil - It's lighter than olive oil, minimal aroma and can be applied sparingly to prevent excessive oiliness. 
  • Grapeseed Butter
  • Illipi Butter
  • Jojoba Butter
  • Kokum Butter
  • Macademia Nut Butter
  • Mango Butter
  • Mowrah Butter
  • Murumuru butter
  • Olive Butter
  • Palm Red Butter
  • Pistachio Butter
  • Sal Butter
  • Shea Butter - A heavy butter that may tend to have a drag to it . Tends to work best when mixed with jojoba oils.
  • Soy Butter
  • Sunflower Butter - Tends to be a light oil that might be best utilized as a light leave-in conditioner.
  • Wheat Germ Butter

Coconut

What matters most when you consider adopting an oil strategy for your hair is to consider the type of hair you have (straight, curly, wavy, frizzy), texture (thin/fine, medium, thick) as well as the current condition of your hair (healthy, damaged, combination of both) and the products you use on your strands.

Keep in mind that everyone must make their own choices when it comes to their hair.  Sometimes the bottom line is that you have to experiment to find the very best combination of products, hair tools and procedures for your hair type, texture and condition.

When it comes to oil there is always a fine line between a perfect moisturizing application and too much oil that leaves hair feeling greasy or crunchy. 

Oiling is a fabulous way to keep the moisture content high in strands all the way to the tips, and works best in combination with other details.

Coconut Oil Benefits

Previously published results from the Research and Development Department, Nature Care Division, Marico Industries Ltd., Mumbai, India. showed that both in vitro and in vivo coconut oil (CNO) treatments prevented combing damage of various hair types. Using the same methodology, an attempt was made to study the properties of mineral oil and sunflower oil on hair.

Mineral oil (MO) was selected because it is extensively used in hair oil formulations in India, because it is non-greasy in nature, and because it is cheaper than vegetable oils like coconut and sunflower oils. The study was extended to sunflower oil (SFO) because it is the second most utilized base oil in the hair oil industry on account of its non-freezing property and its lack of odor at ambient temperature.

As the aim was to cover different treatments, and the effect of these treatments on various hair types using the above oils, the number of experiments to be conducted was a very high number and a technique termed as the Taguchi Design of Experimentation was used. The findings clearly indicate the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils.

Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product. Both sunflower and mineral oils do not help at all in reducing the protein loss from hair. This difference in results could arise from the composition of each of these oils. Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.

Mineral oil, being a hydrocarbon, has no affinity for proteins and therefore is not able to penetrate and yield better results. In the case of sunflower oil, although it is a triglyceride of linoleic acid, because of its bulky structure due to the presence of double bonds, it does not penetrate the fiber, consequently resulting in no favorable impact on protein loss.

Continued below ↓
 

Essential Oils (EO) To Add

Essential oils are scented oils such as rosemary, grapefruit, geranium rose and rose and these scented oils must be diluted in jojoba or some other similar carrier oil because if applied to the skin in full strength, a reaction can occur...including a blood stream issue for those who are more sensitive.

Also those who are pregnant or sun sensitive should really read up on essential oil use to be able to protect themselves properly. Not all oils are hair friendly, either. But the ones I named above are OK for hair.

Mixing Your Own Oil & Butter Recipes

There are a vast number of hair oil and butter recipes to achieve a wide range of results.  Some popular recipes include:

  • Organic coconut oil mixed with a 2-4 capsules of opened CoQ10 and a couple drops of Evening Primrose Oil. Can be used on hair and skin.
  • Coconut oil mixed with argan oil and select Essential Oils (EOs) as a deep treatment
  • A cup of coconut oil mixed with 1 or 2 capsules of EPO (evening primrose oil) and CoQ10.
  • A combo of sunflower, extra virgin olive oil and castor oil mixed for a deep hot oil treatment.  For most it makes hair very soft although some have reported increased shedding which can actually be a good thing.
  • Custom hair butter made a base of coconut butter mixed with jojoba oil. This is very moisturizing for naturally curly hair.
  • Mix of Murumuru and capacu butter as the base with add-in coconut oil, baoabab oil and babassu oil.
  • Coconut oil base - Mix 2-4 oz of coconut oil with 1-2 ml. of baoabab and babassu oil.
  • Blend of almond oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, lecithin and vitamin E oil or opened capsules.
  • Mix of equal parts of sunflower and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Works well with deep treatments.
  • Blend of sweet almond oil, shea butter, castor oil, and moonchaser's sweet success oil w/ cayenne.

What To Avoid When Oiling Your Hair

Like everything in life, there are good ways and bad ways to perform any task, including oiling your hair.  Listed below are some steps to avoid when you oil:

1.  After you oil your hair make sure you do not pile your hair on your head which can make it more prone to tangling or breaking both during the oil cycle and the shampoo cycle.
2.  Use the highest quality shampoo and conditioning products for use directly after oiling and long term.
3.  Invest in the highest quality detangling tools.
4.  Combine oiling with other good hair habits including regular dusting (or trims if you are so inclined).
5.  Keep hair detangled and well contained (buns, braids).
6.  Practice good sleeping habits (satin pillowcases, keeping hair braided or bunned at night).

Preventing A Hair Oiling Mess

As a veteran of many years of hair oiling I have made my share of oil spattered messes along the way.  I have learned a few tricks besides transferring a small amount of oil to a separate container rather than working out of the master bottle or jar.

The following tips will help prevent a major mess since oil splatter can be a problem.

1.  Lay down clean old towels around the area where you plan to oil your hair before you start.
2.  Have extra clean rags or old towels available for spills or random oil splatters.
3.  If you oil your hair in the bathtub to contain the mess, consider the fact that if there is no oil in the tub, it may get slippery.  The same is true for using oil in the shower without the water running.  Always exercise caution around oil slicks.
4.  Use a special plastic pillow case covering to make sure that the oil does soak through to your favorite pillows and bedclothes.

Where To Buy Your Oils

If you wish to buy your oils locally you can usually find high quality oils at the local Whole Foods or Central Market.  Smaller herb and health food stores may or may not stock the oils you love but may be willing to special order them for you to guarantee freshness and avoid oils becoming rancid.

Oils can also be purchased from mail order catalogs as well as on the Internet.

If you buy your oils either locally or via mail order or the Internet, check immediately to make sure the oils are fresh and not rancid.  It's important not to use rancid oil on your strands.

Depending on the quality of the oils purchased, many can last for many months if not years.  Therefore it is important when buying oils to test that you only buy small amounts.  Many users find that a 2-3 ounce bottle or jar of oil can last for 4-8 weeks, depending on the length of hair.

Keep in mind that some oils may go rancid quickly.  Coconut oil is famous for turning quickly so buy only the amount you can use quickly.  Jojoba oil may or may not turn rancid depending on the quality and how you store it and for how long.

If you're shopping at mass market or drug stores read the labels very carefully to make sure that all the ingredients are natural and not synthetic.

Listed below are some well-known Internet vendors (no particular order) who sell a wide variety of oils that are suitable for the hair or skin:

  • HairBoutique.com which sells HairTopia Beautiful Hair Oil and other custom oils.
  • Camden Grey: One of my favorite shops. CG has an amazing array of essential oils, vegetable oils and butters.
  • Scent works: Variety of oil related products to choose from.
  • Oils by Nature: Great site with large listing and articles with great info about oils and butters.
  • Mountain Rose Herbs: High quality products and fast shipping.
  • Garden of Wisdom: Excellent selection of oils, butters and herbs at good prices.
  • Nature's Wild Child: Well-known for their virgin coconut oil and creamy shea butter.
  • From Nature with Love: Large selection of  herbs, oils and butters.
  • Majestic Mountain Sage: Comprehensive catalog of selections.
  • Hoba Care: High quality rich golden jojoba oil pressed exactly once.
  • Essential Wholesale: Rare oils in stock, sales in bulk.
  • The Gourmet Rose: An Ebay store selling oils and butters.
  • Pure essentials: Located in Canada, very exhaustive listing of oils and butters. 
  • Spectrum Naturals is well-known for their high quality coconut oil.  The coconut oil provided by Spectrum is specifically pressed for use on hair and the skin.  It is a solid which comes in a 5 ounce jar which is convenient for use.

Step By Step - How To Oil - For Leave-In Conditioning

Although it may sound complicated, hair oiling is not only easy, it can be soothing.  Just be sure to plan in advance to avoid a mess and allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process.

The hair oiling steps below are provided for oiling the hair and leaving the oil in place as a leave-in conditioner.  If you wish to oil the hair for a deep treatment or for a temporary softening process you will need to take different steps at the end of the cycle.

Keep in mind that everyone develops a fondness for their own type of oil.  I personally find coconut much too heavy for my hair but love jojoba and sesame. Depending on your goals you may decide to go with a very light oil or a heavier one as a protective measure.

1.  Start by taking a small amount of oil ranging from 1-3 drops or a small dap of solid oil and apply it to the palms of your prewashed, clean hands. 

2.  Rub the oil between your palms to gently warm.  If you are using a solid form of oil such as coconut, scoop out the desired amount into a separate container with a sterile spoon or scooper to prevent ongoing contamination from fingernails.

3.  After you have warmed the oil you will have a light coating on the palms of your hands.  Apply your lightly coated hands to pre-washed, completely detangled and dry tresses.  Apply the oil  from the top of your ears down to the very ends of your hair. Avoid applying the oil directly to your scalp, especially if you plan to leave the oil on your hair for more than a few hours.

Note:  Oil that is applied directly to the scalp and allowed to remain for days will create a pH unbalance.  The pH imbalance will impact the balance of the scalp.

4.  Stroke your palms and fingers down through the strands of your hair on each side of your head.

5.  Work your way slowly through your strands making sure to carefully separate strands to make sure oil is applied to all the layers both inward and outward.

This oil is then left in as the leave-in conditioner and not removed until the next hair washing (which we recommend to attempt to do around twice a week at best).

Remember that scalp hair needs to be washed although typically the length does not.

The idea is to allow oils, regardless of the type used, to build up what is produced naturally from the sebaceous glands (on the scalp).  Once the oils are built up distribute the oils.  Depending on the length of the tresses, it is common to apply more oil to the length with less oil applied to the middle or tips. 

Remember that a little bit of oil goes a very long way.  Be conservative with the amount of oil you use until you have figured out how much oil to use on your strands.   Hair readily absorbs the oil.

You can always add more oil, even a day or so later.  It's better to use less oil rather than more which can become greasy.  It's easy to add too much oil.

How do you know if you have added too much oil?  You hair will feel greasy or sticky.  To minimize the amount of oil applied to your strands you may wish to blot the palms of your hair on a paper towel to remove excess oils to avoid not applying to much oil to your hair.

Using A Boar Bristle Brush To Distribute Oils

Depending on the current condition of your hair you may or may not choose to use a boar bristle brush (BBB) to help distribute the oil throughout your strands.

Although BBBs should never be used for detangling wet or damp hair because of the potential for breakage, it can be used to help gently move oils down the length of the hair.  Never attempt to brush out a tangle as this can break the hair.  Instead, use your fingers to detangle or a comb.  Do so gently.

 A BBB can cause damage if there's a tangle or wet hair...and it also shouldn't be used if the hair is not in overall good health, such as suffering from excess frizz, excess flyaway, a fair amount of damage still, damage from perm/coloring.

However, a BBB can be used once the hair is stabilized in its basic strength and integrity to move the oils around. Unlike a detangling tool which is used bottom to top, the BBB is used, generally, top to bottom.

A BBB does not penetrate the thickness of one's hair so it must be used topside and underside, separately, and this is where the 100 strokes likely derives from. A lot of strokes to work in that oil. A BBB does cause fullness of the hair but this is easily calmed by following with a downstroke of the palm.

If you're preparing for a hair wash, it is then OK to put some oil on the scalp hair (although you probably won't need it b/c the reason to wash the hair is there's an excess of buildup of oil on the scalp). You can also oil length heavily on purpose prior to a hair wash.

However, you may find you need to change your pillowcase a little more often nevertheless because of some very fine acne along the hairline (typical for some of us who go an extra day without a hair wash). With a little experimentation, you will find the right number of days to skip to build up oil and create a beautiful healthy shine and increase elasticity of the hair in due time.

Many believe that oiling the hair should be done after every single hair wash.  This may or may not work for you and your hair depending on the texture, type and condition.  Set your own schedule but once you do, be consistent.

Hair Oiling As A Hair Pre-treatment

You may oil your hair as a pre-wash treatment that can be left in while you sleep before you do your wash.  A pre-wash treatment is an excellent way to nourish your hair and prevent protein loss.  Coconut oil has been proven through testing to reduce protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hair when used as either a pre-wash or post-wash product.

If you're preparing for a hair wash, it is then OK to put some oil on the scalp hair (although you probably won't need it b/c the reason to wash the hair is there's an excess of buildup of oil on the scalp). You can also oil length heavily on purpose prior to a hair wash.

When considering the use of Jojoba Oil, look for an oil that is golden in color yet quite clear and rather see-through. Some Jojoba Oils tend to be muddier in color and murky looking.  For best results look for the best quality oil that fits your budget.

Oiling Dry Hair

Oiling dry hair after cleansing it may cause  the feeling of crunchiness.  Many hair oil fans find it best to oil hair while it is still slightly damp.

If you want to oil your ends inbetween shampoo sessions you may get better results if you slightly damped your strands before applying the oil.

Hair Oiling By Hair Types & Textures

Natural curls respond well to consistent and regular hair oiling.  Not only does oiling add important moisture and help to minimize frizz, it often helps to slightly weigh down ringlets while emphasizing the curl pattern.  In addition, regular oil application will provide a protective layer for curls protecting them from tears and split ends. 

the weight helps the hair to move as one body (very appealing to the eye);  brittleness & dryness cease; and the hues of one hair color come forward resulting in a beautiful sheen that catches the light in interesting ways; and finally, the hair becomes supremely soft.

When using oil as a leave in treatment it is very important to remember that a small amount goes a very long way.  Be conservative when you first start using oil as a no-rinse leave-in treatment. Remember, you can always add more oil, even a day or so later.  Oil used as a leave-in treatment can be added as needed. It's definitely easy to do too much.  If hair feels or looks oily or greasy you put in too much.

Hair usually readily absorbs the oil. It does not rub off on clothing or linens. However, you may find you need to change your pillowcase a little more often nevertheless because of some very fine acne along the hairline (typical for some of us who go an extra day without a hair wash).

With a little experimentation, you will find the right number of days to skip to build up oil and create a beautiful healthy shine and increase elasticity of the hair in due time.

Oiling Hair With Spray/Spritzer Bottles

There are those who prefer to oil their strands by using a spritzer bottle.  Pour the desired oil in a spritzer bottle diluting it in water & applying after a fresh wash yet while the hair is still wet. This is fine if that works for you; however, do know, that the oil does not "capture" water to stay on the hair.

Oil, especially jojoba, is meant to mimic the natural oils produced by the sebaceous glands. This oil is called "sebum" and has a waxy texture.  You may notice that when your hair oil builds up on the scalp you can remove what feels like a soft rolled bead, which is sebum.)

This waxy medium is the protection for hair and the reason hair shines. Frequent washing removes this and also causes excess build up in a day or so. You can train yourself and your scalp to change its rate of production over the course of a month or so.

Oils Which Float On Top Of Hair

Polyunsaturated oils  which sit on top of hair  and are good for leave-in conditioners include, but are not limited to the following:

Jojoba
Sunflower
Grapeseed
Sesame
Broccoli Seed

Straight Chain Glycerides That Penetrate Hair Shaft

Straight chain glyceride" is another term for saturated fat.  Oils which penetrate into the hair shaft and could be used for deep conditioning include:

Coconut
Olive
Avocado
Palm Kernel
Camellia
Sweet Almond
Castor Oil

Oils Which Only Partially Penetrate

Oils that partially penetrate the hair shaft

Meadowfoam seed

Pre-Wash Oiling

For heavy pre-shampoo oiling consider rotating sesame oil with unrefined organic coconut oil.  Sesame is lighter and easier to wash out.  Coconut oil reduces protein loss.  Consider doing the pre-oiling approximately one hour before applying shampoo.

  • Jojoba oil

  • Sesame oil

  • Sweet Almond oil

Scalp Massage

For scalp massage try a mix of grapeseed, castor oil and essential oils such as rosemary, thyme, cedarwood and lavender. 

Good scalp massage oil:

  • Moonchaser's Sweet Success Oil - it's light enough to go right on the scalp without being greasy.

Leave-in Hair Oil

Consider using a drop or two of jojoba oil to seal moisture in after applying desired leave-in conditioning products like Phyto 7 or Phyto 9.

Great leave-in hair oils include:

  • Avocado

  • Camellia

  • Grapeseed

  • Jojoba
  • Monoi de Tahiti
  • Shea butter just for ends

Deep Conditioning Hot Oil Treatments

Depending on hair type, texture and condition the following oils are considered best for deep conditioning hot oil treatments:

  • Avocado oil - can be heavy for some hair types and textures.

  • Coconut oil - may need to be mixed with other oils to avoid excessive oiliness.

  • Jojoba oil - can be used by the majority of hair types

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) - May be heavy for thin or fine hair. 

  • Shea oil - second to olive oil in moisturizing properties.

  • Sweet almond oil - may be a bit heavy for day to day use, but generally good for deep treatments.

Keep in mind that not all oils will work for all types of hair.  Be willing to experiment.  You may also wish to experiment with mixing various oils to achieve different results.  Popular oil mixtures include:

  • Mix of equal parts of sunflower and Extra Virgin Olive Oil for excellent deep treatments.

  • Sunflower/Extra Virgin Olive Oil 85/15 mixture with Sunflower 85%

Summary

You can mix one or two drops with your jojoba or coconut oil to scent your hair with. Do change the amount of jojoba (or whatever your choice) to accommodate this addition so as not to over-oil your hair in one sitting. (In a way, there's no such thing as too much oil over the course of, say, a week, but in one sitting it can be too much.)

You can choose other oils such as Sweet Almond Oil. I know of one person who uses vegetable oil (she didn't say which brand) achieving beautiful results; however, I have been advised that many such oils are pressed differently (two or more times) to withstand high heat (for frying and such) and thus, the acid content is higher.

In days of yore (and likely still) other cultures have used olive oil; however, it tends to be rather heavy and is pressed differently for sustaining high temperatures (and not breaking down). Oils such as flax seed oil are not intended for hair use although they are not pressed to sustain high heat

So, give it a whirl. Remember that you will have to do it around 2 times before you get the hang of it and find the right amount for you. A little really does go a long way. You can fan your hair out on a soft cotton sheet and oil that way if you like - I find this method gets to more of the individual strands then.

Original Publication Date: 8/28/2000 - Revised Date: 12/31/11

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