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Last updated on March 20th, 2002 by Karen Shelton

Introduction

Patrick Cameron Cream Collection Photography: Alastair Hughes Make-up: Alison Chesterton

Patrick Cameron All Rights Reserved.

Women for centuries have depended a variety of oils to help them keep their long luscious locks moist and oiled. Indian, Hawaiian and Polynesian women are famous for the incredible luster and shine of their long well oiled tresses.

Like everything else "oiling your hair" requires some practice to find the right method that works best for your own hair type, length and needs.

Not all oils work well for all people. The first step is to determine what oils are best for your hair type.

Hair experts claim that oil works best when applied to slightly damp or wet tresses. Again, this is all relative to the specific needs of your hair. The key to success with hair oils is to experiment and find strategies that work best for you.

As long as you keep the oil away from direct contact with your scalp where it can over-saturate and cause an oil slick, you can't really go wrong with practicing the ancient art of oiling your hair.

Hair Oils Tips & Techniques

Many people with long hair suffer from some dryness near the ends which is most cases is the oldest sections of the hair. Some people prefer to only apply oils to their hair for deep conditioning or special dryness treatments. Others oil their hair on a regular basis and keep the oil in their tresses during their work day or special events.

How much oil you use and whether you use it only for deep conditioning or a daily light oiling treatment is totally up to your preferences.

How much is appropriate to use? Depending on the length of your hair and the dryness factor, start with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the oil of your choice.

The amount of oil you use for daily use will always be a lot less then the amount that you use for a deep conditioning treatment.

Oils For Your Hair

Jojoba Oil - one of the most popular oils for oiling hair. It can be used for applying a light layer of oil or it can be used as a deep conditioner. Jojoba oil is very light and is closest to the human scalp in composition. You can also mix jojoba oil with your favorite essential oils.

Olive Oil - a much heavier oil than jojoba or some of the other oils used for oiling. Although it can be used for light oiling for some hair types and textures, it makes a much better deep conditioner. Olive oil may not be the best choice for color treated hair since there is a danger of accelerating color fading.

Coconut Oil - also heavier than jojoba, this oil helps to repair and strengthen damaged hair.

Other beneficial oils include almond, sesame and flaxseed oil. Although some people swear by castor oil, it is extremely oily and may be difficult to remove. Some hair experts caution that the excessive use of castor oil can cause health concerns.

Do not use Vaseline or similar mineral oil based products in your hair. They will not achieve the same effect of the various oils listed above and they will be extremely difficult to remove from your strands.

How To Apply The Oil To The Hair

1. Start the hair oiling process by gently heating the oil in either the palms of your hands or on the stove (until warm but not too hot too touch) to assist with quicker absorption into your tresses. When you apply heated oil, it helps penetrate into the hair shaft faster.

2. Pour just a few drops of oil into the palms of your hands. Keep in mind that when you apply oil to your hair, it may be messy. As a precaution, you may wish to apply the oil in the bathroom or a location where potential oil spills and splatter will be easy to clean.

3. Once you have applied a few drops of oil into the palms of your hands, rub your hands gently together so that the oils are evenly distributed throughout your fingers and fingertips. Avoid getting oil on the back of the hands or the wrists which can lead to wasted oil and oil splatters.

4. Starting approximately 2 inches from the scalp, gently stroke your oiled fingers and hands through the entire length of your strands. Concentrate your oiled fingers on the areas of your hair that have known damage or appears to be the most dry. This would include the ends in many cases.

For most people the ends of hair always get the most climate and chemical abuse. Keep the ends carefully trimmed. Maintain the continued health of the ends by applying oil there. You will probably notice that your ends suck up the oil quickly, especially if they are brittle or excessively dry.

5. After you have finished the oiling process, you may wish to braid your hair or pull it up into a bun to keep the oiled hair away from contact with your clothing.

6. Let oil remain on hair as long as desired. You may wish to oil your hair just before bedtime. Keep in mind some oils will definitely stain both clothing and bed sheets. Although coconut is not normally an oil that will stain either, olive and some of the darker oils will definitely stain. Keep this in mind when you select your oils.

Wearing Oil To Work Or Social Events

If you're going to add oil to your hair before you go out on a social or work event consider the aroma of the oil before applying to your hair, skin or body. Some oils have a very strong aroma (olive, hemp) while others have a pleasant and softer aroma (coconut, almond).

Summary

How long do oils last? Most oils, if stored properly have a shelf life of one to two years depending on the oil. Some oils are more delicate and will go rancid faster. A lot depends on how they are stored. All oils, whether carrier or essential, should be stored in a cool, dark area in an amber or similar dark glass bottle.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on HairBoutique.com or anywhere else, please post a message on HairBoutique.com's Hair Talk Forums.

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