Numerous oils for hair have been used around the world for ages to give women (and men!) cleaner and healthier hair. And even if it sounds counterintuitive, here’s why you should give it a try.
Many things define our cultures—our food, of course, our art and music, for example. But there’s another strong indicator of our cultural uniqueness found in our beauty routines.
While it may seem as though there’s not much room for variation in beauty: we wash our faces and bodies, clean our hair, and apply crèmes and lotions, right? There are actually many beauty traditions and regimens that vary from culture to culture.
One that’s not all too common in the U.S. (yet) is the use of oils for hair.
Why would you weigh down hair with greasy oil when the goal is always to remove the oily residue?
Well, just like there are good and bad oils and fats for our bodies, the same, goes for our hair.
In India and other parts of Southeast Asia, it’s not uncommon to put coconut or even mustard seed oil in the hair to improve the texture and quality, ward off greys, and style it more easily. In Italy, women put—what else?!—olive oil into hair to condition it and give hair more shine and bounce. Throughout Africa, women have been applying shea, cocoa, and avocado butters to hair for centuries to give it much-needed deep moisturizing in those arid countries.
Over the last century here in the U.S., we moved away from those folkloric traditions for hair care, and began relying on chemical-laden shampoos and conditioners, gels, mousse, and the dreaded hair spray cans of several decades past, in order to get our hair to look the way we want.
Not only are these habits damaging to the hair, they’re expensive and often bad for the environment, too.
But just like we’re waking up to old school approaches to our food, we’re also looking toward simpler, cleaner beauty regimens and hair care routines from around the world, like using oil on the hair.
How to Use Oils for Hair
1. Deep conditioning: On clean hair, begin to massage coconut oil into the strands working your way up from the ends. This can take several hours depending on length and thickness of hair. Once the hair is saturated, roll up into a towel and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Some people leave it on overnight before shampooing in the morning.
This is especially beneficial to dry, damaged, and thick hairs. If you suffer from dandruff, be sure to massage the oil deep into the scalp as it can help to relieve dandruff.
2. As a detangler: Massage a bit of coconut oil into the ends of your hair (or where the knots are), and with a fine-toothed comb or pick, begin to gently work through the tangle until it’s resolved. Unless you’re using a significant amount of oil, you will not need to shampoo out, just style as usual.
This treatment is especially beneficial to curly, wavy, or thick knot-prone hair.
3. Tame the frizz: For this one you can use any good oil or oil blend, such as our Hair Food Organic Oil Blend. Pump a few drops into your hands and gently massage into the hair, paying close attention to the top of the head where frizz is most common. Use more as needed.
This is beneficial for hair prone to frizz or flyaways.
4. Style aid: While nothing works quite like hair spray to get the hair to do the impossible, using oil on hair can make it easier to style—whether you’re working it into a tight updo, pulling it back, or wearing it down, using oil on hair will make it more manageable. Similar to using it to tame frizz, use a small amount and work into hair before style.
This is beneficial to all hair types. Note: use small amounts on extremely thin or fine hair.