My latest hair obsession, for targeting dryness, is hair oiling. As in, the ancient Indian practice of applying warm naturally-found oils to the hair and scalp. I’m hooked. Totally hooked! Since first hearing about and researching hair oiling, I’ve customized my own practice, based off of a few errr… adverse hair reactions, I should say. Namely: greasy hair, post-oil-use. Let me explain...
I’ve heard of people using coconut oil on their hair time and time again (and their faces, bodies, salads, etc.). If there ever was a miracle elixir, the internet will lead you to believe it’s coconut oil! And because of its popularity, I naively thought of it as the selling of snake oil, and rolled my eyes at it. Because whenever I’d tried making a mask of it, I was always left with “heavy-feeling” hair. Even after two shampoos, there always seemed to be a thin film of oil left on my strands. So I swore it off! And didn’t trust oil to nourish my hair. But, as with most things cult-followed beauty trends, I gave it a second try. And I’m glad I did.
My hair oiling practice differs from the traditional protocol, on a few points. But I’ve found great success, in my simplified version! So if you’re like me and wanted to love hair oiling, but couldn’t get on board, read along to see my method!
- I use extra virgin raw coconut oil. This means it hasn’t been processed or refined, so it has the highest content of essential fatty acids. Read your labels. Make sure you're getting the good stuff.
- If you’ve tried coconut oil and just seriously don’t love it, try a different oil! Argan oil is another anciently-trusted oil. Or macadamia nut oil, which is very rich and could benefit severely damaged hair. Almond oil is packed with vitamin E, protein and antioxidants— it’s good for dandruff-prone hair. Or try this oil blend, or this traditional Ayurvedic blend. You’ve got options! I choose coconut oil because it’s inexpensive, easily accessible and it totally works for me.
- I never use super hot oil. Never ever. I know lots of traditional techniques recommend the hot oil treatment. But it's a no-go for me. Primarily because I try to use little to no heat in my hair, at all. But I do warm my oil slightly before application. The warmth of the oil is better for circulation, I think. Just a few minutes on the stove top will do the trick!
- I always apply my oil to dry hair, not wet hair. Think of your hair as a giant sponge. If you dampen it first, it will hold all of that water, leaving zero room for healing oils. The reason for dry application is also because oil and water don’t mix. Apply to dry hair. Always.
- I only apply a small amount, and I only apply it to my ends. I think the hiccup people get when using oils as hair treatments, is using WAY too much oil. It overwhelms your hair. It’s harder to get out completely. I aim for 1-2 tablespoons. This amount is plenty because I only use oil on my ends. I keep it far away from my scalp! Oil on the scalp can cause so much buildup and congestion.
- I think of hair oiling as a “pre-poo.” I always apply before shampooing and I only leave the oil on for fifteen minutes. That’s it. No more. I’ve found more time than that is too much for my hair, specifically. I secure it in a loose bun, so the greasy hair isn't hanging down, ruining my T-shirt.
- Once I’m rinsing the oil out and shampooing, I then use any excess oil to massage into my scalp. The small amount of oil and an invigorating scalp massage is the perfect blend for happy hair.
Try out hair oiling! Tell us how you like it! What improvements do you see? I know my hair has gotten softer, stronger and glossier. That’s a BIG win for me.