Oil has been used as a moisturizing and sealing agent for skin and hair for centuries. In earlier times, ancient Egyptians often used castor oil on their hair to soothe itchy scalps, seal in moisture, and add shine and health back to the hair. Oil has a special place in the beauty cabinet of black women and always has.
Most people in our culture remember the days of mama oiling their scalp, or using Jamaican black castor oil for daily maintenance. For many of us, it has become such an essential part of our everyday routines that we do not even realize there are a multitude of ways to use it! One of the most common yet least discussed ways to use oil in your hair care regimen is through hot oil treatments.
What is a Hot Oil Treatment?
A hot oil treatment is a hair conditioning technique that involves using warmed oil to saturate the hair from root to tip. The warmed oil has an easier time penetrating the shaft of the hair, delivering deeper levels of moisture and softness to any hair type.
The procedure for the treatment is simple and involves choosing and blending oils and heating the oil to the correct specifications.Hot oil treatments come from a variety of sources, but many of the best and most economical oils are found in the kitchen cabinets of most homes.
Hot oil treatments have been a common practice in the black hair industry for years, but with the growth in popularity of natural hair care and oils there has been a resurgence of interest in how to perform them and whom they can benefit.
What Are The Benefits Of Hot Oil Treatments?
Hot oil treatments can help the hair in a myriad of ways. The most basic benefit is moisture and sealing. Hot oil is healthy for the hair because it infuses moisture directly into the scalp hair roots and strands. This can eliminate issues with dry scalp and dandruff, as well as revive brittle strands with shine and vitality. The warmth of the oil helps blood to circulate freely through the scalp which helps with hair growth and thickness. Not to mention, the gorgeous shine that comes from hot oil!
Which Oil Should I Choose for My Hair Treatment?
The way in which the hot oil treatment will help your hair is heavily dependent on which oil you choose for the hot oil treatment. The first thing to decide is: What would I like to accomplish through this treatment?
To help infuse moisture into dry and brittle manes, you should choose an oil that will intensely penetrate the hair. These oils will deliver nourishment deep into the shaft and ensure your hair is in top shape:
Coconut oil– Coconut oil is a staple in many African cultures due to its high availability and easy penetration into the kinky and coarse textures commonly associated with black hair. The oil helps to strengthen the hair as well as reduce damage from common salon treatments such as relaxers, color treatments, curling and flat irons. It seals moisture into the shaft of the hair while acting as a humectant and drawing moisture from the air keeping your hair soft and healthy throughout the day.
Olive Oil– Olive oil is rich in vitamins A and E. This helps protect the hair from keratin loss as well as locking in moisture. Olive oil also helps to add strength and shine to dull hair while protecting from split ends and breakage that black hair is prone to in the drier winter months. This oil is also incredible for promoting scalp health and hair growth by improving the blood flow and circulation which encourages stronger thicker hair.
Avocado Oil– Avocado oil is a lighter oil that provides the hair with antioxidants that controls the build-up of dirt and sebum on the scalp. This allows the scalp to breathe and create stronger growth directly from the root. These antioxidants also help fight frizz, and is perfect to use for straight hair styling or humid weather when maintaining locks may be an issue. Avocado oil is packed with vitamin-E and biotin, both of which stimulate hair growth and provide moisture and conditioning directly to the hair shaft.
For those with more porous hair, the focus is on covering the cuticle and sealing in moisture. These oils will help ensure that any products or oils used on the hair will remain locked into the cuticle throughout the day.
Jojoba oil– Jojoba oil is fantastic for hot oil treatments because it so closely mimics the natural sebum that is produced by the scalp. Your body and hair absorb this oil more readily because of how close it is to what the body already produces. It is terrific for scalp health due to its antibacterial properties. By keeping the scalp free of dirt and debris, the scalp is better able to breathe and foster new hair growth quickly.
Grapeseed oil– Grapeseed oil is a common choice for ladies looking for a lighter option that will still provide deep moisturization and nutrients to the hair shaft. It is fantastic for dandruff due in part to its high concentration of omega fats and vitamin E, and perfect for fine, brittle hair types that are prone to being weighed down but need strong moisturizing for daily maintenance.
Castor oil– Castor oil has been used in Caribbean cultures for years. It is known for its growth encouraging properties, but is also fantastic at conditioning the hair and combating weakness from heat styling and high manipulation. The oil provides a high amount protein, which strengthens and supports the keratin protein already present in the hair.
These are the primary oils traditionally used for hot oil treatments. However, the possibilities and combinations are endless! Oils have different properties and applications for the hair so it is important to research various oils and find the perfect combination to meet your hair’s individual needs. There are many recipes out there, be sure to research and try different blends. Each oil can be used individually or mixed with others. For those who would prefer to purchase pre-made oils, they are found in beauty supply stores, or anywhere hair oils are bought. Examine the ingredient list, research the oils blended in the treatment and match your needs with the benefits the oils provide.
If you prefer to take a more DIY approach, many of the oils discussed are easily purchased from health food and grocery stores. Blending oil treatments on your own gives you the ability to tailor the blends to your needs and make larger batches for future uses.