If you are on a healthy hair along the way, you’ve probably come across various benefits of oiling your hair. Applying oil to strands can help prevent breakage, tame them curly hairand even set the stage for hair growth. Whether you are trying to decide between applying castor oil, coconut oilor else, the right elixir can just bring life back to your locks, restoring shine, luster and smoothing locks.
According to our experts, it’s a great addition to your hair care routine, regardless hair type or texture. Oiling your hair has many benefits for your hair and scalp, he says Mahogany Gracehairdresser and owner Salon Mahogany Grace. Using the oil protects against heat damage, increases strength, keeps it hydrated, fights frizz, promotes growth and can act as a natural UV protector.
Meet the experts: Mahogany Gracehairdresser and owner Salon Mahogany Grace; Michelle Clevelandthe owner hairdresser in Nj; Janiene Luke, MDa board-certified dermatologist at Loma Linda University’s Faculty of Medicine Group in California
However, those with dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis may want to avoid applying oils to the scalp, as some can encourage yeast to thrive, she explains. Janiene Luke, MDa board-certified dermatologist at Loma Linda University’s Faculty of Medicine Group in California.
For those with fine hair, using lighter oils and rinsing soon after application can be helpful, as those with fine hair may find that oiling weighs too much on their hair, or they may not like their hair to be greasy, Dr. Luke says.
Ahead, experts explain the many benefits of oiling your hair, the best ways to oil your hair, and best hair oils for job.
Benefits of hair oiling
Experts say you may notice the following benefits of oiling your hair:
Add smoothness and shine
Oiling your hair can help reduce frizz and add shine, as many hair oils coat the hair strands and seal the cuticle, helping to lock in moisture, explains Dr. Luke. This is especially beneficial for those with naturally curly hair, who tend to have drier hair compared to those with straight hair.
Improve overall scalp health
Certain oils made for the scalp can be very nourishing, reducing dryness, itchiness and flaking, explains Grace. These oils provide your scalp and hair follicles with nutrients, stimulate hair growth and improve overall scalp health.
It can promote hair growth
If you use natural oils, the essential vitamins and minerals contained in them can promote hair growth, he explains Michelle Clevelandthe owner hairdresser in Nj. Hair oils may not directly stimulate hair growth, but they tend to create healthier scalp conditions that encourage it.
Cleveland goes on to note that the vitamins and minerals found in many natural hair oils strengthen the hair follicle as well as the entire hair shaft, preventing breakage. With regular use of hair oil, you may notice a reduction in split ends and maintain length more easily by avoiding breakage.
Protect from sun and heat
Depending on the specific oil you choose to use on your hair, experts agree that you may have some protective benefits as well. Coating the surface of the hair can help protect it from the elements/environment (sun), as well as chemicals and heat, says Dr. Luke.
How to oil your hair
When it comes to oiling hair for hair and scalp treatment, it is best to apply the oil as a mask before washing your strands.
Cleveland suggests applying the oil of choice directly to the scalp, working in one-inch sections. Once each part is created, you can apply the oil straight down the part line and massage it in with the pads of your fingertips, she explains. Once done, continue massaging your scalp and apply any excess oil down the strands to the ends. Leave it on for about three hours and then wash with shampoo. If you can’t let the oil sit that long, Dr. Luke says waiting about 30 minutes works well, too.
Additionally, Grace suggests concentrating the oil on the ends of your strands if you struggle with breakage and split ends. Grace also recommends using hair oil in addition to protective styles such as twists or braids to further protect your tresses.
How often should I oil my hair?
If you’re wondering how often you should oil your hair, it really comes down to what’s going on with your scalp, explains Grace. If you struggle with dryness and flakes, go for a weekly session. If you’re just doing regular scalp TLC, two to three times a month should do the trick.
Those with oily scalps or oily hair may prefer to try oiling less often, especially if they find that the added serum weighs down the strands. Experts suggest experimenting and finding what works best for you.
How to choose the best hair oils
When oiling your hair, it’s also important to consider which specific oils to use. Grace suggests choosing the ones that suit your hair type or even experimenting with mixing oils to create exactly what you’re looking for. Find our experts’ favorite oils for healthy hair below:
Jojoba oil, which Grace recommends for those who want to focus on scalp health, has a similar composition to our natural sebum (the natural oily substance found on the scalp). There is also a high concentration vitamin E in jojoba oil, which is a known antioxidant that helps protect skin and hair from oxidative damage, explains Dr. Luke.
Grace recommends coconut oil those with thicker hair. It’s made up of a fatty acid called lauric acid and is unique in that its structure allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, resulting in reduced protein loss, water absorption and greater hair strength in studies, explains Dr Luke. Coconut oil also acts as an emollient, coating hair strands, sealing the cuticle and locking in moisture which can help reduce frizz and add shine.
Argan oil, which Grace recommends for those with dry hair, contains fatty acids and other compounds (such as squalene) that can add moisture to hair, she adds. Dr. Luke. It also contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant.
Sesame oil is another beneficial hair oil because it contains high levels of fatty acids, including linoleic acid and oleic acid, which Dr. Luke notes are great for adding moisture to hair.
There are also many other oils to choose from. Cleveland suggests consideration castor oil or rosemary oil for hair growth, and almond oil or chamomile oil for soothing and moisturizing the scalp.
Shannen Zitz is an assistant editor at prevention, where she covers all things lifestyle, wellness, beauty and relationships. Previously assistant editor at prevention, she graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland with a BA in English. If she’s not reading or writing, you can probably find her visiting skin care and makeup forums on Reddit or doing squats at the gym.
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