We All Need OilNo two heads of hair are the same. We’re uniquely created and deserve all the styles that describe us personally. Everything you do, down to the choices of your hair oil(s), should be for your own benefit and liking. We’re always transitioning our hairstyles; it’s human nature to want to experiment with your looks. With constant changes, you also need to ensure you are carefully handling your hair, and that you are not causing more harm than good. Adding oils to your head is a necessity because not only does it give your hair strength and shine, it brings nutrients that help boost your circulation which promotes growth as well. The journey to 100% healthy hair includes particular attention to the scalp and its needs. No matter who you are or what your hair is like, applying oil as part of your hair care routine is vital for healthy, natural hair. Any hair texture is capable of benefiting from the many uses of oils: pre-pooing, detangling, hot oil treatments, scalp processes, sealing, and more. If not for all, use oil when necessary to maintain a balance of moisture throughout the hair. There are lighter and heavier oils for those with lower or higher porosity hair. For those with naturally oily hair types, do not refrain from the essential oils that can help any issue you may have.
What Can Oil Do For MeAs far as what oil can do for you daily, it depends mostly on your hair texture. Your hair’s porosity is its ability to hold and retain moisture. Your products must reflect the behavior of your hair to achieve maximum results from styling or maintenance.
Understanding Your Hair’s BehaviorBefore adding any product to your hair, you have to be mindful of all ingredients and how they work for you. It only takes a few minutes to decide if the long-term benefits of a product are worth the use or not for your natural hair. Many people with the same hair type do not have the same hair behavior just because of the porosity of their hair. Porosity refers to the effects of hair damage over the years. As we grow older, our hair cuticles begin to loosen naturally by heat exposure. Porosity can also be genetic and lead to certain types. No porosity is better than another. Each has its ways to maintain the moisture needed to keep hair at its best. Knowing your hair’s type and porosity will allow you to opt for ideal products and methods. Here are three simple tests to try if you’re not sure how your cuticles behave:
The Strand TestIf you’re a hands-on learner, try identifying your hair’s porosity by the strand test. It’s the easiest way to test your strands. First, take a dry strand of hair and stretch it out as far as it can go with one hand, with your other hand, use your thumb and pointer finger to glide across the strand. How does it feel? If it felt dense and sturdy, you most likely have low porosity. If it glided down smooth and lightly, then it could be medium porosity. But if it felt rough, or even breaks, then it is for sure high porosity.
The Shedding TestYou can use hair you’ve shed or caught in brushes to use a small collection to place in a glass of water to visualize your hair’s actions. This is a popular method since the answer is pretty apparent and takes just a short amount of time. Place a few strands into the cup and notice the results: if the hairs float, this indicates low porosity. Hair that sinks to the bottom after hovering around the middle quite often is medium porosity. Immediate sinking is high porosity.
The Water TestWater is essential to life and the key to learning all about your natural hair. This test requires only a water-filled spritz bottle and some good eyes! If after spraying a small section of hair, the water remains on the hair, you have low porosity. If the water takes a while to absorb, it is medium, and if it absorbs quickly, it is high porosity. You can do this around different sections of your hair if you have mixed hair texture to learn the behaviors of your hair all around your head.
Do You Have...?
Low PorosityIf you have low porosity hair, your curls are tight and resistant to any liquid. Since it’s harder to absorb moisture, you must ensure you are using products that help open up your cuticles. Look for products that are low in pH level, which is meant to close your cuticles, as they are more acidic. Alkaline-based ingredients are found in dyes, bleaches, and perms to help penetrate the product through the strands. You may need to search for those products with the basic chemical to open your strands to allow a smooth flow of moisture. Using the wrong regimen can result in a drastic change in your porosity, so make sure that you test your hair and get to know where you stand so you can maximize your hair products.
Medium PorosityThose with medium porosity will see the benefits of curls full of bounce and elasticity. It requires the least amount of maintenance due to its looser cuticle layer and easy acceptance of hair oils. When it comes to dying and styling hair, having a medium porosity gives you an advantage seeing that it provides a healthy shine, and holds styles in place for an extended period. Regular hair routines involving deep conditioning and proper moisturizing can increase your chance of maintaining excellent product absorption.
High PorosityHigh porosity curls tend to absorb moisture quickly but they dry at a faster rate. It leaves hair feeling brittle and parched. The damaged cuticles are not often genetic, but unfortunately can be. On the other hand, it can appear with age due to the frequent use of shampoos, towels, combing, brushing, excessive or improper heat use, chemicals, dirt, and the list goes on. This is why it is strongly encouraged to treat your hair delicately. If this is your hair’s type, you need products that help to increase hydration and ensure all-day moisture. Here are a few tips to getting your porosity back on track:
Tip #1Minimize heat exposure and chemical usage. The damaging effects of hot temperatures and chemicals result in peels and breaks in the cuticle layer, allowing for much oil inside a single strand.
Tip #2Rinse with cold water after washing your hair. Highly porous cuticles can also cause moisture to slip out quickly because of open cuticle layers. Cold water helps to seal the cuticle and prevent future frizzing.
Tip #3Test out as many products to find out what’s best for you. Leave-in conditioners and hair oils are your best friends when you suffer from high porosity. Products that show instant hydration, and act as sealants should be your go-to before styling. Whether you’re in the middle of your night routine or preparing a quick style for work, adding an extra layer of defense against humidity never hurts.
Essential vs. Carrier OilsDid you know that not oils are the same? After determining the correct porosity level(s) to describe your hair’s uniqueness, it is time to decide which oils are best for your hair type and routine. No one oil can satisfy every need, nor should it. Each one holds properties specific to your hair needs and can advance its effects by other oils. Find the right hair oil for you starts with finding out what your hair needs.
Essential OilsEssential oils are all natural, from leaves, bark, roots, or other parts of plants. The oils are created from evaporation and create pleasant, lively aromas. The strength of the oils alone remain ideal for hair care considering that they don’t contain any unnatural chemicals, but properties to stimulate hair growth and rid of hair toxins. Other uses for essential oils include for skin and aromatherapy. Here is a list of the top essential oils to try and their uses:
Tea Tree Oil:This oil has several scalp aiding properties. It’s an excellent way to unclog pores and add nutrients to your roots. The antifungal and antibacterial properties are what make this a powerful oil for those suffering from dandruff, dryness, and itchiness in the scalp. Tea tree oil can be added to your favorite hot oil treatment for an extra boost of moisture, your medicated dandruff shampoo, or to your spray bottle to create your homemade product.
Rosemary Oil:Packed with a strong minty and woody aroma, this oil fights the action of sebum glands and clogged pores, so it’s best suited for oily scalps. It thickens hair to promote healthier hair growth. It also helps the slow the process of premature graying and thinning of the hair.
Lavender Oil:A calming oil, it helps with healing irritating scalp or strands. Lavender oil restores dry hair (and skin) to promote healthier roots for thicker, shinier hair. As it is one of the best selling essential oil, it is easy to find and affordable for many to reap its many benefits.
Eucalyptus Oil:If your hair follicles need a little stimulation, eucalyptus oil should increase your shampoo or conditioner clean for an invigorating wash day. The oil is an anti-inflammatory, so its best uses are for itching and dry scalps. With mild usage, you will see results that nourish the skin and promotes an ideal hair environment for hair growth.
Peppermint Oil:A mixture of spearmint and watermint, this is the strongest of all mints. The cooling effect of peppermint oil helps to reduce any skin inflammation along with a soothing feel to rejuvenate the hair. Its powerful antiseptic properties have been proven by research to promote growth along with keeping the hair free of dandruff or lice. Great for restoring pH levels to balance normal porosity levels.
Carrier OilsUnlike essential oils, carrier oils are not directly from plants, but rather from the fats of nuts, seeds, or kernels of plants. Oils form by pressing methods. Carrier oils are useful on their own for some, but they are recommended to use as dilution for essential oils. You can mix the different types of oils to allow the carrier to help “carry” the essential oil onto the scalp. These oils can be used explicitly in combination with essential oils, or use individually for their beneficial properties. They can help moisturize, seal, strengthen, and nourish the hair. Here’s a list that’ll give you a good start in finding your perfect carrier:
Rosehip Oil:Packed with vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants, rosehip has been a part of a new trend in hair care. It rejuvenates the scalp and helps to combat hair loss. Much like other oils, it is a great conditioner and works even better when combined with other products.
Olive Oil:Often seen in many kitchens, olive oil has many superpowers, and one being its rich moisturizing property. Olive oil is ideal for those who have low porosity in the hair strands and needs oil that will penetrate the cuticle. A few other benefits are its ability to and shine and softness to your hair, reduce frizz and to remedy to cause of split ends. As useful as it may be, you’ll want to add a few essential oils to not only maximize your hair health but also to add an aroma that will leave your hair smelling beautiful.
Coconut Oil:Here is another component of our list that classifies as a powerhouse oil because of its many hair growth properties. Also a must for our low porous friends, this moisturizer improves scalp health, thanks to its natural vitamins and essential fatty acids. It also treats dandruff, eliminates dry, frizzy hair and acts as a natural SPF for your skin. If you have curlier tresses ( like 4A, B, or C), this oil is beneficial as a daily detangler. Simply allow the coconut oil to appear in its liquid form, if not already, and apply to a generous amount to a section of your hair and work the comb or brush from tip to root. Repeat as needed.
Castor Oil:There are two types of castor oil that you’ll find at your local beauty store; organic castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil. Each one is chalk full of properties that promote healthy hair, growth, and shine. Organic castor oil has less alkaline than Jamaican black castor (JBC) oil, so it’s recommended for highly porous individuals who have very open cuticles on their hair shaft. JBC oil has a darker color than the rest and is ideal for penetrating and cleansing the scalp due to its high alkaline content. This one is handy for those with low porosity and tighter curls.
Jojoba Oil:A favorite among carrier oils, jojoba oil is an excellent additive to other essential oils. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss and can treat a dry, itchy scalp. Dab some oil on the bristle of your hairbrush before you use it. You will see an instant shine and softness to your hair.
Vitamin E:Mostly found in pill capsules, vitamin E sits in the health and wellness section of most drug stores. It’s commonly taken orally for strong immunity against diseases and healthy skin. The gel from these capsules has been proven to aid in healthy skin care and, as a result, improve hair growth. Use it to help with scalp circulation, hair loss, and frizzy, unmanageable hair. Be sure to mix this gel with any essential oil and feel the benefits of this natural antioxidant.
Finding the Oils You NeedAs there are many other essential and carrier oils, you can make the search easier by looking specifically into oils for your hair’s type. Because essential oils are so potent, it is necessary to dilute them for optimal results by added, lesser oils. You only need a few drops of any essential oil to do the job, so imagine how strengthening it is on its own. Low porosity hair oils:
- Apricot oil
- Argan oil
- Jojoba oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Almond oil
- Pomegranate oil
- Avocado oil
- Shea oil
- Castor oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Vitamin E oil