Moisture is the ultimate BFF for every type of natural hair texture. In case you haven’t noticed by our entire African Pride Moisture Miracle collection, we’re very serious about moisturizing around these parts. Proper hydration is the foundation of healthy hair and the key to maintaining the integrity of any great hairstyle.
This can mean different things for different hair types, there is no blueprint for natural hair. What hydration methods work best for your sister or mother may not work for you. No two curls are alike, it depends on your hair’s unique texture, pattern, and density, plus other factors like your diet and environment.
There are (thankfully) some universal truths about caring for natural hair regardless of texture. By design, natural hair of all types are prone to dullness, dryness, and breakage. Due to their tighter structures the scalp’s oils have difficulty traveling down the length of the hair shaft, which means strands can suffer. Add on top of that coloring, heat styling, detangling, humidity, and environmental factors, your hair is almost always thirsty.
Luckily there’s a treatment that works to quench that thirst: hot oil treatments. While
this specialized hydration method has been around for… well ever, what many naturalistas don’t always understand is just how beneficial hot oil treatments are and more importantly, how to get the most out of them.
Wherever you are on your natural hair journey, sometimes it’s important to go back to basics. Hot oil treatments are incredibly effective at moisturizing dry, brittle hair, minimizing frizz, promoting growth, and strengthening hair. Like with many natural hair care routines however, effectiveness is just as much about the technique as the tool itself.
We’ve broken down everything you need to know about hot oil treatments including proper use, what oil to use, and how to get the absolute most out of your hot oil treatments. Let’s get to it.
Why is Moisture Important
Natural, textured hair of almost every type has a tendency to be dry and fragile, but this is especially true for all the type 4c girls out there. Tighter curls and textures by their very nature have a denser, more complex hair pattern which makes it much more difficult for water and moisture to travel all the way down the hair shaft and get fully absorbed.
Not only does this lead to dryness, but a lack of moisture also contributes to breakage, damage, brittleness, and frizziness. This is why curls and coils require a specialized routine to keep hair healthy and strong and why moisture should be the key focus of your natural hair care regime.
Okay so you understand the importance of moisture and use a deep conditioner to combat your dry, brittle strands…but they’re still dry. It can be difficult to find proper formulas and establish a hair care routine, especially if you’re transitioning to going natural, new to caring for natural hair, or have an especially drier texture.
Don’t fear! The primary thing to remember is that your natural hair requires formulas and techniques that are uniquely made to nourish your coils and curls. Sometimes this means going beyond conditioner. That’s where hot oil treatments come in.
The Benefits of a Hot Oil Treatment
Oil has always had a special place in black women’s bathroom cabinets. Even the ancient Egyptians recognized the benefits of hot oil treatments and frequently used Castor oil to soothe itchy scalps and seal in moisture.
Most of us associate hot oil treatments as something just for the colder months, super coarse hair textures, or when your hair is very badly damaged. It’s time to reconsider. While treating natural hair with oil might be used primarily for moisturizing purposes, the benefits are numerous and helpful for every hair type.
First, hot oil works by opening the hair shaft (or hair cuticle) which allows hair to fully absorb moisture, then it allows the moisture and oil to deeply penetrate hair. It’s a super luxurious treatment that acts like a facial for your hair.
Besides moisture, a hot oil treatment helps strengthen hair which in turn helps remedy split ends, brittle hair, frizziness, and breakage. These luxe treatments also help stimulate blood flow, leading to glorious hair growth. The other great benefit? Using a protein-rich oil helps eliminate a dry scalp and all the dandruff and itching that goes with it.
Is a Hot Oil Treatment Right for Me?
Short answer, yes! Hot oil treatments are amazing natural hair remedies that benefit basically every hair type and texture. If you have dry strands oil will infuse them with moisture. If you have dull, brittle hair oil will strengthen hair and add shine. If you have dandruff or other scalp problems oil treatments will help eliminate them while keeping your hair healthy overall.
If you have oily hair, thin hair, or looser curl textures, hot oil treatments will still benefit your hair, you simply need to keep it on your hair for less time and choose the right oil for you.
The Best Oils to Use
When it comes to choosing what oil to use for your treatment the answer depends entirely on your hair type, needs, and goals. However, there are some key things to always look for when choosing the best oil. First, you want an oil with low molecular weight as trusted research has shown that these types of oils absorb better. Second, you want to use an unsaturated oil as natural hair responds better to them. Primarily you want to use an oil that contains lots of fatty acids, protein, and vitamins.
Getting the Most Out of Your Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil treatments have been around forever. No doubt your auntie or mom used to do them using coconut oil or olive oil from the kitchen. You’ve likely grown up either knowing they exist or doing them to your own hair. No matter how familiar you might be with them however, new research, information, and products can change the way we use traditional natural hair care methods.
In this case, it’s worth going back to basics to make sure you are truly getting the most out of your hot oil treatments. We’re starting at the beginning and outlining six helpful tips to ensure you get the best benefits from this natural hair care staple.
Start With Clean Hair
Unlike deep conditioners, hot oil treatments shouldn’t be used on soaking wet hair. They should however, be used on hair that’s been recently washed. In order to let the oils do their job your hair and scalp should be free of dirt and product build-up.
Opt for a gentle, cleansing formula like our African Pride Moisture Miracle Honey & Coconut Oil Shampoo, which removes impurities without stripping hair of its natural oils. Then wait until hair is damp to apply your hot oil treatment.
Looking for an alternative way to use a hot oil treatment? Some naturalistas actually use them as a pre-poo to increase manageability and keep breakage to a minimum.
Heat The Oil Properly
Aside from potentially burning your hair and scalp, taking caution when warming up oil is integral. You don’t want to overheat the treatment for safety reasons but also because improper warming techniques can destroy the nutrients in the oil.
Heating your oil in a microwave or boiling it over a stovetop will negate any beneficial properties the oil has. Instead, use a slower method to gradually warm oil up. Ideally, your oil should be in an applicator bottle with a pointed tip for easy application to your hair. Then you’ll simply set that container in a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes to warm up. Trust us, it’ll be worth the wait.
After you’ve applied the oil treatment to your hair then you can turn up the heat and benefits in any number of ways, double up on plastic caps, wrap hair in a towel, sit under a dryer, or opt for a steamer; all of which all enable deeper penetration.
Massage for Maximum Impact
When applying any conditioner, you’ll often hear the general advice to focus on the ends of your hair. They’re the oldest, driest and most in need of some TLC. We don’t dispute that, but a hot oil treatment is the perfect opportunity to show your scalp some of that much-needed love.
Spend a few extra moments massaging your scalp in a circular motion with your fingertips. Not only is this stress-relieving, but the gentle pressure will help increase blood flow, promote healthy hair growth, and eliminate the effects of an itchy, dry scalp.
Rinse with Cool Water
After you’ve left your hot oil treatment on your hair for 15-30 minutes, be sure to rinse it out with cool water. This might be a shock to your system but this is an essential step in order to seal cuticles and lock in all the hot oily goodness.
Choose Your Oils Wisely
Don’t feel you need to just reach for the Coconut oil because that’s what everybody and their mama seem to be using. You might be among the few naturals, whose hair hates Coconut oil. Oils should be chosen based on the specific hair issues you want to address.
The good news is, you have a lot of effective natural ingredients at your disposal, from the everyday to the unconventional. The bad news is, you have a lot of natural ingredients at your disposal. That can make the selection process expensive, not to mention time-consuming, as you test how your hair responds to different blends. Ain’t nobody got time or money for that.
Sure, you can do a hot oil treatment with just one oil, like Jojoba which is rich in fatty acids and closest to your scalp’s natural oil, known as sebum. Personally, we think there’s strength (and moisture) in numbers, combining the benefits from several potent natural ingredients.
Our African Pride 5 Essential Oils with Vitamin E is a restorative, lightweight, hair and scalp oil blend, jam-packed with natural goodness to replenish natural nutrients, protect against breakage, promote growth and strengthen strands, while infusing coils and curls with moisture and body. Every oil was thoughtfully selected to benefit the unique needs of type 4 hair:
Castor Oil: Nourishes scalp and promotes hair growth.
Grapeseed Oil: Provides thermal protection, smooths and adds shine.
Argan Oil: Natural antioxidant, smooths hair cuticles.
Coconut Oil: Deeply conditions, hydrates and helps to repair.
Olive Oil: Seals in moisture and prevents breakage.
Vitamin E: Improves scalp circulation and stimulates hair growth.
Do A Hot Oil Treatment The Right Way
Utilizing all the proper techniques outlined above, be sure to follow these steps to get the most out of your hot oil treatment and ensure maximum moisture:
- Start with clean, damp hair.
- Warm oil in an applicator bottle over boiling water.
- Before applying oil to your hair and scalp be sure to patch test a small amount to make sure it’s the right temperature.
- Apply oil throughout hair, combing through strands so it coats everything. Massage gently into the scalp.
- For maximum moisture you can cover hair with a shower cap and/or sit under a dryer.
- Leave on for 15-30 minutes depending on your hair type and level of dryness.
- Rinse with cool water and follow with a nourishing conditioner like our Honey, Chocolate & Coconut Oil Conditioner.
- Repeat weekly or as needed.
The final step? Enjoy your luscious, hydrated locks.