Let’s talk oils girls. You all know I’m crazy about them. I must have, at least, one oil in my curly hair routine and I use different ones for different purposes and at different times. But which oils are for growth? And which are for strength? And which are for finer hair? So many oils, but not to worry; here is a simple breakdown of all the oils, and of how and when to use them.

 

Carrier & Essential Oils: What is the difference?

 

Carrier oils and Essential oils differ in structure, properties, and therapeutic benefits. Simply put, essential oils are highly concentrated oils that should never be applied to skin, scalp or hair directly, as they can burn right through or cause severe skin irritation. Carrier oils, on the other hand, are not very potent or concentrated and can be used to dilute essential oils. They are just as beneficial as essential oils.

 

Below are the most common Carrier Oils and Essential Oils for hair:

 

Carrier Oils: Essential Oils:
Argan oil Lavender
Avocado oil Peppermint
Castor oil Rosemary
Coconut oil
Grape seed oil
Jojoba oil
Olive oil
Shea butter
Sweet almond oil

Let’s talk carrier oils first:

1) Argan oil:

Contains high levels of Vitamin E, Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids, and antioxidants, all of which do wonders for damaged, dry, or frizzy hair.

Benefits

1) It is an excellent agent for taming frizz and promoting shine and softness.

2) It promotes the growth of healthy, strong hair as opposed to thin, brittle hair.

3) It can undo the damage done through chemical treatments and dyes. It can be also used to treat split ends.

Applications

 

1) As a Leave-In Conditioner: Add a few drops of oil on your hands and rub between your palms. Scrunch your hands and fingers through damp or towel-dried hair. Make sure to target your tips to treat split ends.

2) As a Styling Agent: Rub a few drops of oil between your palms and gently stroke over your frizzy areas. This will decrease frizz and improve shine.

3) As a deep treatment: Use a liberal amount of the oil and massage it into your scalp, hair, and tips and then cover your hair in a shower cap to trap heat. Leave the treatment in overnight (or however long you like) and then shower. You can also add any other oil to it like coconut, castor and olive oil.

4) As a conditioner: Add a few drops of oil to your regular conditioner and work through your hair as usual. Leave on for a few minutes then rinse as usual.

  1. Avocado Oil:

 

Like the fruit, avocado oil, contains proteins, healthy fats, Amino Acids and Vitamins A, D, E, and B6. The proteins will help fill in damaged airs in your hair’s cuticles, repairing damage that’s already been done and preventing future breakage and frizz. Avocado oil is strong and thick, so it is most effective when used on medium to thick hair.

 

Benefits

  • Perfect for hair that is dry due to heat damage.
  • Its high Vitamin E strengthens hair to prevent breakage
  • Helps bind split ends together.
  • It is lighter than olive oil and will absorb into the cuticle without weighing your hair down.
  • Can also encourage healing on the scalp when faced with a sunburn and acts as a natural sunscreen.

Application

 

  • Leave in Conditioner: Massage two-three drops of oil into your scalp while your hair is damp and comb it through with a wide-tooth comb. This will detangle while thoroughly coating your hair.
  • Styling agent: Use your fingertips to run a little oil on to smooth down dry frizzy hair.
  • Moisturizer: Add a drop of oil to your favorite cream styling product to moisturize hair while adding shape.

 

  1. Castor Oil:

 

It is a vegetable oil that has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is very rich in proteins, minerals, and Vitamin E, which create this magic potion for our hair. It is the number one oil for fighting hair loss.

Benefits

  • Increases hair growth and controls hair loss because it carries Ricinoleic acid and Omega- 6 essential fatty acids, which accelerate blood circulation to the scalp, thus increasing hair growth. It basically works on nourishing the scalp and strengthening the roots.
  • Fights scalp infections and dandruff since it possesses anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. It’s prefect for issues such as bald patches and having an itchy scalp.
  • Moisturizes hair as it is ‘moisture rich’ and penetrates deep into the scalp and conditions the hair immediately. With its exceptional moisturizing and conditioning properties, castor oil leaves a coating on the hair shaft to lock the much-needed moisture in. Using it is an easy way to regain shine.

 

 

 

Applications

  • Hair growth: Mix some coconut oil with castor oil. Take some into your hands and begin with massaging the scalp. Once done, cover your head with a shower cap and leave overnight, if possible. Rinse hair as usual. It’s possible to do this every night, but don’t use too much oil so you don’t have to shower every day.
  • Fighting infections and Dandruff: Take 1 Tbsp. of castor oil with olive oil and mix with the juice of half a lemon. Apply on scalp and wash after half an hour.
  • Natural conditioner and moisturizer: Apply some castor oil in your hair at least 15 minutes before using a shampoo. Or mix a tiny drop of castor oil into your preferred leave-in conditioner and apply it as usual. Another way to condition your hair is by mixing some castor oil, aloe vera gel, honey, lemon juice and applying the mixture on your roots. Leave it for half an hour and wash.
  1. Coconut Oil:

This oil contains high levels of Vitamin E and high amounts of fatty acids such as Lauric and Capric acid. These medium chain fatty acids have a small molecular structure and size that allows them to easily penetrate the scalp and hair, thus feeding them with vital nutrients needed for healthy hair. This makes coconut oil the best penetrative hair oil.

              Benefits

1) It has amazing antimicrobial powers that prevent dandruff, having an itchy scalp and infections.

2) It can prevent protein loss in hair.

3) It stimulates hair growth.

4) It moisturizes dry hair.

5) It prevents hair breakage and split ends.

6) It also slows down hair loss.

 

Note:

Since Coconut oil helps prevent the loss of protein in hair, if your hair has enough protein and doesn’t need the extra help of preventing loss then it can cause your hair to be dry, brittle, and break off due to too much protein in your hair. If this happens then your hair is ‘protein sensitive’- or simply put: it has enough protein and does not need more, so just avoid using coconut oil on its own or as a leave-in after the shower as it will harm your hair. Girls who find themselves protein sensitive are usually girls with Low Porosity hair. For more on porosity, click here for everything you need to know about hair porosity.

Applications

  • Deep Conditioning: Warm the oil and rake it through damp or dry hair before you shower. Leave it in for as long as you can (even overnight) and then rinse. For protein sensitive hair: add another oil to it. Olive oil, Argan oil, Shea butter, and Castor oil are my favorite. Try wrapping your hair in a warm towel/shower cap when you’re deep conditioning to help absorption.
  • For hair growth: Use your fingers to gently massage a small amount of oil into your scalp at night. If you have long hair, it may be easier to flip your head upside down in order to apply oil to your entire scalp. Do this every day and you will stimulate a lot of hair growth.

 

NB: Only use a little oil so you do not have to shower every day, thus making sure you are not ridding your hair of the nutrients given to it.

 

  • For High Porosity Hair: After you shower and apply your leave-in conditioner, apply 2-3 drops of oil all over your hair to lock in moisture, and then end with your leave-in cream/gel (LOC Method).
  • As a detangler: Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into the ends of your hair, start from the ends and work your way up to gently. Detangle your hair first with your fingers and then with a comb or hair pick.
  1. Grapeseed oil:

This an oil pressed from the seeds of grapes. It includes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help promote and protect healthy hair. When combined with essential oils, the benefits of grape seed oil often complement the essential oil’s properties.

Benefits

 

1) Strengthening: The oil contains Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to build tissue, thus can help restore hair strength.

2) Reducing Hair Loss: The oil contains antioxidants that may help block the production of DHT, which is a hormone that causes hair loss.

3) Reducing Dandruff: Dandruff is caused by a dry and flaky scalp, and since this oil is full of emollients and nutrients it can help nurture the growth of healthy skin cells.

4) Moisturizing and Conditioning: It is lighter than Olive oil or Coconut oil and won’t leave your hair feeling weighed down or greasy. It also helps to lock in moisture and prevent frizz, split ends, and brittle hair.

Applications

 

1) Strengthening: Cover your hair and massage your scalp with heated grapeseed oil. You can add any essential oil to it, especially Lavender or Rosemary for a more enhanced effect. Wrap a towel around your head overnight, and wash it out in the morning for healthier hair.

2) Reducing hair loss: Mix a few tsps. of grapeseed oil with a drop or two of jojoba oil and rub it into your scalp to treat hair loss. Again, you can add any essential oil to it, especially Rosemary or Peppermint for a more enhanced effect. Do this every night, but don’t use too much oil, so you don’t have to wash your hair every day.

3) Reducing Dandruff: Before your shower, rub grapeseed oil into your scalp, in a circular motion, to loosen the skin while allowing the oil to be absorbed.

4) Moisturizing and Conditioning: Coat clean dry/damp hair with the oil and leave it in for ten minutes, then rinse it out with cold water for an easy deep-conditioning treatment.

  1. Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is high in Vitamins A, E and D and is great for all hair types. It can be found in several all-natural hair products but is definitely most effective on its own.

Benefits

  • It helps repair damaged hair and promotes new, healthy hair growth.
  • It has antibacterial properties and is the only oil that matches the natural oils that our scalp produces. This helps in balancing oil production, and in decreasing scalp irritation.
  • It leaves you with a healthier head of hair and thus a better chance at stimulating growth and maintaining length.

Applications

1) Hair mask: Mix one-fourth cup of jojoba oil and add several drops of Rosemary or Lavender essential oil. If you don’t have essential oils that’s ok they’re just an added bonus. Saturate your hair and scalp with the mix. Add a shower cap to allow heat to build up, which will open cuticles and promote penetration of the jojoba oil. Keep in overnight, or at least for an hour. Rinse as usual.

2) Conditioner: Just apply jojoba oil as you normally would your conditioner after shampooing. Leave it in for a few minutes and rinse lightly.

3) Leave in conditioner: One way to stop frizz and help your hair retain moisture. Fill a small spray bottle with jojoba oil. After your hair is dry, spritz the oil on from roots to ends.

4) Treat Split Ends: Just massage a few drops of oil onto your split ends gently on a daily basis. Don’t wash out.

  1. Olive oil (Extra Virgin):

This oil is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of Oleic acid (Omega fatty acid). It works as a moisturizer, deep conditioner and dandruff treatment.

Benefits

  1. Olive oil coats hair well for a frizz-free finish.
  2. Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe scalp irritation.
  3. Its thick consistency makes it ideal for hair that absorbs cream products too quickly (high porosity hair). It seals and protects hair from humidity and dryness for days.

 

Application

  • As a deep conditioner: Coat dry hair from roots to ends in olive oil and wrap it in a warm towel. Leave for 30 minutes and then rinse completely. You can warm up a little honey and add it to the oil for an even more moisturizing treatment!
  • Daily moisturizer and frizz controller: Rub a few drops between your fingertips to warm up the oil before gently sweeping it over any problem areas; just be sure to avoid your roots to ensure enough volume.
  1. Shea butter:

This butter is a solid fatty oil that is derived from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea tree. It is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F and offers natural UV protection because of has SPF ~6.

Benefits

  • Soothes Dry Scalp: Rich in vitamins A and E it soothes dryness, repairs breakage and mends split ends.
  • Natural moisturizer and conditioner: Vitamins A & E help moisturize hair from roots to tips.
  • Natural Sunscreen and heat protectant: Coats the hair shaft and protects from damage caused by the sun, chemical treatments, blow dryers, straighteners, salt and chlorine contained in swimming pools

Applications

  1. Natural Conditioner: Warm it until it is melted, then apply the hot oil on wet shampooed hair. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.

 

  1. Relieving of dry itchy scalp: Take a small amount of melted shea on your fingertips and apply it on the scalp, rubbing it in. The oil gets absorbed completely. Apply twice or thrice a week for healthy hair growth and a less irritable scalp.

3) Hot oil treatment: Use it on its own or with other oils such as Coconut or Castor oil. Melt them and apply the mixture to dry hair before your shower. Keep on for 30 mins to 1 hour and rinse as usual. Unlike other oils- Shea butter is very easy to rinse out, but if you’ll be using it with heavier oils such as the ones mentioned above, then you may need to use a sulfate free shampoo to cleanse thoroughly.

4) Leave in conditioner: Apply a small amount on wet hair so it helps to lock in the moisture right after a wash. You can use it with a light leave in conditioner or cream.

  1. Sweet almond oil

It is extracted from raw almonds and is loaded with high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, potassium, proteins, zinc, and a number of other vitamins and minerals.

*Caution: may cause a reaction to those with nut allergies.

Benefits

1) It can penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize hair from the inside.

2) It helps controls hair loss.

3) It is a natural heat protectant.

4) It gets rid of split ends.

Applications

1) Hair loss fighter: Warm 1 Tbsp. of oil and apply it to the scalp every night. Rub it in gently until most of the oil is absorbed into the scalp. Don’t put too much so you don’t have to wash everyday.

2) Hair mask: On its own or with other oils, massage into hair and scalp. Use a shower cap to trap heat in, keep overnight for at least 1 hour. Rinse as usual.

3) Heat protectant:  If you’re planning to use heat on your hair (blow drying or flat irons), do the following- finish your washing, conditioning and after towel drying, apply a few drops of almond oil to your hair to protect it during heat styling.

Finally, let’s summarize the different uses of the oils:

DRY HAIR OILY HAIR THINNING HAIR OR HAIR GROWTH DANDRUFF
 

CARRIER

OILS

 

Jojoba

Almond

Olive

Coconut

Castor

Shea butter

 

 

 

Argan

Jojoba

Grapeseed

Avocado

Castor

Grape seed

Coconut

 

Castor

Avocado

Olive

Jojoba

Argan