Knowing how to choose the best oil for hair growth and general care, however, is not as easy as it seems. Not all hair oils are created equally, so when choosing one for your natural hair, it’s important to be discerning. Whether extra moisture, shine, or growth is your goal, here’s a primer on how different oils work.
Should You Use Hair Oils On Natural Hair?
Textured hair is probably one of the biggest beneficiaries of hair moisturizers, including oils, and that’s for a good reason. As already noted, curly hair is one of the driest of all hair types, so it’s on a constant search for moisture, whether that's from the environment or added products. While your hair can take moisture from humid air, that will often lead to unwanted frizz. Relying on products like hair oils helps to moisturize your strands without the possible unknowns of dealing with the environment.
While hair oils offer much-needed moisture, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. So you may be wondering: Is it good to put oil on your hair every day? It is okay to use hair oil daily, but it may not be necessary. It really depends on your specific texture and hair concerns. For curls that are super dry and feel like they are craving a continuous dose of moisture, a light penetrating oil like the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Pure Hair Oil (formulated with safflower seed, calendula, and chamomile oils ) may be your best bet. You’ll get the hydration minus that extra weight.
What Is The Difference Between Moisturizing And Sealing Oils?
Do oils moisturize hair? The answer is yes, but only certain oils. There are two main types of oils you should know about: moisturizing oils and sealing oils. Some oils are thinner than others and can actually penetrate the hair to provide moisture, while others serve the sole purpose of sealing in moisture. Both are beneficial to dry hair, but it’s important to know which you’re working with. First up, let’s talk more about moisturizing oils.
Moisturizing Oils for Hair
Typically, the oils that are going to give hair the most hydrating benefits are ones that are thinner and can actually seep into dehydrated strands. To do this, the molecules that make up the oil have to be small enough to penetrate the hair. So, which oils penetrate hair the best? Well, there actually aren't that many oils that have this structure. Three that do are coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. Not only are these tiny enough to get inside and replenish moisture, but they also each have other benefits that help boost hair health.
1. Coconut Oil for Hair
You want to get unrefined extra virgin coconut oil; it’s the least processed and ideal for helping to replenish moisture in dry hair. It’s actually one of the few oils that can both penetrate and seal. Although, while it can get beneath the surface, the amount that actually goes in is questionable, so it’s best applied when mixed with a water-based leave-in conditioner like the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. The water works as a carrier for better absorption.
Coconut oil is also great for highly porous hair that soaks up product but doesn’t necessarily hold moisture very well. The natural proteins in coconut oil help fortify the gaps to better seal in moisture and ultimately prevent damage.
2. Olive Oil for Hair
Is olive oil good for hair? Yes! Similar to coconut oil, olive oil can sink into strands, but this one needs a little help as well. Try applying it post-wash while your hair is still wet. The water will help the oil sink deeper into the hair. Once absorbed, it softens hair, making it easier to detangle, and on the surface, you’ll notice a lot more shine.
3. Avocado Oil for Hair
You’ll find this one already infused into many shampoos, conditioners, and styling treatments like the Hair Milk Curl Butter. On its own, this penetrating oil is nutrient-packed. It’s high in essential vitamins and nutrients that can help with growing out hair, making it one of the best oils for hair growth. The oleic and other fatty acids in avocado oil help strengthen the hair shaft to prevent breakage. With less breakage comes thicker, stronger, and, in some cases, longer hair. Try it as a pre-poo or as a weekly deep treatment.
Sealing Oils for Hair
Now, onto sealing oils. A sealing oil isn’t capable of penetrating the hair and doesn’t offer moisture. However, don’t count these types of oil out just yet. They still serve an important role in your hair care routine: locking in moisture. By layering a sealing oil over hair moisturizers and other nourishing products, you can trap moisture in your hair.
1. Jamaican Black Castor Oil for Hair
On top of being a great moisture sealant, Jamaican black castor oil has a reputation for helping hair reach new lengths. While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, there are plenty of women who credit this thick oil for helping them reach their hair length goals. If you’re interested in incorporating this sealing oil into your routine, consider lightly coating your strands one to two times a week.
Jamaican black castor oil can also be used as a pre-poo treatment if you massage it directly onto your scalp and throughout your strands. Just be sure to give your hair a thorough washing, as this oil has a thick honey-like texture, and leaving it in too long can cause your hair to become matted.
2. Grapeseed Oil for Hair
Hair that’s thin or fine can benefit greatly from grapeseed oil since it’s so lightweight. It will sit on top of strands to keep moisture in without weighing them down. The linoleic acid in grapeseed oil isn’t naturally produced by our bodies, so adding it topically can help control water loss in hair and ward off hair loss. It also has a high resistance to heat, so you can try applying it to damp hair as a heat protectant if you diffuse or ever blow out your curls.
3. Jojoba Oil for Hair
Another popular oil for thinner or finer hair is jojoba oil. Although it's a sealant, it’s not too heavy and also works well as a scalp treatment if you have any dryness or flaking. For scalp health, you want something that will soothe any irritation or dryness without making your roots look greasy. Jojoba delivers on both. It also works well as a lighter styler. Smooth a jojoba oil hair butter, which is formulated with jojoba oil, across your curls to calm frizz and add shine.
How To Introduce Both Moisturizing And Sealing Oils To Your Routine
While you can layer hair oils to reap all the benefits (moisturizing oils first, then sealing oils), you can also reach for products that contain some of both. Take the Goddess Strength 7 Oil Blend Scalp & Hair Oil. with castor oil, for example. Formulated with castor, coconut, grapeseed, olive, sunflower seed, flaxseed, and black cumin seed oils, the formula wraps strands with moisture and protects against damage. And yes, even with all those different hair oils, it doesn’t weigh down hair!
Do Oils Make Your Hair Grow?
You may be familiar with the many raved-about benefits of certain oils like castor hair oil. The most popular claim is that it helps hair grow. While there is no scientific evidence to prove that hair oils can make hair grow, some of the best hair oils for growth (castor included) can help to prevent breakage, resulting in longer hair. The best hair oils keep hair from becoming brittle and damaged, which helps to keep your strands on your head and not down the drain. If your hair is free to grow without interruption from breakage, it can appear to be longer and stronger over time.
Extra Hair Moisture Sealing Tips
If hair oil alone isn’t giving your strands the moisture you crave, try layering on a soft but thick butter, like raw shea butter. If you feel butters and oils just aren’t for you, try sealing your hair with pure aloe vera juice after applying a leave-in. Its acidity is perfect for closing the cuticle.
Go even deeper with your oil knowledge and learn The Monoi Oil Benefits You Need to Know About.