Curl-friends: Hot oil is not just for cooking!

FroRealNoLyeIf you have never tried a hot oil treatment, try it at least once. It is an easy process that can be done at home safely.

For best results, it is recommended to do this treatment before you wash your hair. Hot oil treatments before a shampoo can become your secret weapon in preventing dandruff and dry scalp. It can also smooth the cuticle, soften dry rough hair, and help to seal in moisture.

Deciding what oils to use really can be the most challenging part of the process. The simple method is to use a pre-packaged oil treatment that can be purchased at any beauty supply store or retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, etc.

However, with all the many oils on the market, some of us have become backyard chemists or mixologists and make our own oil creations. Often we add essential oils that can further enhance the results by helping to control irritation, stimulate hair follicles, improve circulation, and even promote hair growth.

Before discussing oil choices, please remember these basic tips when doing oil treatments:

  • Your hair does not need to be drenched in oil for it to be effective.
  • Safety first! Always test the temperature before you apply the heated oil.
  • The oil does not need to be HOT — warm is just fine
  • When using essential oils, remember they are like pharmaceuticals, so do your own homework in terms of the amount to use, and always mix with carrier oil.

Based on my own research, these are the top five most common oils curlies like to use, followed by the top five complimentary essential oils that can be added to the mixture:

  1. Coconut Oil — used on all hair types and can penetrate the hair shaft.
  2. Olive Oil —Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is high in antioxidants Vitamins A and E providing anti-aging properties.
  3. Jojoba Oil — a light oil that leaves your hair soft.
  4. Grape Seed Oil — can serve as a natural heat protectant and strengthen hair strands.
  5. Safflower Oil — nourishes the hair follicles and stimulates blood circulation.

You can use each of these oils alone, or mix them, or add essential oils. An essential oil is a concentrated liquid comprised of the volatile aromatic compounds isolated from plant parts. Essential oils are a powerful natural resource that has remarkable healing properties. I recommend using two to three drops maximum to your mixtures, especially if you have not done your own research. The essential oils below made the top five list:

  1. Peppermint — Promotes growth by stimulating circulation.
  2. Tea Tree — Treatment for dry scalp, dandruff and lice.
  3. Rosemary — Dandruff treatment and promotes hair growth.
  4. Lavender — Helps balance natural scalp oils and soothes scalp.
  5. Chamomile — Soothes inflamed scalp and helps psoriasis.

Steps to apply your hot oil treatment

  1. Put your oil in a heat-safe plastic applicator bottle or use prepared store-bought tube.
  2. Place the applicator bottle or tube in a cup of hot water that could be tap or microwaved (30 seconds) for a minute or two. Do not microwave the oils, as they may lose valuable nutrients.
  3. Make sure oil is not too hot, then apply oil to scalp, roots, and entire hair shaft.
  4. Massage oil into your scalp about five minutes using fingertips moving in circular motion.
  5. Cover hair with a plastic cap for at least 30 minutes; some leave in overnight. For more intense treatment, sit under the dryer or steamer, or wrap a hot damp towel or heat cap around your head.
  6. Lastly, rinse the oil out of your hair in the shower and follow up with a shampoo or conditioner. Your hair strands should come out feeling soft and looking shiny!

In terms of what oil is best, it’s really about what you prefer and what you feel your hair needs. Keep building a solid, healthy hair-care regimen. If you try this treatment, as my grandmother would say, “Now you’re cooking with oil.”

Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!

Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to keubanks85@comcast.net.