More than likely oils will be the first products you are introduced to as a new natural. Some will swear that you can’t go natural unless you apply oils to your hair and scalp. I believe this is a remnant of the days when we were taught that the proper way to care for our hair was to keep the hair and especially the scalp greased. Usually this greasing was also accompanied by scratching the scalp or using a comb to manually remove dandruff buildup from the scalp, which was probably caused from the grease clogging the pores.
This, we were taught, was the secret to growing long healthy hair.
Though many may disagree, I personally view oils as a luxury and not a necessity. While oils do have beneficial properties which we will discuss later you will not fail in your natural hair journey should you choose not to use them. However, for those who are interested in adding them to their regimen this weeks blog will help you to navigate the seemingly endless selection of oils and oil mixes, provide you with ideas on how to use them and most importantly how to save money.
Before you embark on the search for the perfect oil, you must first understand what oils can and cannot do.
The most important thing to recognize is that oils are not moisturizers. Often times when someone complains of having dry hair the first suggestion is to put oil on it. Even the phrase put oil on it as opposed to in it provides a clue as to why oil alone will not alleviate dry hair (or skin).
The role of a moisturizer is to hold moisture in the hair. Moisturizers usually contain humectants which are substances that attract moisture. Oils on the other hand help to hold the moisture in the hair and also make the hair soft and pliable. Most moisturizers and conditioners contain both humectants and oils.
Although there are some oils that can penetrate the hair shaft (more later) most do not. Oils coat the top of the hair and can aid in giving it a smoother appearance but to have moisturizing effects the product must be able to affect the hair’s cuticle. As you probably already know, the best moisturizer for Black hair is water. The moisturizers I have found to work best are water based (water is listed first on the list of ingredients) and also contain natural oils. My personal favorite is Hollywood Beauty Olive Crème. It is a creamy water based moisturizer infused with 4 oils, although the ingredient list contains far more than that. Sometimes I will use an oil to seal in the moisturizer; however, because it contains oil the extra step is not necessary.
In short, oils should be used to help prevent moisture loss and to seal moisture into your hair. You should first be using a water based product or water. Then you can use an oil to seal.