Oils for Softer Hair

15 December 2021

Hair is comprised of three distinct layers.  The outside part of the shaft is where the natural oils are produced, which makes hair look shiny and protects it from breaking.  Winter winds, dry indoor heating, excessive swimming in chlorinated water, chemical applications (perms and straightening), hot styling products, all can make that outer layer break down and make your hair look dull and feel dry.

There are a number of very fine products on the market today but some people are turning to oils as a hair mask, leave-in conditioner, or combined with shampoo.  These home remedies can help rehydrate your hair.

Take precautions

Even if you don’t have allergies, it is a good idea to do a patch test on your forearm.  Wait at least 48 hours to see if you have a reaction.  If not, follow the directions carefully.  Always dilute essential oils before using on your body.

If you have thick or heavy hair, you may be tempted to use more than recommended.  However, this can result in weighing your hair down and making it difficult to rinse.

Coconut Oil – This has Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, which can help with scalp health and dull hair.  Using this can make your hair appear greasy.  For coarse or curly hair, it may be possible to use it as a leave-in conditioner without that effect.  Otherwise, warm the oil between your hands to open the hair shaft so it the oil will penetrate into the shaft.  Leave it on as long as overnight and then shampoo and condition as you normally would.  It may take several rinses to completely remove the oil.   Reactions to coconut oil are rare, but if it happens, it will look like hives, a red rash.

Olive Oil – Olive oil is also rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids plus emollients like squalane and oleic acid.  It will only take a tablespoon or two to take care of hair and scalp, unless you very long or thick hair.  Don’t go over a quarter cup, though.  Massage oil into dry hair and cover it with a towel for up to 15 minutes.  Comb your hair using a wide-tooth comb.  Then rinse thoroughly.  If you do not get all the oil rinsed out, your hair will look greasy.

avocado oil

Avocado Oil – High in fat, minerals and antioxidants, avocados are good for more than guacamole.  Use it as a hair mask for up to three hours and then rinse.  Or use warm, not hot, avocado oil on freshly washed hair and rinse after about 20 minutes.

Almond Oil – You can combine this with another oil to make a hair mask or apply it directly to the hair, especially on the ends.  It should give your hair some strength and prevent breakage.  If you have an allergy to any type of nuts, you should probably avoid this option.

There are also carrier oils and essential oils that may be of benefit.  Essential oils should be diluted with carrier oil or you can end up with a rash.

If you have any concerns or questions consult with a qualified dermatologist and discuss it with your hair stylist.

 

 

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