Unlike synthetic oils such as petroleum and mineral oil that has traditionally been passed through the black hair community over generations, natural oils and butters are now vastly considered to be a superior healthy hair care option. When defining healthy natural hair, many professionals and experts focus on the need for black hair to be moisturised thoroughly and effectively as this aid’s growth, replenishment and renewal. Where oils come into the mix as either a moisturiser or sealant, is for it to act as a barrier for either retaining water or water-based products, or function as a hydrating deliverable that physically reaches the hair shaft to keep it moisturised and healthy. Why oils are considered to be more effective and beneficial for black hair has been illustrated by Award Winning Hair Stylist Charlotte Mensah, “Textured hair is naturally drier, so using an oil coats the hair and absorbs for a smoother cuticle. Natural oils softens the hairs outer layer and allows moisture to penetrate it deeply, it can be used both as a nourishing treatment and as a styling primer to help smooth the hair.” Oils are extremely powerful for black hair and have idealistic properties that other products such as serums and milks do not for moisturising hair. They have a slight polarity to support protein reinforcement in the fibre, capacity to form light and permeable films that help to seal in moisture and hold a high level of saturation. From these properties alone as well as their multi-functional use, brands are sourcing out new and natural ingredients that will help support the strength and growth of natural hair. From Coconut oil to Grapeseed oil, it is important to find what oil works for your hairs needs and whilst there are a plethora of oils to play around with, mix together and apply, it is vital to remember that oils have played a huge chapter in the history of black hair for its sheer weight of enhancing shine, health, softness and flexibility as well as being a key agent in truly sealing in moisture for hair to flourish.
Packed with Vitamins A, E and B-5, Minerals, Antioxidants, Biotin and essential Fatty Acids, Avocado as a moisturising oil helps to repair damaged hair strands, strengthen and moisturise hair. Shea Moisture’s 100% Pure Avocado Oil is a miracle when wanting to restore the look and feel of the hair and applied straight on the roots immediately leaves hair feeling healthy and restored. To see its best result on your hair, apply it before washing and as a weekly deep treatment.
Known for being susceptibly close or recognised for its similarity to the natural sebum oil produced by the scalp, Jojoba oil is very swiftly acknowledged by the hair and is rapidly absorbed into the scalp. Considered to be one of the best sealants as it locks in moisture to the hair, Jojoba oil is your hair’s answer to silky tresses without the heavy or weighted feeling. Cantu’s Tea Tree and Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil conditions and soothes the scalp whilst moisturising strands and promoting healthy growth. Protecting against breakage, encouraging growth and combined with Tea Tree oil, this treatment reveals healthier hair overall.
The most popular of the group, Coconut oil is made up of small molecules that are able to slip into the hair shaft which allows it to condition the hair from the inside out. The most identified and recognised moisturising oil, Coconut oil penetrates the hair strands offering a deep moisturisation to take effect. Celebrity hairstylist Lorraine Dublin believes “Coconut oil is good for the scalp and skin to keep it moist. It also has vitamins and essential fatty acids which nourish the scalp and help to remove sebum build-up from hair follicles. For a mini mid-week moisture injection apply coconut oil to your hair and scalp and then cover with a shower cap for 3-5 minutes.” Most productive in its rawest form, 100% Coconut oil such as Holland & Barret’s Perfectly Pure Extra Virgin Pure Coconut Oil is all you need and whether applied before cleansing to avoid Hydral Fatigue or after conditioning, this oil stands the test of time and truly moisturises natural hair.
Renowned for its nourishing properties, Olive oil relieves dry and itchy scalps as well as helps to promote shine and manageability. Great for both hot oil treatments, mixed with conditioners or added to other oils such as Castor oil, Olive oil allows for the perfect cocktail mix of ingredients. ORS Olive Oil Exotic Hair Oil restores moisture, promotes healthy hair growth and isn’t greasy on the scalp and because of its nozzle feature can easily be applied through the hair without messing up the style.
TEA TREE OIL
More of a cleansing oil, Tea Tree oil has the ability to nourish the hair roots and unclog the hair follicles. Known for its potency, when working with Tea Tree oil it is advised not to apply this straight onto the scalp and so in an oil mix, this will not damage the hair but stick true to its benefits. The Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal & Tea Tree Scalp Treatment is packed with tea tree to reduce flakes and itchiness and Binchotan Charcoal to get rid of any excess product build up, Witch Hazel to balance sebum production and Aloe Vera to soothe the scalp.
Most beneficial to apply when wanting to seal in moisture after applying water or water-based leave ins to the hair. Lightweight yet extremely effective, Grapeseed oil seals in the moisture with no questions asked. Perfect for finer or thinner hair textures, it doesn’t weigh the hair down and whilst acting as a natural moisturiser it is formulated for protecting sensitive skin, Now Solutions Grapeseed Oil creates the perfect blend for it to coat the hair effortlessly and seal in the moisture it needs.
Known as a humectant or sealing oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil is celebrated for its ability to draw our impurities and stimulate hair growth. Celebrity Hair Stylist, Dionne Smith, comments “ Most afro-textured hair people would have grown up on this one I’m sure, it’s one of the go-to oils for Afro-textured hair types, it helps to combat dryness and adds moisture to the hair, it’s known to strengthen and also stimulate hair growth. It’s also very good for scalp and skin conditions such as itchy scalp, dandruff, and eczema giving it relief and improving on these conditions once regularly used. This oil can be quite thick and hard to shampoo out so be careful not to overuse the product”. The Sunny Isle Rosemary Black Castor Oil is as authentic as it gets in terms of its strength and not being diluted with other oils, thick yet impactful this oil will leave your hair feeling stronger, renewed and rejuvenated, but be mindful of your white bed sheets because this can stain.
Widely considered to be one of the best oils for natural hair, it helps fight frizz and leaves a great shine on once dull and lacklustre hair. A secret to mastering this oil is to source a 100% percent Argan product if you want to reap its full benefits. Argan can be used in accordance with your shampoo and conditioner to soften the hair if preferred not to use alone but as Dionne confirms, “ I’ve become to love Argan Oil of late, I like the shine it gives to hair, with a few drops and even distribution on the hair. It blow-dries nicely too leaving the hair feeling soft & silky and it also helps to improve the elasticity of the hair if used as part of a routine too.” As I Am’s Extra Virgin Argan Oil is made 100% purely from argan oil and is collected, cracked open and extracted from the seed that is then cold pressed to produce the oil.
Technically not an oil, but once melted and turned into an oil, Shea Butter has thick properties that acts as an effective sealant. Containing fatty acids that protect hair from the sun’s UV rays, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin A as a good source of collagen and rich in other acids that help keep the hair and skin moisturised. Ouai Hair Oil is infused not only with shea butter but also Jojoba seed oil and sweet almond oil, this unique blend will leave the hair nourished and protected.
When wanting to revert your hair texture back to life, Monoi Oil is the ingredient you call upon for this to happen. Technically a serum but as powerful as an oil, this will revert dry and heat damaged hair with regular treatment. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum is a healing oil for your hair, lightweight and silicone free this oil has proven benefits of bringing unhealthy hair back to life.
A slightly lesser known oil but nonetheless a great essential oil to supplement into your haircare routine. Lavender Oil is acknowledged to treat alopecia areata and hair loss as well as combined with other natural oils and massaged into the head stimulates the scalp along with the energising properties of the essential oils. Smith similarly mentions, “I love this oil, it smells absolutely amazing and also has healing properties. It’s great for creating shine, encouraging hair growth and helping with thinning hair. It also feels nice on the scalp and can be cocktailed with your favourite conditioner for a routine hair care regime.” The Afrocenchix Soothe Natural Scalp Oil is the answer for replenishing dry scalps whilst infused with Lavender oil and other ingredients such as Olive oil and Almond oil, the scalp treatment will leave hair feeling catered too.
An Oil Cocktail Mix
Whilst these oils can be used solely in a routine or blended together to create the perfect personalised solution for your hair, Charlotte Mensah’s Manketti Hair Oil provides the nourishment, perfect oil blend and renewal for both the scalp and hair. She states, “My Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil is designed for all curly hair types, using organic, ethical and sustainable oil. It is a powerful emollient that is loaded with Vitamin E and a plethora of nutrients including calcium, magnesium protein, zinc and copper. It is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids which act as a barrier to help prevent moisture from escaping from the hair for longer. This product delivers amazing results but also smells divine.”
Article was published REFINERY29 UK.