There are a wide range of Natural Oils which can be used for Black Hair Care, ranging from the more well known coconut, avocado and olive to the more unusual and less heard of sapote, moringa and manketti oils. They each have their own unique properties and are very versatile in the way in which they can be used.
Here are some ideas for using natural oils as part of your hair care routine:
Pre Shampoo - oil the hair prior to shampooing, this helps to counteract the hair and scalp being stripped of its oils during the shampoo process and will also help to soften the feel of the hair. The oil can be applied at room temperature or warmed as a hot oil treatment
Scalp Oil – this is particularly useful for those who have dry, itchy or inflamed conditions, simply apply a small amount of your oil(s) to the scalp and massage in gently
Herbal Oils - this process involves infusing herbs into your chosen oils, then applying the finished product to your hair and scalp. Herbs can be selected depending on your desired outcome, for example to encourage hair growth or improve strength
Lock in Moisture – applying a light layer of oil will seal the moisture (use a moisturising product first) in your hair, something which people with black hair often need to do on a regular basis
An addition – to your shampoo’s, deep conditioners, hair treatment masks, henna or indigo colour treatments – adding a little oil will help to improve the slip of your product and will counteract the effects of other ingredients which may be drying to the hair such as henna or sulphate based shampoos.
To help you decide which oils to use, you may wish to consider the following:
a) Thickness and absorptive capacity of the oil. Some are lighter and more easily absorbed like camellia oil and others like castor are thicker and more likely to just sit on the hair shaft or scalp.
b) The properties and benefits of the oil – choose those which are most suitable to your hair’s needs
c) The price, some oils are more economical than others
The purest and most nutrient rich oils are those which are cold pressed, unrefined and organic, although the refined versions still have their place in healthy hair care.
Here are the properties of some natural oils:
Avocado – rich in vitamins A, B and D, excellent for dry, dull hair, this oil like coconut and olive is highly absorptive and can actually penetrate the hair shaft.
Castor – protects the hair and scalp from the external environment, is said to improve thickness and growth, is a thick and slow to absorb oilso best when blended with other oils.
Coconut – a wonder oil, beneficial to the scalp, soothes irritations and minor scalp disorders, is able to penetrate the hair shaftand is also antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. Please note, coconut oil does not contain high levels of protein and yet many people who have used it believe this to be the case.
Camellia – exceptionally high in Alec acid and vitamin E, helps to smooth and add shine the hair cuticle so useful for frizzes and dull hair, a very light and easily absorbed oil.
Safflower- rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, beneficial for dry and itchy scalps, a light and easily absorbed oil.
Grapeseed - a very light, easily absorbed oil, rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, slightly astringent and therefore toning to the scalp.
Macadamia Nut – protects the hair from external pollutants, is rich and yet easily absorbed, useful for very dry and damaged hair, similar in structure to the natural sebum (oil) of the scalp and therefore a good scalp oil.