I often get asked by parents of mixed kids, “Is hair oil good for curly hair?” The answer is yes… for the most part. But it’s not always so straightforward.
For people with naturally curly, wavy or coily hair, these hair types often don’t produce much sebum, our scalp’s natural oil. Sebum is what hydrates hair, adding shine, decreasing frizz and giving it strength. It’s also crucial to keep the scalp and hair from becoming dry and brittle, which can lead to more split ends. This lack of hydration then can cause frizz, making hair look dull (read: no shine). Adding oil to your curly hair therefore, helps to keep your hair looking healthy and shiny.
I have included affiliate links to some products that have worked for us. Use these or try your own, nothing has worked for all three of mine 100% of the time and it will depend on your hair type and what you’re hoping to use it for. Use oil as part of your curly hair routine (but not daily) and see how it works on your curly hair.
There are at least six reasons why hair oil can be beneficial for curly mixed race hair:
- To tame frizz- On a humid day when your curly hair is poofing out, hair oil can be heavy and help to weight it down. Apply to the ends or to flyaways.
- To add shine- Key here is to choose a lightweight oil here to add shine and keep hair healthy looking. And only a little.
- Protection for dry, damaged hair– Try using a hair oil as a pre-poo treatment to help hair retain moisture before washing.
- To help with split ends– Applying hair oil to the ends of hair strands can help with dry, brittle split ends.
- Promoting hair growth- Rubbing certain oils into the scalp can stimulate hair follicles to grow faster.
- Helps as a detangler– Hair oil can help wonders if you’re struggling with stubborn knots. Start at the bottom of your hair and gently work your way up.
So which curly hair oil is best for me?
There are two main types of oils: sealing and moisturizing:
- Sealing oils (like this jojoba oil) seal in moisture and sit on top of the hair, so you’ll need to apply water or conditioner to your hair beforehand for them to really work.
- Moisturizing oils (like coconut, olive, or avocado) are heavier oils and can absorb into the hair fibre- so a great moisturizer for the hair (like this one).
Sealing and moisturizing oils are meant to be used at different times — one after a shower, for instance, and the other during a deep-conditioning treatment — and each is applied in different ways. The key is to be mindful of how much and how often you’re using it to avoid weighing hair down or build-up.
How much should I apply?
Only a pea-sized amount of oil is needed; a little goes a long way. Oils are a great way to smooth frizz and to keep ends lubricated. They are a sealant as well, so they seal the cuticle down. Be sure to avoid applying too much, which is what can make hair look greasy.
Remember: oil should not be used as your daily moisturizer
We all know that oil and water don’t mix. Well, the same is true for your curly hair. Applying oil before your daily moisturizer can actually prevent the moisturizing ingredient from penetrating the hair and make it drier. Depending on your curly hair type, a certain amount of water is needed in order to maintain healthy moisturized hair. How your hair can respond to water is based significantly on its porosity (how people measure your hair’s ability to absorb moisture). Your curly hair, regardless of type, needs a water-based protein treatment to block moisture from passing through the cuticle. Using oils in your hair completely hinders that process so be mindful about using it daily or before your you’ve applied your moisturizing routine.