Hair Oils: How to Get the Most Benefits
All oils aren’t created equal. Have you ever noticed the different labeling on oils such as “Organic”, “Cold-Pressed”, or “Refined”? These words tell us how pure the particular oil is and it’s very beneficial to understand them if you want your hair to reap maximum benefits from oils.
Oils are used for multiple purposes in hair care such as sealing in moisture, hot oil treatments, and nourishing the scalp. If you just use oils for sealing purposes, then any type of oil will do. However, if you want your hair to actually benefit from nutrients such as Vitamin E and fatty acids which is the purpose of hot oil treatments and scalp massages, then you may want to start reading the labels of your oils.
The way that oil is processed determines the amount of benefits that your hair will receive. To get the most nutrients from your hair oils, you’d want to make sure that they are organic, cold-pressed, and extra-virgin/unrefined.
Organic oil is free of fertilizer, chemical pesticides, and herbicides. Inorganic oil is still relatively beneficial for hair. However, the contaminants can deposit on the hair.
Cold-pressed means that the oil was mechanically extracted with no outside heat usage for extraction. The pressure from this process causes the oil itself to heat up, but doesn’t exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the oil to preserve its nutrients. Expeller-pressed oils are extracted the same way. However, to extract more oil the temperature can reach up to 470 degrees Fahrenheit. There isn’t a difference in fat content between these two processes, but for your hair, the expeller-pressed oil has relatively less nutrient benefits.
Extra (Virgin)/Unrefined Oil refers to the degree in which oil was processed. The oil hasn’t been refined and it doesn’t contain chemical additives to extract more oil. If the oil says unrefined or pure, then it’s an indication of virgin oil. For the longest, I didn’t know that Coconut Oil had a smell. I would watch people on Youtube talk about how amazing it smells and thought that they were lying. Lol. But the Coconut Oil that I was using was refined, meaning that it was bleached and deodorized, hence not having a smell.
Oil is heated for hot oil treatments. However, the oil for hot oil treatments isn’t being heated to a degree that will remove its nutrients. That’s why we put the oil in a hot water bath to prevent overheating. The warm oil, when applied to hair, helps it to absorb faster into the hair.
Without those three labels, your oil will be deprived from its active ingredient. It’ll only be a fatty substance which is great for sealing moisture into the hair, but will have no repairing benefits. To preserve your oil, make sure that you store it in a cool place, away from light.
Making sure that your oil is 100% pure doesn’t mean that it’ll cost more. The Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil that I use cost $3 less than the expeller-pressed and refined coconut oil by Spectrum that I used to buy. Another oil that’s cheaper is regular castor oil over Jamaican Black Castor Oil which is roughly $0.25 more per ounce.
Ammina Rose is a hair and beauty enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. She created Lovin’ Our Textures on the belief that all hair is beautiful no matter the texture or style preference. Follow her hair journey from Relaxed to Natural on Youtube and Instagram.