What is a Hot Oil Treatment? This is a treatment that is applied to the hair by using oils that have been warmed up. This treatment allows for necessary oils lost to be restored to your hair. This treatment moisturizes, strengthens, clarifies, softens and treats dandruff. The treatment strengthens your hair because the oils coat your strands, protecting them from damage.
If you want to get added benefits from your Hot Oil Treatment, you can consider infusing your oil in herbs. Overall, Hot Oil Treatments give your hair a deep condition effect that works to prevent damage or repair existing damage.
This article will take you through everything you need to know about this treatment. You can choose to have your treatment done at the salon or if you want to save up some coins, then consider doing the treatment yourself i.e ‘DIY Hot Oil Treatment’.
As always, before you administer any home hair remedies, be sure you understand your hair type, porosity, and any safety risks associated with the products you will be using.
In this article, we will cover the following:
Benefits of a Hot Oil Treatment
The different oils you use in your hot oil treatment will determine the benefits that you will reap from the treatment but in general, these are the key benefits of a Hot Oil Treatment:
1- Strengthens the hair
A Hot Oil Treatment will seal raised cuticles making the hair smoother, shinier and easier to work with. The oils in the treatment also nourish the hair and makes it stronger. If you consistently apply the Hot Oil Treatment, you will begin to notice a difference. Your hair will be healthier, shiny and easier to manage.
2- Protects hair from breakage by providing moisture
We all know that dry hair is brittle and prone to breakage, don’t we! A hot oil treatment will protect your hair from breakage by moisturizing and nourishing the hair strands making them strong and flexible hence less prone to breakage.
3- Promotes hair growth
Massaging in the oils not only soothes the scalp, but it also improves blood circulation and air flow to the hair follicles and scalp, thereby, enhancing nutrient supply. The treatment as mentioned earlier seals the hair cuticles and makes the strands flexible hence preventung excessive hair loss and thus will begin to notice length retention.
4- Provides relief from dry scalp and dandruff
Dry scalp and dandruff is commonplace for many natural queens, especially those that have just transitioned and have not figured out a routine that works well. Adding oils such as Peppermint and Tea Tree that have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect will go a long way in proving relief from a dry and itchy scalp.
5- Prevent Split Ends and Frizz
The Hot Oil Treatment protects your ends from frizz and splitting by strengthening them and improving flexibility.
6- Lubricates hair and prevents tangling
Applying a Hot Oil Treatment is an effective way to prepare your hair for detangling. This is because the oils will seal the raised cuticle, smoothing them out and preventing tangling. The strands are also stronger and more flexible hence easier to work through as you gently remove the knots and tangles in your hair.
Is a Hot Oil Treatment right for you?
A Hot Oil Treatment is right for you if your hair is dry, frizzy, and breaks easily. Applying this treatment to such hair will restore the hair moisture and strengthen the hair strands. Equally, if you notice that your hair is prone to split ends and excessive breakage, then it good that you consider a hot oil treatment. The frequency of the hot oil treatment will vary with your hair porosity and type. To learn more about hair porosity, read this article.
A regular Hot Oil Treatment may not be necessary if your hair is well moisturized, flexible, has its natural curl pattern, springs back when pulled and does not tangle up easily. You will know what ‘normal’ feels like if you take the time to understand your hair and follow a consistent regimen. The moment you notice a change in how your hair is behaving, then it is time for you to investigate what is causing the change. A hot oil treatment may then be necessary.
Before you decide on the oil(s) to use for this treatment, you need to understand the properties and benefits of different oils. Oils work differently for different hair types to solve different problems. To learn more about the oils you can consider for this treatment, read this article.
When should you apply a Hot Oil Treatment?
The answer here is it depends on what you want to achieve. From my own experience, I mostly apply the treatment after washing my hair. This is because the cleansing process unclogs pores and the cuticles are open allowing the oils to penetrate deeply. If your hair is dirty, the oils will just sit on top of your hair. However, applying the Hot Oil Treatment can also work if you do it before cleansing if you intend to use your treatment as a pre-poo. I take this option if I am taking down a long term protective hairstyle and want to restore the moisture before starting with the cleansing process. So really, it’s up to you to determine when you want to apply the treatment. Haircare is an art and not an exact science.
Whether to apply the treatment after deep-conditioning of before is a personal choice and depends on your deep conditioning schedule. It also depends on what you want to achieve with your hot oil treatment. Either way works fine.
I analyzed 6 Youtubers who use the Hot Oil Treatment to see their preferred time to apply the treatment. The table below is a summary of the results I found. As you can see, either way, works! 50% applied the treatment before shampooing and 50% applied after shampooing.
Choosing oils for your Hot Oil Treatment
The oils you decide to use for your Hot Oil Treatment depends on your preference and what works best for your hair type. Below are some of my personal favorites when it comes to Hot Oil Treatment.
- Argan Oil: Argan oil is one of the best oils because of its intense moisturizing properties. The oil forms a non-evaporating layer around the hair thus locking in the moisture until it is washed out. This makes the oil one of the most powerful and long-lasting moisturizers. Argan oil penetrates deeply into the cortex of the hair and thus effectively moisturizes from the inside of the hair shaft. The oil is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that the hair easily absorbs. Read this article to learn more about Argan oil.
- Castor Oil: Castor oil has intense moisturizing properties making it a favorite among the natural hair community. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that prevent dandruff and scalp infections. This oil contains Ricinoleic acid that helps increase the circulation of blood to the scalp and helps balance the scalp PH which in turn works to replenish the scalp’s natural oils. Read this article to learn more about Castor Oil.
- Olive Oil: Applying Olive Oil by massaging it into the hair gives you the benefit of increased blood circulation and relaxed muscles which is a good environment for hair growth. Olive Oil strengthens hair by keeping it moisturized and nourishing the hair shaft with the rich fatty acids and vitamins. The main fatty acids in Olive Oil are so small making their penetration easier compared to other oils. The fatty acids in the oil help to restore your lost lipid layer making the hair strong. Read this article to learn more about Olive Oil.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut Oil has a high affinity for hair proteins and when applied to the hair, it penetrates fast and deep. This makes it excellent for hair. This Oil contains Vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids that nourish the scalp and hair strands thus promoting healthy, strong hair that does not break easily. Its richness in fatty acids also stimulates hormones in your body cells which contribute to hair growth. Read this article to learn more about Coconut Oil.
- Baobab Oil: Baobab oil is among the few natural oils that contain omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids. The oil is known for its moisturizing abilities as it contains acids such as linoleic acid which act as moisture retention agents, making it very good for hair that is prone to dryness. Read this article to learn more about Baobab Oil.
- Avocado Oil: The high nutrient content of Avocado oil makes it good for hair. It contains fat-soluble vitamins, high levels of proteins, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids. The oil coats and penetrates the hair strands, lubricating, moisturizing and making it stronger. Read this article to learn more about Avocado Oil.
There are several other oils you can consider. Here is a full list of 21 natural oils you can consider for your hot oil treatment.
How to apply a DIY Hot Oil Treatment
After you have decided on the oils you want to consider for your Hot Oil Treatment, then it’s time to understand the key steps in the process of application. Below are the steps to follow if you take the option of applying the treatment after shampooing.
- Cleanse your hair: This is to allow for deep penetration of the oil since the cuticles are raised and unclogged after washing the hair with warm water.
- Prepare the Hot Oil Treatment. You can decide to use a single oil or a blend of several oils fir instance, a blend of a carrier oil and an essential oil. One of my best blends is Olive Oil + Tea Tree Oil + Castor Oil.
- Warm the oils: mix your oils in a proportion that you will determine. I usually eye-ball, but the proportion of essential oils is usually significantly smaller because a small amount goes a long way. You will need to experiment with the proportions here depending on the condition you want to tackle. Warm the oil using indirect heat, for instance, you can boil water and place your oils over the hot water. The steam will slowly warm the oil. Let the oil warm slightly, do not overdo it. Test the oil on your wrist to ensure it’s not too hot.
- Dampen the hair: If your hair has dried after the cleansing process, re-moisturize it with water by making it damp, not wet.
- Section hair: Section your hair and apply the oils from the scalp up the strands on each section. Massages the scalp and smooth the strands using the tips of your fingers to gently rub the oil in.
- To protect your clothing, place a towel over your shoulders.
- Cover your head and let the oil sit in for at least 30 minutes.
- Proceed to rinse out your hair and then proceed with your normal conditioning process.
Enhancing your Hot Oil Treatment with herbs and essential oils
You can totally decide to play around with this treatment. One of the best ways to enhance the nutritional value of my treatment is to add essential oils or to infuse the oil with a favorite herb. Not only does this result in a sweet-smelling treatment, but it is loaded with nutrients that your hair will love.
Herbal infusion works to add in extra moisture, to clarify and add shine. The quickest and easiest way to personalize your hot oil is by using essential oils. Below are some suggestions of herbs you can add to your treatment to achieve various results.
The complete list of 37 herbs that you can potentially consider for your hot oil herbal infusion can be found here.
Herbs for your Hot Oil Treatment
- To moisturize hair: Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Calendula, lavender, catmint, Rose Petals
- To strengthen hair: Stinging Nettle, Arnica, Neem, Moringa or Burdock.
- To clarify hair: Sage, Rosemary, Parsley, Sage,
- To stimulate hair growth: Ginger, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Parsley, Horsetail, Sage, Chamomile
How to infuse herbs in the Hot Oil Treatment
- Place the oil or oil blends of your choice in a makeshift or a real double boiler (use a pot to boil water and place the bowl containing the oil over the hot water after turnung off the heat). Ensure you are using very low heat by turning off or low after the water has boiled. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the chosen herbs and let it steep/infuse for 3o min to 1hr.
- Strain the herbs from the oil into a small glass container using a piece of cheesecloth or stocking.
- Proceed to apply the treatment as per the steps in the process above.
- This infused oil can be stored for up to 6 months in a tightly sealed container.
- To achieve better results, the herbs can be left in the closed jar for at least a month or as long as 3 months to infuse.
Ready-made hot oil treatments
If you are not a DIY type of person, consider purchasing this treatment. When purchasing, you will notice that some may come with an applicator bottle, making it simpler to apply but some are in regular packaging which gives you more flexibility on the amount to apply to your hair.
- Consider a hot oil treatment if your hair is dry, frizzy and brittle. By incorporating a hot oil treatment in your regimen, you will have the added benefit of extra moisture, protection from damage, added nourishment and a clean and well-nourished scalp.
- Hot Oil Treatments are a temporary fix hence must be used regularly to gain from the benefits of this treatment.
- If you prefer to prepare your hot oil treatment at home, consider oils that have a deep penetrating effect and have anti-inflammatory properties. You can decide to use one oil or several blends.
- Hot oil treatments can be purchased from your local store, online stores or you can visit a salon to have the treatment done for you.
- Always check for any allergic reactions from the ingredients you include in your treatment. Do a patch test on your wrist for each ingredient before adding it into your blend. If your allergies persist or if you are in doubt, always consult your medical doctor.