Natural oils form a very important part of a woman’s hair care regimen. They keep our hair healthy and looking fabulous. Among other things, oils can be used for detangling hair because of their lubricating nature, oils can also used as heat protectors and when all the lipids are gone and the hair about to split, the fatty acids in the hair oils play the role of replacing the lipids in your hair hence holding it back together.
What are the best Oils for 4C natural hair? Natural oils have properties that solve various 4C hair problems. There are oils like Jojoba for high porosity hair, others like Coconut oils for all hair types, Argan oil for dry and frizzy hair, so on and so forth. 4C hair is prone to dryness due to its curly nature and hence oils with high moisturizing and conditioning properties work best for this type of hair.
To determine what oils work best for your 4C hair, you will need to experiment with different oils, combine the different oils, rotate the oils in your regimen, record the results for each oil and then determine from the result which one is the best to you.
When I transitioned my lovely 4C hair from relaxer, I went on a journey of discovering what natural oils would work best to achieve a healthy mane. I have done a lot of experimenting with different oils and documented this research to help women who are also searching all over the internet on what works for them.
I will delve into the following:
Benefits Of Natural Oils On 4C Hair
Before I delve into the benefits of natural oils, I will go into the science of the natural oil called sebum that is produced by the scalp.
Sebum is an oil that is naturally produced by the scalp. Sebum works to sustain the quality of hair by protecting each strand. It is produced in the sebaceous glands, and then transported to the hair follicles at the root , makings its way slowly to the hair shaft. Understanding the importance of sebum will help us understand the importance of oiling the hair.
Sebum plays the role of improving the hair quality, giving the hair texture and good appearance. When sebum is overproduced, it’s considered a bother by many especially in people with straight hair because the sebum makes it way to the hair shaft at a faster rate making it greasy. A lot of hair shampoos have been designed to deal with the greasiness.
Below are five benefits of adding natural oils into your hair care routine
1. Hair Growth
Oils are important in replenishing nutrients to the hair. They strengthen the roots leading to healthy hair growth.
To reap the maximum value, oils should be applied by massaging the scalp, this opens the pores and increase the oil absorption rate. Massage also facilitates blood circulation, which further improves the movement of the nutrients within the hair structure. Massage also soothes and relaxes the scalp muscles further promoting hair growth.
2. Strengthens hair proteins
Hair is made from a protein called Keratine. The hair follicle is nourished by the sebum that is produced by the body, adding natural oils such as Coconut and Olive oils to your hair regularly contributes to the overall nourishment of the hair. The oil helps the hair regain its protein strength and protects it from harm and breakage. Vitamin E which is a major component of oils reduces the frizz and brittle nature of hair.
3. Improves Appearance
Oil adds shine to hair, giving it a good appearance. Some oils such as peppermint oil increase hair follicles and volume which in effect improves the appearance of your hair
4. Fights bacteria and Fungal Infections
Many essential oils have chemical properties that give them an antifungal and antimicrobial property, this gives them the ability to fight fungal and bacterial infections that could harm your skin. Essential oils extracted from herbs and spices have the highest effect in treating fungi and bacteria. Such oils include Thyme, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Oregano among others.
5. Protects hair against damage from heat and friction
Oil coats the hair protecting it from heat damage and breakage. Oils also lubricate the hair reducing friction with other strands hence further protecting the hair from breakage that may result from the friction. The lubricating nature of the oils makes detangling easier hence minimizing breakage.
Factors To Consider When Selecting Natural Hair Oils
Hair texture is the measure of the circumference of the hair strand itself whether it is fine, medium or thick. For the fine texture, there is easy penetration of oils into the roots of the hair.
Hair volume is the amount of hair you have. The volume is determined by measuring the circumference of your ponytail. The smaller your ponytail circumference, the lesser hair density you have and vice versa.
3. Hair Porosity
Porosity is the ability of the hair to retain the moisture content. Hair porosity can be classified into three levels:
- High porosity.
- Medium porosity.
- Low porosity.
To determine your hair porosity, you can use the float test method where you drop strands of hair into a container of water. For better results let the strands sit for at most 4 minutes. If your hair floats, then you have low porosity, If it sinks, you have high porosity. If it stays at the center then you have the medium porosity.
What are the best oils for low porosity hair?
Hair with low porosity is considered to have a tightly bound cuticle with overlapping scales that lay flat. It repels moisture when you try to wet it and normally is slower in absorbing nutrients. The best oils for low porosity hair are Shea butter, coconut oil, and mineral oils which are rich in emollients and are better absorbed into the hair as they contain small molecules and do contain fatty acids.
What are the best oils for medium porosity hair?
Medium porosity hair is easier to manage and tends to have looser cuticle layer allowing the right amount of moisture to enter and prevents much from escaping. Semi-drying oils are used as they have larger molecules with unsaturated fatty acids that is omega 7 and omega 9. This kind of oils include; castor oil, argan oil, passion fruit oil, hemp oil among many others
What are the best oils for high porosity hair?
High porosity is either an inherent property of hair or can be as a result of environmental damage, chemical processing or rough treatment. The cuticle layer has holes, and gaps and considered to be highly porous. It tends to lose moisture easily thus preferred to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, and sealers. One of the best oils for high porosity hair is jojoba oil as it is the closest natural thing to the oils the scalp naturally produces and is slightly waxy, but not too waxy. The non-dying oils with unsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6 have large molecules which work well with the gaps in the cuticle layer like cottonseed oil, avocado oil, and primrose oil.
4. Hair Follicles.
The shape of the hair follicle determines hair curliness or straightness. Round follicles result in straight hair which makes it very easy for your hair’s natural oils to make their way down from your roots to your ends while oval follicles result in curly hair. And if not totally round or oval then you will have wavy hair.
21 Natural Oils For Growing Long Healthy Hair
As you embark on the journey of finding the hairs oils that would work best for your hair. Below is a list of 21 natural hair oils that you should consider.
Lavender is one of the most effective natural treatments for the prevention of hair loss and for effective natural hair growth; this has been backed by a study on Hair Growth Effects of lavender oil in females. Lavender oil is also known to moisturize and condition the hair.
Pepper Mint Oil
Peppermint oil stimulates blood circulation to the skin which may promote an increase in follicle number and depth as well as dermal thickness. The cooling sensational effect of oil can help reduce skin inflammation. Because of the stimulating nature of the oil, it is not the best for dry and brittle hair.
Moringa oil is extracted from the Moringa plant. It is best used in high porosity hair because it has nourishing and emollient properties making it good for the hair. It is very useful in lifting dirt out of the hair hence an efficient natural cleanser. This oil is also filled with antioxidants.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil helps in preventing hair loss, breakage, or problems with growth as it has many natural antifungal and antibacterial properties which effectively deal with certain hair-related problems. It moisturizes hair and keeps the scalp free from fungal infections, preventing dry and itchy scalp and blocked hair follicles. It unblocks hair follicles by removing the dead cells thus boosting the immune system which fights against infections that can cause hair loss and other damages related to hair.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Unlike other essential oils, the Ylang Ylang oil is less popular. The oils is an effective treatment for reducing hair loss. When massaged into the scalp, it stimulated hair growth.
Thyme oil improves blood circulation to the scalp making it important for hair growth. Thyme has powerful nutrients that nourish the hair follicles. For best results mix the oil with coconut oil and massage it into your scalp.
Castor Oil is extracted from castor bean plant. Its oiling and fortifying ability makes it one of the best oils for high porosity hair. Helps in sealing strands of the hair and also is naturally antifungal and antibacterial sorting out scalp issues and retaining much moisture in the scalp at the end
Argan Oil is a moisturizing oil and will leave your hair with all the shine you want without the heavy oily feeling left behind by heavier oils thus allowing easier penetrating of moisture in the air. It contains Vitamin F which rejuvenates skin cells and it also contains Vitamin E.
Coconut Oil is extracted by cold compressing coconut meat. It contains vitamin E which supplies intense moisture to air. It is best used as a defense for those with damaged hair has it is considered to be one of the heavier oils. It adds luster, shine and softness to the hair.
Avocado Oil is extracted from the avocado fruit and is important due to its high-quality monounsaturated fats. The oil coats all the strands of hair making it shinier and stronger due to its lubricating nature. Avocado oil has the ability to penetrate deeply into hair strands and moisturize the hair.
Sesame Oil is derived from the seed of sesame the plant by the seeds being pressed to extract the oil. It is rich in vitamins, proteins and other natural antioxidants. It is also used as a massage oil and seems to be heavier than other oils. It’s moisturizing ability helps it penetrate deeply into the pores of your skin. Has also detoxifying properties.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is extracted by cold pressing the Hemp seeds. It’s great for high porosity hair as it has a high fatty acid content which also helps in straightening the hair as the fatty acids helps in keratin bonding. It add sheen, elasticity, and moisture retention to your hair.
Burdock Root Oil
Burdock root is a great oil to grow black hair and its ability to nourish the skin helps in straightening the hair. Prevents dandruff, itchy scalp, redness and scalp infections which are conditions of the scalp.
Olive oil is one of the most popular oils used in the hair industry. Its high fatty acid content makes it be great for high porosity hair. Has antioxidant properties which help in reducing the damage caused by harsh chemicals in hair products.
Stinging Nettle Oil
This oil is obtained from the Stinging Nettle Plant. It is rich in iron and silica that prevents hair loss, hair shedding and encourage natural hair growth. Helps to prevent baldness as it help to prevent the accumulation of testosterone hormone from being converted to DHT and accumulating in the hair follicles. For best results, you should apply it to the scalp as a treatment or hair rinse as it helps to prevent the baldness. Drinking Nettle Tea will also boost your overall health by giving your hair a good growth environment.
This oil is widely used by Indian women hair growth treatments. No wonder they have long healthy manes! The oil boosts blood circulation when you massage it into your scalp. It optimizes nourishment of your hair follicles which increases hair growth. Amla oil improves overall scalp healthy by getting rid of dry flakes from the scalp and dissolves grease and dirt from the follicles.
Jojoba oil is extracted from a shrub called Simmondsia chinensis. It is one of the best oil for high porosity hair as it is slightly waxy, but not too waxy. Sealing in moisture in the scalp and hair. The fatty acids in Jojoba oil is useful with low porous hair looking as it seal the ends or oil the scalps of your hair. This oils help in getting rid of dandruff and dry scalp as well.
Similar to Amla Oil, this oil is widely used by Indian women. It is extracted from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree. The oil contains several fatty acids such as oleic linoreic and stearic acids that help nourish and condition the hair and the scalp. Neem oil also protects the scalp skin from damage that is caused by the free radicals. The regenerative properties of the neem help support the healthy cell division and stimulate hair follicle growth and function. You will experience thicker, stronger, and more luxurious hair growth by regular application of the neem oil.
Almond oil is rich in magnesium thus applying almond oil regularly to the scalp will help prevent hair loss and breakage. It improves the health of your hair by enabling length retention. If you have dandruff problems, you can use this oil in your leave in conditioner treatments to eliminate the dandruff.
Grape seed oil is one of the lightest oils that you can use in low porosity hair. Used as a strengthener and heat protector when used with another heat protector.
Shea Butter Oil
Shea Butter is one of the most popular ingredients in hair products. It is Rich in vitamins, minerals, and other natural properties. Its main components include oleic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid along with many others which are easily and quickly absorbed into our skin. Raw unrefined Shea butter contains all of these natural properties hence best used when raw. Shea butter contains vitamin A, E, F that protect the body from free radicals which damages the healthy cells and cause other health issues in the hair like loss among other related problems.
How long should I leave oils in my hair
As long as the oil does not cause any serious problems to the hair like attracting dust and the scalp is highly moisturized it can be left until your next hair wash day. You can also go for a quick oil treatment before every hair washes and do overnight oiling regularly to keep moisture in. Leaving the oil in your hair for too long may lead to itchy scalp causing indirect hair loss in some people requiring you to consider regular hair wash.
Over time I have learnt that my 4 C hair requires light oiling every other day and washing once a week. The best way to know what your hair loves is to try out different routines and until you find what works.
All the best!
Loving Kinky Curls