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 hair? The best oils for 4C hair are oils that solve common 4C hair problems. Such oils include Jojoba oil for high porosity hair, others like Coconut oils for all hair types, Argan oil for dry and frizzy hair, Avocado oil, Olive oil, Neem oil, Castor oil, Moringa oil, Lavender oil, Peppermint oil and Amla oil. 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.
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Below is a list of 21 natural hair oils that you can consider when selecting hair oils. This list is not exhaustive and may not be everyone’s best as we all react differently to different oils. To determine what oils work best for your natural hair, you will need to experiment with different oils, combine the oils, rotate the oils in your regimen and record the results for each oil to determine from the result which one is the best to you.
The Best Oils For 4C Hair Growth
The best oils for 4C hair growth are oils that will solve common 4C hair problems. These oils include:
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 making it an excellent addition to your essential oils collection. You can buy Lavender Oil from your local store or online from Amazon on this link.
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. Due to its unsaturated nature, jojoba oil keeps hair moisturized as it penetrates the depths of the hair shaft leaving your hair hydrated all through.
With a composition that is almost similar to the human sebum, Jojoba Oil hydrates your hair without necessarily messing up with the scalp. It cleanses the skin without leaving any residue that may clog the skin.
Jojoba oil is rich in vitamins B, C and minerals such as silicon, copper and zinc that nourish the hair and promote healthy hair growth. The oil promotes hair growth by unclogging the hair follicles allowing a clear passage for hair strands to grow. This oil can help hair cells regenerate at a faster rate, leading to healthy and vibrant hair.
You can purchase Jojoba Oil from your local store or Online
Whilst there has been a rising controversy on the benefits of Peppermint and its effectiveness on hair growth, it is believed to have a positive effect on hair growth. This is because Peppermint oil contains menthol which increases blood flow into the hair follicles while causing a cooling effect. An increased blood flow into the hair follicles increases activity in the hair follicles hence promoting hair growth. This claim is supported by a study that showed Peppermint oil outperformed menoxodil a well reknown hair loss and hair re growth product meaning that it stands as a better hair growth product compared to other products.
Check the current price of Peppermint Oil on Amazon
Moringa oil is extracted from the Moringa plant. Moringa contains both Vitamins A and B that nourish the hair and promote growth. Vitamin A plays a very vital role in the development of healthy cells and tissues in the body and in reducing hair loss. Moringa contains high contents of vitamin A, thus supporting hair growth. Vitamin A deficiency causes thickening of the scalp, dry hair and dandruff. Meaning using Moringa helps moisturize your hair and keeps off dandruff. Vitamin A also stimulates the production of sebum from the sebaceous glands. Sebum moisturizes the scalp and helps keep the hair healthy.
This Oil 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. You can purchase the oil Online or from your local store.
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.
Tea Tree is very volatile hence mixing it with other oils like Olive, Coconut, Jojoba, or Almond oil, will give better results. You can purchase this oil from Amazon.
Castor Oil is extracted from castor bean plant. Its oiling and fortifying ability makes it one of the best oils for high porosity hair. Castor oil has intense moisturizing properties making it a favorite among the natural hair community. Castor oil is used on hair for several reasons. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that prevent dandruff and scalp infections. It contains Ricinoleic acid that helps increase circulation of blood to the scalp and thus improved growth. The acid also helps balance the scalp PH which in term helps to replenish the scalp’s natural oils and reverse the damage by harsh chemical contained in many hair products To learn more about Castor Oil, you can check out this article on Castor Oil
If you would like to incorporate Castor Oil, there are different types. I use the Jamaican Black Oil which I find an excellent sealant for my LOC method. You can purchase Jamaican Black Castor Oil from your local store if available or online. Check the current price on Amazon.
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.
Argan oil contains vitamin E, ferulic acid, carotenoids, phytosterols, polyphenols and 80% unsaturated fatty acids (Oleic acid, Alpah-linolenic acid, palmitic acid, Stearidonic acid, Linoleic acid and Myristic acid). Depending on how the oil is extracted, the oil has been found to me more resistant to oxidation compared to Olive oil. Both vitamin E and linoleic acid makes the oil rich in antioxidants, therefore important for protecting cell from damage early signs of aging, via its action as an anti-free radical agent. [Source]
Coconut Oil is extracted by cold compressing coconut meat. Coconut Oil contains Vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids that nourish the scalp and hair strands thus promoting healthy, strong hair that does not break easily. The oil acts as a protective barrier that protects the hair, and adds luster and shine. Its richness in fatty acids also stimulates hormones in your body cells which contribute to hair growth.
Coconut Oil penetrates hair more deeply and faster compared to other oils due to its molecular structure and thus is very effective when added as an ingredient in your homemade deep conditioner.
This oil has deep penetrating and shielding property, making it effective for detangling matted hair. When applied as a pre-poo, the oil protects the hair from damage and makes it soft hence easier to remove knot when detangling or washing.
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.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Unlike other essential oils, the Ylang Ylang Oil is less popular. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is commonly used in fragrances, cosmetics, hair products, and soaps. The oils is an effective treatment for reducing hair loss. When massaged into the scalp, it stimulates 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.
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. Olive oil strengthens hair by keeping it moisturized and nourishing the hair shaft with the rich fatty acids and vitamins protecting the hair from breakage. The main fatty acids in Olive oils 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 strong.
Olive Oil has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to Olexic acid and antioxidant Oleocantal and thus the oil is great for promoting a healthy scalp by fighting fungus and bacterial
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.
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.
Grapeseed Oil is light and non-greasy and is suitable for all hair types. It is particularly recommended to people with low porosity hair because of its lightweight nature which makes it easy to be absorbed into the hair. The oil is a natural antiseptic and helps in cleansing the pores in the scalp, protects against dry scalp and promotes a balance in oil production. It is also used as a strengthener and heat protector when used with another heat protector.
Grapeseed Oil can also be used to promote relaxation of the hair follicles, preventing hair loss caused by cortisol, a hormone released when you’re stressed.
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.
Fun Fact: What is Sebum?
Understanding the importance of sebum will help us understand the importance of oiling the hair. Sebum is the natural oil that is 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.
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.
Benefits of Oils on natural 4C hair
1. Hair Growth
Hair 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 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.
4. 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 light oils such as Argan Oil, Baobab Oil, Sunflower Oil… which are better absorbed into the hair.
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.
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.