If you’ve kissed perms and relaxers goodbye and are embracing your natural hair, then chances are you might find that your hair is a bit dry and difficult to manage as you make the transition from treated to natural. Typically these issues stem from the hair lacking moisture, thereby appearing frizzy, unmanageable and, to put it bluntly, fried.
You don’t have to live with dry and damaged hair, nor do you have to return to chemically treating your hair. Instead, you need to put moisture back into the hair, which is most effectively done with a hot oil treatment.
What Is A Hot Oil Treatment?
A hot oil treatment for natural hair is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s an oil that’s heated, either in the microwave or by being submerged in hot water while still in the packaging, and then applied throughout the hair.
A lot of hair packs and conditioners claim to penetrate the hair follicle, but in reality just sit atop the hair. The silicones in these products give the hair shine, which creates the illusion of hydration, but in reality the hair itself hasn’t really been moisturized or treated.
Oils penetrate the hair shaft better than most commercial conditioners. Heating the oil allows it to really soak in and actually moisturize the hair from the inside out.
DIY vs Commercial Oils
There are an abundance of hot oil products on the market today. Some are great, some not so much. The best way to find a hot oil treatment that works for you is by experimenting with different products until you find one that works for your hair.
A lot of women eschew commercial hot oil treatments in favor of whipping up their own. This can be done by mixing an array of oils, such as olive, jojoba and coconut oil. The recipe that works for your hair will be different than the recipe that another woman prefers. Again, it all comes down to your specific hair type and your personal preference.
Hot oil treatments are best applied to damp hair that’s already been shampooed. While many women like to leave a hot oil treatment on their hair for a very long time, that’s not typically necessary. Generally, any conditioning treatment is going to penetrate the hair shaft within five minutes. Once that five minute window has passed, the hair follicles have absorbed as much of the product as they’re going to absorb. While leaving a hot oil or a mask on your hair for an hour might feel luxurious, there’s ultimately no real point to it.
After five minutes has passed, you should rinse the hot oil treatment out of your hair. At this point, your hair should feel more moisturized and manageable. While hot oil treatments are a bit much as a daily ritual, they’re a great weekly treatment. Over time, you’ll see some real positive improvements to your hair.