Why And How To Do Hot Oil Hair Treatments

When you dig into hair routines in the relaxed hair community there are so many different techniques that are used to get and maintain healthy hair.

Some of those techniques involve hair tools such as dryers or steamers. Others involve products such as protein treatments, bond treatments, and something called hot oil treatments.

Hot oil treatments are nothing new. I had them done on my hair back in elementary school. I remember seeing them talked about in black hair magazines in the 1990s.

At some point, they fell out of popularity but seem to be making a comeback. Not only in the relaxed hair community but in the hair world in general. So let’s talk about what hot oil treatments are, how to do them, the benefits for relaxed hair, and more.

wooden comb and oil in a bottle on a yellow background
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What are hot oil treatments

The name hot oil treatment pretty much says it all. It’s a treatment for hair using warm (not literally hot) oils on the hair and scalp.

The purpose of hot oil treatments is to nourish the hair. The oil is warmed because it helps to open up the hair cuticle and scalp pore so the oils can penetrate and be better absorbed by the scalp and hair strands.

Now hot oil treatments are nothing new. Like I previously mentioned I remember them having their time in the 1990s but they were done way before that.

Hot oil treatments can be traced back through history to ancient times and in places like Greece and India.

The benefits of hot oil treatments

My thoughts on why hot oil treatments have such a long history is because of the many benefits they provide to all types of hair. Plus, they are an easy way to add moisture and nourishment to the hair when store-bought hair products aren’t available.

If you’re trying to decide if a hot oil treatment is right for your hair check out these potential benefits

Moisture: This makes hot oil treatments perfect for dry hair because they can provide deep moisture resulting in softer and more manageable hair.

Reduced breakage: When the hair is more moisturized it is less likely to break.

Improved scalp health: Massaging the warm oil into the scalp promotes blood circulation and can help alleviate issues like dandruff if it’s caused by dryness. Just be careful if the dandruff is caused by yeast because the oil could make it worse.

Enhanced shine: Using oils on the hair can help increase the shine and luster of the hair strands.

Easier detangling: This is kinda two-fold. When the hair strands are more moisturized they tangle less so detangling the hair is much easier. Also, having hair saturated in oil can help with working out tangles in hair with less damage than when the hair is dry.

How to do hot oil treatments

These types of treatments are pretty easy to prepare and can be done at home but are not so easy to apply.

Step 1: Select the oil

Some oils are better to use than others because they are less irritating to the scalp. The more popular oils for hot oil treatments are

Coconut Oil: It’s an oil that deeply penetrates the hair shaft. While it’s popular it’s also an oil that many have found to hurt their hair.

Jojoba Oil: This is a great option for hot oil treatments because jojoba oil is similar to the oils produced by the scalp. Because of this, it can help to maintain the scalp’s natural balance.

Olive Oil: It’s full of antioxidants and vitamins and is one that I typically use when I do hot oil treatments. Olive oil helps to condition the hair improving manageability and elasticity.

Argan Oil: This oil is perfect for damaged hair because of the essential fatty acids and vitamin E it contains.

Avocado Oil: It is full of Vitamins A, B, D, and E. As well as amino acids that help protect and strengthen the hair.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil: Known for its thick consistency, castor oil helps thicken hair and promotes growth.

Now you can mix these oils yourself and create an oil treatment blend. You can use just one oil by itself. Or you can opt for a pre-mixed treatment from the store like these

Step 2: Heat the oil

Once you have selected your oils you’ll want to heat up the oil. The key is to not make the oil hot because you don’t want to burn your scalp or cook your hair. The oils can be heated up in the microwave (just be careful of potential popping of the oil) or on the stove.

Step 3: Apply the oil

When the oil is at the right temperature, apply it to the hair. It’s best to do hot oil treatments on clean damp hair. They can also be done as pre-poo. When doing the hot oil treatment as a pre-poo you can dampen your hair by using a spray bottle with water.

Step 4: Cover your hair

Once the oil is applied I’ve found it’s best to cover my hair with a plastic cap to keep the oil from dripping too much down my face and neck. Another option is to cover the hair with a towel.

Additional heat can be applied by sitting under a dryer or using a heating cap when the hair is covered by the plastic cap (not the towel).

Step 5: Rinse out

Leave the treatment on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.

For added moisture, you can follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner. If you do, rinse out the hot oil treatment with warm water and rinse out the deep conditioner with cool water.

When to do hot oil treatments

Hot oil treatments can be done as needed meaning they don’t need to be done weekly. Especially if your hair is and looks healthy.

If the hair is dry or damaged adding a hot oil treatment to your wash day regularly can be helpful.