A Simple Guide to Hair Oiling
Have you ever heard the phrase "good hair day, good mood day"? Whether your hair’s hydration is a source of frustration, or you’re looking to maintain your already-silky-smooth locks, hair oiling may be the secret ingredient to your everlasting good hair days. Now, the idea of putting oil on your already oily hair may seem counterintuitive, but hear us out: Not only can hair oiling improve the overall health and appearance of your hair, but it will become a relaxing and indulgent self-care ritual you’ll be hooked on.
At The Detox Market, we believe in using natural, supportive ingredients to promote overall wellness. That’s why we sat down with Sahajan’s very own Lisa Mattam, to learn more about the Ayurvedic tradition of hair oiling and how you can practice this ancient beauty ritual in the comfort of your home. Lisa founded Sahajan with a commitment to fuse mindful, healthy living practices with the Ayurvedic beauty traditions in which she was raised.
Lisa, can you tell us about the tradition of hair oiling?
Hair oiling is an Ayurvedic tradition that has been around for centuries, and has been passed down from generation to generation within families. It’s a nurturing South Asian tradition where mothers and grandmothers will oil your hair in a beautiful, familial, and intimate practice that is believed to have strong impacts on hair health.
The Benefits of Hair Oiling:
We know oils make a great addition to your skincare routine, but their benefits extend to hair care as well. Hair oils work by creating a protective coating around the strands to seal the cuticle with moisture and nourishment. The scalp produces its own natural oils that travel down the hair shaft from the scalp, however the natural oils can only travel three to four inches from the scalp, which can lead to dry ends for longer hair types. Hair oiling helps protect strands against dryness, breakage, and frizz, all while maintaining your scalp’s microbiome.
In Ayurveda, hair oiling relies on blends of herbs and oils that are revered for their ability to improve the physical properties of the hair and scalp, but also minimize the effects of stress and rebalance the body’s energy flow. Oiling addressing the strength and resilience of the hair to prevent hair fall, improve circulation, and exfoliate.
Choosing the Right Oils for Your Hair:
Not all oils are made equal—finding the right oils to suit your strands is essential to seeing high-shine, healthy hair results. Choose a specific oil based on your hair type and concerns. If you need some guidance on determining your hair type check out our guide: The Best Haircare Products for your Hair Type.
Some oils are gentle enough for all hair types, but generally fine and straight hair types will benefit from lightweight oils that don’t weigh hair down and make strands limp and lifeless. Natural oils travel from scalp to strand easier in fine and straight hair types, meaning you can get away with oiling less often than coarse and curly hair types. For coarse, curly, and kinky hair, deep moisturizing oils will help protect strands from breakage, and help curls stay healthy and bouncy. Coarse and curly hair types may benefit from leaving hair oils in for longer periods, like overnight, and more frequent treatments of 1-2 times per week.
Lisa, can you tell us about your hair type and concerns?
I have naturally curly, almost textured hair, that I color and straighten quite often. My main concerns are dryness and hair fall—especially since having kids. I find stress is one of the main factors that contributes to my hair fall concerns.
The Nurture Hair Oil was developed alongside two Ayurvedic doctors, and contains a blend of oils that really honor the authentic tradition. The oil contains a blend of sesame, coconut, sweet almond, and sunflower oils, but its star ingredients are Bhringraj (also known as Eclipta Alba), and Amla. Amla is a powerful antioxidant that is rich in vitamin C, and promotes stronger hair by preventing breakage. If you’re like me and constantly use styling tools and heat, finding oils with strengthening properties will really help your hair health. Bhringraj is another revered Ayurvedic ingredient and is known for its antimicrobial properties that help strengthen the resilience of the hair, starting at the scalp. I truly believe that Ayurveda has saved my hair!
How to Oil Your Hair:
Hair oiling should be done before your shower routine to harness the regenerative powers of the oils. I recommend using the Nurture Hair Oil which is great for all hair types and gives you all the Ayurvedic benefits.
Start with dry, clean hair— it’s important to have a clean canvas for the oil to adhere to. Take your oil of choice and warm up a small amount in the palms of your hands, or place the bottle in warm water. The oil should be liquid and warm, but never scalding hot—as this can lead to further damage. Heat helps refine the oil, causing the molecules to become finer and allows them to penetrate the hair strand with ease. Now that your oil is warm, it’s time to apply to your hair!
Start by applying the oil through the middle of your part, to the uppermost part of the head, known as the crown chakra. This is an energy point that gets the least amount of blood flow from a gravity standpoint, and when stimulated will help alleviate stress. Be sure to apply the oil directly along the center of your part, and massage the crown, temples, and back of the neck to evenly distribute the oil.
Next, take a comb and brush it through the strands. This step is particularly important because it exfoliates the scalp, improves circulation and moisturizes. The combing process helps remove any debris, dead skin, and dryness. Essentially, this step cleanses the scalp, and you may even feel as if something is being lifted from your hair.
The length of your hair will dictate how much oil you need, but start with a small amount and work your way up as needed. Once hair is saturated, gently massaging the oil into your scalp. We recommend using this Scalp Massager from Biogeo. This handheld massager helps distribute the oil evenly over the scalp while delivering therapeutic pressure to increase product absorption, scalp circulation and stimulation to support a healthy scalp and hair.
Now it’s time to let the oil work its magic!
I suggest leaving the oil in for a few hours, or overnight for a deep regenerative treatment. Place your hair in a bun, gently tucked away from your face.
While the oil is sitting in your hair, it's important to keep strands protected and tucked away from dust and dirt that can adhere to the oil and disrupt the effectiveness of the treatment. Keep strands safe (and stylish!) with a protective cap for on-the-go or overnight. We love The Lucci by SHHHOWERCAP for its breathable, nanotechnology infused fabric that has antibacterial properties to keep bacteria away. Not only is it functional, but stylish enough to leave the house in, so hair oiling is never a hindrance in your daily routine. When you’re ready, wash your hair as usual with shampoo and conditioner to remove the excess oil.
If you experience an increase in hair fall during oiling, fear not! Hair fall is totally normal. During the oiling process, the combination of massaging the scalp, the weight of the oil on strands, and friction can all contribute to weaker hairs shedding. If hair loss is a concern, be extra gentle when massaging the scalp, or skip the scalp and apply oil directly to the strands.
In a matter of weeks, your hair will be shiny, silky, and full of life. By incorporating hair oiling into your routine, you can promote healthy hair and a relaxed mind and body. So why not give it a try and see the benefits for yourself?
How we chose these hair care products:
These natural hair oils and tools were meticulously curated by our team of experts based on their innovation, performance, and buzz-worthiness. At the Detox Market, all of the products we carry have pure ingredients, exceptional performance, and cruelty free formulations. We've been the trusted clean beauty experts for over a decade, cutting through the clean beauty noise and providing you with nothing but the best in green beauty. You can learn more about our commitment to clean beauty here.