The newest hair hack popping up on TikTok is hair oiling, and it seems like everyone is trying it out. It is speculated that it makes your hair healthier, fuller and longer. I dug into the science of all of this to answer some of these questions, and to be honest, there might be something to it.
What is hair oiling?
Hair oiling is the process of applying a natural oil to the hair and/or scalp on a consistent basis, with the intention of promoting healthier hair. There doesn’t seem to be a specific way to do this, as everyone can try it for a different purpose. But typically, people massage the oil into their scalp, leave it on for a few minutes or hours, and then shampoo it out. They do this regularly for a few months, and many people report that their hair grew longer, became fuller, or shinier.
Here’s the science behind it
A good balance of oils in our skin and hair can be very beneficial for us. Similar to using skin oil (the Italians are in favor of olive oil, but others use sebum or coconut oil), if your hair is deficient in certain vitamins and minerals and super dry, then oil can be a good way to replenish these deficiencies and promote healthier hair. But do this carefully.
as a stylist, I can’t help but put a disclaimer out there that how you do this really depends on the type of hair you have. For some people, this trend will feel like a magic trick, and for others, it’s not necessarily helpful for your hair. And too much oil on someone who doesn’t need it will cause dandruff and greasy hair.
Girls with textured hair
To all my curly girls out there, this trend might be for you! If your hair is naturally super dry and frizzy then an oil could be very helpful for you. If you’re the type who can go several days without washing your hair before it gets oily, then it’s safe to say that using hair oil will work for you and won’t cause any problems.
If you’re not sure which hair oils to try, these seemed to do the trick for this curly-haired gal.
Coarse Thick Hair
If you have that really thick, frizzy and coarse hair then you can also benefit from hair oil. This will help control frizz and smooth your hair when you style it. I would recommend using the oil after you have straightened or curled your hair and want that extra shine. You can try doing oil treatments a couple of times a week or a month if you feel like your hair is lacking in moisture and needs some hydration.
Maybe you had a bad experience with highlights or bleaching and your hair is fried. Hair oils will come in handy. Damaged and over-processed hair needs extra hydration. Try to stay away from any unnecessary heat while letting your hair heal, and also try using conditioning treatments while nursing your hair back to health. You may need to cut some length to get rid of those dead ends.
naturally oily hair
Maybe this is a given, but if you have naturally oily hair, don’t try this trend! Your scalp already produces a lot of natural oil, and too much oil will only make things worse. Too much of a good thing can sometimes turn into a bad thing. If you have oily but still frizzy hair, you could apply a small amount of hair oil from mid-lengths to ends, but I would avoid putting it on the scalp.
Can hair oil make hair grow?
One particularly viral TikTok claimed that hair oil can grow your hair up to 3 inches a week (it has since been removed). This is highly unlikely as hair normally grows half an inch per month for most people. But all hope is not lost, because there are benefits for hair growth with certain oils. Although it is not a miracle cure for all situations, rosemary oil is known to improve blood circulation around the hair follicles and helps soothe itchy scalp.
Recent studies have shown that rosemary oil helps prevent hair loss. Health Line Reports that “Two separate clinical reviews – one from 2010 Y one from 2011 – also recognize the hair growth potential of rosemary. The first cites a study with successful hair growth in people with alopecia who used essential oils. One of these essential oils was rosemary. In the latest review, rosemary essential oil was described as restorative for hair loss. This was due to its circulation-enhancing effects.” In another 2015 study, rosemary oil was compared to Rogaine and found to be just as effective. Both subjects suffered from alopecia, and rosemary was more helpful in treating itching than Rogaine.
Marnie Nussbaum, board-certified dermatologist, supports this claim by stating, “The rosemary plant contains carnosic acid which is known to heal nerve damage, tissue damage and improve cell renewal. Thus, it stimulates nerve growth and improves blood circulation. The reason blood circulation is so important to hair growth is that without an adequate blood supply, the follicles don’t get the nutrients they need to grow hair and can die.” Even with all of its benefits, it will take some time to see much growth in rosemary oil. It may take more than six months to see results. However, rosemary oil could be a game changer for hair loss sufferers.
Try to remember that when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. But we can still reap the benefits of hair oiling if we do it the right way. It might be the perfect tip you’ve been looking for if your hair needs a little extra hydration, but avoid this trend if you have oily hair. If you’re ever unsure about a hair fashion trick you want to try, ask your stylist. They can look into it and see if it might work for you.
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