How to Use Oil for Curly Hair: A Comprehensive Guide

Final up to date on 1/09/22

Many individuals have been led to consider that oils and butter are too heavy for curly hair to be wholesome. Nonetheless, the reality is that these substances can truly assist your hair retain moisture.

It may be a bit complicated in the case of utilizing oils and butter in haircare, particularly you probably have curly hair.

Do you set them in your hair earlier than you type it, or after?

And what about co-washes – do they depend as an oil or butter?

Oils and butter can do wonders for curly hair. They assist to lock in moisture, add shine, and tame frizz.

On this submit, we’ll evaluate the science of oils and butter, their attribute properties, and the way to decide on the proper oil for a selected hair sort.

What are Oils and Butter?

Oils and butter are esters of long-chain fatty acids referred to as triglycerides. On this occasion, the time period triglyceride stands as “tri means three,” whereas glycerides symbolize “glycerin.”

It means oil or butter are esters of long-chain fatty acids with glycerin. Three molecular chains of fatty acids are bonded to at least one glycerin molecule, as depicted within the construction beneath.

Each oil and butter are chemically the identical supplies; nevertheless, they’ve totally different bodily states at room temperature.

Oil is a liquid whereas butter is strong (e.g., Olive oil is liquid whereas Cocoa butter is strong); that is because of the distinction of their chemical composition, which accommodates various quantities of various fatty acids.

Oils include principally unsaturated fatty acids, whereas butter is mostly saturated fatty acids. The presence of 1 or two unsaturated fatty acids double bond lowers down the melting level of oils and retains them within the liquid state.

Double bond refers back to the carbon to carbon bonding ( – C = C – ) the place two carbon atoms are tightly held. The double bond molecules display a decrease melting level, as is the case with olive and sunflower oil.

Butter, however, has extra saturated carbon bonds that facilitate their crystallization and enhance their bodily texture and melting level.

This distinction significantly influences their properties and efficiency in hair care formulations.

I’ll focus on this later in additional element.

Are Curly Hair Oils and Butter One thing New?

Nope! They aren’t one thing new in curly hair care.

The observe of utilizing oils for hair for softening, detangling, and styling therapies is confirmed by historic data. Utilizing oils for scalp massages was additionally well-liked in Historic Egyptian tradition.

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Actually, a few of the first recorded recipes for conditioning curly hair have been all about utilizing oils and pure hair butter. Think about the times of slavery, when individuals have been enslaved. They used bacon grease, lard, butter, kerosene, and many others. to care for their hair.

Asians have additionally used oils and butter of their hair care routine for hundreds of years, particularly coconut oil. South Asia is legendary for its Ayurvedic drugs, which options a few of the world’s most potent magnificence therapies created from pure components.

I can go on and on, however that was only a glimpse into a little bit historical past of oils and butter for hair.

Plant-sourced oils or fat are glorious emollients for pores and skin or softening the hair. We use oils or fat in our diets, similar to olive oil and butter (obtained from cow’s milk).

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Fashionable hair care applied sciences additionally make the most of the advantages of pure oils, both immediately or within the emulsion system with lowered particle measurement for oil droplets.

If we randomly evaluate the components record of a few of our hair conditioners, masks, or remedy merchandise, we’ll discover a number of oils or butter included right into a given formulation.

Virtually each single product you discover in the marketplace can have one or two pure oils or butter. This means their significance and efficacy for hair care.

Olive, Coconut, and Shea butter have been used for ages for pores and skin and hair care. Oil for hair has quite a lot of favorable suggestions from clients; nonetheless, not everybody agrees.

Some customers don’t like utilizing oils or butter on their hair, as they could depart the hair feeling heavy and greasy.

Oil and Hair Protein Interactions: What You Have to Know

Oil or butter are hydrophobic supplies, which suggests they don’t dissolve in a water solvent. They’re water repellent and type a waterproof movie stopping any interplay with water.

The identical occurs after we apply oil or butter to the hair floor. Hair is made up of keratin protein, and its cuticles are the outermost layer, which accommodates a really minute layer of oily materials known as F-layer.

This hydrophobic layer ensures the pure lubricity and water repellency of hair. Moreover, sebum is an oily materials that’s secreted by the sebaceous glands and it supplies additional lubricity and shine.

Making use of oil or butter on the hair will type a tremendous coating over the hair shaft. Their molecular adhesion relies upon upon their interplay with the F-layer.

Each are non-polar and bind with one another through dipole-dipole interplay (a weak chemical bonding between hydrophobic teams).

This chemical bond, although weak, remains to be adequate to bind oil molecules with hair. This binding strongly relies upon upon the chemical composition of oil/butter, viscosity, and density.

Composition of In style Oils and Butter

There are a number of pure oils and pure hair butter in the marketplace for hair care. They range of their chemical composition, texture, shade, viscosity, and density.

Their chemical composition defines their efficiency and efficacy in addition to their habits when utilized to the hair or pores and skin.

The chart show that oils contain high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, while butter is rich with saturated fatty acids, when discussing oil for curly hair.
The chart show that oils contain high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, while butter is rich with saturated fatty acids, when discussing oil for curly hair.

The above two charts present that oils include excessive ranges of unsaturated fatty acids, whereas butter is wealthy with saturated fatty acids. This explains their bodily state at room temperature.

Oils have extra oleic acid (mono-unsaturated) and are liquid, whereas butter has extra palmitic or stearic acid and is semi-solid.

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Moreover, decrease carbon chain fatty content material supplies a tremendous coating with none greasiness, whereas lengthy carbon chains are dense and are a stronger lubricant; nevertheless, they may be tough to use and will have or depart a heavy or really feel.

Oils That Penetrate Vs. Coat the Hair

The chart above (determine) demonstrates that the fatty acid composition additionally influences hair fiber penetration.

Hair fibers have tiny pores that enable the conditioning actives to enter deeply into the hair cortex’s heart. The scale of the energetic molecule and the pore measurement play a task in figuring out penetration.

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The bigger the carbon chain is, the larger the molecular measurement; therefore harder to penetrate. Due to this fact, oil or butter primarily composed of saturated long-chain fatty acids might not penetrate and may solely type a coating on the hair shaft.

Butter falls principally into this class, whereas oils with a decrease carbon chain can penetrate and provide higher conditioning.

Scientific research have revealed that coconut oil, composed primarily of solely lauric acid (12 carbon chain models), has higher penetration potential when in comparison with Shea butter, which has larger ranges of stearic acid (saturated 18 carbon unit).

Within the above tables, you may see the carbon chain size talked about (C with the quantity) and in case of unsaturation highlighted as (C18:1), the place C stands for carbon, 18 means there are 18 carbon hooked up (stearic), and 1 denotes one double bond current within the chain.

Selecting the Proper Oils and Butter for Your Hair

Choosing the proper oil or pure hair butter to your hair sort is crucial.

It’s essential to keep in mind the diameter of your hair shaft, porosity degree, and pure sebum manufacturing. These components have an effect on the outcomes and a mistaken alternative might result in greasy, uninteresting hair that lacks shine.

Nonetheless, if an undesired outcome happens, it doesn’t imply that each one oils or butter are dangerous or dangerous to your hair, or that you need to by no means it. There’s a risk that the wrong oil was used on the mistaken time or {that a} non-recommended method was used.

It’s all comes right down to choosing the proper oil for curly hair. A cautious examination of your hair sort together with the chemical composition of oil and butter might help information us in selecting which oil is greatest to your hair.

All of us have various kinds of hair so let’s have a look at how to decide on one of the best oil.

First, let’s begin with some basic guidelines:

  • For prime sebum secretion or oily hair – please keep away from making use of any oil, particularly in giant quantities. In case you nonetheless need to use them, then use oils which have the next unsaturated fatty content material.

Olive, argan, grapeseed, or sunflower are glorious decisions. Please use it in small quantities and fewer regularly.

  • For tremendous hair with a smaller diameter and with low hair density – use tremendous, excessive unsaturated fatty oil.
  • For thick, dry, or excessively broken hair (particularly chemically handled) – use extra saturated fatty acid. Shea butter and mango butter are glorious for this.

Asian Straight Hair

Asian hair is generally straight and tremendous. This hair sort tends to get weighed down, as it may possibly expertise heaviness simply.

We suggest you employ argan or sunflower oil a couple of times per week as a remedy.

Chemically handled, bleached or coloured hairs can combine Shea butter with argan oil for a superior coating and shine.

Wavy Hair

Wavy hairs have a barely larger diploma of curvature. Scientific studies recommend they’re weak at sure factors alongside the hair shaft.

In case you are on the lookout for a extra pure look and bouncy curls, we advise you to make use of oils in very small portions to keep away from heaviness.

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Massaging just a few drops of sunflower, olive, or jojoba oil ought to be sufficient.

Making use of hair butter might not work and will make your hair greasy.

We beneficial utilizing butter in an emulsion system (i.e. conditioner or masks) the place the droplet measurement for butter has been lowered with the assistance of emulsion know-how.

Pure Coily Hair

Pure coily hair is excessively curly, dry, and fragile. This hair sort has a small diameter and is tougher to detangle and magnificence.

These with pure coily hair perceive their hair’s particular necessities for a concentrated formulation that gives additional moisturization and conditioning.

Hair oils are perfect for one of these hair. Butters might be utilized on to the hair, as they’re wealthy in saturated fatty acids.

Shea butter is an ideal recipe as a consequence of its semi-solid texture and lubricity. It additionally supplies gloss. Argan Oil can also be a superb alternative as a consequence of its excessive oleic acid content material.

Chemically Handled Hair

Chemically handled hairs are extra porous, fragile, and tough to comb because of the tough cuticular layer on the hair shaft’s floor.

They require a technique with moisture and preservation to keep up the hair moisture degree.

Fantastic oils with low tackiness are perfect for this job. Sunflower or grapeseed are skinny oils and are extremely beneficial.

How one can Keep away from or Management Oil Construct Up

Oils and butter might trigger build-up on the hair shaft, which happens because of the repeated oil software in comparatively giant portions.

Such build-up leaves the hair with a greasy and oily really feel. With the construct up, oily hair will entice extra air pollution carbon particulates that follow hair fibers’ oily floor, which is able to make the hair soiled, sticky, and uninteresting.

How can we management oil build-up?

  • Select your oil rigorously whereas maintaining in thoughts your pure sebum secretion.
  • Don’t use an extreme amount of oils and butter.
  • Apply in small parts, massaging them completely utilizing your fingers.
  • Solely apply when wanted
  • Keep away from extreme, repeated purposes.
  • Ideally make clear your hair with a clarifying shampoo earlier than the following software.


Oils or butter have been in private care use for actually centuries. They’re time-tested, non-toxic pure merchandise which are glorious for his or her lubricity and conditioning.

Nonetheless, not all oils are appropriate for you.

Customers want to look at their hair sort, sebum secretion, and hair texture to decide on an oil. It would take trial and error to determine your perfect oil and or butter.

There’s all the time one which delivers the suitable quantity of conditioning and hair safety to your hair.

A single oil failure doesn’t suggest that each different oil will fail you in the identical manner. It might take a number of trials and errors earlier than you discover the proper one for you.

Lastly, as I all the time say, let your hair be your information!

Please see more summary list Best penetrating oils for natural hair for your needs? You are at the right place. We recognize that amidst so many choices in the market, it can be perplexing and confusing to make the right pick.


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