Is a hot oil treatment good for natural hair? This is a question I am asked often and the answer is – absolutely.
When I was relaxed, hot oil treatments were frequently applied during my salon visits partly because my hair was so weak and dry.
I found out much later on those hot oil treatments didn’t work for a reason, which I’ve outlined at the end of this article.
However, when done the right way, hot oil treatments are very beneficial for natural hair and can revive and rejuvenate dry and damaged curls.
6 Hot Oil Treatment Benefits for Natural Hair
1. Stimulates Blood Flow to Scalp
Hot oil treatments help stimulate blood flow to the scalp especially if you get a good massage in while at it.
How to Grow Hair Healthy and Long with Natural Oils goes in-depth into stimulating the scalp with oils for hair growth.
2. Prepares Hair to Receive Treatments
Hot oil treatments help prepare the hair to retain more moisture from additional treatments.
Please note natural oils cannot moisturize hair. They can only seal and lock in moisture.
3. Restores Natural Oils
Our scalp produces natural oils that can be lost when using shampoos or other harsh treatments. Hot oil treatments help restore these natural oils.
4. Treats Scalp Conditions
Hot oil treatments are an excellent way to treat common scalp issues like dandruff, dry and itchy scalp, and eczema.
5. Strengthens Hair Follicles
Depending on the specific oil mix you use and additional essential oils added, hot oil treatments help strengthen the hair follicles and prevent hair fall.
6. Minimizes Dryness & Breakage
Hot oil treatments are especially beneficial for dry and breaking hair.
After a good hot oil treatment session, your hair should be noticeably softer and shinier.
Differences Between Hot Oil Treatment & Deep Conditioning Treatment
If you read the previous article on deep conditioning, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a hot oil treatment and deep conditioning treatment.
You may also be wondering if you should choose one over the other, or it doesn’t make any difference.
They are essentially achieving the same thing so you can choose one over the other.
You can also mix the two and use them for a good hot oil/deep conditioning session.
Another way to get the best of both worlds is to alternate between the two within a week or every other week.
However, you shouldn’t abandon deep conditioning for hot oil treatments exclusively. You still need to deep condition your hair.
Do You Have to Wash Your Hair Before a Hot Oil Treatment?
Not necessarily. Hot oil treatments work great on dry hair so ideally as a pre-poo before shampooing and deep conditioning.
However, if your hair is really dirty, it’s better if you shampoo first then wait until your hair is about 70% dry before applying the hot oil treatment.
8 Best Hair Oils for Hot Oil Treatments
There are over 60 kinds of natural oils out there and pretty much any kind of oil can be used for hot oil treatments.
However, you want to use the ones that are most effective and aren’t degraded when heat is applied.
Below are my top 8 hair oils recommended for hot oil treatments on natural hair:
Hot Oil Treatment for Moisture Retention
Avocado oil has rich moisturizing properties and is well suited to chemically treated and heat-treated hair.
This hair oil contains a significant amount of vitamin E and is ideal for frizzy hair and fine hair.
It’s also one of the hair oils proven to penetrate the hair shaft.
Another hair oil that aids in moisture retention. It’s one of my top oils for hair. Makes hair shiny, smoothens cuticles, and helps reduce brittleness.
This is the third hair oil that can penetrate the hair shaft in addition to coconut oil and grapeseed oil.
Hot Oil Treatment for Scalp Issues
Coconut oil contains lauric acid and capric acid, which helps make hair strands soft and supple.
It also reduces protein loss from the hair and is one of the three hair oils that can penetrate the hair shaft.
Suitable for an inflamed scalp, dandruff, and eczema.
The only oil that mimics the sebum produced by the scalp. It helps balance out the scalp and eliminate dry scalp.
Hot Oil Treatment for Hair Loss Issues
If you are struggling with hair loss issues, then castor oil should be included in your hair loss recovery regimen.
Be sure to enhance the hot oil with suitable essential oils targeted for hair growth.
Hot Oil Treatment Recipe for Natural Hair
There are several variations of hot oil treatments but the below recipe is my favorite and one that works quite well when I need a quick hot oil treatment.
You will require 3 tablespoons each of at least 3 oils from the recommendations above or enough for your hair length.
If you have dry hair with scalp issues, you can mix avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil for example.
If you have hair loss issues, mix castor oil, coconut oil, and almond oil.
Hot Oil Treatment Directions
- Mix the oils together in a bowl.
- Add in any essential oils if using and mix together. Great essential oils that work with this include lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and ylang ylang essential oil.
- Place the bowl over a bigger bowl of hot water and heat up the oil mix.
- Once the mix is ready, part your hair and apply to your scalp in sections then apply to the length of your hair in each section and smooth through thoroughly.
- Twist each section and pin up then cover your hair with a steam cap and proceed with whichever steaming method you’re using for up to 45 minutes.
- Proceed with the rest of your regimen.
Naptural85 also has a nice overnight hot oil treatment in the video below:
How Often Should I Do Hot Oil Treatments?
Once a week is ideal but listen to your hair needs. Your hair might not require it that much and maybe once or twice a month is more than adequate.
Personally, I do hot oil treatments only once a month.
Top Tips for Hot Oil Treatment for Natural Hair
- Apply enough that your whole head and scalp are drenched in oil but not so much that it drips down your neck.
- Feel free to mix and match the oils. Since they are all-natural, there won’t be any adverse effects. If you don’t fancy the result, you can wash it out with a mild shampoo like Castile Soap and start again.
- You can perform hot oil treatments once a week or once a month. It all depends on your hair needs and what other products you have in your stash.
- You can use your hot oil treatment as a pre-poo mixed with a suitable conditioner.
- You can keep the hot oil treatment in your hair overnight once it cools down. You may end up with a greasy pillowcase the next morning though.
Hot Oil Treatment Products
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, when I was relaxed, commercial hot oil treatments were applied to my hair regularly.
The results were always temporary before the problem came back. At the time, the reason wasn’t obvious.
When I started researching and trying out natural oils, I finally realized the problem and stopped using commercial hot oil treatment products.
A lot of commercial hot oil treatment products have ingredients like mineral oil, liquid paraffin, and silicone-based ingredients added.
Curly hair hates these ingredients and they only dried my hair out even more.
Subsequently, I didn’t see the need for commercial hot oil treatments when I could just buy and mix the oils and use them directly without any additives.
Mixing and testing my own hair treatments is part of the reason I launched Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty.
That doesn’t mean hot oil treatment products won’t work on your hair.
After all, everyone’s hair is different but I believe a hot oil treatment works better when natural oils are used as-is.
Having said all of the above, there are some hot oil treatment products that are free of chemicals such as Mielle Mint Almond Oil.
If you’ve never tried hot oil treatments before, now is the time to get on this excellent way to promote healthy hair growth.
Pin it for Later – Benefits of Hot Oil Treatments for Natural Hair
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
This post may contain affiliate links which means we will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Read full disclosure HERE.