Hot Oil Treatment for Natural Hair

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.

best hot oil treatments for natural hair

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.

For an effective treatment, mixed with essential oils like tea tree essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and eucalyptus essential oil.

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

Avocado oil has rich moisturizing properties and is well suited to chemically treated and heat-treated hair.

Some recommended brands of avocado oil include La Tourangelle Avocado Oil, Baja Precious Avocado Oil, and Maple Holistics Avocado Oil.

Baja Precious Avocado Oil

Baja Precious Avocado Oil

Almond Oil

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.

Some recommended brands of avocado oil include Molivera Organics Sweet Almond Oil and Piping Rock Sweet Almond Oil.

Piping Rock Sweet Almond Oil

Piping Rock Sweet Almond Oil

Grapeseed Oil

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.

Some recommended brands of grapeseed oil include Life-Flo Pure Grapeseed Oil and Beauty Aura Grapeseed Oil

beauty aura pure grapeseed oil

Beauty Aura Pure Grapeseed Oil

Olive Oil

Suitable for dry and lifeless hair. Some recommended brands include La Tourangelle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Oro Bailen Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

This is the third hair oil that can penetrate the hair shaft in addition to coconut oil and grapeseed oil.

Oro Bailen Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Oro Bailen Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Hot Oil Treatment for Scalp Issues

Coconut Oil

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.

Some recommended brands of coconut oil include Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. 

Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Calendula Oil

Suitable for an inflamed scalp, dandruff, and eczema.

Recommended brands of calendula oil include Eminence Calendula Oil and Piping Rock Calendula Oil.

piping rock calendula oil

Piping Rock Calendula Oil

Jojoba Oil

The only oil that mimics the sebum produced by the scalp. It helps balance out the scalp and eliminate dry scalp.

Recommended brands of jojoba oil include Trader Joe’s 100% Pure Jojoba Oil and Desert Essence Jojoba Oil.

Desert Essence Organic Jojoba Oil

Desert Essence Organic Jojoba Oil

Hot Oil Treatment for Hair Loss Issues

Castor Oil

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.

Some recommended brands of castor oil include Aura Cacia Castor Oil, Banyan Botanicals Castor Oil, and Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Castor Oil

Aura Cacia Organic Castor Oil

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.

Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil

Mielle Mint Almond Oil

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

Benefits of hot oil treatments for natural hair
Basic Hot Oil Treatment Recipe

Basic Hot Oil Treatment Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

This is a basic hot oil treatment recipe you can adapt according to your hair needs.


  • 3 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 5 - 10 drops of lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil orr ylang ylang essential oil


  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 medium bowl
  • Balloon whisk


  1. Pour the oils into a bowl and whisk them together. Add in the essential oils.
  2. Place the bowl over a bigger bowl of hot water and heat up the oil mix.
  3. Once the mix is ready, section your hair and apply it to your scalp.
  4. Once the scalp is covered, apply the rest of the oil to the length of your hair in each section and smooth through thoroughly.
  5. 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.
  6. After 45 minutes, proceed with the rest of your regimen.

Basic Hot Oil Treatment Recipe


  • This recipe is for dry hair. For hair loss, use oils recommended in the hair loss section, etc.
  • This recipe is for shoulder length hair approx. You can adjust the amounts for shorter or longer hair.

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