Oils- The good, the bad, and the ugly...

Recently I've noticed a lot of curlies having issues or questions about oils, so I've decided to start this thread. Feel free to chime in with your knowledge. I apologize if this has already been done.

My hair is a mix of fine, medium-coarse, full blown coarse, porous hair and when I use oils, I get mixed results. Using too much oils after a while will cause my hair to look like I've been using cones. Why is this? Aren't oils good for the hair. Not always.

With regard to porous hair, oils can be used as emolients to moisturize and seal the cuticle to prevent excessive moisture loss and excessive moisture absorption (which can lead to frizz), but the problem arises when the hair is coated with too much of the wrong oils leading to hair suffocation. For coarse hair, I think some oils are not helpful and can even cause frizz, straw-like, crimpy hair with a dry feel because of the relationship of the oil to protein.

Porous Hair

Suffocation caused by oils may have to do with their absorption rates. Oils can either be absorbed fast, average or prolonged. It is the prolonged one that concern me. They may sit on the cuticle and potentially cause suffocation. For instance, avocado, castor, fractionated coconut oils have prolonged absorption, meaning they can sit on the hair surface for a long time while they are being absorbed over this length of time. Unrefined coconut oil and lanolin fail to absorb at all. Olive olive, jojoba, macadamia nut oil have fast absorbtion rates. These fast oils sink more readily into hair and skin, thus they moisturize but don't leave a greasy feel. Since they sink in pretty fast, my theory is they also won't cause suffocation if not overused.

Now there are some cases where prolonged absorption is desired. I think the oils used in this case should be used sparingly.

Coarse hair

Coarse hair should avoid protein. Many are aware that jojoba (actually a wax) contains a small amount of protein. There is a debate as to whether wheat germ oil contains protein. Since there is no conclusive evidence, let just say if you are protein sensitive, you may want to avoid wheat germ oil.

Now, the oil I actually want to discuss here is coconut oil. Coconut oil can help prevent protein loss and may even strengthen the protein in the hair. Since coarse hair has an over abundance of protein, why would we want to strengthen it. IMO this oil should be avoided.

In addition, although coconut cream and coconut milk are not oils, they also should be avoided as they can be nearly half protein. This leads me to question the mild surfactants and other ingredients derived from coconut. I have noticed that my hair is not liking these products (especially Aubrey Organics) the more I use them. The base of all of AO products is derived from coconut. Since I have a mix of fine, medium-coarse and coarse hair, I was initially able to use AOHR and AOWC. However, now I simply cannot. I am suspecting it may be the coconut base and/or the protein contents. I've noticed over time that my hair works best with bases not derived from coconut products.

I hope this info is helpful. And if I have written anything that is not correct, please respond. Also I hope others with knowledge of how oils affect other hair types I did not mention will chime in.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Thanks for posting this. I did an olive oil treatment yesterday for the first time and I am on 6th day of curly girl and can I tell you, I was so happy! My hair really needed a drink... but I did wonder if doing too often would be bad....

-Laura

Last edited by 3C4Atrying2embracecurls; 09-18-2009 at 02:31 PM. Reason: typo
Thanks for posting this. I did an olive oil treatment yesterday for the first time and I am on 6th day of curly girl and can I tell you, I was so happy! My hair really needed a drink... but I did wonder if doing too often would be bad....

-Laura
Originally Posted by 3C4Atrying2embracecurls
Since olive oil readily sinks into the hair, I don't think it is a bad "treatment" to do regulary, like a weekly (if you can handle it) or monthly deep treatment.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Good thread! My hair can't tolerate oil - it's frizz city - but in a weird frizz kind of way.

I've pretty much tried all the oils, and they all seem to be a no go, but then I've usually tried them in combination, (i.e. in some product), so it might be a good idea to try them individually. I've tried olive oil alone, and my hair got angry with me.

I might have to try coconut oil alone and see what happens.
Currently:Alaffia Shea & Coconut Enriching Shampoo, Alaffia Virgin Coconut & Shea Enriching Hair Lotion, Qhemet Amla Olive Heavy Cream, Qhemet Honeybush Tea Gel.

Last Texturizer: March 12, 2008
BC: July 21, 2008
Hair: Coarse, low porosity, iii.

Certified Denirophile

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome". ~ Albert Einstein
My brain is churning. I'm leaning toward a theory that fine haired curlies like coconut oil. Any out there care to respond? How does fine hair react to coconut oil?

And along those lines, maybe fine hair or low porosity doesn't like olive oil??? or any oil for that matter, especially if your hair is then exposed to the sun. Think frying pan.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Coarse hair

Coarse hair should avoid protein. Many are aware that jojoba (actually a wax) contains a small amount of protein. There is a debate as to whether wheat germ oil contains protein. Since there is no conclusive evidence, let just say if you are protein sensitive, you may want to avoid wheat germ oil.

Now, the oil I actually want to discuss here is coconut oil. Coconut oil can help prevent protein loss and may even strengthen the protein in the hair. Since coarse hair has an over abundance of protein, why would we want to strengthen it. IMO this oil should be avoided.

In addition, although coconut cream and coconut milk are not oils, they also should be avoided as they can be nearly half protein. This leads me to question the mild surfactants and other ingredients derived from coconut.
Being a coarse head I do avoid proteins for the "most" part. I still have some products that contain proteins and do well with them. All hair needs some protein.

If I wasn't avoiding proteins then maybe "possibly" Coconut oil would bother me. On the contrary, I love coconut oil and coco milk in my hair! But, I don't over do anything and rotate products. I think one of the biggest problems we have with Co-washing is that stuff builds up on our hair that co-washing alone can not get out. If you're using Oil heavy products like AOHR or even using some products that contain oils you'll have a problem with build up so the culprit may not be the Oils, it's that you're not washing them out properly.

bela I see you use Deva No-POO. That product contains proteins and I've never been able to get my hair clean enough using it. When I use NO-Poo more then a couple times in a week I get that straw like over dose of protein.

The curl chemist has some excellent info on our cuticle and how oils respond depending on porosity as well.

http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlre...and-curly-hair

http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlre...ls-and-butters

So do I avoid oils? Yes to some degree. I look at product formulation mostly. If I see a styler with more then 1 Oil I'll probably steer clear. If I see a Condish with more then one oil I also will avoid it. However, a condish with a combination of Butters and an Oil like Curl Junkie Rehab, and Afro Detangler I'm all over it!!

ETA: The only product I've used with Olive oil is DEVA ONE-C and my hair did very well with that condish before it reformulated. Now it's just OK nothing special.

I also think that hair that is more "porous" will absorb too much so that's another reason to be careful with Oils.
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars


CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.

Last edited by DEL2C; 09-18-2009 at 04:13 PM.
Now I'm surmising, the curious thing about coconut oil/milk/cream is that coarse hair shouldn't love it b/c of the protein, but porous hair should b/c of the protein. So if you have both coarse and porous hair, you may do fine with coconut products or you may not.

Del, the deva no poo has 3 amino acids, not strick proteins but act like them, so I tolerate them. Plus they are low on the ingredient list (near the bottom). I am actually in the process of switching them out of my routine (I just want to finish the bottle). I do use protein sparingly to satisfy the fine and porous hairs I have.

I also agree with you about the co-wash technique being prone to developing buildup sooner. However, if my theory is correct, then if you are using a fast absorbing oil, there should be no residue on the hair and less buildup, since the oil absorbs into the hair like other moisturizers.

My porous hair absolutely loves a mix of butter and oils in products also. This may have something to do with the fast oils absorbing into the hair and the butters which have prolonged absorption, seal the cuticle to keep the moisture in. I just don't like jojoba and coconut.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Yeah I know what you're saying about Deva No Poo and the Amino Acids. Again, it's got to be product formulation and the fact that this has 3 diff types Soy, Wheat and Oat. I've used EO conditioners that contain Amino Acids I don't know for certain which kind is in them but I don't react strangely to it the way I do with No-Poo. It might even be that EO has Beh. Meth. as an added benefit?

I don't know which oils are faster absorbing and which sit on top so if you have a link (unless I missed something in the curl chemist articles? ) that shows this I would love to see it! Very curious about that..........I find that on my hair Coconut oil absorbs very well but that is the only Straight Oil I use. I tried using Jojoba and others straight and it was a disaster. But when Jojoba or many other oils get combined with other ingredients it's almost as if the effect is "buffered" so it doesn't bother me .

Oh and I forgot! I've used KBB Butter (only in the Cold weather of course) and that has Olive Oil along with a bunch of other butters and my hair does well with. So that's 2 products with Olive Oil that I've tried.
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars


CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.
My brain is churning. I'm leaning toward a theory that fine haired curlies like coconut oil. Any out there care to respond? How does fine hair react to coconut oil?

And along those lines, maybe fine hair or low porosity doesn't like olive oil??? or any oil for that matter, especially if your hair is then exposed to the sun. Think frying pan.
Originally Posted by belasuna
I'm a fine haired curly and my hair loves coconut oil! It makes it very soft, shiny and moisturized. I can use it straight up after styling for shine too. I think you may be right!
3B, fine, low/normal porosity
CG - July 2009
CO/RO/Trt.-Suave, BCB, Tigi OH & MM, EO, CJRehab, SG, DF & CF, Jasmine's, Bellacurl, SS, Darcy's, K-Pak, Shescentit, DE Coconut, MD, Oyin, JCWDT, CurlQ
LI-GDLI, Abba PGC, CJRehab, CF,SG & BCLI, Jasmine's, Bellacurl, SS, Shescentit, DE Coconut, MD, Oyin
Styler-FSG, Re:coil, CJCCCC lite & CIAB, Komaza CCP & CS, DB, BRHG, Joiwhip/gel, Ecostyler, Boots, SS, Gel-les'c, DMMCG, KCSS
Too many others to list!
My hair loves the light fast-absorbing oils. My HG's right now are Jojoba and Camellia. I can mix it with Knot Today or use them straight to scrunch out the crunch on dry hair. It never leaves my ahir greasy and weighed down. My other favorites are: Watermelon, Papaya Seed, Strawberry Seed, and Rosehip.

Certain oils like Olive and Cocnut are not good for me. The weigh my hair down and dry it out some times. Castor Oil is too sticky and heavy. Shea Butter coats my hair horribly and is hard to wash out. I avoid it as much as possible in my products now.
4a/b Texlaxed hair w/ highlights. Medium texture & high porosity.

HG's: CJ Daily Fix, Bobeam Cheris Hibiscus shampoo bar, KC Spiral Spritz, Knot Today, CJ Rehab, KBB LL Hair Mask, Cassia, KCCC, oil blend of Avocado, Camellia, Jojoba, & Meadowfoam oils

SL APL BSL MBL
My brain is churning. I'm leaning toward a theory that fine haired curlies like coconut oil. Any out there care to respond? How does fine hair react to coconut oil?

And along those lines, maybe fine hair or low porosity doesn't like olive oil??? or any oil for that matter, especially if your hair is then exposed to the sun. Think frying pan.
Originally Posted by belasuna

My hair is extremely coarse. Not a fine hair on my head.

ETA: A lot of people describe my hair as "doll" hair. Like the plastic strands you see on toy dolls . Perhaps it's the low porosity theory.
Currently:Alaffia Shea & Coconut Enriching Shampoo, Alaffia Virgin Coconut & Shea Enriching Hair Lotion, Qhemet Amla Olive Heavy Cream, Qhemet Honeybush Tea Gel.

Last Texturizer: March 12, 2008
BC: July 21, 2008
Hair: Coarse, low porosity, iii.

Certified Denirophile

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome". ~ Albert Einstein

Last edited by OnyxCabelo; 09-18-2009 at 08:43 PM.
Doll hair. That's funny!

Thanks for posting this. I think you're absolutely right. I'm coarse and porous and my hair loves olive oil. Unfortunately, I don't love the smell. I've been meaning to try macademia oil. Jojoba doesn't really do much for my hair.
3c
Poo: KBB shampoo bar or Shikai moisturizing shampoo
CoWash: VO5 kiwi
Cond: Robert Craig, Tresemme Natural, or Fekkai Shea Butter
Leave in/Styling: Grapeseed oil, KBB milk, KCCC, and Aveda Confixor
I just did the porosity test where you slide your fingers up the shaft of your hair, and my fingers slipped right up - "slick like". Apparently, this means it's low porosity - I think.
Currently:Alaffia Shea & Coconut Enriching Shampoo, Alaffia Virgin Coconut & Shea Enriching Hair Lotion, Qhemet Amla Olive Heavy Cream, Qhemet Honeybush Tea Gel.

Last Texturizer: March 12, 2008
BC: July 21, 2008
Hair: Coarse, low porosity, iii.

Certified Denirophile

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome". ~ Albert Einstein
This is really interesting. We've had some very interesting experiments in my house with this (not from a scientist view )

My hair is fine, med porosity, and thin. I can use coconut products without any problem--in fact the more the better. I can also use jojoba oil (love), protein (more the better), and Vitamin E oil or Tee Tree oil (love). I can also use avocado oil which my hair also seems to love (use in my FSG). My hair hates olive oil and grapeseed oil.

My daughter's hair is a mix of fine and coarse (2 completely different hair's in her head--looks like 2 different people's hair if you pull strands out and look separately..different color too!) with some medium thrown in as well. She does NOT do well with anything coconut based or with coconut, Jojoba does nothing for her hair at all, olive oil works very good if not over used, and we can use some butters on her hair wet without causing greasy hair. Although her fine hair needs protein we have been unable to find anything with protein that does not cause her more dry and coarse hair to turn into a nightmare of tangles/straw/crispy hair (ideas welome)

My son has 2B hair with medium across the board. I can use anything on his hair without a problem provided I don't over do. He also, of course, has the long eyelashes too!

It is interesting you mention AOHR. I have AOHR, AOGPB, and AOIN. When we first started using these my daughter really liked them--a LOT. I use them but mostly for DT as they work well for that purpose for me. I limit to 1x a week or my hair is too soft.

After about 5 uses for my daughter her hair started to get very dry and straw like with the AOHR--and it started leaving a nasty buildup on her scalp. We were pretty shocked about this but she hasn't used them for almost a month. To get the build up out we used a shampoo without SLS/ALS but with that coconut based cleanser. It seemed to bother her hair as well and the tangles were awful. We ended up doing a SLS poo to try and fix the issue.

I've been using the EO Orange I picked up at Marshall's and my hair, after about a week, is very limp, fly away (new phenomenon for me) and tends to greasy looking--and the only new thing is the EO which seemed to work great at first. I'll have to check the ingredients to see what's in there.

Great post!
FIA 2c/3aFi

Done experimenting! Loving Spiral Solutions products!

Blog: http://thewavytales.blogspot.com/
The Beauty Brains had some great info on Oils. There's lots of links on here but I decided to post about which oils penetrate hair, including Coconut to provide excellent conditioning.

Olive and Avocado oils penetrate all the way into the hair shaft. Meadowfoam seed oil partially penetrates, and jojoba and sunflower oils donít penetrate at all.
http://thebeautybrains.com/2007/05/1...ny-and-strong/

Isn't it great when you can find scientific info to explain why things work or don't??
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars


CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.
The majority of my hair is fine, with some medium on the top. Jojoba does nothing for my hair. I have to loo-poo several times to get it out. Or use a sulfate wash. Olive oil makes a great DT, but my fave is coconut oil. So I guess your theory about fine hair liking coconut oil is spot on.

What I don't get, is the part about coconut oil being a slow absorbing oil and suffocating the hair. What I've read about coconut oil is that its one of the few oils (along with olive oil) that actually has a moisturizing factor that will penetrate into the shaft. The article that I read specifically stated that the majority of oils don't actually absorb, they aDsorb. However, olive oil and coconut oil are part of a small group that have something that can actually be used by the interior of the shaft.

When I find that article, (yes it was a blog) I'll post it here so you can take a look at it and tell me what you think.

**edit, found the blog -- yes its a controversial one She has quite a few articles on coconut oil, and why she thinks its a great moisturizer.
Grand Goobah Caedran, Aqueous Infusion of Demulcents, Order of the Curly Crusaders

Fia 2cFi, fine texture, med porosity CG 5-29-09 * My hair loves protein! Currently using : DermOrganics Shampoo and IHM, G2B Kinkier Mousse, Re:Coil VMM, Anything Spiral Solutions! MO Sealing. Coconut Oil Pre-Poo, once a month Hard Water shampoo. Avoiding Glycerin in finishing products.


Last edited by goobernut; 09-19-2009 at 02:44 PM.
The majority of my hair is fine, with some medium on the top. Jojoba does nothing for my hair. I have to loo-poo several times to get it out. Or use a sulfate wash. Olive oil makes a great DT, but my fave is coconut oil. So I guess your theory about fine hair liking coconut oil is spot on.

What I don't get, is the part about coconut oil being a slow absorbing oil and suffocating the hair. What I've read about coconut oil is that its one of the few oils (along with olive oil) that actually has a moisturizing factor that will penetrate into the shaft. The article that I read specifically stated that the majority of oils don't actually absorb, they aDsorb. However, olive oil and coconut oil are part of a small group that have something that can actually be used by the interior of the shaft.

When I find that article, (yes it was a blog) I'll post it here so you can take a look at it and tell me what you think.

**edit, found the blog -- yes its a controversial one She has quite a few articles on coconut oil, and why she thinks its a great moisturizer.
Originally Posted by goobernut
Wow, I am so glad to see all the in put of info. I love learning, especially hair learning.

To clarify what I meant about coconut oil being slow absorbing, I mean that it does absorb but over a prolonged period of time which is why it is super moisturizing, since it stays with you for a long time. This is also why I think it may be suffocating--if you keep using this type of oil that has a prolonged absorption you are adding oil upon oil upon oil, which compounded with heat, I believe, can cause suffocation. The suffocation part is my theory based on my various readings.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Coconut oil is the best.
Thick, coarse bra strap length long 3b plus some 3c underneath.
Coconut oil is the best.
Originally Posted by babycurl81
Oh good another coarse head that loves Coconut oil curlyjenn10 another coarse head does well with coconut oil too and she doesn't like oils. Then we have RCC who hates Coconut and she's a med/coarse porous head. This gets confusing.

http://collegecurly.blogspot.com/sea.../coconut%20oil

To clarify what I meant about coconut oil being slow absorbing, I mean that it does absorb but over a prolonged period of time which is why it is super moisturizing, since it stays with you for a long time. This is also why I think it may be suffocating--if you keep using this type of oil that has a prolonged absorption you are adding oil upon oil upon oil, which compounded with heat, I believe, can cause suffocation. The suffocation part is my theory based on my various readings.
It would be great if you would post some links as to where your readings can be found?

Maybe, if you over use it and if you don't Low Poo at all, but I imagine you would have to use quite a lot! There are people that just Co-wash coco oil out without issues. Last Winter I was doing Cocount Oil DT's twice a week and I would use about a Qtr. size of coco oil and wash it out the next day. Coconut Oil is keeping my hair from swelling and absorbing too much water (this is good for a porous heads) and preventing protein loss I don't see it as a bad thing! I'm not applying a lot of extra protein so might as well retain, rather then add to get the protein I need
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars


CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.

Last edited by DEL2C; 09-20-2009 at 08:35 AM.
You know DEL I like your thinking I was just thinking something similar lol

That maybe for some of us porous heads, the slow absorbtion is a good thing. I have parts that are porous due to damage, and I live in a very humid area. Those damaged parts are always frizzy. So I've been trying to find things that seal out water. I wash and condition and then WANT something to re-seal. I don't use coconut every day, but once a week or so seriously improves the frizzy part. I believe its because it does have the dual action of moisturizing AND being a sorta sealant. Does that make sense?
Grand Goobah Caedran, Aqueous Infusion of Demulcents, Order of the Curly Crusaders

Fia 2cFi, fine texture, med porosity CG 5-29-09 * My hair loves protein! Currently using : DermOrganics Shampoo and IHM, G2B Kinkier Mousse, Re:Coil VMM, Anything Spiral Solutions! MO Sealing. Coconut Oil Pre-Poo, once a month Hard Water shampoo. Avoiding Glycerin in finishing products.

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