Hi, NaturallyCurly World! Quick question for you:

Have you heard about "Oil Washing"?


As natural hair and curl enthusiasts, you most likely have heard the term in recent months from vloggers like Fanta Diop (pictured above) and Brittany Kyss.

Well, have you tried oil washing only to have your entire head and face look like an oil slick?

Yeah, well... maybe you've been going about oil washing all wrong, my friend.

And that is a-okay because you know what I'm about: trial and error. So, kudos to you for smiling through the greasy forehead mishaps and shining nose snafus 👏🏾

In any event, we are going to take about 2 minutes to examine this trending natural hair hack to learn what the oil-washing-on-a-curl-and-a-prayer technique is all about.

What exactly is Oil Washing?

You are literally using oil, instead of shampoo, to wash your hair.

woman with curly hair by andresr for istock

Sounds counterintuitive, right? Photo: andresr | istock

Well, you want to use the oil in place of your shampoo because, theoretically, the oil will loosen and lift product build up and scalp debris. Its weight and slip helps the gross stuff in your curls to glide down your curls, smooth the hair strand, and (gasps) reduce frizz🤞🏾

What is even better about oil washing is that it is one of the easiest ways to detangle your hair. This means that this technique is a lifesaver for those of us with super tight, kinky coils and zig-zag curls that can get knotted up so easily.


Is Oil Washing the same as Pre-Poo?


A "pre-poo" is usually an oil treatment applied to hair [before] shampooing or conditioning. While most of these treatments can be oils of your choice, some women create other treatments from household pantry items. -NaturallyCurly

A critical difference between oil washing and pre-pooing: wash time. Pre-poo takes between 1 to 2 hours, or longer, to efficiently coat and nourish hair strands. The oil washing method takes significantly shorter time, equalling a typical shampooing session.


To learn more about pre-poo methods, bookmark these handy NaturallyCurly resources:

Is Conditioner necessary?

While the curl jury is still out on this one, some of you are nixing conditioner altogether because oil washing works so well for your hair.

Others of you are still into conditioner and co-washes.


IMO, sticking with conditioner won't hurt your curls. In fact, it may save them from environmental factors such as heat damage (yep, from the sun), breakage from arid climates, and even humidity. You want to keep your hair hydrated, and hair cuticle smoothed down at all times, so that is why I will say that a fantastic conditioner is totally worth applying post-oil washing.

Ready to try it? Here are a few Oils to use when Oil Washing:

There are several oil washing techniques - what is the right one?

oil washing

Maybe it's because my bull-headed nature takes over, but I think there's only one way to execute oil washing: Your Way.

Seriously, friend. Whatever works best for your hair texture, porosity level, hair density, and curl pattern is the best route to take when oil washing your hair. That being said, I do think that the following 2 approaches will help you get luscious, shining, poppin' curls for days and days.

Press Play ▶️

For Oil Washers Only.


Got Build Up? Shampoo + Oil Washing Curls Works!

Oil Rinsing for Natural Hair by Brittany Kyss

Try a few of my all-time favorite shampoos for low porosity, dense coily, kinky curls:

Pretty slick, right?

oil washing

Well, if you're wondering whether this will work for you, I think that you know your hair and scalp better than anyone. Those in the community that have scalp issues, such as psoriasis, dandruff, or eczema, may want to avoid this oil washing since it may clog your pores or irritate your scalp. If you already have an overabundance of sebum, you may want to skip this method since it will only make you feel oilier.

Got questions about Oil Washing? Ask them in the comments.

taking it easy by PeopleImages for istock

We love hearing from you! Photo: PeopleIamges | iStock

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As ever, stay curly!