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A quick guide to oil rinsing for more moisture and less knots.

Natural oils go hand in hand with natural hair and for good reason. If you want your tresses moisturized, soft, free of single strand knots and shiny, then oils are a huge component of that equation. Sealing is not the only job for natural oils and they don’t necessary have to be the last part of your styling routine or just for a hot oil treatment. If you’ve been natural for a while, then you’ve probably heard about oil rinsing and how wonderful it can be for your strands.

What is oil rinsing?

Oil rinsing is using oil in your wash routine to help in moisture retention and removing knots and tangles. Some claim it can actually replace your shampoo and if you subscribe the oil cleansing method then you may agree. Others see it and use it after your hair has been cleansed to combat the drying effects of shampoo and to reinforce the conditioning properties of a conditioner. Either way, it’s a positive tool in your hair care regimen.

How do you oil rinse?

Essentially you are dumping a carrier oil (must be in the liquid form and stay liquid whether warmed or cold) onto your tresses as you would a conditioner. Make sure it is all natural and you can pick most of those up in the food aisle of the grocery store. It will be much cheaper than in the beauty aisle. You may massage it from the roots to the tips to ensure oil is covering all of your strands and finger through or use a wide tooth comb to get it throughout your strands. Great oils for oil rinsing are:

  • Olive
  • Castor
  • Jojoba
  • Grapeseed
  • Almond
  • Argan

It’s truly the preference of the user on which oil to try as your hair will guide you. Also, you can be a shampooer or even a co-washer to try this method. Allow the oil to sit on your head (with a plastic cap or not) for at least 5 minutes before rinsing lightly. You can use cold water if you applied the oil after your conditioner and wish to close your hair cuticle or with warm water if you plan on finishing up with your conditioner after you rinse it out.

Benefits

  • Better moisture retention than just with water and/or a water based conditioner
  • Less single-strand knots
  • Less tangles
  • A reduction in frizz
  • Softer hair
  • Gives a boost in the detangling session

Yes it can be messy so doing it while in the shower is great but watch out for a slippery shower floor. You can always add more or less to your hair’s needs and even though some feel that it’s not ideal for co-washers, don’t let that keep you from trying it. You may not need it as much and can just use less on your hair or rinse out more. Oil rinsing can be adjusted to fit your hair’s needs and your personal routine. Don’t ever feel locked into a hair care routine as we must tailor them to our lifestyle, climate, schedule, and hair.

There are some who feel it can replace shampoo, but if you would like to try that then a more cleansing oil like castor oil may work and you can add a few drops of peppermint, lavender or tea tree oil to help with the cleansing. I would test it out first to see if you feel it’s properly cleansing your hair, but if you notice build-up and not feeling your hair is getting completely cleaned then try a shampoo or co-washing, but always know to listen to your hair and find out what it needs.

Sabrina Perkins

Sabrina, founder of seriouslynatural.org and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.

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