woman holding a bottle of jamaican black castor oil

Photo by @opokua.a


“Are certain oils for hair growth? What is the difference between sealing and penetrating oils? If I am a type 2 can I use the same oils for hair growth as a type 4?”

If this whole natural lifestyle isn’t overwhelming, I don’t know what is! You almost need a chemistry degree to figure out what you should be using on your natural tresses. I know your schedule is already crazy busy, so let’s dive right in.

Which oils should I be using on my hair?

The first step in deciding which oil is right for you is to do a strand test. It is very important to know if your hair leans more to the hydrophobic or hydrophilic side.

Hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic hair:

  • Hydrophibic hair is non-porous and resistant to water 
  • Hydrophilic hair is porous and loves water 

Remember, before you do the test make sure you have clarified your hair to remove all of your product build-up.

Once you have determined whether your hair is resistant to water or not, 

If you have hydrophobic hair

  1. Clarify to remove build-up. If you have heavy build-up present, oils won’t penetrate. A great clarifying shampoo is Original Moxie Get Fresh.
  2. Perform a steam treatment with a great moisturizing deep conditioner like Obia Naturals Babassu Deep Conditioner. The steam helps to swell the hair strands and slightly raise the cuticle. Rinse with cool water to close the cuticle, and lock the penetrating oils in.
  3. Apply a leave-in conditioner with a water (liquid”> base to wet hair, like Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-in Conditioner. Stay away from hardening proteins and heavy silicones.

If you have hydrophilic hair

  1. Clarify to remove the build up of heavy products. A great sulfate free option is Surface Purify Shampoo.
  2. Deep condition with a flexible protein. Amaranth protein found in Surface Hair Care Trinity One Shothelps reconstruct damaged hair, lubricates the shaft and combats humidity.
  3. Your leave-in should have the ability to start the sealing process with great oils. I love Surface Trinity Tonic and Trinity Protein Cream.

What is a penetrating oil?

Like the name, this kind of oil has a molecular makeup small enough to penetrate the hair strands. It is a great idea to have the right penetrating oils in your deep conditioner and leave-in. You may also chose to use a pure form of penetrating oil after you apply your leave-in.

Try one of these penetrating oils for nonporous hair

  • Argan oil promotes healthy scalp and rich in Vitamin E.
  • Grapeseed oil improves elasticity in hair. Has the ability to clean the walls of damaged capillaries.
  • Almond oil treats hair loss and rich in both Vitamin E and magnesium.

Try one of these penetrating oils for porous hair

  • Coconut oil is said to prevent protein loss in hair.
  • Babassu oil adds strength to weak strands.
  • Avocado oil has antioxidant properties and protects against further heat damage.

What is a sealing oil?

Sealing oils do just that, they seal the moisture and penetrating oils in so that you do not lose moisture throughout the day (resulting in dryness and frizz”>.

Look for these sealing oils should be present in your leave-ins, creams, and styling products. 

Some of my favorite sealing oils for nonporous hair

  • Mango butter is great for adding hydration and moisture.
  • Muru muru butter locks in moisture and promotes shine.
  • Cupuacu butter is great for absorbing water and promotes healthy scalp. A great product for this is Original Moxie Emollience.
  • Jojoba oil moisturizes, adds shine and promotes scalp health.

Some of my favorite sealing oils for porous hair

  • Castor oil helps retain moisture and helps repair damage.
  • Olive oil moisturizes and adds elasticity.

Some oils can be used on both porous and non-porous hair, but remember: it is important to learn what your hair needs, and there is no ‘one oil fits all.’

Which oils does your hair love? 

This article has been updated based on reader feedback.

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