So you've heard of oils, right?
Obviously, our lovely readers are at all different levels of naturalista know-how, from the product junkie kings and queens, to the level-one learners, but we can rest fairly assured that you know about treating your natural hair with oil, whether it involves brushing some blends fresh from the double boiler into your strands, or warming up the ol' electric bonnet for a deep hot oil soak. But do you know what cold oil treatments are? No? Well, we can tell you—they're not as complex as you might think.
Essentially, cold oil treatments are just...hot oil treatments at a different temperature.
Stop rolling your eyes, we're getting to it. Cold oil could be more accurately called 'room temperature' oil—the process doesn't actually involve refrigerating any of your treatments. If you've ever tried to pour cold, solidified oil, you'd know why. But why should you use them?
Several reasons, actually!
For one thing, cold oil treatments can save you some time! Many busy (or "lazy") naturals would rather forego an oil treatment than have to heat up oil and sit with it. That works great for a full schedule, but it's not as great for your hair's health! Treating your curls and coils with room temp oil is a great compromise between either taking up time and counter space, and having dull, easily broken hair.
Sometimes, you don't actually NEED to do a full treatment to get your hair to benefit.
Have you ever sealed your end with oil to avoid frizz? That's a cold treatment! Ever applied some soothing oil in between your cornrows because you could feel that your scalp needed a little love while you had your braids in? That's a cold treatment too. And if you use the LOC or LCO methods as part of your everyday routine, well, you get the idea. Chances are, you've been using cold oil treatments for a long time without referring to the process by its actual name! So if this is a vocab lesson, great!
Are cold oil treatments better than hot oil treatments?
Like most things in life, the answer is both yes and no. Cold oil treatments certainly have their place in your normal routine, but because the oil is the same temperature as the room around you, the cuticles of your hair aren't going to raise and absorb the oil. If you have low porosity hair, you might not get as many benefits from cold oil treatments if you're not also regularly doing hot oil treatments. Similarly, if you're treating specifically to stimulate growth, room temperature oil isn't going to increase circulation like warm oil would. Again, as long as you're getting a nice scalp massage, it's much MUCH better than not treating at all, but sometimes there are steps you just can't skip!
So what kind of oil should you use?
Again, this is going to depend on your needs and hairtype. If you normally use a heavy oil like castor or avocado on your strands with a hot treatment, you may find that these oils 'sit' on your hair more without the spike in temperature. Try dialing down to a lighter oil like apricot, jojoba, or almond for maximum absorption. Then again, if you're into Ayurveda, and you've been using stronger smelling oils like neem in your hot oil rinse-out rituals, you might find that using them cold leaves you smelling a little...too earthy. Consider subbing in a sweeter smell with essential oils blended in, or an infusion product like Monoi oil. If you're treating your scalp, rather than your hair, you might not need to change anything at all as far as which oil you're using. However, you might find that a cool oil takes a little longer to spread, and that you end up making more time for a rigorous scalp massage (which is always fine by us).
What's your hot take on cold oil, curlies?
Let us know how you do or don't do oil treatments in the comments!