If you’re looking for advice on how to hair oil, we speak to the experts to find out the do’s and don’ts of hair oiling
Applying hair oil can be nourishing for both your hair and scalp. It’s been shown to reduce frizz, promote hair growth, and help leave hair looking healthy and shiny.
Hair oiling has become such a runaway, viral success that Google searches for “how to hair oil” have increased by 48% over the summer.
Beauty retailer Justmylook alone saw searches for hair oils increase by 374% in the same period.
The haircare trend has also gone viral on social media, thanks to the ubiquity of videos talking about the benefits of rosemary oil, and the hashtag #hairoil has gained more than 2.3 billion views on TikTok and counting.
We’ve previously listed what we consider to be the best hair oils for all hair types and needs but if you’re more interested in learning how to hair oil, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve spoken to hair expert Hayley Walker to learn more about hair oiling and how to do it maximise the impact.
The process of hair oiling can vary depending on the type of oil you’re using, your hair type, and your needs, but here’s a general guide on how to effectively use hair oil as well as the common mistakes that can hinder your progress towards hair goals.
In summary, the steps on how to hair oil are as follows:
For deeper penetration, you can wrap your oiled hair in a warm towel for about 15-30 minutes. This opens up the hair cuticles and allows the oil to penetrate more deeply.
You can learn more about each step of preparation and application below.
Choose your oil: The first step of hair oiling is to choose an oil that aligns with your hair’s specific needs. We explain more in our guide to the best hair oils, but as a rule:
You can also opt for a blend of oils for a more comprehensive treatment.
Check for allergies: It’s crucial to make sure that you’re not allergic to the oil you’ve chosen. Conduct a patch test by applying a small amount of the oil to a discreet area of your skin, like the inside of your wrist or behind your ear. Wait 24 hours to see if any irritation or allergic reaction occurs.
Measure: Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, measure how much oil you’ll need. It’s better to start with a smaller amount; you can always add more if needed.
Warm the oil: Warming hair oil can enhance its efficacy and has been shown to help it penetrate the hair shaft more effectively. This can either be done in your palms or by placing the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Test the temperature on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot, as you don’t want to burn your scalp.
Prepare: Place a towel around your shoulders to catch any drips. Make sure you’re in a comfortable space where you can relax during the application process.
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Section Your Hair: Divide your hair into four or more manageable sections. This makes sure that the oil is evenly distributed throughout your hair and scalp. Use hair clips to keep these sections in place if need be.
Pre-Treat Your Scalp: Before you start hair oiling, brush your hair to remove any tangles. This also stimulates the scalp, making it more receptive to the treatment.
Apply to scalp: Pour a small amount of oil into your palm and rub your hands together to spread it. Using your fingertips, apply the oil directly onto your scalp. Use gentle, circular motions to massage the oil in. Start at the front of your scalp and work your way back to cover all areas. Spend a good 5-10 minutes massaging to boost blood circulation.
Apply to hair: Once your scalp is well-oiled, unclip one section of your hair. Use your fingers or a comb to apply oil from the roots to the tips. Make sure to coat the strands evenly. If your hair is particularly dry or damaged, focus on the ends, as they are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair. Repeat this process for each section.
Comb Through: After you’ve applied the oil to all sections, use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the oil evenly from the roots to the tips. This makes sure that every strand is coated with oil, and it also helps in detangling your hair.
Massage again: After your entire head is oiled, give your scalp another quick massage. This second massage ensures that the oil is evenly distributed and also gives a final boost to the blood circulation in your scalp.
Once the allotted time has passed, wash your hair with a mild shampoo. You may need to shampoo twice to completely remove the oil. Apply conditioner to the lengths and ends of your hair, avoiding the scalp. Rinse thoroughly.
Towel-dry your hair gently and then allow it to air-dry, or style as usual.
Below is our pick of the best hair oils for different hair types and budgets. You can read more detailed explanations about each of these products in our best hair oil guide.
The following are common mistakes made when hail oiling. We spoke to Hayley Walker to find out more.
Leaving hair oil in overnight: “While this might sound tempting, it can actually be harmful to your hair and might not leave you with the results you were hoping for, as the oil can block your hair follicles. Blocked hair follicles can be painful and itchy, leaving you with a sore and irritated scalp.”
Leaving the product in your hair for too long, and applying it at the end of the day, can also obstruct it from being absorbed properly.
“The best method is to avoid applying the oil late at night and dedicate time to leaving it in your hair for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing off. Leaving the hair oil in as you head out for a food shop or get tasks done is the ultimate two birds one stone.”
Going overboard with hair oil: “Being conscious of how much product you apply is crucial as you don’t want to risk damaging your hair and scalp. In fact, it’s better to apply too little than too much, as the effects of applying an excessive amount of hair oil may leave you disappointed and in a stickier situation.”
Excess oil in your hair can clog pores and leave your scalp dehydrated and oily. Knowing what is the best amount will come down to your own judgment and trial and error. Walker recommends trying just 1-2 pumps to begin with, and building up as your hair becomes used to the product.
Using the wrong oil for your hair and scalp: “The type of hair oil you should use depends on the condition of your hair and scalp. For those with a sensitive scalp, and dry, damaged hair, you might be better off using an oil product that includes tea tree, peppermint, or ginger, which helps to tackle an itchy scalp and reduce inflammation, coconut oil for dry skin, and rosemary oil to promote hair growth.”
Using the wrong hair oil could potentially leave you with even more damaged hair, or might conflict with your hair’s natural oils.
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget