What is oil rinsing and how does it help black hair?
I came across an old thread on Long hair care forums a while ago about oil rinsing and its benefits. I always pay attention when a thread carries on for more than 5 pages but this one had created quite a buzz with everyone wanting to try the technique and reporting results.
For those who don’t know what it is, oil rinsing boils down to an extra step between shampooing and conditioning that promises to make detangling a breeze, make your hair retain moisture much better, and increase softness and shine. In essence, it is like a hot oil treatment done while you are in the shower.
Here’s how you do an oil rinse:
- Start by shampooing your hair, if you are co-washing only then just rinse your hair but make sure it gets soaked.
- Coat your wet hair with about a handful (about ½ cup or so) of your favourite oil like olive*, jojoba*, castor etc
- Rinse the oil off with hot water
- Proceed to apply conditioner to your strands liberally
- Rinse with cool water while detangling. This should be quick and painless!
- Apply your leave-in conditioner* and seal
Why not just do a hot oil treatment?
What makes oil rinsing better than a hot oil treatment is that the shampooing process is done before oil is applied so any natural oils* lost during shampooing are immediately replenished. Furthermore, if the ideal amount of oil is applied i.e. not too much, the tresses will not be left greasy after the final rinse but rather will dry soft with much better moisture retention. Conditioning straight after the oil prevents too much of it from being left on the strands but enough is left to allow it to dry soft.
The consensus seems to be that oil rinsing is ideal if your hair is going to be worn in a heat-free style. Flat ironing or blow-drying after an oil rinse is probably not ideal. A serum is a better heat protectant* that an oil.
So is oil rinsing the holy grail of black hair care? Well, it certainly has its benefits and once you have your technique down, it is very addictive because the results are immediate and obvious.