How to Apply Oil on Hair in 7 Steps: As per Science

For centuries people have been applying oil for hair health and stimulating hair growth. But do you know that if not done properly, oiling your hair can actually do more harm than good?

We have looked into several research and compiled the scientifically proven process of how to apply oil on your hair.

What Science says of Hair Oil’s Benefits on Hair?

As per a study, mineral oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil has been found extremely effective in preventing hair damage and can be beneficial for undamaged hair as well. It was observed that coconut oil was the most effective and significantly minimized protein loss in both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-and post-wash grooming product. A strong affinity for hair proteins is due to coconut oil’s triglyceride of lauric acid (the primary fatty acid). Low molecular weight and linear chain allow it to reach the hair shaft more effectively. 

As per an 8 monthly long study conducted in 2017, the researchers have found certain seed oils can prevent hair breakage in women with damaged hair. The results were considerably high compared to the control group who weren’t applying oils.

In another study conducted in 2019, avocado oil has been found effective in improving hair follicle health. Certain vegetable and fruit oils have also been found to have moisturizing ability and can protect the hair cell cuticle.

Niacinamide, a B3 vitamin has also been found to increase hair volume and thickness. In another study they found it to be effective against scalp inflammation.

In another study conducted in 2015, several plant-based hair oils like Argan oil have been found to have antioxidant properties. These oils can hydrate the hair shaft, improve hair health and bring a healthy shine.

Pro Tip: Coconut oil has been scientifically proven to be one of the best hair oils. It is one of the few oils that can effectively penetrate the hair shaft and provide benefits from deep inside.

How to Apply Oil on Hair: As per Science

So now we know that there is scientific evidence that applying oil is good for your hair. But, if not done correctly, it can actually do more harm than good. Hair growth and quality can only be improved by properly oiling it. We have done extensive research and compiled the step-by-step scientific way to apply oil to your hair.

Step 1: Prepare your Hair

You need to comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb to remove any knots or tangles before applying any oil. This will ensure less hair breakage while messaging the oil on your hair.

Split your hair into two sections for easier application of the oil. Split your hair straight down the center of your head. For thick or curly hair, it may be better to separate your hair into four sections so that the oil may be uniformly distributed.

Step 2: Choose the Right Hair Oil

When selecting a hair oil, it is important to consider factors such as the state of the scalp, the kind of hair, the weather, and your specific needs. 

Few Examples:

  • Coconut oil, a hydrating and moisturising oil, should be used on hair that is dry and brittle. Damage may be be avoided by using this product while style.
  • Hair colour may cause damage to the hair shaft if it is not protected with argan oil.
  • With its thick viscosity, Castor oil may make hair look fuller. Adding castor oil to your hair care regimen might also aid in hair growth.
  • For softer, more shiny hair, olive oil is a good choice.
  • For oily hair and scalp, you may wish to use a lighter oil. Because jojoba and almond tend to be absorbed fast, they are wonderful options.
  • Hair follicles are stimulated by the growth-booster properties of rosemary oil.

Step 3: Prepare the Hair Oil

Oil molecules are large, making it difficult for them to penetrate into the hair follicles of the scalp. In order to effectively nourish your scalp, you should warm up the oil before applying it.

Hot oils are the ideal way to preserve and repair dry, fragile hair. Using hot oil also seals the hair cuticle, allowing it to retain moisture. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 3 to 6 tablespoons of oil for 10 seconds.

Consult with your dermatologist or doctor before using a hot oil therapy if you have a skin issue such as eczema or psoriasis.

Step 4: Apply the Oil

Hair Care. Beautiful Woman With Wet Hair In Towel After Bath

For a few minutes, gently massage the oil with your fingertips into your scalp. It is possible to divide your curly hair into smaller sections so that you don’t miss any places.

You may use circular movements to apply the oil to your hair and scalp gently. You should massage the whole scalp for 10-15 minutes.

Keep moving in a straight line and attempt to cover the whole scalp region while you are massaging. Ensure that you don’t overlook the rear of your head. The region between your ears and the nape of your neck is also in need of oil treatment. This region needs to be massaged thoroughly.

Apply a liberal quantity of oil to your hair and then stop. Applying more than necessary oil will result in applying more unnecessary shampooing. Using extra shampoo may deplete your hair of its natural oils and hydration, resulting in dull, damaged, and dry strands.

Step 5: Get Rid of Knots

After oiling, your hair is delicate and your scalp is soothed. So be careful and detangle your hair by combing patiently with a wide-toothed comb. Combing will also help spread the oil to the corners that were missed during oil massage. 

Step 6: Cover your Head

Take a shower hat or a cotton t-shirt and cover your head for up to 20 minutes. This makes your pores and cuticles open. As a result, the oils will penetrate deeper into your scalp and hair follicles.

It’s better to avoid towels as they are harsh and may damage hair if you aren’t cautious enough while using them.

Step 7: Wash Off the Oil

Use lukewarm water and light shampoo to wash your hair to avoid damaging it. Avoid over-shampooing your hair, which is a typical habit among those who oil their hair. Over-shampooing may completely nullify the advantages of oiling your hair. Use just the required amount of oil so that you don’t need to use more shampoo to remove it.

Check the detailed article on How Often Should You Put Oil in Your Hair


When should we apply oil on hair? Wet or dry hair?

You should always apply oil on hair when it’s dry and when you have 1 hour to spare. Oil molecules are large compared to your scalp openings and wet hair doesn’t let the oil penetrate it. But even when it is dry, you would need at least 30 mins to an hour for the oil molecules to penetrate the hair shaft and scalp.
You can apply oil to wet hair if your hair and scalp are clean, but it is not the best way to reap the benefits out of oiling hair.

Is applying oil everyday good for hair? How many times should we apply oil to hair?

The majority of people should oil their hair at least once or twice a week. Finally, the frequency is decided by the kind of hair you have and your individual demands.
Anyone with dry hair may put oil on their hair regularly, and it can be quite beneficial. However, if you have oily or normal hair, you should avoid daily oil application. Individuals with oily hair should use oil once a week, those with dry hair once a day, and those with normal hair twice a week.

Can you sleep with oil in hair?

You can, but you should not leave the oil on your hair any more than 8 hours. If you keep oil in your hair for an extended period of time, it gathers dust, which may clog hair follicles and result in scalp irritation. Additionally, if the oil is unrefined and seeps into the scalp, it may inhibit hair growth.

Is it OK not to oil hair?

It is ok not to oil your hair only if you have naturally oily hair and scalp. This is because people with oily hair get the necessary amount on their own. The overproduction of oil can cause bacterial infection leading to dandruff and other scalp problems.
Oil should be applied once a day to people with dry hair, and twice a week to those with regular hair.

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