Until just a few years ago, chemical-laden hair masks, conditioners, and serums were the go-to choices for hair moisturizing treatments. But today, as the rest of the world unearths the treasures of Ayurveda hidden in India for millennia, natural hair oils are swiftly rising to be the undisputed kings of hair treatments.
So quickly have oils risen to popularity, though, that most consumers have hardly understood exactly what they are and what they do, using them indiscriminately. While the vast majority of hair oils are unlikely to do you any harm, even if they’re not the perfect fit for your hair type, it’s useful to know which oils target which hair problems.
Hair Oils Are the Solution to Most Common Hair Woes
Hair oils can be broadly divided into two categories: essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils like tea tree and rosemary are potent, highly-concentrated products that can be too strong for your skin and hair if used in excess or without adequate dilution.
Carrier oils like coconut, on the other hand, can be just as powerful if used regularly but are also perfectly safe to apply directly to the skin. Essential oils must be used with caution and always diluted with filler oils.
Here are a few carrier and essential oils for every single hair type:
Coconut oil is probably the most popular cosmetic oil in the world and the most versatile. It is well-suited to all hair types but provides the most benefits to dry, damaged, and dull hair. This is because it contains a wealth of fatty acids that penetrate deeply into the scalp and hair shaft to nourish it. If you struggle with frizz, split ends, and slow or non-existent hair growth, it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
In addition to being a great pre and post-shampoo treatment, a thin coating of coconut oil can also be a fantastic natural heat-protectant.
If your hair is very brittle, coconut oil can still work wonders but make sure to use it only in moderation. This is because excessive use can cause a build-up of protein on the hair shaft, causing it to snap even more easily.
Castor oil is very different in appearance and feel from the thin, transparent coconut oil. But more importantly, this thick, pale-yellow oil, with its distinctive odor, is also very different in function.
Castor oil has a higher viscosity than most other hair oils. As a result, its texture helps protect the hair shaft and follicle very well, but also makes it harder for the oil to soak fully into the hair. So, one way to apply, reaping the maximum benefit, is to massage the oil thoroughly into the hair or use heat in the form of steam to aid in absorption.
If your hair is extremely damaged, especially from chemical and heat treatments like bleaching and excessive straightening, Castor oil might be what you need in these cases, just make sure to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to rinse it off thoroughly.
It’s not for nothing that Bhringraj is so often called the miracle herb when it comes to hair care. This oil, with its high density, sinks deeply into the hair. Its antimicrobial properties and hair-fall reducing components mean that it’s perfect for you if you’re experiencing inflammation or hair loss.
It’s also a fantastic natural hair dye that might not cover up whites completely but is great for hiding the occasional silver strand that pops up. So if your hair is just beginning to go grey, that’s another way in which Bhringraj oil could improve its appearance.
Lemongrass oil is one of the potent essential oils we discussed earlier. It has antimicrobial properties that are likely even stronger than those of Bhringraj and is a great preventive measure for scalp infections like dandruff and eczema. If you do already suffer from one of these issues, lemongrass oil should be used alongside another treatment like shampoo, rather than in excess just by itself.
Lemongrass is also a clarifying oil, so it works very well to deeply cleanse oily scalps and hair. If you use significant quantities of hair products, hair gel, and heat-protectant spray, incorporate lemongrass into your routine.
Of course, there’s onion oil which activates certain hormones in the body which lengthen the hair growth cycle, working miracles on hair that seems to be shedding prematurely or just not growing very long in the first place. Sesame oil and Amla Brahmi oil blend are two lesser-known products that provide a wide range of benefits for hair health and appearance.
Check out Life and Pursuits’ range of hair oils that bring your hair everything it needs in a little bottle of organic, cold-pressed goodness.