There are two things I attribute my healthy mane to — a diet rich in seafood (Bong girl right here!) and the habit of consistently oiling my hair. A beauty tip passed down from generations of curly-haired lasses in my family — the ritual has stayed with me no matter how many new hair trends I get into. And for someone who has curly, frizzy hair that is prone to breakage, especially while brushing, I make sure to never miss out on oiling before shampooing. The habit is also a way for me to relax and de-stress (ah! bliss).
Having said that, there is more to oiling your hair than just slathering it on your head and massaging. Even though it takes time, I like to do it in a way that the oil is able to penetrate deep into my scalp and hair shafts, rather than just sitting on the surface till I wash it off. Here’s my 6-step process of getting the most out of your hair oiling sesh for a nourished scalp, stronger roots and softer tresses for days on end… bad hair days, what?!
- Prep the oil
- Brush your hair and divide it in sections
- Apply the hair oil all over your hair
- Massage with fingertips and put up in a bun
- Wrap in a hot towel
- Wash as usual and air-dry
Prep the oil
Warming up your oil before applying it makes it easier to evenly distribute it on unruly hair. Do not heat your oil directly on flame; instead, pour it in a glass bowl first and place in hot water to warm it. Overheating hair oil can destroy the nutrients and also give you a nasty burn.
My current favourite is the Dove Elixir Hair Fall Rescue Rose and Almond Hair Oil. There are a couple of things I love about this blend — it gets absorbed in a matter of 30 minutes (preventing pillowcases from turning oily), is lightweight and non-sticky, easy to wash off and has a mild rose fragrance (which I personally love). The combination of almond and argan oil in the formula also works on smoothing my frizzy hair and adds a lovely shine. It works on nourishing my dry hair ends, which is a personal issue I have faced for years until I came across this hair elixir!
Brush your hair and divide it in sections
I start by brushing my hair gently to get rid of any knots and tangles that might come in the way of a seamless massage. Regardless of whether you have thick hair like me or not, it’s a good idea to divide it into sections to ensure that the oil covers every inch of your scalp.
Apply the hair oil all over your hair
Once you are done with making the sections, Distribute mane into two sections and oily them separately, taking thin locks of hair one at a time. Use your fingers to dip into the oil and apply directly on the scalp, massaging for a couple of seconds every time. Focus on dressing the hair ends with oil too, they can do with some extra hydration. You can also brush out the ends of your hair while doing so, but be careful as to not tung on it too much...brushing oiled hair can lead to breakage if done wrong.
Massage with fingertips and put up in a bun
Once you’re done applying the oil, merge the sections and slowly massage your head in circular motions. You can also use a detangler brush over your scalp — don’t overstimulate or pull on the roots too much. Don’t be too rough with your hair, a gentle motion will get the job done. Tie it up in a simple bun.
Wrap in a hot towel
Soak a cotton towel, or even a muslin cloth in a blow of water, wring it out and place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I use the hot towel to wrap my head and repeat it 3-4 times in the 30 minutes - 1 hour duration of oiling the hair. Don’t be scared to re-heat the towel as many times you want, but make sure you don’t make it too hot. If you can comfortably hold the hot towel without feeling a stinging burn, it is good enough for your hair.
Wash as usual and air-dry
Once I feel that the oil is nicely seeped in, I wash it off with my usual shampoo and always follow up with a conditioner. My current favourite is the Love Beauty & Planet Anti Frizz Combo to counter the effects of monsoon humidity and make my unruly tresses more manageable. And my last and final tip — always air dry!