It is really important that we can distinguish between a moisturizing oil vs. a sealing oil because if not you could be setting your regimen and your hair up for failure… or at least minor frustration and confusion. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat down and completed the LOC method only to be disappointed in a few hours that my hair looks/feels dry. There are of course various reasons as to why this may happen… but a main reason is the use of the wrong type of oil. Just as there are differences between carrier and essential oils, there are differences in moisturizing and sealing oils.
A moisturizing oil is an oil that is used to penetrate the shaft of the hair and actually moisturize it. Not all oils can do so. The oils that can not penetrate the hair shaft are best used to seal the hair and lock the moisture in. Also it is best not to use sealing oils on your scalp. Think about you will be sealing your scalp causing it to become clogged. A moisturizing oil is best applied to the scalp to help it stimulate growth. Here’s a quick list to help differentiate the two types of oils, and which you should be using when.
Moisturizing Oils: Oils you want to use on your scalp/ and with your leave in conditioners!
Coconut oil may be one of the best oils out there for hair care, beauty, and skin care. It has a endless list of benefits and uses. Coconut oil is a naturalist’s best friend! In its unrefined state (extra virgin is best) it is the least processed, and is actually both a moisturizer and a sealant (WHAT!) Well coconut oil is capable of penetrating the shaft due to its molecular structure, but in limited amounts. Because of these limits most of the oil stays on the outside of the hair (acting as a sealant) The most optimal time to use coconut oil as a moisturizer is in the presence of water or a water based leave in conditioner.
Babassu Oil is also a similar story to coconut oil. The molecular structure of this oil is most similar to coconut oil and may in most cases works better for certain hair types and women with differing porosity in their hair. Babassu oil can penetrate the shaft of the hair ,and is much lighter than coconut oil therefore does not leave a heavy greasy feeling/film on your hair. Most of my Babassu oil uses comes during deep conditioning so I use it more so for a moisturizer in addition to my water based deep conditioner instead of using it to seal my ends or hair during the LOC method.
Another 2 for one oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil that is known to penetrate the hair shaft and moisturizing the hair/scalp. As with coconut oil and Babassu oil to get the best moisturizing effect you must use it in conjunction with water or a leave in that is water based. Olive oil is also great for moisturizing when used in your deep conditioner as it increases shine and manageability of your strands. I’ve been using olive oil in my hair regimen from my transitioning days and it has never let me down. Plus it is fairly inexpensive and easy to find!
Avocado oil has large amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients that are able to penetrate through the shaft of the hair. This oil also helps to increase growth stimulation if used on a regular basis. I haven’t had the chance to use avocado oil in my regimen yet but I used actual avocados in my pre-poo for almost a year. I was always pleased with the results, just not pleased with the mess.
Sealing Oils: Oils that do not penetrate the shaft of the hair and are best used to loc in moisture to your strands.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
It is no surprise that JBCO makes the list as one of the best sealing oils a naturalista can use. JBCO helps to soften the hair while drawing out toxins/impurities that prevent hair growth. Because this oil is extremity thick it is a great sealant for thicker textures especially.
Grapeseed oil is fairly new in my arsenal as I found it in Trader Joes for fairly cheap. This oil is extremely light and possesses an ability to with stand high amounts of heat. This makes it best for women with finer/ thinner strands that want to seal in the moisture for their ends without being weighed down or greasy/oily.
Jojoba oil is a bit pricier than the oils mentioned above so I don’t dabble in it too much. However Jojoba most closely resembles the natural hair sebum our body produces naturally. It is a fairly light oil that is most effective in sealing in the moisture added during wash day or other hair regimen activities. Jojoba is also very good for people suffering with dry or flaky scalps as it helps to restore the proper pH to your hair.
Which is your favorite oil to moisturize or seal during your wash day/ hair regimen?
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.