Is Hair Oiling Bad For You? We Settle The Debate Once And For All

Nov 17, 2021, 11:47 IST


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Hair oiling is that one beauty tradition that has been passed down from one generation to the other and many still swear by it to achieve healthy and luscious locks. Your school days must’ve been all about braiding your oiled hair but, as you grew older, high chances are that you lost touch with this ritual. Additionally, hair oiling has been a controversial topic in the beauty space where some aficionados absolutely detest this practice, considering its adverse effects on the skin. But if you’re still confused on what’s the right thing to do or are planning to get back to hair oiling, read this first.

Why Is Hair Oiling Good For You?
Oils are unquestionably very effective in boosting the health of the scalp and hair and we’ve grown up seeing this around us. “A time tested and time trusted way of conditioning and repairing hair naturally, oiling, with coconut-based hair oils especially, has scientifically proven properties of penetration, nourishment, and repair, and is an established way of retaining the hair’s pristine properties,” says Dr Aparna Santhanam, dermatologist, cosmetologist, and hair and wellness expert. With a profusion of benefits, oils can certainly improve the quality of your hair by restoring the moisture into your locks and scalp.

What Are The Benefits Of Hair Oiling?
“Oiling with coconut-based hair oils benefits both hair and scalp. On the scalp, it improves circulation, helps increase hair density, strengthens the Anagen to Telogen ratio, releases tension, induces relaxation and helps to keep the scalp clean in its natural microbiome with antiseptic and antibacterial properties. On hair, it penetrates, nourishes, and strengthens the cuticle, protects from pollution, prevents breakage, preserves hair colour and reduces porosity. So, it works beautifully on the entire hair scalp unit. Coconut-based hair oils are scientifically proven to penetrate deeper and quicker to nourish the strands and scalp from within. They are known to protect the hair by internally layering the strand to reduce porosity and protect hair from pollution, and even chemical or heat damage,” says Dr Santhanam.

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Does Hair Oiling Really Help To Grow Thicker Hair?
“Oiling with coconut-based hair oils penetrates deeper and quicker into the scalp and reaches the follicular bulb. This has been shown to reduce the kenogen stage (duration and frequency) of hair growth and aid in conversion of early baby hairs into full-fledged growing anagen hair. Coconut-based hair oil rebalances natural hair moisture leading to 60% less combing breakage in 1 month. It fortifies the weakest link in hair by up to 10X, thereby reducing breakage and ensuring hair stays long and healthy,” shares Dr Santhanam. You can always mix coconut oil with hair growth-boosting oils like castor oil or almond oil for best results.

What Is The Right Way Of Oiling Your Hair?
“For hair, there is unequivocally no superior oil than coconut-based hair oils. Oiling is best done as a pre-wash routine, either overnight or at least an hour before showering. While massaging oil into the scalp anyway helps due to coconut-based hair oil’s unique properties, the most optimal way is to slightly warm the oil and massage it onto the scalp either overnight or at least an hour before a shower. Starting with a gentle scalp massage, spread the oil over the strands from top to bottom. Tie long hair loosely with a satin tie and sleep on a satin pillowcase if you are leaving it overnight,” explains Dr Santhanam.

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Who Should Avoid Hair Oiling & Why?
If it’s not already obvious, oily acne-prone skin should be mindful while indulging in hair oiling. “Oils which are comedogenic can trigger acne and folliculitis by clogging the pores and triggering infection. While some skin oils based on sunflower, mineral, and safflower come with a lower pore-clogging risk than other, more comedogenic skin oils based on avocado and carrot seed, there is still no good reason to layer them on acne-prone skin. So, instead of reaching for a facial oil to moisturize your face opt for oil-free hyaluronic acid serums and moisturisers,” says Dr Santhanam. Speaking of hair oiling for oily and acne-prone skin she says, “Yes, coconut-based hair oil has very different properties from sebum, and thanks to Lauric acid, helps to keep the scalp in good health even in case of oily scalps. The only thing to remember is that the frequency of oiling for oily scalps can be lesser, even just once a week.”

Ways To Nourish Your Hair With Oils Without Oiling
Today, so many hair care products boast a hair-loving blend of natural oils to nourish your hair sans oiling ‘em. You can go the DIY way too and incorporate it in a hair mask. “While oiling is best for nourishing hair from within, those who cannot use oil can try penetrative serums, after-shower creams, crème and serum oils for hair and scalp nourishment. My personal favourite is a mask incorporating coconut-based hair oil, aloe vera, and egg white. Whisk all 3 ingredients well, apply on the scalp half an hour before washing and wash it off with a gentle shampoo and conditioner,” shares Dr Santhanam.

To conclude, hair oiling is a great and trusted technique to boost hair health and de-stress yourself, provided you’re doing it the right way for your skin and hair type.

Also read: Ways To Repair Split Ends & Care For Your Tresses