Oil washing is probably one of the most creative methods I’ve seen amidst the natural hair community and it intrigued me greatly. Naturally, I did some research took to youtube and discovered that quite a few people were doing this and they all were having different experiences. I couldn’t wait to try it out and I’m glad that I did I learned so much more about my hair! Here’s exactly what happened during my four week trial of oil washing.
What is oil washing? It’s a method used before washing your hair or in between your shampoo and conditioner application to retain moisture and to soften the hair. You coat the hair generously (depending on your hair type) with a heavy or light oil and then wash it out like normal. From my research people were mainly using olive oil which is due to the fact that most of the women had thick densely compacted tight curls. Olive oil is thick enough to coat without the greasiness like coconut oil leaves behind. Watch an oil wash in action here via the NappyChronicles youtube channel for a visual.
I began oil washing once a week for 4 weeks. I applied oil in my hair after cleansing with a conditioner and a light cleansing co wash shampoo at my roots to loosen any dirt or product build up. After doing this I applied olive oil to my hair and let it sit for 15-20 minutes under a bag. I then washed out as much as the oil as I wanted. I always left behind a good amount because it made my hair a lot softer and much more manageable.
I began seeing results after week 2. I noticed that my hair was a lot shinier and was beginning to soften! As far as moisture retention I saw no difference even after my 4 week trial had ended. Looking back on it now I understand why I didn’t, with all of the oil that I was placing in my hair it probably affected how much sebum my hair was producing. I think that if I were steaming my hair or doing hot oil treatments the moisture loss I was experiencing would’ve been cut in half. After all that olive oil was just sitting on top of my hair and probably creating a bit of a barrier between my hair shaft and the water that could’ve provided more moisture.
What I learned:
Oil washing isn’t necessary for my hair
It made my hair SUPER shiny to the point where people noticed & the shine was gorgeous!
It did nothing whatsoever for my moisture levels
It made the feel of my hair softer because the oil was able to distribute wonderfully & work its magic
This method is more of a beautification process for my hair rather than constructive to my hair’s health
If You’re Going To Try This:
Be sure to use an emollient (an oil that softens the hair) otherwise kind of a waste
If you notice you’re losing more moisture than normal don’t oil wash as often & if you’re using a cleanser like a shampoo or co washing shampoo make sure that you’re replacing that moisture loss
Don’t apply directly to your scalp as this might affect the level of your own naturally produced oils
It’s a pretty messy process but your skin will feel so soft if you wash in the shower
Let the oil sit on your hair for a while before washing it out
Overall if I ever needed my hair to be shinier or was looking for an easy to do method that would make my hair super easy to deal with after a wash I’d do an oil wash. Otherwise, I’ll stick to my steaming and hot oil treatments.