Why Hot Oil Treatments Don't Work
I remember when using a hot oil treatments was considered the "deep
conditioner" that was supposedly the miracle remedy for dry or damaged
hair. But do they really work?
First let's examine the chemistry of oil. Oil by nature does not mix
with water. As a matter of fact, oil repels water. Likewise, oil is
unable to penetrate into your hair shaft to nourish it. The molecular
structure is just too big, so it just sits on the surface of your hair.
To further complicate the matter, we put a plastic cap on our hair after
we apply the oil which further draws out moisture. To understand this
concept, think about when you go into an enclosed steam room. The steam
makes us sweat, drawing out "moisture" from our bodies, much like that
plastic cap is doing when the moisture inside the cap heats up. Some of
this moisture converts to a gas state not benefiting our hair at all.
While a bit of the oil mixture adheres to the hair, most of it gets
rinsed down the drain.
So where did this oil aka 'grease' practice come from? The African
American relationship with oil goes back to our everyday survival during
enslavement. Early black Americans knew oils did not evaporate. Oil
stayed on the surface until rubbed off. This was perfect for protecting
whatever it was applied to. Black people began to erroneously apply oil
directly to the hair and the scalp which clogs the hair follicle.
Manufacturers followed our lead in the duplication of this cultural
When oil is put on the hair it does coat the cuticle of the hair shaft,
which is the outer layer of your hair, offering some benefit when
applied to dry hair. The test for this is to run your fingers through
your hair a few hours after oil is applied. We also think that our hair
is "soaking up" the oil, but check your pillow cases, headrests and hair
scarves to see where the oil is really going. Now here is where the
real problem comes in when you do hot oil treatments. The oil treatments
act as a barrier actually preventing hydration, repelling needed
moisture thus resulting in dehydrated, dry and brittle hair.
This leads us to another misnomer that black hair is dryer than other
textures, this is simply not true. It would not be dry if we gave it
what our natural hair texture really craves which is MOISTURE to
flourish. Ever notice how much easier your hair is to comb while it is
wet? Moisture lubricates and hydrates our hair strands. Since we
cannot walk around with water spray bottles, an excellent alternative is
a professional conditioner with moisture retention properties that has a
good balance of protein (important for strength and elasticity) and
preferably of food grade quality. Your hair will stay moisturized longer
and be more manageable.
Oil's true place in our hair care regime is to use it as a styling aid
to maintain control and sheen on the hair only (not the scalp) rather
than as a conditioner. But be cautioned here because oil can buildup on
the hair causing dehydration if not shampooed and clarified off of the
hair regularly. Oil can be a good complement to your natural hair
management system if used sparingly and only AFTER a moisture treatment.
article taken from July's newsletter:http://www.morehairsalon.com/news/July08/July08.htm
pampering the senses
LaRetta Ann Taylor[address removed]www.morehairsalon.com