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Deep Hair Oiling: Is This Method Worth the Hype?

Deep hair oiling is definitely more than a trend; it’s the foundation of good hair health. This practice has been used for centuries and remains one of the most recommended ways to nourish your hair. But have you been oiling your hair the right way? Keep reading to discover the correct way to oil your hair, its perks, and any potential risks involved.

What is deep hair oiling?

Deep hair oiling involves applying oil to your hair and massaging it into your scalp to enhance moisture, shine, luster, and overall health. This practice has gained significant popularity, particularly on social media platforms like TikTok. People suggest that it can soften the hair and replenish minerals and vitamins lost during regular washing.

Benefits of deep oiling

Your hair and skin need moisture, vitamins, and minerals to stay looking and feeling their very best. Certain oils may help deliver a healthy dose of these nutrients. Let's take a look at some of the potential benefits of oiling hair.

1. Promotes hair growth

When you massage the oil into your scalp and hair, not only are you letting all the nutrients soak in, but you also stimulate hair growth due to improved blood circulation. Studies show that particularly peppermint oil and rosemary oil may support hair growth and also combat hair loss.

2. Hydrates your hair

One of the common benefits of oiling the hair is the amount of hydration and moisture it gets. One study found that certain hair oils — like coconut, jojoba, and argan oils — can help revive the hair with a much-needed moisture boost. When you apply oil, it can form a protective barrier around your hair shaft, which helps it retain moisture.

3. Improves scalp health

Hair oiling offers benefits beyond addressing split ends and breakage. During an oil treatment, a gentle massage can exfoliate the scalp, potentially reducing dandruff and promoting overall scalp health.

4. May protect your hair from the sun

Heat damage isn't solely caused by heat-styling tools. Shielding your strands from the sun is equally vital to prevent your hair from becoming excessively frizzy and dry over time. Studies suggest that oils such as almond oil possess moisturizing properties that can form a protective barrier against UV rays.

Potential risks of oiling hair

While oiling hair can potentially boost hair growth and overall health, it may come with certain risks.

Clogged pores

Just like the skin on your face, the scalp also has pores that can become clogged when you apply too much oil. This can lead to scalp problems like folliculitis and scalp acne. A clogged scalp may also hinder the normal growth cycle of hair, which leads to weaker strands over time.


Oils that are very thick or greasy, like olive oil or avocado oil, may be too heavy for some scalps, leading to a greasy feeling or weighing down the hair. More than that, applying too much oil can disrupt the natural balance of scalp oils and potentially worsen conditions like seborrheic dermatitis.

Attracts dirt and environmental pollutants

Oily hair has a tendency to attract dust, dirt, and environmental pollutants, which can accumulate on your strands, resulting in a dull and dirty appearance. The buildup of pollutants can also cause scalp irritation and make your hair more susceptible to damage. Over time, this can contribute to a decline in the overall health and appearance of your hair.

Can aggravate dandruff

Applying too much oil, especially on already oily hair, can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for Malassezia, the fungus responsible for dandruff. This can worsen existing dandruff or even trigger it in people who are prone to dandruff.

How to deep oil your hair?

When it comes to oiling your hair, it’s best to apply the oil treatment as a mask before washing your hair. Apply the oil to dry hair and use a small amount. Here are simple steps on how to oil your hair.

  1. Prep your hair by combing or brushing to avoid any tangling.
  2. Put a small amount of oil in your palms and rub it to warm it up. Using warm oil allows deeper penetration.
  3. Start by gently massaging the oil into your scalp. Massage it in gentle circular motions to stimulate the hair follicles.
  4. After you are done with your scalp, gently work your way to the tips of your hair.
  5. Continue to gently comb through your strand with your fingers until all areas are covered with oil.
  6. Keep the oil in the hair for as long as desired (1–2 hours) and then wash it out with a shampoo.

How often should you do it?

Deep oiling your hair once a week is enough for most hair types. Always avoid overdoing it to prevent serious effects. How long you leave the oil in usually depends on your hair's needs and the oil you choose.

Different hair types and oils often require to be left on for different amounts of time, but the recommended time is at least an hour or two. Depending on your hair type, you can also leave the oil treatment overnight, but you should rinse it out first thing in the morning to avoid clogging your pores.

Selecting the right oil

There are many different hair oils for different hair types. It’s usually recommended that you choose natural oils if possible to avoid any chemicals and additives that may irritate your hair. Here are some of the best oils:

  • Coconut oil. Usually the most commonly used, as it is great for most hair types. It contains lauric acid and can easily penetrate the hair shaft to deep condition the hair.
  • Rosemary oil. One of the best oils for boosting hair growth. Research shows it is rich in antioxidants that may help stimulate hair growth.
  • Almond oil. This oil is loaded with vitamins B, E, and K. It works wonderfully for hair growth and protects your hair against UV damage.
  • Jojoba oil. Good for finer hair or sensitive skin. It is lightweight, which means it will add moisture without weighing your hair down.
  • Argan oil. If you have dry or damaged strands, try argan oil. This oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids that offer much-needed moisture to parched hair.
  • Castor oil. Very thick oil rich in fatty acids. It has a moisturizing and nourishing effect, so those with thick and dry hair may benefit most from using castor oil.

How long does it take to see results?

Applying the oil consistently for at least several weeks may be necessary to see noticeable results. Results may vary based on your hair type, the oil you choose, your end goal for using the oil, and the overall health of your hair.

For example, a 2022 study found evidence that rosemary oil may help improve hair growth after 6 weeks of use. Another study found that rosemary oil may be a useful treatment for androgenic alopecia, with patients showing an increase in hair count after 6 months.

Applying hair oil safely

Understanding your hair type is essential for effective hair care. Each hair type has its unique needs when it comes to oiling frequency and selecting the right oil. Applying the correct amount of oil is equally important, and moderation is key. Instead of saturating your hair, aim to apply just enough oil to coat both your hair and scalp without causing excessive dripping.

To maximize the benefits of oiling, avoid tying your hair tightly afterward. Tight hairstyles can increase hair breakage, especially when the scalp's cuticles are still open after oiling. Additionally, avoid combing your hair immediately after oiling to minimize breakage. It's better to brush or comb your hair before applying oil to prevent damage to the strands.

Overall, deep hair oiling can be a valuable treatment for maintaining hair health if you do it right. It may help protect against damage from chemical exposure in shampoos, while also enhancing moisture, shine, and luster. By following these tips, you can ensure optimal results from your oiling routine.


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