What’s the Tea on Hot Oil Treatments?

By Choya Randolph

As a natural, I’ve heard a lot of natural hair terms floating around such as steam treatments, hair masks, protein treatments and more. One thing that’s popped up is a hot oil treatment. I never paid attention to hot oil treatments because who wants to use hot oil on their hair? Well after doing some research, hot oil treatments may be a treatment I shouldn’t have been sleeping on.

First off, what even are hot oil treatments? A hot oil treatment is the process of infusing oils using heat to provide moisture. No, it’s not putting boiling hot oil in our hair. That’s for food, not our hair. Hot oil treatments involve putting oil all over the hair then incorporating heat. This allows the oil to penetrate the hair shaft for intense hydration. It’s perfect for naturals who are struggling with dry and brittle hair. 


When doing an at home hot oil treatment, the oil you use is important. You can’t just use any oil you may have in your hair care lineup. Heavy oils won’t penetrate the hair cuticles. The thickness of heavy oils could leave the hair feeling greasy. When doing a hot oil treatment, lighter oils are the way to go. Using lighter oils makes it easier for the oil to penetrate the hair and do what hot oil treatments are meant to do, moisturize the hair. 

So what are heavy oils? Think of thick oils like Jamaican castor oil or avocado oil. The ideal oils for a hot oil treatment would be lighter oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, or argan oil. These oils have a similar consistency to the oils we naturally produce from our scalp. Because of its consistency, the oil penetrates the hair easily. If you don’t have any of these oils, extra virgin olive oil can be a good oil to use for a hot oil treatment and we all got some extra virgin olive oil in our kitchen.

There are a couple ways you can go about doing your own hot oil treatment at home. After putting your oil concoction in an applicator bottle, you can place it in a bowl of hot water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, your plastic bottle may not be able to handle boiling heat. Plus, we don’t want the oil scorching hot — we don’t want to cook our hair. The other way to infuse heat is going under a hair dryer as you would when doing a steam treatment. For those who don’t have a salon in their house, you can buy a thermal heating cap online. For my lazy naturals, put on a shower cap and a silk cap to put your body heat to work.

When applying the oil to your hair, make sure you apply it all throughout your hair, not forgetting to massage it in your scalp. The oil should not be so hot that you burn yourself. Massaging the oil in the scalp will increase blood circulation which promotes hair growth. This also will combat dandruff and an itchy scalp. It’s best to let the oil sit in your hair for 20-30 minutes so it could truly treat your hair. Make sure your hair is detangled because you will be applying this to dry hair. Oil and water simply don’t mix sis. 

Hot oil treatments have many benefits such as restoring moisture, strengthening the hair, and softening the hair to give it that healthy shine. Hot oil treatments are affordable and may not even require a trip to the beauty supply store. If you have damaged dry hair, using a hot oil treatment once a week may give you the moisture your hair needs to be healthy again