Hi there, Curlies!
While the CG Method is a Curlie’s BFF, moisture can be considered the BFF of curls! And, what better way to quench your curls with moisture than oil? Indians are no strangers to the benefits of oiling hair and we’re sure most of you have fond memories of your hair being oiled and braided by your mom or grandmom.
While we’re keeping up the oiling tradition, the CGM requires certain tweaks such as NOT brushing or combing it down to maintain your natural curl pattern. Read on to discover our meticulous guide on hair oil, its uses, application and benefits.
Oil you ready?
Oils can be an elixir for dry curls, especially when derived from natural nourishing sources. While curls are definitely a blessing, curly hair does tend to get drier than other hair types and needs the right care and moisture to keep them bouncy and hydrated.
Let’s understand why this happens to curly hair:
To put it simply - curly hair doesn’t hold moisture as well as straight hair. This lack of hydration can cause dull, dry and brittle hair. Another component that has a direct effect is curl pattern. Wondering how? The scalp secretes natural oil also known as sebum that is responsible for keeping your scalp moisturized and your hair hydrated and shiny.
Imagine pouring oil down a straight funnel and a squiggly or curved one. It’s obvious which one works better to transport the oil to the bottom. The same goes for hair strands, as oil spreads down straight hair easily but has its stops and pauses with curly hair. Brushing also plays a role in distributing natural sebum to the length of your hair which is another deterrent with curly hair, since curl care does not encourage dry brushing.
But there’s a solution for every worry and when it comes to curls, oils can be your saviour!
Curly Hair and Oil:
Curly hair comes with its side of concerns that can be rectified with the right products and techniques, but did you know that right oils can resolve a hoard of issues such as frizz, dullness, brittle hair and maybe even reduce split ends?
Before we move on to the benefits of oiling hair, let’s understand what type of oil suits your hair best. Hair oil can be broadly divided into two categories, Moisturizing Oil and Sealing Oil:
Moisturizing Oils have smaller particles that can penetrate your hair shaft and of course, add moisture to your curls. Coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil are good moisturizing oils.
Sealing Oils on the other hand have the ability to seal in moisture from water or other moisturizers, keeping your strand plump and bouncy. Jojoba oil and castor oil are excellent sealing oils.
Now, how do you know which oil suits your hair best? Well, there are a few factors such as hair porosity and density that come into play here. Let’s explore this a tad further to understand.
What is porosity?
Porosity refers to the hair’s ability to absorb and hold moisture which in turn determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of them.
To break it down, let’s get to the basics – a strand of hair. Each strand of hair has a layer known as the cuticle. Cuticles determine how porous one’s hair is, with high porosity hair having more cuticles open whilst low porosity hair has fewer open cuticles. Thus, high porosity hair absorbs moisture and products better but is also more susceptible to damage and environmental factors such as heat and pollution. On the other hand, if your hair has low porosity, it not only repels moisture but keeps damage away too.
How do you measure porosity?
Observing your hair structure under a microscope is the most accurate method of determining your hair porosity. But fret not, there are some simple tests you can conduct at the comfort of your home to determine your hair porosity.
Float Test – The simplest way to check your hair’s porosity is by dropping a few strands of your loose hair in a bowl of water and checking if it floats or sinks. Low porosity hair tends to float while high porosity strands sink. If the strand floats somewhere in the middle of the glass, it is indicative of medium/normal porosity hair.
Slip ‘n’ Slide Test – Clasp a small portion of your hair between two fingers and slide scalp upwards, if it feels bumpy your porosity is high and if smooth, it is lower in porosity.
Product Probability – Do you feel like your hair weighs down after you style it? If products seem to sit on your hair without getting absorbed, it is a sign of low porosity. If your curls drink up moisturizing products, it implies high porosity and a good balance between the two would mean normal porosity.
Tangle Test – Is frizz a silent roommate that never moves out? If you feel like your hair gets tangled and knotted up easily, it is a sign of high porosity hair as the texture of hair shafts brush against each other and end up getting hooked or bound together.
Now that you have a guide on how to determine porosity, let’s see what oils suit it best.
If your hair has low porosity – Go for moisturizing oils such as argan (which happens to have sealing properties as well) because its small molecules can penetrate the hair shaft with ease and provide sufficient moisture. Jojoba and grapeseed oil are also great options for those with low porosity.
If your hair has high porosity – Opt for a nourishing sealing oil such as coconut oil, that will reinforce the gaps in highly porous hair, add protein and ultimately lock in the needed moisture.
What about hair density?
Hair density in simple terms is the number of hair strands per square inch of your scalp. A very quick and efficient way to determine this is to check if you can see your scalp through your hair. If your scalp is prominently or easily visible, you probably have lower density but if you feel like your hair is thickly covering your scalp your density is considered high.
A few other ways to check your hair density are:
Get Counting – Simply measure a square inch (Or half if you’re low on time) and count the number of strands. Once you have this number, simply scale or extrapolate it to arrive at your strand count.
Scalp Test – As mentioned above, notice if you can see your scalp without moving or parting your hair. Ensure you do this on dry hair and never on wet strands. Wet hair usually appears lower in density.
Ponytail Measure – Simply put your hair in a ponytail or pineapple and measure the circumference of the gathered part. Low density is usually about 2 inches or below while higher density will be three or more.
It’s quite easy to ascertain that low density warrants thinner hair and high density hair is thicker.
If you have low-density hair – Jojoba oil is a very viable option as its texture is similar to the natural sebum produced in your hair. Light oils such as almond oil are also perfect for fine, thin hair.
If you have high-density hair – Heavier oils such as olive and coconut oil are beneficial for thick, coarse hair and they easily get absorbed as well.
Another way to look at hair oils for curly hair is that – Lighter oils suit wavy patterns better and heavier oils suit curlier strands. The curlier your hair, the heavier and more moisturizing your hair oils need to be.
When it comes to curls, we Curlies want to give it nothing but the best. Here are some oils for curly hair that nourish, moisturize and bring your curls to life:
Olive oil is more than just a staple in your kitchen. It’s a great option of a moisturizing oil and helps detangling, adds moisture and enhances shine on your curls. You could even add a few drops to your conditioner to enthuse its moisturizing properties.
Jojoba is a great option all around. Its light form is very similar to the natural sebum produced by the scalp and goes a long way in adding shine. It also seals in moisture and reduces frizz. Plus, it doesn’t clog the pores on your scalp like other heavier oils do.
Coconut oil is an indispensable ingredient in Indian households and its uses are multi-fold! Its small particles enthuse the hair shaft with moisture and can transform dry and frizzy hair. Coconut oil also has the ability to soothe and treat dandruff and itchy scalp.
Sunflower Oil is another great option for your hair, especially curly hair. It quenches curls with moisture, improves hair elasticity and strength. It’s also fairly light, hence leaving your waves and curls bouncy without weighing them down too much.
Grapeseed oil is making its mark in the culinary world, but also in the world of curls. It is packed with natural ingredients that help cell regeneration, prevent hair loss and its naturally occurring phenols and steroids can make hair more vibrant.
Hemp oil is noteworthy for its anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties that are much needed in curly hair. The amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins in this non-greasy oil nourish and soothe the scalp providing a healthy base for the growth of curly hair.
Apart from being delightfully sweet-smelling, this herbaceous oil is an anti-inflammatory and a vasodilator, which improves circulation and soothes the scalp. It also stimulates hair growth and can combat hair breakage and loss.
The active menthol compounds in this fresh, zesty oil improves circulation and hence increases hair growth. It also has a rejuvenating tingly sensation on the skin, but needs to be used in small quantities and blended with other oils to maximise efficacy.
Vitamin E is a naturally occurring compound that can be used in oil form. This holy grail ingredient for skin and hair care is known to transform frizzy, damaged curly hair into bouncy, moisturized ringlets. It is also great for overall scalp and hair health.
Did you know that the Curl Up Nourishing Hair Oil is a meticulously blended elixir of all the above oils making it a perfect option for all hair and curl types? It can be used as a pre-poo, as a light styling oil and to SOTC and adds lustre, shine and life to your curls.
Now that you have an assortment of hair oils (and a nifty product containing all their benefits), let’s get to using them.
How do you use hair oil on curly hair?
As veteran Curlies, we all understand the importance of a good pre-poo. That is, the important step before shampooing where you apply oil to your scalp and the length of your curls. Go for a moisturizing oil such as coconut or olive so their small molecules can easily penetrate the hair shaft. You can even warm up your oil and massage your scalp for a more therapeutic experience. Leave it on for an hour or overnight and wash with a mild cleanser. Remember not to overdo the shampoo, else it will strip away the benefits of your pre-poo oil.
Dry detangling is a NO-NO, so oils make for the perfect lubricant and provide the best slip for detangling. Simply oiling and detangling before a hair wash goes a long way in minimizing hair fall during your wash.
An easy way to transform your regular conditioner into a deep conditioner is to simply add a few drops of oil to it. Olive oil works great and a few drops whisked into your conditioner makes for an effective deep conditioning experience. You can also add a few drops while regular conditioning for added moisture.
A light oil as a leave-in can go a long way in softening your curls and reducing the crunch from gel stylers. It also adds instant shine and life to your curls. Go for lightweight oils such as jojoba and almond for a pleasant feel all day long. Light oils work extremely with the tried and tested LOC and LOG methods on the CG Method. Whether you’re opting for L - Leave-in + O - Oil + C - Cream or L - Leave-in + O - Oil + G - Gel, the right hair oil can elevate your styling game and keep your curls defined and lasting for longer.
A true Curlie knows the importance of Scrunching Out The Crunch and the right hair oil helps release your ringlets from a tight gel hold and also add an instant shine to styled hair.
There you go, Curlies! We hope you love and learn from our comprehensive guide and harness the power of oils for curly hair. Do you have any oiling tips or suggestions for us? We’re all ears and would love to hear from our fabulous Curl Community.
Happy Oiling and Curl-Slaying!