There is never a lack of helpful ingredients that make our natural hair look and be its best. From co-washes, to deep conditioners, to hair gels and moisturizing oils, there is a vast array of necessary ingredients for natural hair for us to choose from.
If you know anything about natural hair care, you have probably heard about using essential oils as a means of moisturizing hair and promoting hair growth. Alongside hearing about essential oils, the world of natural hair care also promotes using carrier oils.
So, in knowing about these two sets of oils and the role they both play in natural hair care, the key question to ask is: what is the difference between these oils and how do they work?
What is an Essential Oil and What is a Carrier Oil?
Let’s first begin with the definition of essential oils and carrier oils. According to Wikipedia, and many other sites: “Essential oils are volatile and liquid aroma compounds from natural sources, usually plants. Essential oils are not oils in a strict sense, but often share with oils a poor solubility in water. Essential oils often have an odor and are therefore used in food flavoring and perfumery.
Essential oils are usually prepared by fragrance extraction techniques such as distillation (including steam distillation), cold pressing, or extraction (maceration). Essential oils are distinguished from aroma oils (essential oils and aroma compounds in an oily solvent), infusions in a vegetable oil, absolutes, and concretes.
Typically, essential oils are highly complex mixtures of often hundreds of individual aroma compounds.” And carrier oils are defined as: “A base oil or vegetable oil used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy.
They are so named because they carry the essential oil onto your skin. Carrier oils do not contain a concentrated aroma, unlike essential oils, though some, such as olive, have a mild distinctive smell. Neither do they evaporate like essential oils, which are more volatile. The carrier oils used should be as natural and unadulterated as possible. Many people feel organic oils are of higher quality. Cold-pressing and maceration are the two main methods of producing carrier oils.”
Should You Include Essential Oils in Your Hair Care Regimen?
When you make the decision to use essential oils as a part of your hair care regimen, and then use carrier oils alongside them, the first essential oils you should start with are: Lavender, Chamomile, Rosemary, and Tea Tree oil.
Each of these essential and carrier oils has a specific purpose for how effectively they work for natural hair. For instance:
- Lavender essential oil deep conditions the hair, keeps it shiny, and helps control dandruff.
- Chamomile essential oil adds shine and softness to hair, and soothes the scalp.
- Rosemary essential oil stimulates the roots, improves hair growth, and increases circulation in the scalp.
- Tea Tree essential oil is a great moisturizer for your hair, it helps to keep your scalp free of bacteria and fungal problems.
And the first carrier oils you should use are olive oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil.
- Olive oil helps in preventing as well as curing hair loss.
- Coconut oil softens hair and increases shine.
- Jojoba oil moisturizes the hair, adds nutrients, and stimulates the scalp.
Why Would You Use Essential Oils and Carrier Oils Together?
There are many reasons why you would use these oils together, but the most important reason people use essential and carrier oils is for their effectiveness in stimulating the scalp and promoting hair growth.
As wonderful and effective as essential oils are in the world of natural hair care, they are quite ineffective if they are used in the hair all by themselves. In fact, if you apply any essential oil directly to your scalp you run the risk of having a skin irritation.
You can combat this by mixing your essential oil with water. Or you can add a few drops of any essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner for added moisture. When you choose to place essential oils into your bottle of shampoo or conditioner the result will be a new level of moisture in your wash, co-wash, and deep conditioner hair washing routine.
Another, and more effective and purposeful, way to use essential oils is to mix them with carrier oils. This is where carrier oils play a vital role.
For example, a solution of lavender and rosemary mixed with jojoba and olive oil can be used as a hot oil treatment. In this type of treatment, you would apply the oil mixture directly to your scalp, put on a plastic cap and then a towel or heat wrap to cover your head, and leave it on for 30 minutes or more.
You can even leave the oil on your scalp overnight for extra moisturizing. You must make sure that you wash out all of the oil from your hair when you are rinsing because oils have a tendency to weigh natural hair down, making it heavy and lifeless and limp.
Also, if you manage to not rinse out all of the oil and leave most of it in your hair you may think that it’s of no consequence because it’s oil and leaving some of it on will only add more moisture to your skin.
However, when you leave too much of the oil in your hair after a hot oil hair treatment, the final result or style of your hair will not only be limp, but also it will be a greasy mess that will show up on your face, neck, back of your neck, or even rub off on your clothes or hands if you touch your hair at some point of the day.
Alongside stimulating hair growth in natural hair, essential oils and carrier oils are also favorites for preventing hair loss, promoting a beautiful shine, and helping to keep your hair moisturized.
The benefits of using essential and carrier oils for natural hair care go very far and will produce lasting effects for a healthy head of hair. And isn’t this our number one goal – to have healthy natural hair.
As with anything new that you are trying on your hair and scalp, always test it on a small area of your hair and wait for about 24 hours to evaluate the results. When using various essential and/or carrier oils you may have an allergic reaction, like itchy scalp or redness in the area, and not even realize you have the allergy at first.
If you find that you have an allergic reaction, do not use that particular essential or carrier oil. Try another supplier, it could be that what you think is a pure oil is not. If after trying several suppliers, you find that you’re having the same reaction, you could indeed have an allergy to this particular oil.
As Always …
Dedicated To Your Beauty,