In regards to hair oil, there are so many different options to choose from, so where do we start when it is time to decide what oil to put in our hair. Well, the first step to figuring this out is to evaluate what hair type you have. The generally recognized hair types for women of color are: 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, and 4c. Now what the heck is a 4c and a 3b? Well I’ll break those down for you.
TYPE 3 HAIR
If you have type 3a hair you may have defined curls that are a loopy in appearance. For type 3a hair you will be more prone to frizz so light hair products will work best for you. This especially means light oils! If you use a heavy oil it will make your hair look too shiny, heavy, and dirty.
Type 3b hair, while similar to type 3a, is still going to need light oils. However type 3b hair will have less space between each curl. Type 3c hair is defined as having corkscrew curls, they are the tightest curls of all the variations of type 3 hair. For type 3c hair you can use more dense oils because this hair is more prone to dryness. If your hair gets extremely dry another remedy for this is weekly deep conditioning.
TYPE 4 HAIR
If you have type 4 hair, your hair will be more coarse in texture. Type 4a hair has an “s” shaped curl pattern. This hair type holds moisture well so you can use a lighter oil or one with a denser texture depending on how disposed to dryness you are.
Type 4b hair has a “z” shaped curl pattern and is generally thicker and fluffier in appearance. Type 4b hair is highly susceptible to being dry and prone to breakage, therefore a heavier oil will be necessary. Type 4c hair is the most tightly coiled hair texture and doesn’t have a defined curl pattern. Type 4c hair is also the most fragile and driest hair type, so heftier oils are needed to prevent breakage due to dryness.
YOU ARE LIKE NO ONE ELSE
So now that we understand the hair types that exist, it is important to know that everyone’s hair is different and that your hair can be in between two different hair types or you may have multiple hair types in your hair. My hair is a type 4a in the back but a type 4b towards the front and that is okay! Learn your hair and treat it the way it needs to be treated according to how your hair is. No two heads of hair are the same! There are many types of oils that you can put in your hair and they all have different densities and different benefits for your hair. Lets talk about them and try to figure out which oil sounds most beneficial to your individual hair type.
Coconut oil is the most hyped up hair oil, in my opinion, but with good reason because it is like liquid gold. It is essentially the fat of a coconut and is full of proteins that is good for your hair especially if you experience frequent breakage. Coconut oil has a low molecular weight making it the most ideal for penetrating your hair follicles and trapping in moisture. I believe it is good for all hair types and you should use it sparingly if your hair is strong and doesn’t experience breakage. Too much protein in your hair can cause breakage just as easily! Coconut oil is also good for frizz so, all people with type 3 hair can use this! People with type 4 hair that may experience dryness and breakage can use this to help also.
Olive oil is also growing in popularity, yet it is still one of my favorites. You can buy a lot for really low prices at any grocery store. Olive oil is more scientifically backed up as one of the best hair oil choices. It is made up of Omega fatty acids which benefits your hair and scalp. It is also moderate in density so, I recommend it more for type 4 hair, or thick type 3 hair. It traps in moisture and leaves a nice shine, but it can weigh your hair down. I also suggest for really dry hair that you add it to your shampoo and conditioner and see the difference in not only moisture retention, but softness. For all hair types, deep conditioning is important and adding olive oil to it can be a bonus for extreme results and curl definition.
Jojoba oil is great also, it comes from the seed of the Jojoba plant. Jojoba oil has scientifically been shown to have results in hair growth treatments. I believe jojoba oil can be mixed with essential oils like lavender, thyme, and rosemary for the most results, yet jojoba oil is full of benefits alone. Jojoba oil contains vitamin B, vitamin E, copper, and zinc, and essential fatty acids which benefit your body as a whole. It moisturizes and soften your skin and scalp great for softening brittle ends and roots.
Castor oil is one of the thickest oils I have come into contact with. It reminds me of molasses because of the texture, but it is growing in popularity. Castor oil is used frequently to bring back edges and promote the growth of hair where it is prone to breakage or doesn’t grow at all. It is said that castor oil balances the PH levels of your scalp so, if your scalp is too dry or too greasy it can help regulate it. Castor oil is full of vitamin E, Omega fatty acids, and proteins. The only bad side to castor oil is that it is sticky and not the easiest oil to apply or wash out because of the density.
So now that you know all the basics, go forth and prosper! Good luck natural sisters!