Carrier oils are natural and effective for all hair, natural or unnatural. And fortunately, there are many options (over 40 different carrier oils) for every hair type - including natural hair. Natural oils provide extra benefits to African American hair because they attract moisture and maintaining it in the cuticle.
That being said, one of the most useful things you can use carrier oils for is as a seal after washing and for deep conditioning before washing. For the best results with any carrier oil, apply it liberally to hair, put on a shower cap and let it soak in for about half an hour. You can add heat for an even deeper treatment. Then lightly wash your hair out with just water to allow some of the oils to reside in the hair. Ta-da!
We've put together a list of our favorite carrier oils for natural curls and the best way to use them as a part of your natural hair care routine.
Argan oil has become the go to carrier oil for hair, and with good reason. Derived from argan nuts, Argan oil is lightweight and is a fantastic finishing product to give your hair shine while taming down annoying frizz. For daily use, simply apply Argan oil from the ends of your hair up to your scalp. It is also a fantastic natural sunscreen and will protect your hair from those summer rays!
Grapeseed oil is considered one of the best oils for day-to-day use because of it's lightweight, non-greasy and silky consistency. It also doesn’t carry a heavy scent as some of the other carrier oils do. This oil is easy to customize with your favorite scent, just add a few essential oil drops to it and you’ve got a customized scented moisturizer.
Black Castor Oil
Castor oil, particularly black castor oil, is another carrier oil on the rise in the natural hair world. Castor oil is excellent for thickening hair - not just on your head, but your eyebrows and eyelashes as well. No need to dilute it, you can apply this oil directly to your locks from scalp to tip. For thicker and fuller lashes, try applying castor oil to them with an old mascara brush.
Ah coconut oil. It’s pretty much good for your whole life right? This popular carrier oil is great in the kitchen and in your bathroom. Coconut oil is a light moisturizer that can be used on the hair for conditioning and detangling. The best use for coconut oil on the hair is as a pre-poo. Mix coconut oil and your favorite deep conditioner, then apply and detangle hair from ends to root. Let the oil sit for at least 20 mins for moisturizing benefits, or you can let it sit overnight. Then rinse out with warm water and follow up with a leave-in conditioner.
Avocados are delicious and healthy for your entire body. Not only does eating avocados regularly give you glowing skin and stronger hair, but applying avocado oil directly to your locks give it extra moisture and added sheen. Avocado oil is excellent for dry, damaged hair because it contain an endless amount of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, D, E, protein, amino acids, iron, copper, magnesium, and folic acid. For even more avocado benefits, try massaging the oil into your scalp to promote blood flow to your hair follicles.
Olive is basically a staple for a lot of natural haired regimens. Olive oil is great for your hair because it provides long lasting moisturizing benefits and can help with nourishing hair. It also makes a great sealer for natural hair and prevents split ends and snags from occurring. Like coconut oil, you can add olive oil to your pre-poo or deep conditioning treatments. The only hangup with using olive oil is that it can leave you smelling like an Italian kitchen! To mask the scent, add in a citrus smelling essential oil and mix well before applying to hair.
Shea Butter Oil
Shea butter is famous for healing dry, cracking skin, but shea butter oil is great for promoting healthy and moisturized natural hair. You can of course receive the same benefits from regular raw shea butter - that’s where shea oil comes from after all. But shea butter tends to be too heavy for the hair and can weigh down and make it look greasy. You can always melt your shea butter down into oil and combine it with another lighter carrier oil such as coconut oil or grapeseed oil.