How to Oil an African American Scalp

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Oiling hair
Oiling hair

The primary reason that African and African-American women wash their hair bi-weekly instead of daily is because it takes a longer amount of time for the dirty oils to appear than they would in women of other ethnicities. African American hair is oftentimes dry, coarse, and/or thick, and oiling the scalp prevents dandruff, an itchy scalp and dry skin. Hair oil also increases hair growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair oil, preferably including aloe vera, cocoa butter or tea tree oil
  • Comb with teeth to part hair
  • Brush

Part hair in small sections about 2 centimeters apart. Dip the index finger into the hair oil and lightly run the index finger along the part in hair so the oil goes directly on the scalp, not just the hair. Repeat oiling scalp from one side of head to the other.

Run fingers along the edges of the head to oil the sides, front, and back.

After the scalp has been completely oiled, brush hair to blend oil in scalp, through hair, and to the edges.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on how thick the hair is, hair oil treatment may need to be done daily, every few days, weekly, or bi-weekly. There is no maximum amount or minimum amount of time that hair can be oiled, but if the African-American hair is constantly itchy, has dandruff, or a bleeding scalp, consider changing to a shampoo that seals in moisture (such as Pantene Pro-V, Relaxed & Natural for Women of Color).
  • Thick hair grease that doesn't fall off the fingers is better to evenly oil the scalp. Hair lotion is better for damaged ends, but hair lotion is difficult to oil the scalp on your own because the hair lotion tends to drip all over the fingers, into hair but not into the scalp.
  • Don't be too generous with hair oil. If there is too much hair oil in hair, it will be difficult to comb and brush. The amount of hair oil that should be on the index finger when oiling is about as much as one would use when finger painting. Dip your index finger back into hair oil as much as needed but only enough to fully oil the scalp.

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