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Sealing Hair With Oil: Good or Bad?

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If you’ve been reading the hot new debate on “sealing” your hair with oil, join the party! As someone who likes to keep the morning routine sweet and short, I was overwhelmed when I read on all the natural hair blogs that I should adhere to a 4 step hair styling process: Wet, apply oil and moisturizer, followed by my styling product(s) and then “seal” it all in with oil again. With that many steps I wondered how much sleep time (and money) would I have to sacrifice to do right by my hair each day??? But, I did it. I want healthy, shiny, fabulous hair and I thought well, this must be the way to do it since everyone swears by it. However, this new debate caused me to rethink my position and switch up my routine yet again and in my case, it’s been the best decision!


Sealing, Lubricating or Suffocating?

The debate over the use of oil as a sealant seemed to begin over the use of the word “seal”. Most of us accepted the logic of sealing moisture into our hair by applying oil as a coating. It seems like more of an argument of semantics, because the oil is creating a barrier that prevents outside moisture from getting in and a coating that prevents applied moisture from getting out. The latter point proves that in some ways, it isn’t entirely inaccurate to say the hair is being suffocated. The question most pressing on my mind was, do I skip adding oil or not? Ultimately the answer is an individual decision.

I found all the added oil was weighing my hair down and making it feel and appear greasy. I don’t believe the zealous application of oil was helping my hair to grow or help my scalp feel moisturized. Judging from my hairs reaction to these new steps, my scalp was caked up with too much “stuff” causing it to actually itch more and my hair still seemed dull by the end of each day.

Junkie products v Product junkies

The not so new idea sparked from this debate is to reevaluate your product choices, which I did! Oils can be a great addition to your hair routine - food grade organic coconut oil is great for moisturizing your hair and argan is great for smoothing fly-aways and combatting split ends. But instead of slathering any oil all over my hair, I found it was better to find these oils in the moisturizer and styling products I used. Don’t get me wrong, I still use oil in my hair, but I do so in moderation now and only applied directly to my scalp. The reason my hair still looked dull after doing everything that the YouTube and hair blog gurus told me to do was because I was using products that were just junk and expecting the final step of sealing with oil to swoop in and save the day! NOT SO!

Depending on which chart you look at, my hair grade is between a 3a and 3b. Removing the idea that oil is the villain and instead placing the blame on my heavy-handed application (and the fact that my hair needed a trim) I then started looking what else could be wrong? The leave in conditioner I was using was actually drying my hair and making it feel sticky. I don’t want to point fingers but I also started using a gel-like styling product for curlies only and while it did a great job of defining my curls it too was drying. I have since brought my morning hair routine back down to 2 products (aside from the once weekly addition of massaging coconut or castor oil into my scalp). I have a fantastic leave in styling cream followed by a styling gel that doesn’t dry my hair or cause flakes and definitely keeps my curls defined. And that’s it folks! Narrowing down the right products, regardless of your hair type, can be an equal challenge and I am happy to have found what works for me. Ultimately, listen to your hair and not me or anyone else touting the latest and greatest of anything. Let your hair tell you what it needs! Sticky, oily or dry hair? Itchy scalp? Those are problems and accept that trial and error are your only friends in determining what will work best for you! If you, like me, have found what works best for you please tell us about it in the comments section. If you’re still searching for your best hair routine, consider more tips for healthy hair growth!

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