You're strutting down the sidewalk with your bestie, & you notice that people can't take their eyes off her vibrant, bouncy, natural curls. As a proud owner of natural locks yourself, you understand that achieving those stunning coils isn't as simple as a quick shampoo & blow dry. It takes dedication—& a whole lot of love.
So, you might wonder, how exactly did she achieve those flawless curls?
The answer is simple: curly hair oiling.
Grab your best oil blend, because today, we're going to show you how to wield hair oil for curly hair like you've been doing it your whole life.
The Science Behind Curly Hair Oiling
It’s the burning question on everyone’s minds. Why do people use hair oil?
While curly-haired kings & queens are blessed with springy spirals, those curls don’t simply come to life on their own. They’re inspired with a little coaxing from the right ingredients. That’s where hair oiling curly hair comes in.
So, what's the scoop behind oiling those luscious curly locks? Below, we dive into the specifics of why curly hair can benefit from hair oil:
- Curly hair structure – Curly hair boasts a coil-like pattern, often making a longer journey for your scalp’s natural oil, sebum, to reach the mids & ends of your strands.1 As a result, curlies & coilies are susceptible to the occasional bout of dryness & split ends.
- Hair porosity – Your hair’s porosity refers to its ability to soak in & retain moisture. Curly hair is often more porous, meaning that while it can absorb more moisture, it’s also prone to losing it more quickly than less porous hair.2
- Properties of oils for curls & coils – Oils often used for hair oiling, like Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil & Olive Oil have beneficial fatty acids & antioxidants that help to moisturize & protect your hair from environmental factors, like UV rays & ever-changing weather conditions.3
Choosing the Right Oils for Your Curls
With so much curly hair oil on the market, how do you know which one is the right one for your locks? You can start by understanding your specific hair type (wavy, curly, coily, etc.) & identifying the hair concerns you’d like to improve, such as natural hair breakage or dryness.
Once you’ve honed in on your hair oil goals, it’s time to learn more about the various oils & the benefits they offer for different hair types. For example, hair oils, like PATTERN’s Jojoba Oil Blend, mimic the sebum produced by your scalp. This makes it ideal for moisturizing.4 PATTERN’s Argan Oil Blend is another highly moisturizing oil, as it has a high water-holding capacity & may help tame flyaways & improve hair elasticity.3
Pre-Oiling Preparation for Healthy Hair
With the best hair oil in hand, you might be jumping at the chance to lather up your scalp. But before you dive in, take a moment to make sure you’re well-prepared:
- Gather your supplies – In addition to your oil, you’ll also benefit from grabbing our Wide Tooth Comb & trusty Hair Clip to section your hair.
- Section your hair – Divide your crown into manageable sections. This step ensures that every single curl gets the royal treatment—no strand left behind!
- Detangle any knots – If you want to know how to detangle curly hair properly, start by using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to detangle one section at a time. This will help reduce the risk of hair breakage while you’re applying the oil.
- Heat the oil – Why heat the oil in a bowl of warm water when you could use our Jojoba Oil Self-Heating Packs? Simply pull off the label to activate the self-heating magic & work the soothing Jojoba & Lavender Oil through your tresses. It’ll feel like a comforting, hydrating spa treatment that even works to reduce scalp itchiness & flaking.
Step-by-Step Guide to Oiling Your Curly Hair
After you’re prepped & ready, follow these simple directions on how to oil curly hair like a pro:
- Step 1: Apply the oil. One section at a time, distribute the oil onto your strands with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb, concentrating on the middle to ends of your hair.
- Step 2: Massage into your scalp. While not required, massaging the oil into your scalp may help improve scalp health, especially if you’ve noticed any itchiness or dryness lately.
- Step 3: Soak it in. Once you’ve saturated your hair, it’s time to sit back, relax & let it do its thing. Try to leave it on for a minimum of 30 minutes so it has ample time to penetrate your hair shaft. For the ultimate hydration, leave it on while you treat yourself to more TLC, like painting your nails or enjoying your favorite sweet treat.
- Step 4: Wash your hair. After you’ve completed your hair oiling treatment, shampoo & condition your hair to remove any excess oil & lock in the moisture you worked so hard to achieve.
- Step 5: Style your hair. For a quick & effective style on the go, opt for your favorite curly hair styling products. Apply them to wet or dry hair for all-day (& night) curl definition.
Oiling Techniques: LCO vs. LOC Method
Did you know there’s more than one way to oil your hair? Two of the most popular techniques, the LCO & LOC methods, involve using oils, leave-in conditioners & creams in a specific order to help retain moisture & promote the healthiest of curls.
Below, we break down the popular LCO & LOC methods to help you determine which might be the most beneficial option for your hair type:
This technique involves using specially-formulated hair products for curly hair in the following order:
- Leave-in conditioner
With the LCO method, the idea is that using a lightweight cream (like the PATTERN Moisture Milk) before any curly hair oil helps to seal in moisture from the surface. This makes your curls feel bouncier & lighter.
Let's talk about the LOC method, another fantastic way to keep your hair moisturized. With this technique, you use your hair products in a slightly different order:
- Leave-In Conditioner
Here's the magic: You apply the oil after the leave-in treatment, allowing it to penetrate deep into your hair shaft, nourishing it from within. Then, you finish with the PATTERN Styling Cream to seal in all that moisture. This method can leave your hair feeling soft & looking shiny while warding off breakage. It's a fabulous way to keep your curls at their best!
Benefits of Curly Hair Oiling: What to Expect
After putting in the effort to oil your hair, you probably want to know what to expect as a result. In addition to lusciously moisturized curls, there is a slew of potential perks as well, including:
- Flyaway control – Oiling may help smooth your hair cuticles, which can reduce frizz & provide more springy definition.
- Enhanced shine – A blend of moisturizing oils can add a natural shine to your coils, giving them a more healthy & lustrous appearance.
- Seamless styling – You can look forward to tresses that are easier to detangle & style, whether you’re wearing your natural hair down in all its natural glory or opting for a protective style like box braids or bantu knots.
Frequency & Timing: When to Oil Your Curls
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should oil your curls. It depends on several factors, including:
- Your hair type – If your hair is highly porous, it may benefit from more frequent hair oiling (up to two to three times a week). Less porous hair can go longer between oiling sessions as the strands retain more moisture.
- The climate – In colder areas, your hair may dry out more quickly than if you were, say, living in a humid, tropical paradise. For chillier, dryer climates, consider oiling your hair more regularly.
- Personal preference – There's nothing quite like indulging in some well-deserved self-care & the pure relaxation that comes with oiling those fabulous curly locks. If you're part of the self-care-savvy crew (count us in!), we've got your back. Oil your hair whenever you please—you deserve it.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Oiling Routine
There are a few mistakes to avoid before jumping hair first into the oiling game:
- Avoid leaving the oil on too long. Follow the directions on your product’s label.
- Avoid using oil that’s too hot. Sure, warm oil can feel invigorating on your scalp. But hot oil can feel fiery—& not the good kind. If you warm your oil, be sure to test the temperature before applying it to your scalp. Better yet, opt for the Jojoba Oil Self-Heating Packs to get the temp just right.
- Don’t forget to detangle beforehand. If you don’t detangle in advance, the oil is more likely to be distributed unevenly. The result? Missing some prime curl real estate craving that extra dose of moisture.
Find the Magic in Hair Oiling with PATTERN
Now that you know how to use hair oil on your pillowy locks, what's stopping you? For an hour of "you time" that offers benefits long after you're done, look no further.
At PATTERN, we understand the power of self-care & the importance of embracing your natural beauty. Join the PATTERN family & experience the magic of hair care products tailored to your gorgeous curls & coils. From our Shampoos & Pre Poos to Styling Creams & Gels (& so much more), it's time to let your hair shine like never before!
- Gavazzoni Dias, Maria Fernanda Reis. “Hair cosmetics: an overview.” International journal of trichology vol. 7,1 (2015): 2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
- West, Mary. "Low porosity hair: Signs and how to care for it." Medical News Today. 17 February, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/low-porosity-hair#low-vs-high
- Mysore, Venkataram, and Arpita Arghya. “Hair Oils: Indigenous Knowledge Revisited.” International journal of trichology vol. 14,3 (2022): 84-90. doi:10.4103/ijt.ijt_189_20
- Pazyar, N et al. “Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review.” Giornale italiano di dermatologia e venereologia : organo ufficiale, Societa italiana di dermatologia e sifilografia vol. 148,6 (2013): 687-91.