Why Oiling Your Scalp May Not Be Such A Bad Idea

The Natural Hair Jury is still out on whether or not oiling one’s scalp is beneficial, but it alleviated the pain caused by styling tension on my tender skin.
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The Natural Hair Jury is still out on whether or not oiling one’s scalp is beneficial, but it alleviated the pain caused by styling tension on my tender skin.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that the hairstyles I’ve been wearing for ages had been the cause of terrible, recurring headaches.

It was really strange at the time, because these hairstyles weren’t particularly new or tightly braided. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I could only find relief by taking down my hairstyle every night, until I massaged my scalp one evening: it was dryer than the Sahara at midday, and tender to the touch. 

Horrified that I let this happen, I grabbed my trusty bottle of olive oil that I keep in my bathroom, oiling my scalp and massaging the oil into my skin. As if by magic, the tenderness slowly abated, as though soothing rains were tempering my desert-scalp’s agony.

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The Natural Hair Jury is still out on whether or not oiling one’s scalp is beneficial, or even necessary, many claming that the supposed need to do so is an old-fashioned myth. I’d bought into this line of thinking right up until my headaches started, immediately abandoning it once moisturizing my aching scalp alleviated the weeks of pain caused by any amount of styling tension on my tender skin. 

Unnecessary or no, it helped my hair. That’s the whole point of a beauty regimen, right?

Before you begin, there are some important things to take into consideration:

• Not everyone needs to oil their scalp. Adding the extra oil to your scalp is really helpful if you have dry skin that needs the moisture. If you generally have oily skin, oiling your scalp may be unnecessary.

• When putting product directly on the scalp, it’s a good idea to stick to something light. Thicker greases like shea butter, while marvelous when used on the hair shaft, will contribute to buildup on the scalp.

Even taking that into consideration, which oil you use can make a huge difference, as well. The viscosity of castor oil is perfect on my tiny curls, for instance, but it would probably weigh down the hair of someone with a looser curl pattern. It’s also worth noting that astringents like tea tree oil dry out the skin: the exact butt opposite of what we’re looking to accomplish.

That said, I’d go with a non-astringent that the rest of your skin reacts well to. If you notice that olive or coconut oil makes you glow, try using it on your scalp! What works for any one scalp is an enormously unique thing, so follow your own reactions before conventional wisdom.

Let’s get started!

First you’ll want to take your hair out of whatever adorable hairstyle you doubtlessly have it in.

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THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM.

THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM.

From there, part your hair down the center, and use a bottle with a nozzle tip to dot oil directly on your scalp. Try to avoid squirting oil on your scalp with wanton abandon, because very few things are more awkward than having to wipe away rivulets of oil trickling down your face. Trust me, it’s weird and uncomfortable.

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Continue parting your hair down both sides of your head, lengthwise. Oil each part as though lightly irrigating the rows of ebony wheat that are your gorgeous hair.

That metaphor got entirely away from me, and I refuse to apologize for it.

That metaphor got entirely away from me, and I refuse to apologize for it.

After your scalp is dotted with your oil of choice, use your fingers to lightly massage your scalp to work it in and spread the oil to other parts of your head. Now is the perfect time to bust out one of those goofy head massagers, if you’re fortunate enough to own one.

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That’s it! Put your hair into whatever adorable hairstyle you have in mind for the day and take the world by storm with your newly moisturized scalp.