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Essential Oils & Carrier Oils – Nappy Hair Care

Essential Oils & Carrier Oils

This is a guide to essential oils & carrier oils for nappy, napptural, or natural hair of African descent. Your hair can benefit from two types of oils. These two types of oils are essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils are fragrant oils that are actually the concentrated essence, or ‘life force’ of a plant. Essential oils are light and do not feel like an oil. They evaporate quickly. You would mix essential oils with a carrier oil before you put it on your hair to prevent skin irritation. Carrier oils are oily in consistency. They can be oil from a vegetable, a fruit, a nut, or even a seed.


Essential Oils for Nappy Hair

All essential oils are not created equal. Look for the highest grade you can find. Only buy Complete Essential Oils or Genuine Grade A Essential Oils. These are oils that contain the most natural oil and the least amount of additives and chemicals. Some essential oils for the hair are:

Basil which stimulates the scalp.
Cedarwood which is an astringent, antiseptic, balances production of sebum, and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Chamomile which adds sheen and conditions the hair.
Eucalyptus which removes dandruff and has antiseptic properties.
Frankincense which is used to get rid of dry scalp.
Jasmine which is often used for fragrance.
Lavender which is used for dandruff and fragrance.
Lemon which cleanses the hair and scalp and improves hair elasticity.
Myrrh which is used for dry hair and scalp.
Orange Oil which helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Palmarosa which helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Patchouli which treats dandruff and oily hair.
Peppermint which stimulates the scalp.
Rose Oil which is used as fragrance and to sooth the scalp.
Rosemary Oil (DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!) which stimulates the scalp and treats dandruff.
Sandalwood Oil which is an astringent, an anti-inflammatory, as well as an antiseptic. Use sandalwood oil to soothe a dry and irritated scalp.
Tea Tree Oil which is used to treat dandruff and kill lice. Tea tree oil balances production of sebum and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Ylang-Ylang which balances production of sebum, stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Carrier Oils for Nappy Hair

You can use carrier oils with essential oils or by themselves. A popular, readily available, and inexpensive carrier oil is extra virgin olive oil. Other carrier oils for the hair are:

Almond Oil which is a light, non greasy, fast absorbing hair conditioner.
Apricot Kernel Oil which is used for dry hair. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Avocado Oil which is a light, protein and vitamin rich. It include vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and potassium.
Castor Oil which is a humectant. Humectants attract moisture into your hair.
Grapeseed Oil which is odorless and vitamin rich. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Hazelnut Oil which is fast absorbing and medium weight. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Jojoba Oil which is simular to sebum, which is your hair’s natural oil. It can be used with or without an essential oil. It is often used 50/50 with another carrier oil to massage the scalp.

Additional Popular Carrier Oils

Aloe Vera Oil
Calendula Oil
Carrot Oil
Coconut Oil
Emu Oil
Neem Oil
Papaya Oil
Rosehip Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Walnut Oil
Wheatgerm Oil
Mixing Essential and Carrier Oils

When you mix your essential and carrier oils, as a general rule, use a one (1) drop essential oil per four (4) tablespoons of carrier oil.

Using Essential and Carrier Oils Mixtures

Mix only the amount you are planning to use. This is because essential oils do not have a very long shelf life. Adding a couple of drops of wheatgerm oil to the mixture will extend the shelf life. As an added benefit, wheatgerm oil also has healing properties.

There are Four (4) Grades of Essential Oils:

Pure Essential Oils: This means that the oil was not diluted with a lesser quality essential oil. Be aware, however, that it could be 80% vegetable oil & 20% essential oil and still be labeled ‘100% Pure.’

Natural Essential Oils: This means that the oil was not altered with vegetable oils, SD Alcohol 40, propylene glycol, or other chemicals.

Complete Essential Oils: This means that the oil was distilled at low heat and low pressure in order to preserve its therapeutic properties. This means that the oil has not been rectified or purified (which means stripped or redistilled). Rectifying and purifying is like reusing a tea bag. It makes more tea, but the quality and potency suffers. This process decreases the essential oil’s therapeutic properties.

Genuine, Authentic, or Grade A Essential Oils: These are the best of the best. Great care is taken at every step of the process. Chemicals are never used on the plants. Great care is taking in choosing each plant, time spent in the distillation process, harvesting process, gas chromatograph readings, etc. A gas chromatograph is a chemical analysis instrument used to separate chemicals.

Essential oil is also known as volatile oil and ethereal oil. They may also be referred to as “oil of” the raw plant material from which it was extracted. For example, Oil of Clove.

Do realize that fragrance oils and perfumes are not the same as essential oils.

A Word about Hair Grease, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, and Petroleum

Approximately 99.9% of Black hair care products use mineral oil, petrolatum, or petroleum as its main ingredient because they are cheap to produce. Mineral oil comes from petroleum or crude oil. Yes, same as the motor oil under your hood. Yes, the same as ‘grease’. Yes, the same as Vaseline. Yes, the same products your family has used for generations.

Grease does NOT moisturize your hair. It actually coats your hair, like plastic wrap, which prevents moisture from getting in. Grease basically causes your hair to die of thirst!

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Loc Maintenance Oils-Essential & Others

What Oils Are Good

In a previous article regarding loc maintenance, I mentioned several oils — essential and otherwise — that can be good to have in your loc maintenance arsenal. Included in the list were:

Jojoba Oil: A carrier oil; closely emulates the natural oils produced by the sebacous glands

Sweet Almond Oil: also a carrier oil

Rosemary Essential Oil: assists with hair growth; should not be used by pregnant women

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: used for hot oil treatments; can be a carrier oil

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: very aromatic; used to stimulate

The following herbs, which can be purchased as essential oils as well, should also be considered as part of your hair care regimen:

Chamomile: used to bring out the highlights in lighter colored hair

Horsetail: has a high silica content which helps relieve dry, brittleness; very moisturizing

Mint: stimulates the scalp

Nettle: a stimulant and helps with dandruff

Sage: used in hair rinses to remove dandruff; helps to restore color to hair that is graying

Thyme: treats oily hair and dandruff

You must be very careful in your use of essential oils. Improper or overuse of essential oils can have adverse affects on some. Please be sure that you fully understand the use of essential oils before incorporating them into your natural hair care regimen. There are plenty of resources out on the Internet that can assist you in learning the proper use and storage of essential oils.
One of my readers asked if all the oils listed needed to be used and how should they be used. This article is in response to her questions, and also to further elaborate on how these can be incorporated into your hair care routine.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are healthy oils used as a base for other products. They “carry” the essential oils which are added to them to your hair, scalp and skin when a recipe calls for an essential oil to be infused or diluted. Two carrier oils that are great for your locs and natural hair are jojoba oil and sweet almond oil.

Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil mimics the natural oils that the scalp’s sebacous glands excrete. However, care should still be taken to not over-use this or any other oil. Over-use will cause build up, resulting in dull, grayish locs that attract lint and dirt. This isn’t what we’re aiming for! Use a small amount of jojoba oil in your misting bottle to keep your tresses moisturized. Adding some ylang ylang for fragrance, as well as it’s uplifting properties will invigorate your hair and mind.

Sweet Almond Oil: This light, penetrable oil is also a great carrier oil. It also can be used in your misting bottle to moisturize. However, I suggest you use either jojoba or sweet almond — not both in the same misting bottle. Please remember that this oil is extracted from almonds. Those with nut sensitivities/allergies should be aware.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Although not recommend, extra virgin olive oil can be used as a carrier oil. It is a much heavier oil than jojoba or sweet almond, and therefore is not recommended for this purpose. Extra virgin olive oil is best used as a hot oil treatment, which would be thoroughly rinsed from your tresses, and as an ingredient in conditioners that will also be rinsed out of the hair.

Essential Oils

I cannot stress enough that one must understand the proper storage and use of essential oils. Misuse of these products can cause ill effects. Please read, learn, and understand all precautions of using any essential oil you may choose before incorporating them in your recipes and spritzes. The Internet holds a wealth of information and guidance on this subject. One site that I have used in the past is http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com. I am in no way associated with this site other than being a customer.

Rosemary: This essential oil has been noted to assist with hair growth. I recommend using weekly/bi-weekly. Some have been known to use daily; however, excess use may cause side effects. Rosemary is not recommended for use by pregnant women or those who may think they are pregnant.

Thyme: Used to control oil and dandruff, incorporating a weekly spritz of thyme can promote the healthy production of oil, while preventing dryness to the point of dandruff.

Nettle: Also used for the treatment of dandruff. This essential oil is known to promote hair growth.

Sage: Another remedy some use for dandruff control, sage is also known as a color restorative to hair which is graying.

Chamomile: Chamomile is known for its benefit to light colored hair — it enhances the natural highlights without chemicals.

Horsetail: Hair that suffers from brittleness can benefit from the essential oil, horsetail, via a bi-weekly spritz. The high amount of silica present in horsetail helps to soften and condition dry, brittle hair.

Adding a drop or two of Mint essential oil to any one above in your misting bottle will energize your scalp. Mint is a scalp stimulant, and stimulation is of course beneficial to blood flow and a healthy scalp.

How To Use

The question posed by the reader is “do we have to use them all and how?” The simple answer is “no.” However, there are some things one should consider…

If your hair has multiple, different symptoms of stress such as severe dandruff and brittleness, you may opt to treat one symptom at a time. This will ensure that you can accurately determine if the method you have used to treat the problem is working for you. It should help also to curb any instances of making one symptom worse while trying to alleviate another.

Let’s say you are having trouble with both brittleness ane dandruff. I would think that the first remedy you would like to attempt would be to get rid of the unsightly dandruff. So you would institute in your regimen methods that alleviate dandruff — a good, moisturizing natural shampoo known for its properties to combat dandruff. Then you would choose one of the essential oils mentioned here (or another that you have learned of elsewhere) which have properties that alleviate dandruff and, following proper care and handling instructions, infuse that essential oil in your spritz bottle or other recipe for your hair. You would stick with this regimen for at least 30 days in order to see if it resolves the dandruff issue. If not, you may have to try a different essential oil which is conducive to combatting dandruff.

Once you have gotten the dandruff problem under control, then you turn your concentration to the brittleness factor. Infuse a few drops, handled properly, in sweet almond oil and spritz your hair with this mixture once a week. I would not recommend using it more than weekly, else you may find yourself with a build up problem since this is an oil-based spritz and not water-based. Make sure to thoroughly spritz your tresses without saturating them. A gentle massage down the length of your locs will help ensures your tresses can easily benefit from this moisturizing spritz.

Now that you have both problems under control, you want to adjust your regimen to a “maintenance” level to avoid product build up or the adverse affects of over-use of your essential oils. Any product that is over-used, whether it contains essential oils or not, can be damaging to your hair, scalp, and or self. Never overdo it. Moderation is key. Maybe your maintenance can be as simple as a once a week spritz with the essential oil that combats dandruff, daily water spritzing, every-other-day spritzing with a water + humectant such as organic honey, and bi-monthly deep conditioning hot oil treatments with extra virgin olive oil.

I also suggest a bi-monthly ACV rinse (apple cider vinegar), especially if you are putting product in your hair daily (essential or other oils, herbal remedies, etc.). This will prevent product build up and dull looking locs. The rinse is easy enough to make and use yourself — one-part ACV with three-parts distilled water; while holding your head over a large bowl placed in the sink, pour the ACV rinse over your tresses making sure they are all saturated, repeating the process until all of the rinse is gone then rinse hair thoroughly with luke warm water.

Let’s Recap

No, you do not have to use all of the oils mentioned here in your regimen. Choose the oil(s) that will treat the condition(s) you are dealing with or the oil that will produce the benefit you are looking for (i.e., more sheen, softer locs, aromatic scents, etc.). Use of too much product can cause build up. And, again, please be sure you know the proper use and handling of any essential oil you choose. Know if there are other ingredients that you should not mix a particular essential oil with.

You must educate yourself on what you put in your hair before putting it in there! From Nature with Love is an excellent resource for information on the proper use and handling of essential oils. Do some research and learn what is best for your tresses.

Most importantly — Listen to your Locs! They will speak to you. They will tell you what they need and what they are getting too much of. They want to thrive for you. Help them become the beautiful head of natural hair that you have envisioned for yourself throughout your loc journey.

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How to Moisturize Natural Hair


Moisture is one of the main components to achieving healthy natural hair. Using quality ingredients is also necessary for proper hair growth.

Because African American hair in its natural state can become dry, brittle, and prone to severe breakage it is a must to moisturize the hair each day for optimum results.

Many people are turned off by their natural hair texture due to lack of knowledge and not understanding how to properly care for their hair in its original natural state; so many women revert back to harmful chemicals with the assumption that their hair will become “more manageable” which is untrue. Natural hair is versatile and manageable with the proper knowledge.

Did you know that water based products aid in moisture retention and pentrates the hair shaft?
Using hair grease does the opposite; it draws moisture away from the hair and accumulates dirt and pollutants onto the hair shaft, thereby, hindering hair growth and causing dryness.

Water based products are essential for imparting the proper levels of moisture to properly moisturize natural hair; look for products that are all natural and organic when possible.

In the event you can’t find all natural or organic products choose products that have water (aqua), or aloe vera as the first ingredient.
Natural hair is so beautiful, unique, and bold. The versatility natural hair offers is amazing, and more importantly there are no dangerous chemicals coming in contact with the scalp, nor are there any concerns about over-processing the hair.

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Things You’ll Need:

Moisturizing Shampoo
Deep Conditioner
Leave in Moisturizing Conditioner
Hair Accessories

INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1
Shampoo your scalp with an invigorating all natural or organic moisturizing shampoo; you can also add coconut oil, jojoba oil, or any other oil to ensure it does not dry out your natural strands. This really works wonders and it helps to combat unnecessary dryness. Concentrate on cleansing the scalp—this stimulates hair growth and keeps the scalp free of dandruff.

Step 2
Apply a quality deep conditioner to your hair, and use a stream room– if you have one, while the conditioner is in your hair– this is amazing for maximum penetration. No steam room, no worries, use a steaming towel– place a wet (no saturated) towel into the microwave for a few seconds and place the towel on your head for several minutes. You could also use a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 30-45 minutes, this is also effective. Detangle your strands while they are saturated with conditioner under running water. After rinsing out the conditioner gently squeeze the excess water from your hair instead of roughly pulling your hair with a cotton towel which causes friction that leads to broken strands and dryness.

Step 3
Apply a generous amount of a all natural water based leave in moisturizing conditioner or add aloe vera to your favorite leave in conditioner from the ends of your hair working your way up, paying close attention to the ends of your hair, which is more prone to breakage and dryness.

Step 4
Apply a natural carrier or essential oil to your hair, try coconut oil, peanut oil is great, castor oil, glycerin, or olive oil to seal in the moisture, this helps to keep the hair shaft moist for a longer time frame and reduces breakage and combats that awful dryness and tangles natural hair tends to get from time to time.

Step 5
Gently gather your hair into a bun if it is long enough, always lubricate the hair band before placing it around your hair, this reduces friction that cause breakage and dryness. If your hair is too short for a bun consider pulling your hair back using a silk or satin head scarf to protect gorgeous mane.

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Exceptional Skin Care Recipes with Essential Oils

Exceptional Skin Care Recipes with Essential Oils

The use of essential oils can be tracked as early as 4500 BC. They were used in spiritual rituals and possibly the first medicinal treatments. Today essential oils are commonly used in skin care products, the foundation of aromatherapy, and healing.

Oils are classified into two types: carrier oils and essential oils.

Carrier oils are usually derived from the seeds, kernels or nut, such as almond oil, apricot oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil just to name a few. Carrier oils have unique characteristics that can provide therapeutic value in skin care products, aromatherapy and healing.
Essential oils are distilled from leaves, barks, roots, flowers and other aromatic parts of a plant or tree. Essential oils are more potent than carrier oils and if applied to the skin undiluted can cause severe irritation or allergic reaction. Therefore, essential oils are mixed with carrier oils to dilute potency. Additionally carrier oils carry the essential oil too the skin, thus the term carrier oil.

Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. Whereas essential oils are created from botanicals, perfume oils and fragrances are chemically created and do not offer any therapeutic benefits.

In skin care, carrier oils are usually referred to as base oils, vegetable oils or fixed oils. Additionally there are animal based carrier oils such as Emu oil (from the emu bird) and fish oils. In general, aromatherapy blends do not include vegetable oils or animal based carrier oils.

Below is a short list of common carrier oils and essential oils and the therapeutic value of each oil:

Carrier Oils:

Sweet Almond oil: Effective makeup remover and moisturizer. It has a great effect on fighting wrinkles, as well as having an anti-bacterial effect on the skin.

Avocado: Moisturizes, reduces appearance of age spots, heals sun damage and scars. Additionally, avocado regenerates and rejuvenates the skin. Avocado increases collagen in the skin and therefore is an anti-aging ingredient in skin care. Avocado oil has superior moisturizing qualities.

Jojoba: Balances skin’s sebum, therefore beneficial for both dry and oily skin types. Also an eye-makeup remover rich in moisturizing properties.

Olive Oil: Contains natural anti-oxidants and vitamins and acts an anti-inflammatory in skin care products. Also used in scar treatments from acne, eczema and stretch marks.

Essential Oils:

Chamomile: An excellent skin cleanser. Good for dry and itchy skin, eases puffiness and strengthens tissues. Smooth out broken capillaries thus improving skin elasticity.

Geranium: A good overall skin cleanser. Wonderful oil for mature and troubled skin and brings a radiant glow and promotes circulation. Safety Precautions: Geranium essential oil is well tolerated by most individuals, but since it helps in balancing the hormonal system, care must be taken during pregnancy.

Lavender: Useful for all skin types as it promotes growth of new cells and exerts a balancing effect on the sebum (oil glands). Has a healing effect on burns, sunburns, acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Lemon: Brightens pale and dull complexions by removing dead skin cells. Has an effective cleansing action on oily skin. Note this oil is photo toxic; care should be taken to avoid exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet light and sun beds after application

Neroli: Useful for dry, sensitive and mature skin as it helps with regeneration of cells and improves elasticity. Helps reduce the appearance of varicose veins, scarring and stretch marks.

Rose: Particularly good for mature, dry, or sensitive skin. As a tonic it is a soothing quality for inflammation and constricting action on capillaries. Consider substituting rose geranium as Rose oil is very expensive, or consider making your own rose oil, get the recipe at

Complete Skin Care Therapy and click on the recipes tab, then essential oils.

Rosemary: Helpful for sagging skin as it is a strong astringent. Tones and tightens the skin. Has a stimulating effect on the uterus, so do not use if pregnant.

Sandalwood: A balancing oil and good for dehydrated skin, and dry eczema. Provides

Ylang Ylang: Has a balancing effect on sebum so useful for both oily and dry skin types.

Below are a few skin care recipes using the essential oils and carrier oils listed above:

Honey Facial Mask with Rose Oil

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons sweet almond oil

5 drops Rose essential oil (very expensive, consider making your own essential oil, see my post – Make Your Own Essential Oils, or use Rose Geranium as a substitute)

1 drop Vitamin EMix honey, sweet almond oil and rose essential oil.

Massage onto clean face and neck with fingertips in an upward motion. Allow to set on face and neck for 15 minutes. Rinse off with tepid water. Gently pat dry and see the benefits.

Moisturizer for Normal Skin

Geranium 1 drop

Lavender 2 drops

Sweet Almond Oil – 1 Tablespoon

Apply to face after cleansing and toning. Use a few drops of this blended mixture as needed. Note: when mixing your essential oils with the carrier oil or lotion, let set for 1 to 2 days so the oils can blend thoroughly.

Essential oils are fun to work with and offer so many benefits in skin care, healing properties, and in the home through aromatherapy. The above list is just a sampling of what essential oils can do for you. However, essential oils are very potent and care should be taken when using them. Additionally, a patch test is always recommended as with any new skin care product.

Essential oils are also eco-friendly!