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
Vitamin E Oil
Wheatgerm OilMixing 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!