Are you worried about your black hair care and thinking if oiling can help with better hair management? In this article we will take a quick look at this serious question and find the answer if oiling for black hair is good or just a misconception.
Using oil on the scalp can be counterproductive, as it can lead to an increase in naturally occurring yeasts that can worsen conditions like Seborrheic Dermatitis. Oils like castor can also cause an excessive build-up of dirt and clog the hair follicles, providing the perfect environment for the scalp fungus malassezia to thrive. This fungus feeds off the fatty acids in the oil, resulting in itching and flaking on the scalp.
Contrary to popular belief, oiling the scalp does not actually keep it moisturised. The oil gives the illusion of making the scalp appear moisturised due to its shine, but it actually seals out moisture and can leave the scalp dry. Our scalp naturally produces its own oil, called sebum, which helps to regulate moisture levels and prevent moisture loss. When we oil our scalp, it interrupts this natural process, leading to less sebum being produced and a dry scalp.
Where Did This Misconception About Oiling Hair Came From?
During the age of slavery and captivity, Black people didn’t have access to the tools and products that are necessary to take care of their hair. Sundays were the only days they had to themselves to practice self-care, and they had to make do with whatever household products they could find to moisturize and condition their hair.
Though our ancestors had these rituals, they were appropriate for their time. But today’s generation of Black people have lost some of the context as to why these rituals were necessary.
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The availability of scalp oils from well-known Black haircare brands has only added to the myth that Black people must oil their scalp. While we recognize that scalp care is important, there are other effective products that can be used.
If Not Oiling, then What is the Best Solution for my Scalp?
In order to keep scalp healthy, washing every seven to ten days will keep your scalp clean and begin to regulate sebum production. Hair care products should be focused on the current needs of the scalp and hair. It is perfectly fine to use two different shampoos, meaning one for dry scalp then another for coloured hair.
You should to stay away from thick oily products and only apply conditioners to the mid lengths and ends. Any oils or butters should be reserved for the hair and used sparingly.
While we can use a scalp treatment such as a chemical exfoliant on the scalp; products containing sulphur and salicylic acid are usually good for this. However, if it feels tight or dry, try a hydrosol like rosewater or even aloe vera gel can be used.