Oil Rinsing; The Holy Grail Of Black Hair Care?

Oil Rinsing; The Holy Grail Of Black Hair Care

What is oil rinsing and how does it help black hair? 

I came across an old thread on Long hair care forums a while ago about oil rinsing and its benefits. I always pay attention when a thread carries on for more than 5 pages but this one had created quite a buzz with everyone wanting to try the technique and reporting results.

For those who don’t know what it is, oil rinsing boils down to an extra step between shampooing and conditioning that promises to make detangling a breeze, make your hair retain moisture much better, increase softness and shine. In essence it is a like a hot oil treatment done while you are in the shower.

Here’s how you do an oil rinse:
•    Start by shampooing your hair, if you are co washing only then just rinse your hair but make sure it gets soaked.
•    Coat your wet hair with about a handful (about ½ cup or so) of your favourite oil like olive, jojoba, castor etc
•    Rinse the oil off with hot water
•    Proceed to apply conditioner to your strands liberally
•    Rinse with cool water while detangling. This should be quick and painless!
•    Apply your leave in conditioner and seal

What makes oil rinsing better than a hot oil treatment is that the shampooing process is done before oil is applied so any natural oils lost during shampooing are immediately replenished. Furthermore, if the ideal amount of oil is applied i.e. not too much, the tresses will not be left greasy after the final rinse but rather will dry soft with much better moisture retention. Conditioning straight after the oil prevents too much of it from being left on the strands but enough is left to allow it to dry soft.

The consensus seems to be that oil rinsing is ideal if your hair is going to be worn in a heat free style. Flat ironing or blow drying after an oil rinse is probably not ideal. A serum is a better heat protectant that an oil.

So is oil rinsing the holy grail of black hair care? Well, it certainly has its benefits and once you have your technique down, it is very addictive because the results are immediate and obvious.

About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.


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  • Monte Georgia

    3c 4a natural 7 yrs. I tried this with olive oil last night and I loved it this morning. My hair has a shine to it and frizz free. Something I've been looking for in products all these years but have not found. My hair has its own curl pattern which I like. I like to wear my hair dried and big. Don't really care for the wash and go. I found the expensive products tighten my curls more and left them dry and hard. The oil rinse give me the moisture and shine I craved. I did not shampoo prior because I had wash my hair two days ago. I soaked my hair with water, applied 1/2 cup of olive oil, rinsed out with hot water. Applied my Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle conditioner and detangled then rinse out with cold water. I sealed it with a dollop of Herbel Essences Totally Twisted Curls and Wave conditioner. (I use it as a leave in). Braided and let it air dry and my curls looked thankful this morning. The only thing I would do differently next time is not do this in the shower. Olive oil on your face then switching from hot to cold water is a @#$%^ :) Thanks for the onfo on Holy Grail. There are several other moisturing methods on this website that I will be trying. AWESOME!

    • BHI

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a bottle of olive oil permanently in my bathroom for my oil rinses!

  • Flash

    Ms Alma,
    you are the best. Thank you sooooooooooo much for this info. My question is where in this process of using the oil rinse can I add some color to my hair. It doesn’t seem like color could logically be used. Helppppppppppppp!

    • Alma

      Well I don’t know that you could do them both on the same day TBH. Hair coloring is a separate process and one that should only be undertaken by a qualified stylist IMO. But once your hair is colored and appropriately conditioned to restore strength then oil rinsing can go back into your regimen :)

  • I ham white and changed my hair constantly until two and a half years ago when a heirdresser ruined it by over bleaching it and it snapped of all over almost at the root in some parts. At the time i smothered it nightly in argan oil which helped immensly but i am convinced had i known about oilr rinsing i could have saved even more of it. I shall be telling everyone i know about this brilliant idea.

  • I love oil rinsing. For me it makes my hair more manageable and stay moisturized for longer. And my curls pop with life. Love it. http://www.glamnaturallife.com/2013/09/adding-oil-rinsing-to-natural-hair.html

  • Diane

    Pre poo overnight wash oil rinse condition rinse with warm water deep condition rinse again LOC method. Hair so soft.

  • Diane

    I use the same oils that I used for my pre poo for my oil rinse. This week it was wheat germ, eucalyptus and cinnamon oil. The results were amazing, my hair was so soft. I let it air dry, it looked like I used a blow dryer

  • Redawyn

    I have been doing an oil rinse every since I first heard about it. Two days ago was the first time I didn’t. I could really tell a difference. I can hardly wait til wash day to go back to my routine.

  • Pretty

    I tried the oil rinse, however I rinsed my hair an applied olive oil and hair cream and two strand twisted the hair. I didn’t rinse the oil out is this ok?

    • kshkosh

      That’s not an oil rinse. That’s just sealing your hair with oil and adding a moisturizer lol

  • Changeone4life

    I must say that oil rinsing has done wonders for my hair. I use grape seed oil and my hair loves it. My hair has much more shine than it ever has. I would have started this early on during my hair journey had I know of it. My hair would be a lot farther along.

  • Diane

    I oil rinse every time I shampoo. Sometimes I use my deep conditioner on my dry hair then add oil on top and sit under my heating cap for 30 minutes to an hour.

  • Wow, been doing this to mine and my daughters hair for over a yr and didn’t know it had a name, extremely good benefits…sometimes I skip the conditioner and just do the castor oil, but I don’t have to oil our hair for a whole week or more.

  • I do this what’s the diff from pre pooing n oil rinsing?

  • jus jag Tracie mckinney-williams

  • Vicki

    Put it in a spray bottle and use it as a body moisturizer too!