Reader Question: So Should I Oil My Scalp Or Not?

yellow_lilliesReader Question:

Firstly I would just like to thank you so much for providing this very sensible, no nonsense and completely free website. I am looking forward to telling & posting my story on your website. I wanted to ask you two questions, first question: Do I oil my scalp or not? And… If not why not, only I hear so many conflicting stories so I am confused. I currently oil my scalp with Jamacian black castor oil or pure coconut oil 3-4 times a week. I heard on YouTube that we need this oil on our scalp because unlike white people we do not make enough natural oils to adequately moisture our coiled hair pattern. Question 2: I clarify my hair with a brand named shampoo (first wash only which is designed for daily use) once a week is this ok? I always follow with a DPC & steam. By the way I do wash my hair and DPC twice a week but I only ever clarify once per week. Thanks in advance.

Our Answer:

Thanks for getting in touch and I’m glad you are enjoying the website. You are right in saying that our scalps do not produce enough oil but many ladies forget the oil’s purpose. When a straight haired person produces oil, it will slide down the strands to moisturize them during styling or brushing. We are kind of defeating the purpose when we put a lot of oil directly on our scalps rather than on our hair where it is needed.

From a personal point of view, before I began healthy hair care practices, my scalp used to be really dry. Even straight after washing I would see flakes and I assumed that I had dandruff and needed oil. However after a few weeks of twice weekly washings, my scalp started to produce its own oils and I found that if I added more oil, I would itch uncontrollably because of clogged pores! This has not only been my experience but also that of my mother and sisters when they started their healthy hair journeys. Now like clockwork, every 3-4 days my scalp will start to itch from my own oils clogging my pores so I know it’s time for a wash again.

Not everyone is the same, some people will still feel that their scalps require some oil just the same way some people have greasy skin that hates oil but others dry skin that needs it. However 3-4 times a week of oiling is certainly excessive! That amount of oil is more likely to clog your pores than help with scalp dryness or hair growth. Even if Jamaican black castor oil is being used a hair growth aid, your scalp is unlikely to absorb more than one application until after the next wash. You wouldn’t put oil on your skin every day without having had a wash first!

On the question of clarifying, I would usually consider once a week too often but based on the amount of oil you have been using then it probably wasn’t! Hopefully you have been basing your hair with some oil before clarifying to prevent excessive dryness. On minimal oil and silicone usage, washing with a clarifying shampoo is only necessary every 3-6 weeks. You could try a non sulphate shampoo for your weekly washes followed by an acv rinse and you may be surprised at how clean it gets your hair!

Good luck!



15 Ways To Get Longer Healthier Hair


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 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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  1. 1

    I have been very confused with oiling my scalp as well. Ive been trying to get it back growing like it used to before I started college, but since early 2010 Ive been dealing with itching, breakage & bald spots (1 on each temple). Ive been using more gentle shampoos once a week (w/ conditioning after) & more natural hair oils 2-3 times a week, but have had very little growth & continuing itching. Would washing twice a week & oiling my scalp once a week be better for my scalp & hair as well? Any advice would be lovely, lol. Thanks!

    • 2

      Hi Cymone, in my experience itching is usually due to clogged pores due to too much oil. Have you tried not oiling your scalp at all to see if the itching improves? It may be a good idea to wash twice per week as long as one of the washes is a co-wash, no shampoo. Use your growth oils only on the bald spots, not your entire scalp. Which growth oils are you using?

      • 3

        Ive been using castor, coconut, & olive oils with essential oil mixed for my growth oils. Are there specific ones I should be using that may work better?

        • 4

          No, essential oils like peppermint or nettle are good for growth. If you are relaxed I would also suggest that you avoid getting relaxer anywhere near your bald spots for the time being. If you are not having much success with this method (and remember it takes a few months for the growth to start coming in) it might be time to try some over the counter treatments like rogaine etc

          • 5

            Thank u so much! I think Im gonna try to not oil my scalp so heavily too (maybe that will help with itching) & just focus on my trouble spots. Plus, Im gonna try to stretch my relaxers longer & avoid the bald spots (gonna try 15 weeks this time, whew!). Thank u so much Alma. PS- Loving the site!!

          • 6

            Thanks my dear! Let us know how you get on.

  2. 7
    Cheryl Joseph says:

    I have shoulder length hair but can’t seem to get it longer than that… I have seen some hair falling out when I comb it, its not too much but it happens everyday… I use a wide tooth comb now. I’ve been reading about co-washing now, and sealing with oils etc.. Ive always just put the olive oil moisturizer lotion and pink lotion in my hair and the doogro products on my scalp, but idk I always begin ittching mid-week… and when it comes time for a relaxer I get some burns because of it. Im planning on buying some non sulfate shampoos to add along with this other shampoo n conditioner i bought (vo5 which has I think sulfate but it is said to be moisturizing) to kind of switch it up… along with some deep conditioners and oils… is there any suggestions to how I should implement them on a weekly basis?

    • 8

      Hi Cheryl. It seems that you are all set with the products so start with this sample regimen and tweak it to fit your needs from there.

      Remember, the products are secondary to how you treat your hair so manipulate very little and GENTLY! Good luck!

      • 9
        Cheryl Joseph says:

        Thank you. Also, I have been trying to dry my hair less under the hooded dryer and started airdrying but my hair would puff up lol.. I dont mind but is there a way to dry straight? Now what I do is let it dry in bantu knots wet, air dry and take them out and just rock a curly do for as long as it looks good. will that damage my hair?

        • 10

          Hi Cheryl. As long as you are not applying the bantu knots too tight, there shouldn’t be any damage to your hair!

  3. 11

    I do rub walnut or grape seed oil on my scalp. No hair grease like when I had a perm

  4. 12

    The scalp needs moisture just like the skin on the body…. Oiling the scalp with coconut oil definitely helps to prevent drying and flakes.

  5. 13

    Sulfur 8 on mt scalp makes my hair grow significantly faster

  6. 14

    Coconut oil is my choice does not wergh down hair and can be used on skin as well

  7. 15

    I just started using organic coconut oil and I love this stuff. It also helps my skin stay moisturized.

  8. 16

    My scalp is already oily from natural sebum. My ends need oiling the most.

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