I feel like I’ve been deceived most of my life about how I’m supposed to manage my hair. There’s so much misleading information out there about what it means to moisturize. I’ve used all kinds of oils and creams for years, thinking I was actually doing something to bring out my curls. In reality, my hair was becoming dry, lifeless, and frizzy to boot.
Well, I’m here to tell you to stop wasting your time and $$$. These companies are marketing a bunch of baloney with no scientific basis and scamming you. Just because something’s natural doesn’t mean it needs to be on your head. When it comes to hair, less is more. There are two important points to keep in mind if you want to avoid being swindled.
- Oils don’t moisturize, they lubricate
They aren’t absorbed by your hair shaft, so they just sit there. Though the oils are touted as a natural way to “seal” or “lock-in” moisture, in “sealing,” they keep out crucial moisture from the environment. Meanwhile, the little moisture that was initially “sealed” into your hair strands evaporates over time through cracks in the shaft, drying it out. Combine that with the recent co-washing fad (AKA when people refrain from shampooing their hair for extended periods of time and only condition), and you’re left with a grimy film on your dehydrated hair with a bunch of buildups and an itchy scalp.
- Putting oils on your hair or scalp doesn’t increase hair growth (nor do other topical products)
All the hair you see on your head and body can’t replicate anymore cause it’s dead. The growing only happens at the root inside the hair bulb where there are living cells, and it’s already determined by those cells. As soon as it pushes out of the hair follicle, it’s effectively just dead cells and keratin. Regardless of hair type, the average person with a balanced diet grows about 6 inches every year. Variations depend on genetics, diet, underlying health conditions, and age, but the gist is that you’re not changing much about your hair growth by rubbing oils on your scalp.
Do yourself a favor. Ditch the oils, creams, butters, leave-ins, and deep conditioners. It doesn’t moisturize, and it doesn’t make your hair grow. It just weighs it down. The truth is you don’t need all that gunk on your head to have healthy hair, regardless of your hair texture, density, or type (straight, wavy, curly, coily, etc.). But don’t take it from me. Take it from licensed hairstylist Jennifer Rose who’s been speaking out about it for years and who works with all kinds of hair textures.
All you really need is a decent (oil-free) shampoo, conditioner, and one water-based styler (gel, foam wrap, or heat protectant) to set your hair. Wash at least once every week or more often, especially if you work out. To moisturize, your hair needs to be clean. It can’t do that when it’s coated in grease. Comb out your tangles while you’re conditioning to minimize hair breakage.
If you choose to use a styler like gel, apply it when your hair is drenched for best results, and don’t add too much product. You may be cringing envisioning those tacky 90s-esque gel tubs that make you crunchy or flaky, but there are so many good water-based gel consistencies out there. Personally, I’m a fan of soft-hold gels for my fine curly hair, like Uncle Funky’s Magic Curl Stimulator or BTZ Curl Boost Glaze. For a stronger hold, I prefer BTZ Bada Bing Gel.
Many of the issues with growth, dryness, or frizz also don’t just come down to moisture. It’s typically recommended for people to trim their hair at least every 12 weeks for healthy growth, and depending on your texture, it may be sooner or later than that. When your hair starts to look brittle or dull, even if you’re shampooing and conditioning properly, you’ll want to look into getting a cut as your ends become dry over time.
You might still be inclined to think that you should be using oils to manage your hair, but just remember that the temporary effect isn’t really worth the long-term damage it can cause. Quitting oils has made my hair softer, my curls look fuller, and I’ve had fewer breakouts. With the right styling product, you’ll find that you really won’t be missing the extensive time-consuming multi-step beauty regimens hyped up online. If you’re still confused, I suggest you consult a hairstylist tailored to your hair texture (or a dermatologist if you’re having scalp/hair loss issues). It beats listening to random unlicensed people on youtube or TikTok telling you to put food on your hair and skin. Your wallet and your hair will be super grateful.