Does oil rinsing work?

One of my major complaints since going natural is the amount of excess tangling and single strand knots I’ve had to wrestle with!  At first I thought it was just part of the territory of having natural hair but then I realized I was actually causing breakage each week during wash day trying to detangle.  I solicited your advice during a YouTube update about my hair and almost unanimously the response was to try oil rinsing.

I was immediately confused about oil rinsing – what is it? How is it done?  What makes it different from a prepoo or hot oil treatment?  How does it help with single strand knots?  So of course, I had to do a little research and as it turns out oil rinsing is actually a different process than prepooing or hot oil treatments.

What is Oil Rinsing?

Oil rinsing is a technique used to increase moisture in your hair strands by locking in the hydration from water between washing and conditioning.  Recommended oils are coconut, babassu, and avocado since they are known to penetrate the hair shaft.

Benefits of Oil Rinsing for Hair

  • Increases moisture retention by locking in the hydration from water immediately after washing your hair.
  • Decreases single strand knots by lubricating strands and decreasing dry ends
  • Decreases hygral fatigue, which is the damage that occurs to strands from the repeated process of expansion as water is absorbed when the hair is wet and contraction after hair has dried
  • Increases shine to hair
  • Prevents breakage by penetrating hair strands (when using coconut or babassu oils) to strengthen hair fiber

How to Oil Rinse

  • Warm your oil of choice by sitting it in hot water for a few minutes
  • After shampooing your strands (works best on clean hair), apply the oil from root to tip, paying special attention to your ends.
  • Allow oil to sit on your hair uncovered so the steam from your shower aids in penetration and conditioning effects while you finish washing
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Proceed to deep condition as normal

Recommended Oils

  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (purchase here)
  • Babassu Oil (purchase here)
  • Avocado Oil (purchase here)

I’ve been experimenting with the addition of oil rinsing to my regular wash day routine for about two months and I can honestly say I notice my hair is healthier and shinier, but most importantly LESS single strand knots!  With doing this step in the shower between washing and conditioning it actually doesn’t add any extra time to my wash day either, which is important.

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