Growing up as a black child in South Africa, one thing you are intimately familiar with, and horribly terrified of, is castor oil. Our parents have found very unpopular ways of using it – most notably making us drink it when we have eaten too many sweet foods in order for them to “pass” violently through your digestive system.
So I was cautious when I started doing my hair research and was told about all the amazing properties of castor oil for your hair – jamaican black castor oil mostly – within the natural community but I read that the normal stuff was good as well. Then I found out about low porosity hair (a discussion for another day) and how its better to use lighter oils like jojoba and argan oil. Next thing I was told that almond oil is an amazing conditioner, and softens hair like amnioitic fluid. Well actually no one said “amniotic fluid”per say but they kept saying really soft and baby soft is as soft as it gets. Then it was grapeseed oil and its heat protectant properties; fatty-acid filled, moisturizing avocado oil; flaxseed oil for a healthy scalp. Coconut oil – the natural hair basic and olive oil too! Then there was the difference between carrier oils and essential oil… Information overload!
As I learnt about each oil I wanted to find it – and searched all over to find it in decent quantities. I am not prepared to pay R100 for 50ml or some similar nonsense. Eventually I did find them in a health food store and settled on paying pharmacy prices for the real special oils. So I had almond, argan, avocado, black jamaican castor oil, coconut oil, flaxseed, grapeseed, and jojoba oil. I already had olive oil in the kitchen so I saved a bit of money not having to buy that – but it took me a while to be convinced about using it. In my head olive oil is for food but I guess for someone else all those other oils are for food too. Then I had to spend the time understanding the difference between food grade and cosmetic grade. Basically, food grade is the highest quality because it goes inside the body – they sometimes scrimp on quality when its used for the outside of the body. I had bought food grade so I was happy with my quality but the price was not sustainable. Even with my #TailboneInTen goals.
Now when asked I say all oil is good oil for your hair! Use oils individually or separately as an oil rinse, for detangling, conditioning, sealing, moisturizing, pre-pooing – anything really except cleansing. Actually, on the cleansing point you can use it in making your own hair soap… Oil is oilsome!
So, now I’m mixing these oils that are filling my cupboards – some of the recipes I’ve tried are:
My go-to moisturizer (great for twisting/ braiding and creates a bomb twist out) :
- 1 tsp argan oil
- 1 tsp jojoba oil
- 1 heaped tablespoon of melted shea butter
Delicious deep conditioner (I make a lot cause I use a lot:
- 50ml almond oil
- 50ml avocado oil
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Before I blow dry (which I barely do):
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
Scalp/ hair growth treatment:
- 1 tbsp flaxseed oil
- 1 tsp argan oil
- 1 tsp castor oil
Pre-poo and detangler: (half and half mixture of)
- coconut oil and
- olive oil
So, my next big adventure is delving into essential oils for their delicious smells because sometimes I find myself smelling like a frying pan with old grease. On the positive side my hair looks and feels amazing and has never been healthier!