Why You Don’t Need to Put Oil On Your Scalp

What’s a good oil for moisturizing locs?

Oil is not a moisturizer!

Yet, most people apply oil in the majority of cases that require a moisturizer. With this (over) usage of oil you will find a lot of other issues stem from this action. In many of my hair consultations, especially with issues like dandruff, buildup and dry scalp, the root cause is— you guessed it— oil. So, I am going to share with you a few of the reasons why you should not put oil on your scalp and also how you can properly use oil for moisturizing locs.

Why You Don’t Need to Put Oil On Your Scalp

Oil is not a moisturizer! Oil is also NOT the solution for any or all of the issues you may experience with your hair. I know we’ve been conditioned from childhood to reach for oil heavy products like grease because of the shine and luster it gives to the scalp and hair. However, shiny hair does not equal healthy hair. That’s a myth rooted in European standards of beauty— it’s time to reject that. For your locs to be healthy one of the fundamental ingredients needed is hydration and that can be achieved with a moisture-based routine.

So, where does oil come into the equation for moisturizing locs?

Oil is the sealant. This means after you apply a water-based moisturizer, you can then seal the moisture in with an oil. Incorrectly applying oil to your locs can be very detrimental.

3 Reasons Oil Is Not For Your Scalp

Slows hair growth. When you look at your scalp under the microscope, as I often do in my videos, you’ll see the follicles that each hair sprouts from. If you overly apply oil to to your scalp, you can clog your follicles. When your hair follicles are clogged it can lead to inflammation, slow hair growth and/or hair loss.

Excessive dry scalp. Did you know that your scalp naturally produces oil? That’s right, your sebaceous glands secrete oil to lubricate your scalp and hair shaft. However, when oils are constantly applied to the scalp, you disrupt the function of the sebaceous glands. As a result, with the over application of oil on the scalp, your scalp can become prone to dryness.

Oil is meant for the hair. Since your scalp naturally produces its own oil the true usage of oil is for the length and ends of the hair. However, with naturally curly | coily | textured hair, your natural oils may not reach the ends because of all the bends in the hair. So, applying oil becomes useful for the ends AFTER a water-based moisturizer has been applied.


RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Types of Moisturizers for Locs


How to Apply Oil To Your Locs

It is possible to over use and/or incorrectly apply oil to your locs. Not only to the scalp, but also to the length of your locs as well. Instead of slathering oil on your scalp or onto your locs, you want to use it in moderation. First, apply your water-based moisturizer and then put a nickel to quarter-sized amount of oil in your hands and squeeze it throughout the length of your locs. Remember, the oil is for sealing in the moisture— it is not actually creating moisture. With that said, mixing oil into your moisturizer is not always ideal. I’ve seen many people do this technique, mixing oil into water, only to report that their locs are constantly dry and require frequent applications.

In my “Cultivate Hydration” guide I share a few of my favorite moisturizers for locs and you can find my favorite oils in this article “Top 5 Oils for Locs”. Also, take a look at my recent YouTube video, “Can You Over Oil Your Scalp?”, to join the conversation about using oil on your locs!

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Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

my question to you it’s so many products out for locs is thI s the real deal because i have bad dandruff and dry scalp and this is my first time with locs

Hi Jocelyn, thanks for sharing your posts on locs. I currently have open natural hair and want to start the dreadlocks journey. Kindly advise on which products I should start with. I am grateful that I researched and found that you don’t advocate for wax. I would like to start with Palm rolling c shaped locs. Please advise on products I should use.

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