It seems every naturalista and her cat is touting the benefits of hot oil treatments. Regardless of hair type or length, they are a fantastic method of deep conditioning, restoring moisture, and adding shine to your natural hair. The process is simple: once a week you warm up a combo of some of your favorite oils, apply them to your hair and scalp for 30 mins, cover your hair with a warm towel / steamer, rinse with warm water, then condition your hair. Hot oil treatments aren't just good for your hair; the whole experience can be quite therapeutic and luxurious. While many natural hair experts insist on weekly hot oil treatments, though, there are times when it might be better to wait. The three worst times to administer a hot oil treatment are:
1. Right after you've gotten a protective style installed. This is because your scalp is still tender, and rinsing out the oil will agitate it. Moreover, washing your hair will age the hairstyle prematurely. Doing a hot oil treatment right before you visit your stylist is a great idea, though.
2. When you're short on time. The ideal amount of time to leave the oil in your hair is 30-45 minutes, after which you need to hop into the shower as soon as possible. Some people claim leaving it overnight has the most benefit, but the majority of sources agree your hair is usually already saturated by the 45 minute mark. If you don't have time to rinse out the hot oil you risk experiencing product build-up, and your hair might start to smell bad (especially if you're using castor oil!).
3. If your last hot oil treatment was only a few days ago. This may vary from person to person, but generally you shouldn't be deep conditioning your hair with hot oil more than once a week to every two weeks. The main reason is because you must thoroughly wash your hair following the treatment, and washing your hair too often will leave it dry and brittle. Secondly, the treatment works best if it's given time to work on your hair. If you're constantly saturating your scalp and strands in oil, you won't give them time to truly benefit from the treatment.
When's your favorite time to do a hot oil treatment? Let us know in a comment below!