Q: There are so many different oils and gels out there. Which are the best? Are some better for a certain texture? Better for different seasons of the year, i.e. a light oil or gel for summer? Shea butter only for winter?
Aloe Vera Gel, Black Castor Oil, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Flax Seed Oil and Jojoba Oil, etc. And dare I throw in Shea Butter since some people don’t like shea butter.
I usually mix shea butter with one of the above to make it lighter, since it’s such a thick heavy product. Which ingredient is best mixed with Shea Butter? My hair stylist was all about argan oil, now she’s a coconut oil advocate.
A: Hi, Shirley!
I know how it can be feeling overwhelmed when you have too many options at hand. It’s a little bit bunch. But one good thing about your dilemma is there aren’t really any wrong choices. Unless you have an allergy or some other adverse reaction to the source of any of these oils, many of the ones you listed are GREAT and very popular picks for natural hair. Many times it really comes down to preference–you mentioned your stylist changed her favorite oil and as you experiment, that happens!
Now if you are working to treat a specific condition, it’s good to know the different helpful properties these oils may have (Google has been my best friend for this). For example, for my dry scalp issues due to mild psoriasis, tea tree oil does the trick. Black castor oil is all the new rave among naturals because it has been shown to help with repairing the hairline and other hair loss. Olive oil is great on the hair, the scalp and the skin and helps treat dryness of the skin. I prefer coconut oil as a sealant because it is able to penetrate the hair to aid in moisturizing unlike many other oils. Olive and coconut oil are oils that many naturals use all year round. I don’t if deeming them “the best” is the right terminology, but they do seem to get the job done for most people.
When you are making your whipped shea butter, simply use your favorite oil. As for only using shea butter in the winter, I do that because it is too heavy on my hair during the warmer months. But that is just what works for me. You are free to use shea butter in the summer if that is what your hair likes!
You mentioned hair gel as well. That is also a personal preference thing. Some gels have other ingredients in them to make them actually beneficial to your hair in addition to being a styling aid. Right now I’m loving my Ampro Styling Gel with Olive Oil that I got from my CurlBox a few months ago–it doesn’t dry out my hair and it holds everything in place like I need it to do. EcoStyler gel is another favorite (they have it with argan oil and olive oil!)
One thing I will say about avoiding product junky-ism is once you find something that works, STICK WITH IT! Don’t worry about what else there is all of the time is what you are doing is working. There are no magic products and constantly changing products is more harmful than helpful. And if you really must try everything, hunt for some samples first!
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