Q: What are the benefits of a hot oil hair treatment? Is it dangerous and can it damage my hair when not done properly?
A: When compared to other hair treatments, a hot oil treatment is very safe, and has myriad benefits. It can smooth the cuticle, soften dry, rough hair, and help to seal in moisture. It can help minimize
the look of split ends and help totame frizz.
And its safety comes from the fact that “hot oil” is a little bit of a misnomer. With most pre-packaged oil treatments, the oil is heated by being immersed in hot tap water. This
means that the oil, while warm, doesn’t reach potentially damaging temperatures. “Home-made” oil treatments can be riskier when the instructions are to heat the oil (in a microwave for instance) since the user may
mistake the temperature needed to be effective.
When using a “home-made” oil treatment, ALWAYS test the temperature before you apply the heated oil to the hair. Better, still, disregard the listed heating instruction in favor of
these options that make the process safer:
Place hot water in a moderately deep bowl, and then place the oil to be used in a tall, narrow glass and sit the glass into the hot water. Allow the oil to be warmed by the hot water
for 5 minutes or so then test the temperature before applying it directly to the hair.
As an alternative, you can apply the oil to your hair at room temperature and cover the hair with plastic wrap or a plastic cap. You can then wrap the head in a towel warmed in the
dryer and switch the towel out with another warm towel after 5 minutes as the towel gets cool. Two 5-minute periods is generally sufficient.