Why you THINK that oil is moisturizing your hair: The deception behind oils & what moisturized hair


Where do I even begin? Anybody that knows me, knows that I cannot STAND the widespread hype that is coconut oil… or any other oil for that matter. As a hairstylist, the reality is that most people with highly textured hair have a skewed perception as to what their moisturized hair should feel like.

Let’s keep it a buck… as Black people, most of our experiences have been having a relaxer, or getting our hair oiled as a child by a generation who also struggled with true knowledge around natural hair care. It’s okay! We’ve all been lost for a very long time. However, I do feel like it’s my duty as an educator and a hair care professional that I break down and share WHY we all have been living with this erroneous thinking. It’s simple… the oils are tricking you. Here’s how:

1. You like the shine that oils give your hair. This, in and of itself, is a bold face lie. The shine that oils give may be nice, but they’re also superficial as hell. What does that mean? It’s NOT a healthy shine that should be tied to thinking that your hair is moisturized. It’s like the fruity lip gloss that we all grew up with buying from the corner store. GLOSSY AS THE TOP OF THE CHRYSLER BUILDING but trust me… them lips are still dry sis. Oil used in this manner is like top coat for your nails. Most of the oils that are being used (that y’all get from your kitchens and then slap on your hair… no judgment tho. We’re all learning here) are NOT made of molecules small enough to penetrate your hair’s cuticle. That means that this oil is sitting ON TOP of your hair shaft. NATURAL shine isn’t the shine that most of you are trying to achieve. It isn’t highly reflective. We have to shape our minds around the fact that our hair will not be shiny. Due to the fact that textured hair isn’t naturally as smooth as other textures, some light is absorbed. You will see higher shine when your hair is straight that when it’s curly because the light will get lost in the dimensions of your curls. Our hair is SUEDE… not patent leather. Different fabrics reap different results. It will not shine the same.

2. Because your hair is shining, you subsequently think that it’s moisturized. First things first, moisture is not transferrable. If you wipe your hair and product comes off, it wasn’t absorbed by your hair in the first place which means… it’s not moisturizing your hair. If your hair is moisturized, it shouldn’t be something that you can feel. Moisturized hair has a healthy luster, not a shine. It should feel flexible, but that doesn’t always mean that it's pillow soft. Let’s normalize frizz. Let’s normalize coarseness. Stop expecting OTHER TEXTURES out of YOUR HAIR. They’re not comparable. Superficial shine does not equate moisture. It’s actually the opposite. By using oils, you’re actually BLOCKING your hair from being moisturized. Plush, moisturized hair comes from water & water based products.

Hair that is moisturized comes from a water based regimen. Moisture IS water. If your regimen is heavily oil & butter based, more than likely your hair is dry and blocked. If this is you and you think that your hair is in its best hair health, I challenge you to think that MAYBE, you don’t know your hair’s true capability. Begin to moisturize your hair by shampooing & shampooing OFTEN. Naturals work extremely hard not to strip hair of natural oils. Oils serve their purpose in protecting your hair from the environment & trapping outside elements from harming your hair. However, these oils SHOULD BE removed every 7-10 and WILL BE REPLENISHED by your body and the products that you use following your shampoo session. (Try Mizani Moisture Fusion Gentle Clarifying Shampoo to start). The world HATES oily skin but normalizes oily hair. Make it make sense. The only reason brands are still selling coconut oil is because misguided naturals are creating the need for it. The key to moisturizing is cleansing your hair.

A lot of naturals take the unnecessary step of pre-pooing to prevent shampoos from stripping their hair. In doing this, you’re basically working to not fully cleanse your hair. It’s a step that isn’t needed and adds to your wash day. To aid in detangling, rinse your hair with JUST WATER for 2-3 minutes. This should get your hair pretty clean prior to shampooing. It will also make your hair more pliable for detangling. If your regimen is heavily oil based, apply shampoo directly to dry hair to begin the break down of oils. By switching to a water based regimen, you’ll definitely cut your work in half.

Follow with a clarifying shampoo (like Redken Hair Detox) and then move on to a shampoo for your specific need - Dry, damaged, color safe, etc. This will prep your hair and also begin the replenishing process before styling. Hair should NOT feel super soft after this step. We want squeaky clean hair. Your pH will be restored with your conditioner. That’s where you’ll really see your hair taking shape. Curls should be visible during the shampoo. Products like conditioner & styling product should only enhance them.


Style with products like gels, creams and leave in sprays (My favorite is Mizani Foam Wrap). Your hair does NOT require a ton of product to be moisturized and doesn’t need heavy product either. These are myths that we grew up on but I can assure you, your hair will THRIVE with just 1-2 styling products. Always prep with a leave in SPRAY (like 25 Miracle Milk) or CREAM which is, again, an additional layer of moisture.

FINALLY, use a FEW DROPS of your oil as a sealant. I almost never use oil in salon on any of my clients ( If anything, I opt for a serum). BUT if you do use an oil, try something lightweight like Mizani 25 Miracle Oil. We don’t grease scalps over here either. KEEP YOUR SCALP CLEAN. It is the SOURCE of your hair growth. Try Mizani Wonder Crown to keep things clean & Mizani Calming Lotion if your hair experiences dryness in between shampoos.

Your hair’s potential is UNLIMITED, but not if your cuticles are blocked. Replace the oil with a water based product over the course of a few months and watch its transformation. Unlearn cultural practices and re learn your hair. Take time with it. Love on it. Appreciate it. Nurture it. Your curls will absolutely thank you.


To continue the conversation, dm me on instagram @ALStyling