A Hot Oil Treatment May Be the Solution to Your Frizzy, Dry Hair Woes

Two experts weigh in and explain how to DIY.

If you have naturally textured hair, you know that styling and caring for it can be a challenge. That’s why we created The Curl Corner, a monthly column that celebrates the versatility of textured hair. Here, we cover everything from how to properly style your coils to how to protect them—and include expert tips for curl patterns of all types.

Do a quick Google search on how to treat dry curls, and nine times out of 10, suggestions for a hot oil treatment will pop up. The age-old treatment has been moisturizing hair of all textures for years: treating dry scalps, dehydrated ends, and damaged hair shafts. HelloGiggles spoke to two hair experts who weighed in on the DIY hair treatment and explained what it is, what its benefits are, and why they’re so good for natural hair.

What are hot oil treatments?

They are treatments that use plant-based oils to lubricate, protect, and hydrate dry hair,” explains Dr. Kari Williams, a board-certified trichologist, licensed cosmetologist, and member of DevaCurl’s Expert Curl Council. “The oil is slightly warmed, and it’s most effective when applied to damp hair.”

It’s the temperature in particular that sets it apart from other hair treatments. According to Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola, co-founder of NUELE, the warmth allows for deeper product penetration. “It enhances absorption into the hair shaft. The hot oil mix may be variant based on the needs that a person has and is a blend of carrier and essential oils,” she explains.

What are the benefits of a hot oil treatment?

Apart from lubricating, protecting, and hydrating the scalp and hair, hot oil treatments have plenty of other benefits, too. Dr. Williams shares that it can soothe scalp discomfort, relieve dryness, and reduce dandruff and frizz. Dr. Martey-Ochola adds that hot oil treatments can help with detangling, reducing split ends, and making hair “much easier to deal with.”

Why are hot oil treatments beneficial for natural hair? 

“Curly, coiled hair strands are naturally dry and more susceptible to breakage,” Dr. Williams explains. “The natural sebum our scalp produces doesn’t fully lubricate and protect curly hair as the sebum can’t travel down the hair shaft.” To make up for the lack of moisture, apply oil to the hair to keep it healthy and strong. “Hot oil treatments, for curls specifically, improve hair follicle health, strengthen curls, and reduce split end formation,” she concludes.

How often should you get a hot oil treatment?

“A weekly hot oil treatment is sufficient. However, if the hair is damaged from heat, dyes, or perms, you can do it every three or four days,” Dr. Martey-Ochola says. “Once the hair is repaired, then reverting to a weekly treatment would be recommended.” You can get a professional treatment in a salon, but you can also DIY it at home, making it easier to do it frequently.

How do you give yourself a hot oil treatment?

You probably already have the necessary ingredients in your pantry. “I recommend using base oils such as olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil,” Dr. Williams says. “Warm them slightly and then apply to the hair and scalp after shampooing.”

If you prefer to take the guesswork out of DIY and use a pre-made formula instead, there are many on the market. So, here are some of our favorite at-home hot oil treatments for you to check out and shop.

hot oil treatments

Nuele Hair Serum

Shop it Amazon

Nourish your scalp with this deep moisturizer. It uses five concentrated oils: jojoba, Moringa, Argan, rosemary, and clary sage. Not only is it formulated to nourish, but it also helps refresh curls, control flyaways, detangles knots, and even works as a heat protectant.

hot oil treatments

DevaCurl High Shine Multi-Benefit Oil

Shop it Ulta

This silicone-free blend of five natural oils is made specifically to penetrate natural textures. Frizzy curls, be gone!

hot oil treatments

Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Scalp Oil and Hair Oil Deep Treatment

Shop it Amazon

This hair and scalp oil is spiked with one of the most fortifying oils out there: castor oil. This super hydrating treatment is ideal for anyone seeking to repair hair damage.

hot oil treatments

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Hot Oil Concentrate

Shop it Sephora

With sunflower, castor, and grape seed oil, these easy-to-use sachets dish out just enough product for the perfect hot oil treatment. Plus, the individual packaging makes it perfect for traveling.

hot oil treatments

Alikay Natural Blended Therapy Hot Oil Treatment

Shop it Alikay Naturals

With jojoba oil, avocado oil, and burdock root, this formula will leave your coils stronger than ever.