The first and last time I did a hot oil treatment was about two years ago when I made a steadfast commitment to start taking care of my hair appropriately (this was an effort to try to preserve the strands left on my head since my father and my grandmother struggled through baldness). This was around the time I was doing these experimental DIY treatments like this strange Mayonnaise and Egg protein treatment that went horribly awry - I will comment on that at a later date. The hot oil treatment didn't exactly go according to plan either.
Hot oil treatments prevent breakage, which is common among people with coarse hair textures, such as African Americans' hair. The need to moisturize the hair follicle with extra oil is born out of a desire to promote continued growth and sheen while maintaining the integrity of the hair follicle. Hot oil allows for necessary oils to be deposited back into the hair to prevent over-drying, which contributes to breakage. Hot oil treatments also create extra body and shine, which can be beneficial for black hair because it is prone to becoming brittle or dull due to its coarse texture. Read more: Hot Oil Treatment for Black Hair
After reading several posts and viewing some videos about hot oil treating your hair, I felt that this was a must do in my newly created hair regimen routine. I bought a 32oz bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and warmed the whole bottle in a saucepan of boiling water (after about five minutes I took it out - so the oil was like luke warm if that). I poured a decent amount in my hand and tried to massage it into my scalp. I think that was my first problem, pouring several (more like six) handfuls of oil into my scalp to the point my hair felt weighted down by the oil. The second problem how I was putting the oil on my hair - basically without combing or sectioning it off! After the fiasco, I then put on a plastic cap and used a soft bonnet hair dryer.
I think what I was doing was problematic because videos I have watched just recently shows people using small amounts (like one handful to massages the oil into the whole scalp! Naptural85 also parts her hair into sections to make the hot oil treatment more manageable.
The end results were pretty much disappointing. After spending close to 30 minutes trying to wash the oil out of my hair and the greasy residue being left on my body, I was then left with trying to comb it out and realizing there was still some oil clinging to my hair. To add more insult to injury I felt that there was no change to my hair! It was not any softer or more manageable than when I started to do the hot oil treatment. I was very annoyed and it was enough to put me off from doing a DIY hot oil treatment ever again.
It was not until I went to I love Lulu Hair Spa (almost two years later) that I ventured back into the possibility of doing some type of hot oil treatment. If you have not been to Lulu's before, she does these hair steamer treatments which are like mixed in a bowl right before you, applied to your hair, then you sit under a steamer (kind of like a hair dryer) to help further penetrate the treatment into the hair. I didn't exactly know what hair treatment I wanted, so Lulu herself proclaimed all her customers loved the "Spoiled" hair treatment which is "organic oils infused with 7 herbs". I convinced myself that if everyone loved it then im definitely going to love it, plus im in the hands of professional now! While I was getting my hair washed, the lady washing had to keep washing/scratching my scalp and hair because there was just so much oil stuck in my hair still.
I want to come to the conclusion that my hair is not built for these hot oil treatments! I do have very fine, dry, tangle-y hair and I felt like my hair trapped the oil in but not in a good way. I am considering trying it again because I like doing new things and trying variations of things I have done but I am still so skeptical right now. I am also considering if the benefits outweigh the costs (30 minutes of intense washing and conditioning to get the oil out is a lot to ask!). So far I have only found one source that asserts Hot Oil Treatments do not work, but on the basis of scientific reasoning. Oil repels water, etc and oil cannot be absorbed into the hair shaft, but then there is plenty of evidence that counters that. All in all, I would like to try a hot oil treatment again but I will be doing it sparingly and probably with a mixture of my own oils, minus the olive oil.