by ZOE FOSTER
While I am a huge fan of stylers and tongs and dry shampoo and mousse and hair spray and hair powder and texturising products like sea salt spray, (often all used in ONE dangin’ styling session) a dame does pay for such things.
Not with actual dollars but with physical appearance dollars, which in this case refers to shitty dry ends and dry scalp and generally damaged hair.
But since using hair oils, the damage has lessened. Hugely so. To the point where my hairdresser, gagging to lecture me about the state of my hair (which is, don’t forget, bleach blonde under the brunette and therefore even more weak and pitiful), expresses surprise when he touches it, because for all the heat and product and wear and tear I hurl at my hair, it should feel like a cat’s tongue. But it doesn’t. And I ‘blame’ the oils.
Yes, like those little V05 tubes we used to buy when we were 14 – hair oil! (I still rate and use those, by the way.) Hair oil has had a resurgence in the past few years and is now used for styling, frizz-fighting, leave-in conditioning and deep-cleaning, as well as treating. And don’t be scared if you have oily hair, it will not make it worse. Hair, like skin, needs both oil and moisture to be authentically healthy and (the right type and amount of) oil is easily absorbed, nourishing and reviving.
Use it as a pre-cleanse for a thoroughly nourishing treatment:
Oil is terrific used on (filthy or very dry/damaged) hair before washing, to deeply condition the hair, protect the hair from the sometimes stripping nature of shampoo and also ‘attract’ and remove dirt and impurities from the hair. You can use a small amount of straight-up Jojoba or coconut oil from the health food shop, a strong, rich traditional oil treatment like Weleda’s Rosemary hair oil (USE A DROP OR TWO AMOUNT ONLY) or a specific pre-cleanse hair oil like Phytonectar Pre-Shampoo Ultra Nourishing Oil Treatment, loved by models the world over for its loving, soothing qualities on their trashed locks.
Apply all over to dry, dirty hair and massage in. Use a small amount the first time until you know how well your hair can cope – if you use too much you’ll need to shampoo again and again to remove all residue. Heat makes oil penetrate, so warm up your oil in the microwave before applying, then leave on for 40-60 minutes, wrapped in cling wrap or a towel that’s been heated up in the microwave. Finally, wash with two rounds of shampoo and some conditioner if needed.
Use it as a styling product that also acts as a leave-in treatment:
And haven’t these guys exploded in the last few years! Mostly thanks to that ubiquitous dark brown bottle with the turquoise label you see everywhere – Moroccan oil.
Like most of its competitors, Moroccan oil is Argan oil based. Argan oil is extracted from the fruit of the Argan trees in Morocco and is quite the superstar for both hair and skin, thanks to its antioxidants (vitamin E) and essential fatty acids, as well as its hydrating, nourishing, restorative and regenerative qualities.
It’s wonderful for smoothing the hair and fighting frizz and fly-aways, as well as increasing the hair’s strength and elasticity and ability to withstand all the teasing and torture and 220 temps we hurl at it.
Despite the connotations that come with “oil,” styling oils are lightweight and non-greasy if used in the correct way and volume for your hair type.
As a fine-haired lass, I find Moroccan oil too heavy on my hair – I get half the days out of a wash if I use it – but they have since released a lighter version that is much better. A Columbian friend of mine with thick, coarse hair, on the other hand, would marry her Moroccan oil should the law permit such a thing.
It does incredible, relaxing, smoothing things for her when she applies it all over on damp, freshly washed-hair and combs through.
Another popular one is Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime Versatile Beautifying Oil, which has the benefit of being able to be used as a pre-cleanse oil, as well as a treatment or styling product, while Dove’s Nutritive Therapy Nourishing Oily Care Nutri-Oil Serum is a terrific, well-priced version. Right now I’m using O&M’s frizzy logic because not only is it plastic and tiny and unbreakable, it’s super lightweight, shapes my curls beautifully and is no issue for my fine hair. (Handy hint if you have fine hair, or hair that needs washing every day: never apply at the roots, only from the ear-level to the tips.) I should also mention Davines Absolute Beautifying Potion, which is brilliant and the only one I know of which has a nozzle and spray, which makes how much you use and where, much more precise.
These oils can also be used on dry hair to shape and smooth down the ends or add some shine. (The Body Shop’s Moringa Beautifying Oil is delicious for this exact dry-hair styling and smells like cocktails and beaches and handsome bartenders as a bonus.)
Now I guess oil just sit back and wait to read about your experiences with this syrupy hair Godsend…
Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.
Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Do you use hair oil? Has is worked for you? What do you want to hear about next from Zoë?