The Best Penetrating Oils for Moisture-Challenged Hair

The Best Penetrating Oils for Moisture-Challenged Hair
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At this point, I might as well add “everyday, wannabe hair scientist” to my Instagram bio. I can’t remember the last time I felt this empowered to know all that there is about my unique set of curls and not depend on other people to dictate how I care for them. Such is usually the case when unfortunate circumstances (like a global health crisis) force us to reevaluate, contemplate, and rearrange the majority of our everyday lives. I’ve spent the past couple of months putting my skincare regimen on autopilot to give my hair some TLC and learned more than I bargained for, including why it needs the best penetrating hair oil to keep it from turning into straw.

So here’s the thing about low porosity hair–the cuticles are jammed together like a pack of sardines. That means water has to put up a fight just to get inside and keep the hair follicles moisturized. If you do nothing to force those cuticles open, the products you think are working are really just piling on top of your hair, creating buildup that you will inevitably tie to another cause if you’re not willing to slow down and listen to your hair first. In the midst of my obsession with fast hair growth, this happened to me and the end results only forced me to start over.

Now, I know warm water makes my hair happy, along with clarifying shampoo to blast buildup, a lightweight, water-based conditioner for everyday use and water-based stylers made with ingredients that penetrate hair follicles. (Also, note the emphasis on water.) I’ve already created an expert-approved, back-to-basics guide on the type of oils most commonly used on natural hair. Sealant oils, like black castor oil and jojoba oil, lock in moisture to boost length retention. However, they don’t go beyond the surface. Penetrative oils are able to work from the inside out. The most popular ones are coconut, olive, avocado, baobab, and argan. Through my own detective work, I’ve also found sunflower and sweet almond (my absolute favorite) to be great moisturizers when used in conjunction with water.

As far as knowing how much oil to use in your hair, it really comes down to your unique set of needs. Start with a little, observe, and adjust according to your hair’s reaction. Combined with some patience, you’ll soon notice your hair working with oil instead of against it. Ahead are just a few penetrating hair oil products that may help cure moisture-challenged hair, but in the end, approaching your hair with compassion is what will make the most difference.

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Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo


Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo

A buildup-busting scalp shampoo infused with charcoal and coconut oil to exfoliate and balance moisture levels.

Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak


Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak

A creamy and rich reparative mask that combines the penetrative and moisturizing benefits of avocado and olive fruit oils.

Playa Supernatural Conditioner


Playa Supernatural Conditioner

A deep conditioner made with naturally-derived ingredients, including the protein of baobab, to help rebuild damaged hair cuticles.

Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil

Josie Maran.

Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil

Argan oil is the ultimate multiuse ingredient that can be used on the hair and skin, and Maran’s cold-pressed version is among the most popular options.

As I am Moisture Milk

As I Am.

As I Am Moisture Milk

My current go-to is a protein-free daily styler that absorbs quickly into the hair, leaving it moisturized and with a healthy-looking shine.

Pink Natural Oil Blends Lush Growth Oil

Luster’s Pink.

Luster’s Pink Natural Oil Blends Lush Growth Oil

This all-in-one oil jam-packs a slew of sealant and penetrating oils into one bottle to serve a plethora of needs.

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