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The One Must-Know Tip About Applying Hair Oil From A Stylist

August 28, 2020

If you're a fan of natural and clean hair care, chances are you have a favorite hair oil—be it a formulated product or one found at the grocery store. Hair oils are the cornerstone of natural hair care, as they help seal in moisture; condition hair with loads of antioxidants, fatty acids, and other nutrients; and add a heaping dose of shine.

The problem? Things can get goopy and greasy, fast. Ever go to apply your oil du jour and end up with a chunk of hair that's noticeably denser and slicker than the rest? Or you try to work a bit of it through your strands, and your roots suddenly looked weighed down?

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Because been there and done that on both accounts. Here's what to do instead.

How should you be applying oil evenly?

Applying an even coat of oil really just boils down to one thing: patience, and lots of it. (Consider it a virtue in hair care and life.) When tending to your strands, you may have the impulse to pump a few squirts of oil into your palm and then go for it. Stop that habit. Apply oil one pump at a time and work it through your hands before even thinking about touching your hair.

"When using hair oils, I always recommend using a small amount at a time and working it all throughout your hands before applying it to the ends," says Sal Misseri, owner of Reverie Salon, "then working upward, leaving hair closest to the scalp until last with just the leftover oil from your hands."

Complete and repeat this process section by section. Now, the size of the sections that you apply the oil to will vary: Those with fine, thin hair will likely be able to take more strands than someone with thick, full hair.

And if you have questions about the amount of oil-to-hair ratio, err on the side of caution: It's so much easier to add more later than it is trying to deal with a glob of over-oiled hair. Yes, this means a more diligent and time-consuming application process, but it will mean that the whole of your head looks shiny and healthy.

Oh, and if you've ever noticed you can get away with applying more on out-of-the-shower strands than dry, you're absolutely correct: "You can also use more hair oil on wet hair, and a quarter or less on dry hair," he says.

The takeaway.

If you simply slow down and take a few more passes with your hair oil—rather than trying to get it all in one go—your outcome will be far better. It's a simple change, but your non-greasy roots and ends will thank you.

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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.