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6 Things to Know When Shopping for Oils for Natural Hair Care

By November 6, 2013hair + beauty
When shopping for hair oils, be sure to look for oils that are 100% pure extract and not chemical reproductions. Pure oils are known to be the most effective conditioners for the hair and can be found in health food stores, online and in stores that sell organic products. When shopping locally, be on the look out for dust on the bottles, which can indicate that the oil has been sitting around for awhile. Also steer clear of  oils that are not blends of two or more oils and that have no additives.
  • Processing Method: Shop for carrier oils that have been cold pressed or cold expeller pressed. This indicates that the oil has been pressed from the fatty portions of the botanical without the use of added heat (or minimal heat). Oils that simply say expeller pressed have not been processed to maintain low heat levels. When oils are processed without cool conditions, the high temperature of the processing method can be harmful to the natural properties of the oil.
  • Price: Carrier oils can vary greatly in price based on several factors: the botanical it is made from, how it was processed, if it is organic, the quantity that you are purchasing, and the source that you’re purchasing it from.
  • Organic: Organic carrier oils generally cost more than conventional oils. When purchasing organic carrier oils, verify if the oil is certified.
  • Color: Color doesn’t always matter when selecting a carrier oil for simple blends, but it can matter if you are making more elaborate recipes where the color of your final product is important to you.
  • Aroma: The aroma of some carrier oils can compete or conflict with the aroma of the essential oils in your desired blend.
  • Absorption/Feel: This is a rather subjective evaluation of how thoroughly and quickly an oil penetrates the skin, and if it makes the skin feel oily after application.

Carrier oils vary in how long they last before oxidizing and becoming rancid. When purchasing carrier oils, estimate the quantity of oil that you think you’ll use within the lifetime of the oil. For fragile carrier oils or for those that you will be keeping for a long duration, store them in dark glass bottles with tight fitting tops, in a cool, dark place. Amber or cobalt Boston round bottles are ideal.  If you will be using up an oil well before its lifespan, it really doesn’t need to be transferred to dark glass. Unlike with essential oils which should always be stored in glass (essential oils can dissolve the plastic), carrier oils can be stored in plastic.  Most carrier oils can be stored in the refrigerator, and this can help prolong the lifespan.  Note, oils stored in the refrigerator may solidify or turn cloudy and will need time to return to room temperature prior to use.

For more on caring and maintaining your natural hair, pick up a copy of my book, which Essence declared the “Natural Hair Bible”.   Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair is now available at, Barnes & Noble, and