Is it safe to use heat styling devices like blowdryers, curling irons, and flat irons with oils? Can oils work as a heat protectant? These are two of the most common questions I receive.
There are many different kinds of oils that provide a variety of unique and mutual benefits for hair.
Most people expect some of those benefits to transfer over to using heat styling devices. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the case.
I explore and explain why you can’t use just any oil as a heat protectant in this article. I also share the best and worst kinds of oils to apply to hair prior to heat styling.
Can You Put Oil in Your Hair Before Blowdrying?
Yes, you can put oil in your hair before blow-drying but this doesn’t apply to every oil.
The application of certain natural oils can lead to frying your hair once the device’s surface comes in contact with your hair.
This usually leads to severe dryness and hair damage. There have even been cases of the hair coming right off with the flat iron.
The only way to recover from this type of damage is by trimming your hair irrespective of whatever magical solutions you locate online.
So which oil is the best oil for blow drying natural hair?
The Best Natural Oils for Blowdrying Hair (Heat Styling)
The safest bet would be to avoid combining oils and a heat styling device.
However, if you like using oil for everything to do with your hair as I do, then there are some oils that work with heat styling without damaging hair. They are:
My personal favorite is grapeseed oil.
These oils have a high smoking point and can tolerate the high temperatures of a blow dryer, flat iron, or curler up to 500 F.
The Worst Natural Oils for Heat Styling
There are many oils that degrade when heated up but there are some that do not do well at all with heat and shouldn’t be used for heat styling. They include:-
However, the main issue is that increased amounts of heat degrade the qualities of these oils.
Smoking Point of Oils
They are better reserved for other suitable hair treatments. You can find out more about the smoking point of oils HERE.
Bottom-line, you can use certain kinds of oil for blow-drying, straightening, or curling.
However, they should be used with caution to avoid damaging your hair.
9 Best Tips for Blow Drying Hair with Oil
1. Start on Freshly Cleansed Hair
Heat styling with oil should be done on hair that is freshly washed and deep conditioned. Do not use a blow dryer with oils on dirty hair.
2. Apply Lightly Before Heat Styling
Apply the oil lightly. Don’t soak your hair in it. If you have a residue after working through your hair, you’ve applied too much.
You can get rid of the excess by dabbing at your hair with a microfiber towel.
3. Test a Small Section of Hair
Before you apply heat to your whole head, test a small patch of hair just to make sure it’s ok especially if you’ve never combined oil with heat application before.
4. Use the Right Kind of Oil
You can’t just apply any old oil to your hair. Use the right kinds of oils recommended above for heat styling to achieve the best results.
5. Start with a Low Temperature When Heat Styling
Start with low – mid-temperature on the small section of hair you’re testing. Increase accordingly if your hair takes well to it but do not use maximum temperatures.
6. Do Not Apply Oil to Scalp
Do not apply the oils to your scalp before using heat devices. Concentrate on the length of your hair. Feel free to apply a little to the scalp afterward but sparingly.
Too much oil prior to heat styling can give hair an appearance of greasy and dirtiness.
7. Heat Style in Sections
As always, anything you do to curly hair should always be done in sections to prevent hair loss, split ends, and unnecessary tangling.
8. Use Optimal Heat Styling Tools
Use ceramic and tourmaline tools for heat styling. They distribute heat evenly, style hair faster and prevent damage.
9. You Can Still Use Commerical Heat Protectant for Heat Styling
Feel free to apply a commercial heat protectant and then layer the oil over it. However, if you’re blow-drying, this might be too much for your hair and will prevent bouncy results.
Personally, I find grapeseed oil works quite well on its own for my hair.
Healthy Hair Care Resources
Related Content to Heat Styling
Whichever method you choose for blow-drying, curling, or straightening your hair with oil, ensure you test out a small section of your hair before you proceed.
Following the tips above, your hair should revert on the next wash day.
Keep in mind excessive heat application on hair will lead to dry hair and damaged hair in the long run.
It doesn’t matter how many heat protectants you applied prior to heat styling, excessive heat application will eventually cause damage.
Abi is a curly hair expert who delved into the world of natural oils after severe hair loss issues. Through her research, study, and testing, she was able to regrow her bald spots & a healthy head of hair. She is the founder of Healthy Natural Hair Products & Ade Ori Hair Care, and the author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She continues to study hair science, Ayurveda, and natural and healthy solutions for hair and skin. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines…
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