How To Do a Hot Oil Treatment on Natural or Transitioning Hair

How to Get Amazing Hair With a Hot Oil Treatment

If your hair is breaking or feels super dry, you can show it some love by giving it a hot oil treatment.

Why and how they work?  Heat opens the cuticle of the hair and allows moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.  So if you have low porosity hair (take the test), opening the cuticles is very important.

What’s great about these treatments is you can use almost any kind of natural oil — it’s really about what you prefer and what you feel your hair needs.

I like to make my own concoction and I usually use a mixture of olive, jojoba and sweet almond oil.  I’ll run through some of the benefits of the popular oils to help you decide what may be best for your hair:

Avocado:  If you have super dry and frizzy hair, avocado oil is one of the best ones for moisturizing.  All those healthy fats are great for your hair.

Castor:  Castor oil is very thick and also good for moisturizing dry hair.  But what a lot of people don’t know is that it can strengthen your hair if it’s thin and brittle.

Jojoba:  I love this oil — not only for hot oil treatments but for sealing in moisture.  The sebum that our scalp makes closely matches the makeup of jojoba oil.

Olive: This is probably the most popular oil used because most people have some of this around the house.  Olive oil is good for protecting your ends from splitting/breaking.

Sesame:  A great oil for shine and luster.

Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil can really help soften your hair.  If it’s in a hardened state, just warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Argan:  This oil naturally hydrates your hair and enhances the elasticity.

Sweet Almond:  Great for smoothing the cuticle and it contains Vitamin E, which helps support optimal hair health.

So you can pick what benefits you desire the most and create your own mixture.  I usually mix about a 1/2 cup (sometimes 1 cup) of equal amounts of oil.

Got Dry Scalp/Dandruff?  Add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to your mixture.

Hot Oil Treatment for Natural or Transitioning Hair Instructions

1. Warm your oil mixture by heating plain water on the stove.  Wait until the water is just about to boil and remove the pot from the stove.

2. Put the oil in a separate container (I use an applicator bottle) and place it in the pot of warm water until the oil warms up.

Don’t heat the oil in the microwave because it will lose the nutrients.

3. Test the oil on your wrist before using so you don’t burn yourself.

4. Section your hair into 4-6 sections to make distribution easier and less messy.

5. Use the applicator bottle to distribute the oil throughout each section.

6. Carefully massage the mixture into your scalp and be sure to coat your ends.

7. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and let the oil treatment sit on your hair for at least 30 minutes.

For added moisture, wet a towel with warm water and wring it out.  Wrap the warm towel around your head for 20-30 minutes. Or sometimes I put a damp towel in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds to warm it up.  Don’t worry if the towel cools off, the process is still working.

8. Shampoo and condition your hair as normal.

Your hair should be noticeably softer, stronger and may even have a more prominent sheen.  Every time I do a treatment I get far less breakage than I normally do when shampooing and detangling my hair.

Enjoy your healthier hair!

Oils are Also Great Sealants

Don’t forget that there are more benefits to using oil.  Not only are they good for strengthening the hair in a hot oil treatment, but you can also use them to seal in moisture.  So after you’ve applied your regular moisturizer, add some oil to seal it in.

In the winter months, castor oil is my favorite because it’s so thick and helps fight dryness in cold weather.  For the rest of the year I normally use jojoba oil.  I like the fact that it closely matches our natural skin and hair oils.

I guess it makes me feel like I’m being extra natural. 😉

Just remember, sealants are not moisturizers.  They lock in existing moisture.  So if you put oil on your hair by itself, it will just sit there.  It doesn’t penetrate.  Your hair may have a dull shine and even look greasy, but that’s not the same as being moisturized.

When your hair is properly moisturized, you actually don’t need a lot of oil.  Just lightly coat your hands and gently rub it into your hair to seal the moisture in.

Natural Hair T-Shirts from Spreadshirt

Natural Oils for Pre-Pooing

I use olive oil for my pre-poo.  This is when you coat your hair with oil and/or conditioner before you shampoo to strengthen the hair.

Shampooing (even if you use sulfate-free brands) can strip the hair, so adding oil prior to will strengthen your hair.

Look at all the wonderful uses for natural oil!  Who knew? 😉  And what’s great is you can apply these tips and techniques on both transitioning and natural hair in the same way.

Great for Dandruff/Itchy Scalp

After doing a hot oil treatment on my hair for 6 weeks in a row, it had a very positive effect on my dry scalp — something I’ve struggled with for years.  So hot oil treatments can also restore moisture to your dry scalp.


  1. Cathy says

    can i do this, then co-wash and deep condition afterwards…coz my hair right now needs all the help it can get. p.s I’m transitioning

  2. says

    I’m thinking about doing a hot oil treatment before coloring my hair. Do I have to wait any length of time before coloring? I’m new to these oil treatments.

  3. miracle spicer says

    My name is miracle i recently did a hot oil treaT it softens my hair a little but it still really dry. Am trying to find spmething that will help keep my hair soft.

  4. Del says

    I am a beginner and my hair is very thick and short and decided to go natural, and I am not understanding the hot oil treatment thing, can I purchase it in the store ? and what brand is good in the store? and if I purchase in the store how do I use it.

    • Chris says

      Hi Del, I am also fairly new to the natural hair world and big chopped exactly a month ago. From my understanding is that you find any oil (or oils) that suit your hair needs, and heat them (like how she explains above) and you massage them into your hair, and let them sit into your hair for about 30 min. And shampoo and condition as usual. For example I would like my hair softer and restore moisture so I will try a hot oil treatment with coconut and avocado oil. Hope that helps!

  5. lexy says

    Hey mi name is lexy. I keep mi hair done by adding extensions but mi real hair is braided underneath. So is that safe to continue that before I get mi hair redone? Also do I shampoo n conditioner first n then do the oil treatment? And should I take any type of vitamins besides biotin because I’m not safe on taking n I just don’t want to take anything.

  6. Owusua says

    thanks a lot the site is very helpful but how many oils can be mixed together for the hot oil treatment?

    • Crys says

      Hi, I’ve been natural quite some time but lately noticed I’ve been niglecting my hair with so much focus on my small children. It’s dry and breaking from the root. I’d like to do a hot oil treatment, deep condition all in one day. Can u share the order I should follow.!? Ex; 1)hot oil, 2)wash n condition, 3)deep condition etc…. and will this be too much on the hair?! How often can I repeat to restore the thick, strong, healthy growing hair that I once had?,

      • April says

        Hi i am a hairstylist and i would suggest if your hair really needs both oil treatment and deep condition only do both at the same time about twice a month. (Ex. Really dry and brittle) You would 1. Oil treatment. 2.Shampoo no regular condition 3.deep condition and 4. Rinse .

        I hope i answered your question.

  7. cicely bryant says

    i’m confused. what’s the difference between strengthening your hair before of after shampooing? i know you say prepooing before washing is needed due to the natural oils we loose. but won’t deep conditioning with both conditioner and an oil after shampooing also take care of this problem? i’d love to hear other’s thoughts of this. secondly, hot oil treatment and pre poo is the same thing.

    • lisa says

      I like to pre-poo because it keeps my hair from breaking as much during the shampoo process BEFORE I deep condition. Your hair is always its weakest when it’s wet so pre-pooing keeps it strong. The deep conditioning will keep it strong after it dries.

  8. Rachel says

    Thanks for the article. But I think it’s important not to misrepresent information. If you’re concerned about getting the most nutrition out of oils (or any other nutrient-rich item), microwaving is a safe bet. In fact, it’s near the top of the list for nutritionally sound preparation methods.

  9. alexia456 says

    Oil must be warm so your hair follicles can open up to let the oil sink inside. I have curly, brittle frizzy hair and only olive oil in dry hair has done wonders. Try it.

  10. Tara says

    Hi Lisa! I stumbled across your site when trying to find info about growin hair longer faster! I just cut 3 inches off (wish I hadn’t now!) I have read olive oil treatments can speed up this process, I have read maybe even an inch in a week? Sounds to good to be true! Wondered if you’ve had any personal experiences with this? It sounds like maybe I should give it a try? And do you know if any vitamins would help to speed up the process? Any info/suggestions would be helpful! I enjoyed reading your blog

    • lisa says

      Hi Tara, never heard that olive oil can help but I know Castor oil can help with thickness. I don’t know of any product that grows hair an inch a week. That would be 8 times faster than normal (normal hair growth rate is an inch every 8 weeks).

      As far as vitamins, Vitamin E is very good for the hair so you could take supplements (always talk to a doc first) and eat foods rich in vitamin E. Vitamin A is also good so carrots and any fruits and vegetables with A. A rule of thumb is orange and red fruits/veggies are always good for the hair.

  11. zakiyyah says

    I had a question. I’m using Aphgee products to grow my back. I did the big chop last month and my edges are thinning out and my hair is dry. How should I do my coconut oil and castor oil treatments?

  12. lili says

    I’m a natural blonde and when I use oil I have to shampoo twice in order to get it out and have my hair not look greasy.. Any idea how to avoid this so I don’t counteract the good affects?

  13. Keona says

    Hi, my name is keona and my hair has been permed sense I was a child. I had to get my hair cut short many of times to start over with growing my hair over again. I do have some damaged hair and I can not get the natural look back into my hair. My natural oils is gone in my hair so I keep braids in my hair a lot. I use to have nappy curly hair and I want to get my hair back like that again. Is there any thing I can do to help my dry damaged hair and get the oils and natural look back into my hair? What would you suggest? I would like to be able to wear my hair naturally curly again.

  14. Tasha says

    The stress of Having a relaxer is starting to give me nightmares and I’m ready to give them up. Is it true the only way to do it, is to cut my hair off and start over, or are there other options?

  15. Stephanie Davis says

    I am really glad I stumbled onto this website. I have been natural for 1 year and my 9 year old dughter has always been natural. I needed to really learn how to take care of our hair. Your website is so informative. We live in Hawaii so the weather is always warm so I have been trying to find ways to maintain our hair. I will keep you informed on the progress using your ideas. Thank you!

  16. Desperate says

    Hi. I haven’t tried any of the advice yet, but I wanted to say thank you. This is the most help I’ve gotten from a website. I just moved and this will be my first year in high school. I really want to grow my hair out to at least shoulder length before summer is up, but I don’t know how. I also have dandruff. I’ve been trying a new shampoo and I think I’m getting rid of it. My hair is pretty short and I need help to style it also. I’m getting too old for my mom to braid my hair. I want to look mature but again I don’t know how. Please help!

  17. laniece says

    Ivd been natural fire a little over a year.I have tried many diffrent products but my hair is still dull and dry. I was using coconut oil but i heard u weren’t supposed to leave it in. So i stop using that. My question is do u have to wash coconut oil out or can u leave in? And my hair is thinner in the back then the front, what do i do to thicken the back? My hair is like 4b very kinky. Please help!!!

    • lisa says

      Some people actually shampoo their hair first before the treatment so the oils can penetrate easier. I always do mine on dirty/dry hair. I can see why shampooing it might be better first.

  18. Ali D says

    Hi Lisa i’m a beginner at transitioning and i’m very happy to have found your site. i’ve have joined the forum but came across this info when i was reading through the different headings. with the hot oil treatments do you reccomend only mixing three of the oils or can i mix as many as of the oils as i would like.

  19. Marguerite says

    Hi, I am going to buy some Castor oil. I wanted to know if I can buy any kind?
    The one I was looking into was Castor oil (Expeller Pressed)

  20. Khayla says


    Love your site, very informative and straightforward. Now…

    I’ve been natural for about 5 years now and up until a couple of weeks ago, I have not taken the proper steps to really embrace my natural hair. I grew up on the hot comb, started experimenting with color and relaxers, then back to the hot comb. I washed, blow dried, and hot combed or flat iron my hair for years. Now my hair is kinda damaged from excessive heat and not using the right products. My hair is sooo dry! I just can’t seem to quench it. I purchased so many different products; basically the entire jane carter line and then some, trying to find a solution. I guess an outsider would refer to me as a product junkie (I refuse to lol). What steps would you suggest I take to keep the heat away from my head (I’ll put that sucker on the stove in a heartbeat lol) and get my hair on the right path. Growth isn’t really a problem for me, just mosturizing (or lack there of).

    • Lanna says

      Hey Kayhla,

      I know this is super old but I stumbled across this today! You may have low porosity hair like me! If youtube it, it will explain it all and what you can do. Pretty much our hair is stubborn and wont let moisture easily. But this also means its strong!

      Hope this helps!

  21. Vee Brown says

    Thanks for these tips. I’ve recently ( about six weeks) started to take care of my own hair which has been completely natural for years but used to wear micro braids. I am aiming for strong healthy hair with thick edges. I’ve decided to wear wigs as a protect sytle.

    At the moment I’m suffering from thin, brittle , dry ,damaged edges with few bald spots around my temples, caused by the braids. The rest of my hair is soft and moist. I apply JBC oil on my edges every night. I moisturize using the loc method twice daily. I wash my hair weekly starting with either a pre-poo or hot oil treatment and deep condition. I cornrow my hair and when am out I put on a wig and wear a silk scarf under the wig unit. The hair regime seems to be working and I’m started to grow hair around my edges. However, my edges, around the temples and front, still feel very dry, brittle and crispy. The nape of my neck is really soft. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

  22. deanne says

    Hi there. My 13 year old bi racial daughter used a children’s relaxer in her hair about 8 months back. Biggest mistake ever. Her hair is now broken and short. Will these hot oil treatments help the growth of her hair again? It went from being shoulder length when straightened to so short now that she is barely able to pull it together in a bun. Please help

    • lisa says

      Hi Deanne

      The best thing to do is trim off the damaged hair. It will be very short but hanging onto the hair will make it worse and break off more. Make sure you cut/trim past the damage. In the meantime, wear heatless styles like rod sets. You may want to take her to get extensions (braids) to let her hair grow out again. Just make sure the braids aren’t too tight since the relaxer has probably weakened her hair. Sounds like they left the product on too long and it was too strong for her hair.

    • says

      This process should only be done by a professional. This can be very dangerous.
      Your thirteen year old should see a professional beautician at this point for some advice.

  23. Kina B says

    Hi Lisa.
    I’m a college sophomore and I have decided to embrace my culture and go natural! But it’s been a struggle.. I’ve been transitioning for about 5 months now but when I first started out I didn’t really know what I was doing and it was hard maintaining my hair because my hair tangles easily. Ever since I found this website and I started to DEEP condition my hair and I noticed that my natural hair is not so much as nappy but curly. It really began to soften up. I still have some breakage but I think it’s mainly due to me not getting my ends cut. I’m about to try out the hot oil treatment but I wanted to know, does your hair have to be wet before you start or can you do it dry?

  24. Keonia says

    Hi Lisa. I’ve been natural for quite a while now but my hair isn’t growing much. What can I do? I see that deep conditioning, hot oil treatments, and trimming really helps. I’m also a bit of a product junky. H E L P! Lol

    • lisa says

      Yes it’s a GREAT heat protectant and can be used for sealing in moisture like many other oils. So you just add it on top of your moisturizer.

      • Kisha says

        Hi lisa i wanted to know in the order in which we suppose to protein our hair ? Do we leave hair wet or dry do we shampoo first then protein treatment then cowash the ndeep cond then sealant then oil i dont know?

        • lisa says

          It depends. If I use Aphogee’s treatment I shampoo as directed but if I use my homemade treatment I do it first. I am not really sure what the proper way to do it is but both seem effective.

  25. Ash says

    I was wondering for the jojoba oil hair treatment, do you have to use it SPECIFICALLY as a hair treatment or is it safe enough to just put in your hair for everyday moisture?

    • lisa says

      It is safe to use as a sealant. Just remember, oil is not a moisturizer so it does nothing by itself but make your hair look glossy. It’s best used after your moisturizer to seal in the moisture and keep your hair from drying out.

  26. shawn says

    One setence the struggle is real! I love the natural look and trust me I’m trying but its hard when my hair is so hair and maybe unhealthy too. I try do thinsg myself but can say it went wrong about four times. once with the eggs, second with oils and I just don’t know what to do. my hair is not even taking the perm anymore. what do you suggest? Please help.p.s. Its hard to get professional help because I’m a single mom and I’m also a student and worker.

  27. Lady Bella says

    You’re website is extremely informative. I have already forwarded you site to several friends. I curious to know, are these oils beneficial for relaxed hair as well?

  28. Yaya says

    How often should you do a hot oil treatment on your hair? Also should you do a hot oil treatment before or after you co-wash or shampoo and condition your hair?

    • lisa says

      Hi Yaya

      I do it once a week or once every 2 weeks. I like to do it before I shampoo my hair for strength. But some do it afterwards.

  29. says

    This past Friday I committed to the Big Chop and by Saturday my scalp was so itchy I thought I would loose my mind. I checked this site out and found my cure. I used Hempseed Oil and Teatree Oil for a hot oil treatment. Followed up with Renpure Organics shampoo&deep penetrating reconstructor. Bingo the itch stop and scalp is soothed. I use Argon oil mixed with hydrating leave-in conditioner. How should I brush my close cut hair?

  30. Mary Space says

    Morrocan Oil is ok, but I just love Shielo’s new Shine Restore Oil!

    After shampooing and conditioning, I part dry my hair, add one pump of the Shielo Shine Restore Oil then comb with a wide tooth comb, and either blowdry or airdry depending on my mood.

    My hairdresser recommended part drying your hair first as it seems to help the oil sink in rather than just slide off with the water on your hair.

    The Shielo Oil leaves me hair incredibly soft and silky with no flyways (though I didn’t have many to start with) and cuts down drying time. I love how shiny it makes my hair.

    I had to go without for a month on my honeymoon recently, and boy did I miss it! My hair felt awful by comparison, and I found myself washing it more frequently just to try to make it feel soft. Was so glad to have it back when I got home!

    Yes, it’s expensive, but considering how little you use and how amazing it will make your hair feel, it’s totally worth it.

  31. Tra'Essence Hawkins says

    During your early stages of transitioning you used oil and honey to pre-poo and I was wondering since you stop using that is there anything wrong with that. I haven’t started using anything yet because I have braids in my hair right now. I was thinking of using coconut oil, olive oil, and honey but I want to make sure I’m doing right before I go buy the stuff. I think your journey was amazing by the way. It ended my last doubt of going through with the decision to go natural. It’s official for me now :)

    • lisa says

      I still use oil all the time for pre-pooing, but not the honey as much. No real reason other than I got tired of the stickiness. LOL

    • lisa says

      Hi Nichelle

      Never used it other than maybe a hot oil treatment mix but it’s probably fine. Any natural oil is typically great.

  32. Danielle says

    First and foremost after exploring your website for over 3 months you have helped me make a world of difference with my hair. You are most admirable with your HONESTY!! It is apparent that companies would offer you money to solicit their products, however your integrity is proven in your knowledge and wisdom you share with your followers. I am 15 months “ALL NATURALE” , and EMBRACE is a wonderful word to express who I am and what I accept. I have taken alot of your advice, however I am horrible with ‘Pre Poo’ and Hot oil treatments. How often should they be done, and is it advise for both processes to be done together. Thanks Again Queen!!!

  33. Deliah says

    I’m so thankful I stumbled upon your videos. Love your attitude and the styles which ill be trying. I don’t have your length but will be using your recommended tips for hair maintenance and moisturizing. Thank you and Godbless.

        • Alesha says

          I’ve tried it on dry hair before and it wasn’t nearly as effective. You should do it on hair that has been dampened at least (spray it with water if you don’t want to full-out wet it) and then add the oil. Otherwise, the oil will simply sit on top of your dry hair.

          • TinaB says

            Most definitely do it on damp hair! I read all the hype behind hot oil treatments and tried a mix of coconut, oil, and avocado oil on dry hair. The oil just sat there, didn’t penetrate, didn’t moisturize, and just made my hair oily. So I didn’t do another hot oil treatment for a long time. Then I saw naptural85 spritz her hair with water, then apply the oil. It made ask the difference in the world. My hair was finally soft, shiny, and the wild hairs were tamed.

  34. Linci says

    Thanks so much for the instructions and explanations, I will be starting on this as soon as I can because my hair feels very dry.

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