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Do you put oil in your hair before or after washing it?

Maintaining the health of our hair is a crucial aspect of our overall beauty and confidence. A major challenge faced by many individuals is keeping their hair nourished and frizz-free while still ensuring that it is thoroughly cleaned. Shampoos, although effective in cleansing the hair, can often strip away its natural oils, leaving it dry and prone to frizz. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: applying oil to the hair before washing it. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of oiling hair before washing, the types of oils that can be used, the step-by-step process, the benefits it provides, potential drawbacks, and some precautions to keep in mind.

The Purpose of Oiling Hair Before Washing

Applying oil to the hair before washing serves several important purposes. Firstly, it acts as a protective barrier for the hair strands, preventing them from becoming overly dry and brittle during the washing process. This is especially beneficial for individuals who have naturally dry or chemically-treated hair. Secondly, oiling the hair helps to combat dryness and frizz, providing the necessary moisture to keep the hair soft and manageable. Thirdly, it nourishes the scalp, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing scalp issues such as dandruff. Lastly, applying oil before washing enhances the overall texture and appearance of the hair, making it look healthier and shinier.

Types of Oils for Pre-Wash Application

There are several types of oils that can be used for pre-washing the hair. Each oil has its own unique properties and benefits. Here are some commonly used oils for this purpose:

1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a popular choice for pre-wash oiling due to its high penetrative abilities. It has a small molecular structure, which allows it to deeply penetrate the hair shaft, providing nourishment from within. Coconut oil is known for its moisturizing properties and can effectively prevent protein loss from the hair.

2. Argan oil

Argan oil, also known as “liquid gold,” is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. It is excellent for taming frizz and adding shine to the hair. Argan oil is lightweight and non-greasy, making it suitable for all hair types.

3. Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil closely resembles the natural sebum produced by our scalp, making it an excellent choice for pre-wash oiling. It helps regulate the production of sebum, keeping the scalp and hair balanced and moisturized. Jojoba oil is also known to help remove excess buildup from the scalp.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil has been used for centuries for its numerous health and beauty benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and E, which nourish the hair and scalp. Olive oil helps to promote hair elasticity, reduce split ends, and add shine and softness to the hair.

Step-by-Step Guide for Applying Oil Before Washing

To properly apply oil before washing, follow these steps:

1. Choose the right oil for your hair type

Consider your hair type and needs when selecting an oil. Some oils may work better for certain hair types than others. For example, thicker oils like coconut oil may be more suitable for individuals with dry or coarse hair, while lighter oils like jojoba oil may work well for those with fine or oily hair.

2. Test for allergies or reactions

Before applying any oil to your hair or scalp, it is important to conduct a patch test to check for any allergies or adverse reactions. Apply a small amount of the oil to a small area of your skin and wait for 24 hours to see if there is any irritation or sensitivity.

3. Apply oil to the scalp and lengths of hair

Using your fingertips or a clean brush, apply the oil to your scalp and gently massage it into the roots. Make sure to distribute the oil evenly throughout your hair, focusing on the lengths and ends.

4. Massage the oil into the scalp for better absorption

Massaging the oil into your scalp helps to improve blood circulation, ensuring that your hair follicles receive the necessary nutrients for healthy hair growth. Use gentle circular motions and take your time to fully massage the oil into your scalp.

5. Leave the oil on for a specific duration

The duration for which you should leave the oil on your hair may vary depending on factors such as your hair type and the condition of your scalp. Generally, leaving the oil on for 30 minutes to an hour is recommended to allow it to penetrate the hair shaft and provide maximum benefits.

6. Rinse off the oil thoroughly before shampooing

After the designated duration, thoroughly rinse your hair with lukewarm water to remove the excess oil. Be sure to rinse until the water runs clear and there is no oily residue left. Follow up with a gentle shampoo and conditioner as usual.

Benefits of Oiling Hair Before Washing

Oiling the hair before washing provides a wide range of benefits. Here are some of them:

1. Hydrates and moisturizes the hair and scalp

Applying oil to the hair before washing helps to restore moisture and hydration, especially for dry and brittle hair. It nourishes the scalp, prevents itching and flakiness, and promotes overall hair health.

2. Strengthens hair roots and reduces breakage

Oiling the hair before washing helps to strengthen the hair roots and reduce breakage. The nourishing properties of the oil penetrate the hair shaft, making it stronger and less prone to damage.

3. Improves blood circulation in the scalp

Massaging the oil into the scalp stimulates blood circulation, which helps to improve the supply of nutrients to the hair follicles. This, in turn, promotes healthy hair growth and prevents hair loss.

4. Adds shine and improves hair texture

Regularly oiling the hair before washing can significantly improve its texture and appearance. The oils provide natural shine, making the hair look healthier and more lustrous.

5. Reduces the effects of harsh shampoos

Using shampoos can sometimes lead to dryness and damage to the hair. Applying oil before washing helps to create a protective barrier, reducing the harsh effects of shampoos and keeping the hair healthy and hydrated.

Potential Drawbacks and Precautions

While oiling the hair before washing has many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks and precautions to keep in mind:

1. Oily residue if not rinsed properly

If the oil is not rinsed off properly, it can leave an oily residue on the hair, making it appear greasy. It is important to thoroughly rinse the hair until the water runs clear to remove all traces of oil.

2. Frequency of oiling depending on hair type and needs

The frequency of oiling the hair before washing may vary depending on your hair type and needs. Some individuals may benefit from oiling once a week, while others may need to do it more frequently. Experiment and find a routine that works best for your hair.

3. Allergic reactions or sensitivity to certain oils

It is important to be aware of any allergies or sensitivities you may have to certain oils. Conduct patch tests before applying any oil to your hair and scalp to avoid any adverse reactions.

4. Proper oil removal for those with excessively oily hair

For individuals with excessively oily hair, proper removal of the oil is essential. Use a gentle shampoo and focus on cleansing the scalp, ensuring that all traces of oil are removed without stripping away too much natural moisture.


Oiling the hair before washing is an excellent way to maintain its health, nourishment, and manageability. By applying oil, such as coconut, argan, jojoba, or olive oil, before washing, you can protect your hair strands, prevent dryness and frizz, nourish your scalp, and enhance the texture and appearance of your hair. However, it is important to keep in mind any potential drawbacks and take precautions, such as proper oil removal and patch testing. Incorporating pre-wash oiling into your hair care routine can greatly contribute to healthier, shinier, and more manageable hair. So, go ahead and give it a try! Your hair will thank you for it.


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