Oil Treatment

There will come a time when the initial oily hazing that you’ll be undergoing will be complete, and your hair will return to better-than-normal. When I say this, I mean you will no longer have what you consider to be a bad hair day. You will learn to embrace your hair, regardless of whether it’s a big-hair-day or a spiral-hair-day or a slightly-less-curly-hair-day, the point being that when it’s not frizzy and the healthy shine has been restored, there’s really no way for it to look “bad.”

During one of my final days as a shampoo user, I was sitting in a car and caught a glimpse of my dry bristle-y locks in the side view mirror. Throughout my life, somehow I’ve always looked best in the side view mirror of a car. I don’t know why, but you might know what I mean. Anyway, this time I looked like I’d just had a terrible dye job (probably had, I used to bleach it!!!) and my hair was frizzed all over and raggedy on the ends making me look like I’d just escaped from a mental institution or Staten Island. I had been growing it out since an insanely short cut I got in college, and it was growing so slowly and breaking so often that I was at a complete loss. That mental image stayed etched in my mind as I embarked on this exciting new hair-care routine.

A big part of the rehabilitation of your hair will be your oil treatments. I use only one, although I can tell you about others. (Note: There are tons in the Curly Girl book that you should try, which use exotic ingredients like avocado and powdered egg.) First, the full method for my favorite treatment.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 healthy squirts of a top quality conditioner
  • Plastic container (like you get from Chinese take-out)
  • Shower cap
  • Head-wrap towel

Step 1: Grab your cheaper conditioner and some name-brand extra-virgin olive oil from the grocery store. Any brand will do, but why use the expensive stuff if you don’t have to? It’s admirable enough that we’re using EVOO at all. Don’t waste your expensive dipping and cooking oils on this. Same goes for conditioner, you use so much during this oil treatment that it’s just not worth using the expensive stuff. Still, though, it’s important that you understand what kind of cheap conditioner to buy, nothing with chlorides or sulfates should ever touch your hair.

Step 2: Take 4 tbsp. of the oil and put it in a little plastic container. Anything will do, but I use those little plastic take-out containers since we have so many of them. Then squeeze out 4 hearty squeezes of your conditioner into the oil. This should also equal about 4 tbsp., so you have equal parts conditioner and oil. If your hair is short or longer than 5″ or so below your shoulders, adjust accordingly. Same goes for thick vs. thin hair. After doing this once or twice you should have a better idea of how much you actually use.

Step 3: Rake this mixture through your hair in the shower the way you do with conditioner. Pour it over your head, pour it over the bottom ends of your hair, thoroughly saturate it. Squeeze your hair so it’s not dripping all over the place, then pile hair on your head. Next, cover your hair with a shower cap (I use this kind).

Step 4: Get out of the shower and put pieces of paper towel along the bottom edges of your shower cap where needed. This keeps the oils from dripping down your neck. Leave this in for an hour or more during the day, or overnight. When I leave it overnight, I fasten it around the outside of the cap and paper towels with these to keep it from shifting around or falling off while I’m asleep.


Step 5: Take your cheaper conditioner and some lemon juice from the grocery store. If you’re especially enthusiastic and have the time on your hands, the book recommends using fresh-squeezed lemon juice, but I have never once done this. I can barely bring myself to properly use kitchen equipment to feed myself, so I don’t pretend that I’d ever do so for my hair.

Step 6: Mix together 4tbsp of lemon juice and the same amount of conditioner in the same plastic container. It should be pretty liquid-y. Get back in the shower, pour this over your head and rake it through your hair, massage your scalp, really get it in there. This is the most effective cleanser you will ever use, much better than shampoo. I use this mixture when my hair is getting especially greasy as well. It cuts through grease without damaging hair; and no, if you rinse it out completely it will not lighten your hair. I only do this once a month, with or without the oil treatment. Seriously, once your hair is dry you will be astounded by how squeaky clean, soft, and gorgeous it is.

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