|My oil applicator bottles; Black has Castor Oil, Blue has Amla Oil and Yellow has Olive Oil|
Coconut oil: having grown up in a seaside coastal city of Mombasa until the age of 13 I have always been very much aware of the benefits of coconut oil and milk, the tree itself has a gazillion uses. We pretty much used coconut products on a daily basis but once we moved we slowly reduced and stopped using it for a while since it wasn’t readily available. As an adult I have revived coconut oil in my grooming routine I use it as a hair, face and body moisturizer just a pea sized drop on my face though. It really does leave your hair soft, shiny and conditioned. It is the one oil that is easily absorbed by the hair shaft making it deep penetrating. This is my number one oil and favourite too. Plus I love cooking with coconut products.
Olive oil: I have only just recently started using olive oil for my hair as part of my deep conditioner before that it was on top of salad or food. Contains vitamin E among others, repairs damaged hair, conditions, is deep penetrating and tames frizziness when used as a moisturizer/sealant. All these oils are great eye makeup removers I dip a ball of cotton wool in water to soften, add a drop of any of the oils above and remove my eye makeup.
Amla Oil: This oil is extracted from the Amla fruit (Indian Gooseberries). It is very rich in Vitamin C, enhances hair growth and strengthens hair roots. It tends to darken hair overtime so bear that in mind if you have highlights but is perfect if you
are going grey prefer your hair dark. I use mine as a pre poo
oil, this oil spreads really well and two teaspoons literally drenches my hair I
leave it on for an hour sometimes up to four but you can leave it overnight if
you wish, it can also be used for a hot oil treatment. It comes in a powder
form as well (the fruits are dried, ground and packaged) for those who want it
pure with no extra ingredients added to it which you can mix with oils of your
choice instead. Mine has almond, sesame and peanut oils among other ingredients.
There are various brands of Amla oil out there and all do the same thing.
Sweet Almond oil: Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamin E and light therefore less greasy. It has a rich concentration of oleic acid almost 70% which makes it a great deep penetrating, moisturizing and softening oil. It cleanses scalp, conditions hair leaving it soft and shiny. It is also great for softening dry flaky skin I use mine on its own as a night hand moisturizer it can be added to hand and body lotions as well. I also use it as a pre poo and night face moisturizer. The downside is that compared to the rest on this list it is the most expensive what you will pay for a 50ml bottle of almond oil can buy you a 200ml coconut oil bottle depending on where you shop and these oils are quite cheap. But as usual when it comes to oils a little goes a long way. It is important to note that there are two types of almond oil, sweet and bitter that come from two different trees. Sweet almond oil has no scent while bitter almond oil has a scent. Bitter almond oil is toxic when ingested. You may want to read more on almond oil here and here.
Can’t wait to try; unrefined Shea butter. I really want to try raw Shea butter there are actually two varieties available West African and East African (more rare and expensive read more about it here) both are equally good but the EA variety has less vitamin A and more olein making it softer that the West African one. I did not have any at the time of
going to press publishing this post but I
will post an update as soon as I get some and start using it for at least a
month. I don’t like recommending products I haven’t tried out.
The best thing about all these oils is that a little goes a very long way making them quite economical 100ml castor oil lasts me a little over eight weeks and I use it twice a week. There are plenty of natural oils out there but these are my preferences for now. Other than Amla oil I use the rest in their unrefined/pure/virgin state without any additives to get the maximum benefits. Most natural oils are anti inflammatory, anti microbial, fungicidal, help retain moisture, promote a healthy scalp and combat dandruff. Regular and consistent use of natural oils on their own or in conjunction with other hair products leaves hair healthier, stronger and shinier. Coconut, olive and almond oils are great body moisturizers on their own or added to body lotions. Castor oil can be used too but I find it too heavy to use as a body moisturizer. All these oils can be purchased from beauty stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, natural food stores and online. Amla oil is available at Indian stores as well. You may have to check the food section at the supermarket for some of these oils.
Next time you are cooking with olive oil feel free to pour some on your hair. “Olive oil not just good for salads good for hair too!” I should totally patent that!
I will do a post on my other hair products; shampoos, conditioners
in the next few weeks. Updated: see my "Products" page for a list of the other products I use.