By Jc of The Natural Haven

A while back we discussed why mineral oil may not be so bad especially if you are struggling with very dry hair. However, the idea of mineral oil being a moisturizer runs contrary to the fact that many of us will have experienced dry hair as a result of using mineral oil or mineral oil products. It is perfectly understandable why many of us may be cautious even skeptical about using it. These are the rules of engagement for using mineral oil effectively:

1. You must always use mineral oil AFTER adding water to your hair. The best process would be immediately after washing, conditioning and adding a leave in. Add the mineral oil to slightly damp hair. Mineral oil prevents water from escaping from the hair shaft. Adding it to dry hair is a recipe for even drier hair. When it comes to moisture always ask yourself…….what are you sealing in?

2. Do not reapply the mineral oil. Your hair may normally start to feel dry 2-3 days post wash. Do not add more mineral oil to your hair. Spritz it instead with water and try not to add more product to it. If you really feel that you need more product, make sure that it has a humectant such as glycerin, honey or aloe vera which can hold onto water. You can also  repeat the wash cycle instead and then it will be fine to reapply the oil.

3. Mineral oil is generally not compatible with a no-poo routine. You do not have to use a shampoo with SLS ( ‘sulfates’) but you should use a shampoo or soap of some sort as part of your washing step. The shampoo will help dissolve the mineral oil and avoid it building up as a thick layer on your hair.

4.Remember the fingertip tip with coconut oil? Try the same with mineral oil. Always use as little as possible as it spreads well and generally evenly.  A thick layer can end up causing you to have a very greasy scalp.

5. Be savvy. It is perfectly fine to avoid mineral oil as an ingredient in conditioners and restrict its use to only the final sealing step. In conditioners oils are generally included for added slip and to protect hair during the wash. Oils such as coconut oil perform this function better.

6.  Mineral oil may not be for you.  You may do all the above tips and still find that mineral oil leaves your hair dry.  Trust your hair and its response.  Mineral oil can be too heavy for some hair and opting for a lighter oil may be better for you. If you do not currently use mineral oil and do not have a moisture issue, do not try to fix what is not broken.

So what do you think ladies? Would you try mineral oil? Have you tried it using these instructions? How was the outcome?

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47 Comments on "Rules of Engagement for Mineral Oil"

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I co-washed this morning, and added plenty of pure mineral oil to my hair. —sigh— by 6 pm, I experienced something Ive NEVER experienced before. The oil was literally dripping on my face arms and hands.

This proves it is for topical use, and not moisturizing. There were areas of my head dry as a door knob. Will see what the results are after a misting in the morning.


I am really thankful to the holder of this web site who has shared this
impressive piece of writing at at this time.


I actually am using this product that contains mineral oil as the first ingridient. I like it, yes its a bit greasy but hair seems to be more hydrated and it smells lovely. It works for my hair which is super thick , but i guess others dont like it as much.


I have found that pure mineral oil is less greasy than products containing mineral oil, especially if used in moderation.


been using mineral consistently for the past 2 weeks and despite the colder weather, my hair is more moisturized than it’s ever been. All the oils never really sealed my hair well enough and if I used shea butter, my hair would dry kind of hard….it’s awesome!


That’s ok.


I hate mineral oil with a passion, it never did any good for my hair when I was younger and I am not about to start that nightmare again…but to each there own.


I’m sorry, but mineral oil blocks the moisture from getting to our hair. I always tell my customers to avoid it. Moisture is a MUST for our dry hair!

The Natural Haven

It is very true that mineral oil blocks water entry (however the same can be said for any oil too including castor, coconut, jojoba, sunflower etc).

The blocking property of oils are exactly what make them good ‘sealants’. They delay the exit of water by blocking the water from leaving the shaft.

Mineral oil when used improperly (i.e on dry hair) can indeed lead to even drier hair. Also if your hair is not keen on heavy products, mineral oil is not for you.

Hello Ladies, For those of you who are not familiar, please refer to: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. Mineral oil, petroleum etc. but understand that it is a by product of the gasoline that is in your car. The FDA is not responsible for regulating any over the counter product. There are no governing bodies in this country. The average woman puts more than 126 chemicals, a day on her body and that eventually leads to bio-accummulation. Search for mineral oil in the skin deep database and it has a ‘hazard rating’ of 3 (moderate) and has been linked to immune and respitory system… Read more »
I don’t want to use mineral oil because I REALLY do think its bad for us. There are a myriad of diseases that run prevalent in Black women. I have struggled to reason why that would be. Is having brown skin a factor for disease. What do we do different than other races. Well we use a lot more lotion and a lot more hair products. I feel there has to be a correlation. Mineral oil and Petrolatum are carcinogenic. There are studies. Although they are not saying it is conclusive the US has a tendency to allow deadly chemicals… Read more »
Debeorah Graves

I use mineral oil on my hair and have great results, I do use is after shampooing my hair which is past shoulder lenght. also use is mixrd with shea butter lotion for the rest of me. works wonders.

I’ve recently reintroduced petrolatum and mineral oil based products back into my hair routine, since natural oils tend to evaporate from my hair too quickly, leaving my hair dry and brittle. I use some Blue Magic hair grease to do my twist-outs. First, I wet my hair, add a little leave-in, then a very small amount of the grease to moisturize my hair. By using very little of the product, I’m left with hair that is non-greasy, soft, smooth, and shiny. It yields the best twist-outs ever! So far, so good! I’m definitely happy with the results I’ve been getting.… Read more »

I am so hoping this grease thing will work for me…this is like my last hope.


also this post is extremely helpful JC!!! Alot of naturals are jumping on mineral oil suddenly and need to know this!


Mineral oil is too heavy for my thin hair but I think this article better describes the use of mineral oil. and even “greases” it should be used lightly as a final sealant. I would like to try some on my scalp any suggestions of kinds that dont cause dandruff?


on the product website, dax even says their pomade should not be used on fine hair..I was kind of surprised to see that.

I’m prone to acne and I just use it lightly to seal on wash days. The rest of the time, I use whatever oil I have…works perfectly 🙂

The Natural Haven

Lonitra – Mineral oil is a heavy sealant. People who like thick finishing products like shea butter or castor oil may also like mineral oil

People like me who like light oils will not like mineral oil. I totally agree with you that mineral oil can be too heavy for some hair.


Hi JC, I was wondering if you have to use a particular type of shampoo like one that is clarifying or with sulfates every time you wash if you use mineral oil. I just plan to use Giovanni’s Tea Tree Shampoo (sometimes mixed with baking soda) and follow with an ACV rinse. Would that be enough to remove the mineral oil from my hair!



whoo, just ignore me LOL, I’m running off a few hours of sleep…I see you answered it in your post!

The Natural Haven

lol df – no problem, i do that too sometimes 🙂


I appreciate this site and I don’t mean to be rude, but what happened to the fresh and original blog posts? The Natural Haven is it’s own blog entity, and quite frankly reading the posts on there once is enough. What is up with all the re-blogs, it’s like you’re only using this site’s material nowadays. =/

The Natural Haven
Jp – I agree with you in part except this post that you just commented on is actually new…….so I have to smile. However, to answer your question I am writing new pieces for BGLH and they are mixed in with some reposts. There are plenty of people who do read The Natural Haven but there are plenty of people who do not and what is old to you is new to many people. My goal has always been to give science in the natural hair world a platform and there is no bigger one than BGLH so every repost… Read more »
Auset Abena
Okay, mineral oil is getting to be the new celebrity, after having been shunned all this time. And sulfates apparently are a god-send. LOL. I don’t ever see myself using some straight up mineral oil on my hair. I used to use Nature’s Blessings shortly, back when I had locs. It has olive oil, coconut oil, herbs, and much farther down the ingredients list, mineral oil (or mineral jelly). I might start using that again. I remember liking the smell and the consistency. But when all is said and done, my main product go-to’s will be coconut oil, castor oil,… Read more »

I just can’t believe my eyes!!! you being positive with mineral oil!!!!
I read yesterday a sister stating that mineral grase could be fine!!!
What about the danger of our bodies receiving products they can’t eliminate …….Blank.
What’s wrong with you

The Natural Haven

So it would surprise you to know that mineral oil is actually approved for human consumption and is actually commonly added to packed rice to prevent the grains from rubbing together and creating dust.

I’ve been saying mineral is fine for years – it was one of my first posts way pack in 2009.

Your objection to it is perfectly fine but I would not recommend anything that has been proven to be harmful. It would be unethical.


I use Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding which contains some mineral oil. Following a wash, condition/deep conditioner, and leave-in I get good results. It is true you will need moisture in a few days. I will need to remember the tips about applying water and humectants to re-moisturize. I don’t find mineral oil scarry at all.

Before I had alot of knowledge I used to use grease as a moisturizer with no luck. Although my bff was using grease and always had great results (later i realized she always gresed damp hair and thats why she had had good results) After a couple years of using creams and shea butter with the result being soft but dull hair. Also after learning about the art of moisturizing THEN sealing. I have been back on grease for the last 5 months. I L-O-V-E my hair. the moisture retention and the sheen. My routine is exactly as described in… Read more »

Janelle, I agree completely and I use vaseline and/or africa’s best castor oil hair & scalp conditioner to seal and for use with with my braidouts and get mositure for days and great hold & definition. I just started using this for my two strand twists and find that they hold much better than anything else I have used so far.

I am of the school of whatever works for my hair I will use!

This has been my routine even before I started hearing the stories about mineral oils and petroleum products…I was and condition my hair… Spray a concoction of glycerin mixed with cocunut oil and conditioner for smell…Then I coat the hair with blue magic or vaseline… It has worked for me… My hair isn’t falling out… I have 4G hair, and it stays moisturized for at least a week… The only thing that we have to do is just keep the hair washed when using this, because these products do pick up lint, dust and other agents in the air very… Read more »
The Natural Haven

lol at the 4G hair – mine is 4abcxyz 🙂

Lj Miles

Thank you for this article. For over a week now, we’ve been contemplating trying mineral-based products as a sealant for my 14 year old. I was most concerned over the thought of needing a Sulfate containing shampoo as her cleansing agent. We’ll see though…

Good lookin’ out 🙂

~ CurlyHue

When I was growing up, my mother would use Sof ‘n’ free, the blue one, however it was excellent for twits outs and braid outs, but my hair was always very dry, grease never really worked for me. My mother would end up mixing castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, to make the Sof ‘n’ free a lot lighter. My hair was always thick, but it never grow past my shoulders. always to the nape of my neck. It is something I would not go back to as my hair loves water, conditioning waters, glycerine, aloe vera and castor oil.… Read more »
the sun

I finally broke down and bought some blue magic hair grease yesterday….THANK YOU FOR THE POST.Trying to minimize fairy knots. I noticed I’ve had more since I stopped using it. Hope it helps.

P.s. Everytime I’m having hair issues, I wake up and BOOM, BGLH has a post on what I’m dealing with . Thank you again EVERYBODY who contributes .


do you seal your ends with it?

the sun

Yes just the ends of my hair not my scalp.


Trimming helps prevent fairy knots in an amazingly effective way.
I started snipping off 1/4in every 3 months and since I started doing this, I have noticed not ons single fairy knot. I DC weekly, am not always great about specifically sealing my ends, but I keep my hair well moistured. My go to oil is coconut.


As many ladies here, I grew up with Dax on my head, and the only thing it brought me is breakage, and VERY hard and dry hair. But this is not the main reason of my disapproval: those mineral oils, extracted from petrol, are unhealthy – or at least bring nothing for the body care. And what about the environment? What are the consequences of using those mineral oils? Not for me thanks, virgin vegetables oils do the work much better.

A french reader (sorry if my english is not perfect 🙂

Jessica Kotei

i absolutely have no problem whatsoever with petroleum base products. My mom used it on my hair and I’ve been using it too. I follow these same steps and have never had a problem with it.it gives me good twist out and when i wear my natural hair out in the cold, it doesn’t feel like rock hair….and guess what..I live in Saskatchewan, Canada…… trust me when i say it is soooo cold.


No way! Another person from Saskatchwan?! Well hello 🙂

I grew up with Dax but now I find that castor oil, shea butter, etc serve me better. I’m not really ‘against’ using anything. I think people should do what works.


I see so many naturals are going back to grease and mineral oil based products, but I just hate how they feel on my hair. After opening up myself to all of these natural and beneficial oils and butters, I don’t think I could do it. I never was one to use much grease in the first place, especially since I have a scalp condition.

I am not able to use mineral oil or petroleum containing leave-in conditioners on my hair, as they always result in breakouts on my skin AND they tend to leave grease stains on all hair accessories, seats, etc. Not to mention the heavy, weighed down and potentially greasy look (even when I use very small amounts) is just not attractive to me. I can’t be bothered with leaving a trail wherever I go and looking like a pimpled faced teen in the process. But, i realize that these type of products work for many people. I say , go for… Read more »

Hmmm….I’m still skeptical about mineral oil. I’m definitely interested to hear from others who have tried or will try this though.

(Helpful hint: Skeptical is spelled with a “k.”)


“Sceptical” is the proper spelling in the UK, which is where the author (Jc) is from.

Vaseline was the only thing that kept my BAA from turning into a TWA in the humid summer. Now that winter’s coming, I’m about to try some mineral oil-based pomades to see how well they keep my hair’s moisture sealed in. Even before all this information was online, I used mineral oil-based lotions (Pink Oil) on my natural hair and never had a problem. It was nothing that a good shampoo couldn’t cure. *shrug*

The Natural Haven

Indeed in British English sceptical is correct. It is a global world now 🙂


Oh! Good to know, as I had no idea there was a different UK spelling (or that this blog was based in the UK)! In the US, “sceptical” would be pronounced “septical,” and as a former teacher, I’ve seen that as a common misspelling with many of my students. I’m glad to know that wasn’t what was going on here. Thanks, ladies!

The Natural Haven

No probs Black Onyx 🙂 I am the only one based in UK. BGLH is based in Chicago 🙂