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1. What is oil rinsing?

Oil rinsing involves applying an excess amount of a liquid/liquefied oil or butter to hair, allowing to sit for a short time (5-20 minutes) with or without heat and then proceeding to rinse it off with water.  You can optionally follow up with a conditioner to remove even more oil but you can equally just proceed to blot hair dry and style.

2. What is the difference between oil rinsing and pre-pooing?

Pre-pooing is generally done prior to a shampoo wash and the oil selected ideally should be one that can penetrate hair to protect it from hygral fatigue. Pre-pooing with oil is best done over a period of hours (overnight / 8 hours). Oil rinsing does not require a penetrating oil as it only has a short application time of a few minutes. It is generally not useful as a pre-poo for hygral fatigue but it can be useful for detangling and adding slip if included instead of or in addition to a pre-poo.

3. What is the purpose of oil rinsing?

Oil rinsing is thought to help hair in several ways including:

– Stop hair feeling crispy and dry after a henna or protein treatment especially if a moisturising conditioner did not help.
– Refresh hair  (increase moisture and softness) without shampooing or co-washing it.
– The extra oil is great for adding slip to help detangle hair and reduce friction between the strands.
– If your hair has natural curl definition, oil rinsing can help reduce frizz.
– As oil is involved, hair shine will increase.

4. What kind of oil can you use for oil rinsing?

Any oil can be used provided it is liquid, is going to stay liquid and you like it. After oil rinsing, your hair will have a coating of oil, this is why it is important that the oil you pick will tend to stay liquid. Coconut oil hardens up in cold winter air, so is not suited to the task unless it is modified coconut oil, summer or you live somewhere nice that has no cold winters. Olive oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil and even melted shea butter are some popular choices

5. Who should not oil rinse?

If you have dandruff, eczema or any scalp irritation, oil rinsing may aggravate the scalp, so avoid it. If your hair has a tendency to form build up or become overly shiny (looser curls) you may not like oil rinsing. If you strictly co-wash or rarely use shampoo or soap then oil rinsing may end up giving you build up. Oil rinsing requires that you will eventually shampoo your hair (within a week or so) because the extra oil will attract dirt and lint over time.

If you are a visual learner, here is a video to demonstrate oil rinsing on natural hair!

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42 Comments on "5 Facts on Oil Rinsing"

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I tried oil rinsing yesterday and was super pleased with the results! I am an Asian Indian with thick, coarse, wavy-to-curly hair which loves to frizz; especially the top layers (in spite of overnight pre-pooing with oil). My oil-rinsed hair turned out shiny, bouncy, soft and wayyy less frizzy than ever. That too without looking like an oil slick. I didn’t skip my overnight pre-poo. Wash-rinse, oil-condition-distribute evenly-rinse. That was it. I chose sweet almond oil because I have been using it as an after wash serum on my damp hair (or even on dry hair as needed) and known… Read more »

[…] gloss out with my conditioner, but I wanted to try something new. I tried oil rinsing after reading this article and watching the […]


I do this as well… it works WONDERS!!! <3


I have incorporated oil rinsing into my hair regiment. I use the same oils that I pre poo with. It amazing

Christine Andenga

How often do you do oil rinsing

Candice King

Thank u thank u thank u for this article it has worked wonders on my hair

Reign Curls

*oil rinsing

Reign Curls

I’ve been oil clensing for several years ad it hasnt failed me yet. I think it’s pretty important to try different oils for your hair. I absolutely love coconut oil!


So if after shampooing, I add my mix of oil (coconut/olive/JBCO) to my DC. By rinsing it off, am i technically oil rinsing!??


Is this treatment fine for low porosity hair. Won’t it just cause a gunky build up. Would appreciate your response.

TMC toronto meetup Jan 25th

wow, another step to my wash day. I’ll definitely try it out. but don’t plan to include it in my regime. I feel the oil won’t allow the moisture from the leave in to be absorbed in my cuticles


[…] We recently came across the concept of oil rinsing on Black Girl Long Hair: […]


I tried this once and it made my hair super dry.

I LOVE oil rinsing!! My hair feels 10x better. My routine goes like this: Apply organic coconut oil all over my hair and scalp, detangle w/fingers, apply deep conditioner(Camille Rose Algae), steam(optional) cowash with Trader Joe’s organic Spa Nourish Conditioner,rinse out then apply JBCO, leave it on for a bit then rinse, apply Camille Rose Curl Milk leave-in, section hair,apply Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting butter and make 15 plaits all over. DONE! At night I re-braid (no product added) and put on satin cap.Maybe 5 days later I’ll add a little curl milk and 2 drops of JBCO and… Read more »

How often should you oil rinse?

Divachyk @Relaxed Thairapy

I love wheat germ for oil rinsing.


This is a must try… I live in Ohio, and the weather here is very crucial to my hair. I use coconut oil and EVOO, but I have been debating on experimenting with different kinds of oil. (Jojoba or grapeseed). Any suggestions?


It works great I live in Chicago and this winter has been brutal. I use a mixture of oils like sweet almond oil, aloe Vera oil and grape seed. I suggest using oils that your hair likes generally. Sometimes I’ve switched it up by using coconut oils since it stays liquid when mixed with the other oils I’ve mentioned.


I did this but it wasn’t good long term. I used olive oil and almond oil and when dry my hair was CRISP. Plus it’s not exact, oil is oil and so its runny. Sometimes I would end up sweating oil or barely oiled hair.


This seems like an ok idea….my only issue is that I would go through way more oil in a month than I normally would smh. My PJ mannerisms would tweak super hard if I got to spend extra money on oil so that I would be able to do this.


I know EXACTLY what you mean. This recovering PJ made the switch to natural butters and oils a while back, and likes to hide her PJ mannerisms by trying different oils all the time. Oil rinsing is something I probably shouldn’t try for my wallet’s sake 🙂


If I oil rinse, should I still seal with oil after I’m done and following up with the loc method?

Nappy 4C Rocks

good question

You don’t necessarily need to seal, it depends on how your hair reacts to the oil. For MY hair I just rinse very well with warm water ( it takes out the extra oil better than cold water) and use my leave-in. I only add oil to seal if I protective style for 2 weeks. But if I style only for a week, no need to seal, my hair holds up the moisture very well. If I flat iron, I cowash my hair once instead of rinsing the oil out with warm water. the conditioner removes the extra oil that… Read more »

What’s the point of washing it out? Isn’t it more beneficial to leave it in? What does washing it out do when I can wash my hair, put the coconut oil on with a cap, and then style my hair? Please explain.

Ugonna Wosu

washing out oil doesn’t take away the effects of it from your hair.


You’re not washing it out you only need to rinse out the excess oil bc you use more than you typically would if you were styling your hair. Also, if you didn’t rinse you would have oil running down your neck and forehead as your hair began to dry. This happened to me bc I didn’t do the best job rinsing my hair the first time I tried it.

Ugonna Wosu

what you described is deep conditioning with an oil. Oil rinsing, as I know it, is usually one of the final steps in your wash routine. You treat it like you do your regular rinse out conditioner. Just applying oil(preferably with an applicator bottle) and leaving it there for a few minutes and rinsing it off. That’s it. I’ve done this before and it makes your hair retain more moisture, lose even more tangles and is super softening.

Ugonna Wosu

this is not a response to the video of oil WASHING by Au Curls Naturelle, underneath the author’s description of oil rinsing.

Ugonna Wosu

Thanks for writing such an eatnyto-underssa-d article on this topic.


Looks great! I use tea to dye thgnis quite often, as I don’t like white. You never know quite how it will turn out, so it’s not for thgnis that you will be too precious about if the effect is a bit different to what you expected.

Nappy 4C Rocks

what is the difference between oil rinsing vs. a hot oil treatment?


Sounds like it would be a hot oil treatment if you use heat.


Made these tonight with the sapcinh. Overall were VERY delicious, however, they did come out very dry. Water was absorbed within maybe five minutes rather than twenty. Used full-fat coconut milk though, would that have been the difference? Thanks for the recipe though, I’ve been making your Indian-style dishes over and over the last couple weeks, love ’em!

Oil rinsing is done on freshly shampooed or cowashed hair and rinsed out with warm to hot water to remove the excess oil and followed up by a rinse out conditioner to cowash. Oil rinsing are not usually done on dry hair like in the demonstrative video attached to the post and that’s because the purpose of the oil rinsing method is to lock up and seal the moisture obtained from the shampoo process. Hot oil treatment on the other hand is done on dry hair before the shampoo. It’s called hot oil because you warm up the oil first… Read more »

What I do is that I add coconut or any other oil to my conditioner or cowash. It leaves my hair very soft.

Ugonna Wosu

I sometimes add oil to my shampoo. Makes it soft too.


I always wondered exactly how oil rinsing worked but was too lazy too look it up. Will a leave in conditioner still be effective after oil rinsing?


Look at all the many textures on one head. It’s so beautiful. Great and informative post as usual Jc.


I have scalp issues so I do a modify version of oil rinsing. After I wash and condition my hair I put coconut oil (or whatever oil I have) all in my hair. When I finish working it through (usually a minute later), I then rinse it out with cool water. I NEVER work it into my scalp, although I do apply a bit of oil there later on. It helps to reduce the harsh feeling my hair has during the drying process and my hair feels much softer during and after the styling process.


Gotta try this!!!!! My hair is SO dry! Thanks for this! New Subbie!