Should men oil their hair? Yes and no. Read on to learn more….
Hair oils are COOL again. Every brand worth their money has a version of them. Men’s hair oils are hugely in demand too! Growing up in a south Indian household, Sundays were about self-care, years before the hashtag gained popularity on Instagram. My grandmother would religiously oil my hair with virgin coconut oil. Perhaps, this is the reason why my long, thick locks have survived years of mistreatment (read as colour, straightening and heat-induced styling).
I’m married to a fellow Malayalee, who has great mane—and makes it a point to oil his hair on a weekly basis, even now. He really is the poster boy for men-who-use-hair-oil with great locks to show for it! So, do men need hair oil? Whether hair oils work or not has been debatable, but from personal experience—I think it’s safe to say that they are definitely not bad!
Let’s look at some of their benefits and a few of the best hair oils for men.
Men, generally, avoid applying hair oil because they think it will look sticky or slimy. They have no qualms in using other hair-care products like pomades or gels. Best hair oils for men, in fact, are natural, plant-based ones with no added chemicals. For men, hair oils work if you know how to use them right!
▶ It hydrates the hair, reducing frizz
Mumbai-based celebrity dermatologist, Dr Jaishree Sharad says, “Almost all hair oils are good conditioners. It moisturises the hair shaft (the part of the hair not anchored to the follicle) and cuts the frizz out. So, it’s a good home remedy for frizzy hair. Just apply a few drops of almond or coconut oil, post shampoo, on towel-dry hair to tame unruly hair!”
▶ Prevents breakage
Once the frizz is out, your hair will break less while combing, as oiling helps enhance your hair shaft’s tensile strength. The best hair oils for men will prevent breakage, and can also, thereby, help reduce hair fall.
▶ Helps you relax and de-stress
A hot oil champi or head massage, is said to have a host of benefits beyond the product itself. Massaging your scalp while applying the oil, is said to stimulate circulation—which in-turn work to bring nutrients to the scalp—thereby, nourishing the hair roots. This aids in promoting hair growth! “This is mainly due to the process of massaging and not necessarily the oil itself,” explains Dr Sharad. Besides, stress is one of the major triggers for hair fall, and a head massage makes you relax, stay calm and puts you in a good mood!
Hair oils have been a part of the Indian beauty/grooming routine for centuries. However, it would be wise to remember that—it was at a time our hair wasn’t subjected to the kind of torture it goes through now: Pollution, chemicals and treatments, junk food and snacks laced with preservatives.
▶ It affects the pH balance of the scalp
The reason why most experts are not too hot on hair oils? The scalp’s pH level is maintained by the natural oils that our bodies produce. When you apply oil directly into the scalp, it can block the follicles, affecting its pH balance. In addition, we tend to usually shampoo the heck out following an oil massage. This strips the natural oils on the scalp even further and can lead to hair fall! Also, make sure to shampoo off the oil before stepping out, as it can attract grime!
▶ It can cause pimples
Oily hair or scalp can lead to pimples around the hairline and the forehead. This is because excess oil can seep into your skin and clog the pores. So, the next time you find those tiny bumps on your forehead or along the back of your neck—pull the brakes on the amount of oil you’re using and the time you leave it on for. Anything between 30 to 45 minutes is good for guys!
All things considered, oiling can be a part of the hair-care routine for guys with medium or long hair—whose strands are too long to receive the sebum from the scalp that stops midway along the hair shaft. Just keep in mind a few things…
● Control the amount of oil you apply. Your scalp shouldn’t look like a ‘freshly-fried papad’ dripping in oil.
● Shampoo it off before stepping out. Less amount of hair also means you don’t need too much hair cleanser or shampoo to take the oil off and it won’t disrupt its natural pH levels.
While there’s nothing such as men’s hair oils, as it works for any gender, we’ve put together a list of natural oils you can choose from and could give you the best results.
▶ Virgin Coconut Oil
Popular in South India, the virgin coconut oil is now available across the country and is a popular choice. It can deep condition, provide natural protection, and is generally a good choice for most hair types.
▶ Almond Oil
This one has vitamins B, E and K. Vitamin E has antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress and vitamin B7 can promote growth!
▶ Sesame Oil
It provides deep conditioning to the scalp and smooths the hair shaft. Its antibacterial and antifungal qualities are said to even help reduce sensitive scalp issues and dandruff! This may help in reducing hair fall!
▶ Argan Oil
This common Moroccan oil is high in vitamin A, C, E, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a natural conditioner, which will help strengthen hair.
▶ Castor Oil
The nutrient-rich castor oil protects the hair follicle from outside cellular and tissue invaders that destroy the health and vitality of the hair follicle—thereby enhancing hair strength, texture and growth. Though there aren’t enough studies to support this, scores of people across social-media platforms have said swears by castor oil: They believe it reduces hair fall and promotes hair growth!
To wrap things up, hair oils for men can help fight: Sensitive scalp, reduce stress, condition and reduce frizz–which in turn, enhances hair strength and may also reduce hair fall. Just ensure to do a patch test on your arm to see if you’re allergic before going in for a therapeutic oil massage.
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