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When it comes to protecting and nourishing dry, brittle hair, hot oil treatments are a popular option.

Made from plant-based oils, like olive, almond, and coconut, hot oil treatments work by sealing the hair cuticle. This can help to strengthen and protect your hair.

There are several options for getting a hot oil treatment. You can choose to go to a salon. Or, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can try a do-it-yourself (DIY) hot oil treatment at home. You can also buy a ready-made hot oil product.

However, before you use a hot oil treatment, be sure it’s right for your type of hair, and that you understand the safety risks.

If you have any skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema, ask your doctor or dermatologist if a hot oil treatment is safe to use on your scalp.

Many of the plant oils used in a hot oil treatment have properties that may help protect and moisturize your hair.

Other potential benefits of hot oil treatments include:

  • increased hair strength
  • reduced dryness of both the scalp and hair
  • help with dandruff relief
  • reduced frizz
  • fewer split ends
  • increased blood flow in the scalp, which may help promote healthier hair

Although hot oil treatments use plant-based ingredients, that doesn’t mean they’re safe for everyone. It’s still possible to have an adverse reaction to the oil, especially if you have sensitive skin.

To reduce the risk of a reaction, look for oils that aren’t combined with synthetic ingredients, and are 100 percent natural.

If you’re unsure whether a hot oil treatment is safe for you, try doing a patch test a few days before using the product. To do a patch test, simply apply a small amount of the oil (unheated) to the inside of your elbow.

If you don’t develop any rash or itchiness within 24 hours, then it should be safe to use.

If you do react to the oil, you may need to test different oils until you find one that’s best for you.

If you decide to try a hot oil treatment at home, use caution and, if using a store-bought product, follow the safety instructions.

Pay careful attention to the temperature of the oil. Because the oil usually needs to be heated, you risk burning yourself if you don’t let the oil cool down enough before applying it to your hair and scalp. To test the temperature, apply a small amount of the oil to your wrist before using it.

If your hair is dry, brittle, frizzy, color-treated, or prone to split ends, a hot oil treatment may be beneficial. By sealing the hair cuticle, the oil may help protect your hair from damage. The oil can also moisturize your hair. Hot oil treatments tend to work best for natural hair.

If your hair or scalp tends to be oily, you may want to use a less fatty oil. Jojoba and almond are good choices because they tend to be absorbed quickly. This helps to prevent an oily residue on your hair and scalp. Coconut oil may work better for extremely dry hair because of its thick, moisturizing consistency.

Before you get started, decide on the type of hot oil you want to use. Some popular options include olive, almond, and jojoba oils, as well as coconut, avocado, and argan oils. Once you have found the oil you want to use, follow these steps for a DIY hot oil treatment.

  1. First, wash your hair. Hot oil tends to work best on clean hair. This allows the oil to deeply penetrate the hair cuticle.
  2. Once you’ve washed your hair, microwave 3 to 6 tablespoons of the oil in a microwave-safe bowl for 10 seconds.
  3. Before applying the oil to your damp hair and scalp, test a small amount of the oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.
  4. To protect your clothing, place a towel over your shoulders. If you prefer, you can apply the oil in the shower.
  5. Run a brush through your hair to get rid of any knots.
  6. Apply the oil evenly throughout your hair and massage it into your scalp.
  7. Cover your head with a shower cap and wait up to 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, completely rinse out the oil from your hair, and follow up with your normal conditioner.

As with other types of hair treatments, such as hair masks, you can use hot oil in your hair once a week. If your hair is very dry, you may want to use this treatment every few days.

If you’d prefer a ready-made hot oil treatment to use at home, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. Some come in ready-to-use applicators that you heat, while others allow you to use the amount you need for your hair.

Purchase hot oil treatments online.

Many hair salons also offer hot oil treatments. The stylist will follow similar steps to the DIY treatment, except you may be placed under a heated lamp to heat up the oil.

Prices for this treatment can vary. It’s best to call your local salon for pricing. Keep in mind that shampooing and styling are usually charged separately.

Hot oil treatments tend to work best for natural hair that’s dry, brittle, or damaged. These treatments can also protect and moisturize your hair.

Although you can get a hot oil treatment at your local hair salon, you can also do your own hot oil treatment at home. The key is to follow all the steps in the process and to pay attention to all safety instructions.

If you have a reaction to a hot oil treatment, or if it doesn’t help alleviate your dry hair or scalp, follow up with your doctor or dermatologist. They can work with you to identify possible conditions that may be affecting your hair or scalp.