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Oil or Butter: Which Do You Use To Seal in Moisture?

Avatar • Aug 30, 2011

Jasmine says;

By now we all know that natural hair needs to be sealed with an oil or butter to preserve its moisture. But my question is; which works better? I’ve tried both castor oil and shea butter and I’m kind of on the fence. I’ve heard lately about some naturals making oil mixes (combining several different oils) to seal their hair also. I was just curious as to what works best for your readers. Do they seal with an oil or with a butter? Do they switch it up by season? I’d love to hear their experiences!

Ladies, are you team oil or team butter? Please share!

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Jessy
9 years ago

It’s whatever I’m feeling. Some days I feel like using oil, other days I feel like using butters…

Le Le
Le Le
9 years ago

Depends on what my hair responds to best, and that is dependent on the weather. Right now, I’m using a olive oil/shea butter mix. I hate how on different days, I get different results from the same product. Some days my hair will be soft, and other days it’ll be rough-feeling.

jenna marie christian
9 years ago
Reply to  Le Le

i agree..right now i am using an olive oil/coconut oil/shea butter mix and i love it..

JJ
JJ
9 years ago

My hair likes oils and I get less buildup than with butters.

Selfdefined777
Selfdefined777
9 years ago

I’m using a mixture of whipped shea butter with olive oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, and honey. I know it probably sounds a bit excessive but I’ve noticed a difference. It is a little “greasy/oily” during application but it’s worth it for how my hair feels after.

Le Le
Le Le
9 years ago
Reply to  Selfdefined777

Does the honey make your hair sticky? Or is it such a small amount that it doesn’t make it feel that way?

Selfdefined777
Selfdefined777
9 years ago
Reply to  Le Le

No, it doesn’t make my hair sticky at all. I use only about a teaspoon in my mixture. But I’ve learned that honey is a natural humectant, which is just a fancy way of saying that it attracts and holds moisture. I’ve attached a few old links about some of its qualities. I couldn’t find the exact article that initially put me on. I believe it was on natural sunshine’s first blog site but I hope these are informative…

http://naturalhairrules.blogspot.com/2009/07/honey-sweet-treat-for-your-hair.html

http://rockyournatural.blogspot.com/2008/09/ingredient-of-day-honey.html

Sieta
9 years ago

I find that butters keep my hair much more moisturised for longer than just oils, so I use butters.

sosoulful0125
sosoulful0125
9 years ago

Most of the time I use a mixture of both. In the warmer months I tend to use oils to seal in moisture, and in the cooler months (no cold weather in Florida) I use butters.

Krys
9 years ago

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sealing my hair with Castor Oil. I have noticed a huge difference in my moisture retention. I wish I would have done this a long time ago.

I still love my shea butter though!

anastasia
anastasia
9 years ago
Reply to  Krys

After much trial and error, I’ve discovered my hair loves my simple castor and grapeseed oil mix especially in summer. Winter is when I pull the shea butter and a bit of castor, EVO, grapeseed oil and some essential oils out of the cabinet an into the mixer for heavy duty strand love 🙂

ReShonda
ReShonda
8 years ago
Reply to  Krys

i LOVE castor!!

Sheena
Sheena
9 years ago

is your hair supossed to feel like it has a layer of oil on it? I just hate the way it feels and leaves my skin oily too. could thi be because Im using to much oil or that I may need to switch to a butter?

Rosie
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheena

for a long time i had this problem when I first started using oil. make sure you are applying the water when you’re hair is WET. during the week when I wake up i spray my hair with a water bottle. Not soaking wet but damp. I rub some coconut oil and fluff hair in place.

karlyne
karlyne
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosie

I believe you are using it in access. Once you can hear your hair literally not making a sound ( like when you rub it and you can hear the sort of crunch (lack of better words)once you do not hear that the his is moisturized. You can build easily.. you can not take back unless you wash. So start with less and build. Water, moisturizer and then seal ( I like Castor Oil as my sealant). Hope this helps you out as well.

Sheena
Sheena
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheena

Thanks ladies 😉

Tonya Juanise
Tonya Juanise
9 years ago

I seal my hair with butter. I use Kyra’s Ultimate Indulgence natural products. If you are looking for something to keep your hair uber moisturized, try her out! Before I started using her products I had problems with single strand knots, now I have noticed that I rarely have any and my hair stays moisturized for days! All I do is spritz my hair with my olive oil and water mixture and I’m out the door. I use the coconut hair milk as a leave in and then I use the water based mango butter moisturizer which does the moisture… Read more »

Tonya Juanise
Tonya Juanise
9 years ago

I know some women who still seal with oil after using a water based moisturizer as well, so just play with it and see what works for you. I dont have to use oil after using my mango butter moisturizer so I can kill that extra step.

karlyne
karlyne
9 years ago

I use my oil/water/gylcerin mix with Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil and final step of Castor Oil to seal. Every 2 days or so.

dasia
9 years ago

Personally I find that butters work better such as Shea Butter. It helps to keep my hair moisturized longer and makes my hair feel much softer. Oil works as well but I prefer butter because it’s thicker.

LBell
LBell
9 years ago

Assuming we’re talking about natural butters and oils as opposed to blends: Oils have always worked better for me. Shea butter has always just sat on my head, and in fact I only learned recently that when it coems to mixes (homemade or commercial), I do best with 25% shea butter or less. Even my shealoe has to be more aloe than shea if it’s going to work.

Re oils: Castor oil has been a godsend but again, I can’t use it straight because it’s too heavy. The heaviest oils I can use straight are olive and coconut.

Leslie
Leslie
9 years ago

Moisturize (Beauticurls) and Seal (Castor Oil)…

juicy
juicy
9 years ago

i used to use shea butter and while it left my hair soft it left it dull and crusty looking no matter how i mixed. so now i seal with cocnout oil and cocoon it (lol) with a grease. Yes i know, gasp. But it works and my hair stays moisturized and blinging. 🙂

Annie L.
Annie L.
9 years ago
Reply to  juicy

now I seal with coconut oil and cocoon it (lol) with a grease’

:))))))))))))))

I’m going to use “cocoon” from now on Lol!!!!

aiych
aiych
9 years ago

I alternate between unrefined shea butter and plain, unscented mineral oil (from CVS). The unrefined shea butter is good for stretching and it moisturizes but I have to reseal about 2–3 days later. At that point I use the mineral oil when I have drenched my hair in moisturizer, applied a little natural oil and then want to seal it all in for the next 4–5 days or so. I don’t apply any product after that until wash day so there is no worrying about whether or not additional moisturizers will penetratae the mineral oil barrier. Plain mineral oil trumps every… Read more »

juicy
juicy
9 years ago
Reply to  aiych

thats my exact routine…except i replace the mineral oil with petrol jelly… i get better results leaving the petroleum jelly as my last step.

anon
anon
9 years ago
Reply to  juicy

Do you then both use sulfate shampoos to get rid of these products to avoid build up?

juicy
juicy
9 years ago
Reply to  anon

i actually dont have that much problem with buildup. I cowash once a week and then wash every 2 to 3. I usually use black soap. which i guees acts as a non stripping clarifier. I also use a sulfate shampoo every now and again and follow up with a good DC. But my hair is thick and stands up to products well.

aiych
aiych
9 years ago
Reply to  anon

No, I despise shampoo, it’s a waste of money, might as well buy soap.

Buildup is not an issue unless I just decide not to wash my hair for a month or something.

I use bentonite clay/ACV, it cleanses and softens my hair, makes detangling easier, and it makes a great facial mask. Wash day is now spa day.

anon
anon
9 years ago
Reply to  aiych

Thank you both! I always wonder when people say they use XYZ, how do they use it.

janelle
janelle
9 years ago
Reply to  aiych

this makes a lot of sense. it’s basically how my aunts use to do my hair as a kid. i have to analyse my hair regimen now and see if i need to do more of this.

aiych
aiych
9 years ago
Reply to  janelle

Yeah, I realized that I didn’t like mineral oil in my moisturizing products, but alone it is superb for sealing. Old tricks work best sometimes lol

janelle
janelle
9 years ago
Reply to  aiych

I’m thinking instead of mineral oil they used castor oil, or something w/mineral in it, b/c all i remember about mineral oil is they gave it to me to “clean me out”. aka laxative.

aiych
aiych
9 years ago
Reply to  janelle

The stuff I use was in the laxative aisle and I actually bought it to clean out my ears. Then I just up and put it on my hair one day and voila lol

Cry
Cry
9 years ago

I use oil most of the time , by habit. but maybe i’ll start to alternate.

T.
T.
9 years ago

I’ve tried both and I prefer oils. I think the butters I’ve tried (shea and avocado) were too heavy for my hair or resulted in too much build-up or something, so my hair sometimes ended up looking rough and dull. Oils work much better for me. I don’t have a strong preference in terms of which oil I use. I’ve tried coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil… These days I’m using castor oil mixed with a couple of drops of argan oil and that’s been working really well.

HairItIs
9 years ago

On wash day, when I’m doing my style for the next however many weeks, that’s when I’ll use a heavier moisturizer and a butter to seal. Throughout the week, I use oil instead of a butter, because my strands are fine, and I experience less breakage during the application process this way (yes, my strands can often break just from the mechanical damage of applying moisture or oil/butter to nourish it; the irony of this does not escape me). Depending on how my hair is dealing with the weather or how recently my hair was shampooed, I still may have… Read more »

hehe
hehe
9 years ago

My hair and skin reacts the same way with butter which is dry and greasy. So I use oil when or if I seal my hair.

Joy
Joy
9 years ago

I’m currently using Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine to seal, but I’m interested in beginning to use oils to seal. I just haven’t taken the plunge yet because I don’t want the “Soul Glo” effect as I like to call it. I ruined enough pillow cases with oil when I was realxed.

Joy
Joy
9 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Btw, check out my blog 🙂 http://unfurlthecurl.wordpress.com/

binks
binks
9 years ago

Mostily oils since I’ am still searching for a butter that my hair likes

Zyaran
Zyaran
9 years ago

I personally like using butter better than using the oils. To me they are much more moisturizing vs the oils, since they just seem to be good for shine and such. Now I do like using Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut Oil on my hair because it works and smells so good. Now give me CD HHB and I’m good or I can make my own butter and just go from there.

anon
anon
9 years ago

Both, when I remember.

I’m pretty lax at sealing but when I do, I like Qhemets Aethiopika butter or Hairveda’s Cocasta Shikakai oil. It’s the only HV product I like. I notice some people are going back to petrolatum based products for sealing. Not me though. I hate greasy feeling hair even just on the ends.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago

I only use oils, haven’t tried butters yet. I love oils (coconut oil is the love of my life). The only problem that I have to coconut oil, is that it absorbs in my hair after time. Leaving it less shiny than it was when my hair is wet. I’m sure this is normal, but I’m looking for something that has a lasting wet/shiny look. I also have castor oil, which seems to be heavy, I have yet to use it as a sealant.

I’m not opposed to giving butters a try! 😛

Annie L.
Annie L.
9 years ago

I hate both, am I the only one? I never used either purposely to seal but for pliability and softness which may be the same thing.….I’ve had amazing softness and unending moisture layering avocado oil and undiluted vegetable glycerin on dry and misted hair. My hair is in a perfect balanced state with the two and looks and feels unreal. Every other oil on planet earth leaves my hair crunchy and greasy, I’m positive I’m low porosity. I like the weight and thickness of avocado oil as opposed to the runniness of others. I don’t even like runny leave-ins and had… Read more »

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Annie L.

I too have low porosity hair. I seal only my ends and only in the winter with castor oil or a shea butter mixture. During the summer, because I use heavier styling products to fight humidity, it seems less necessary to use oils/butters to seal. I’ve also had success with — would you believe it — hair grease. There’s a hair grease marketed as a coconut oil hair conditioner — can’t remember the name as of now, but it has both petrolatum and mineral oil and works great on my fragile, fine ends that need the utmost protection. I’ve heard… Read more »

Elaine
Elaine
9 years ago

Warm months: Oil to just my ends (castor oil and extra-virgin olive oil mix)
Cold months: Shea butter all the way! I do add EVOO to the very ends before sealing with my shea
Year-long: Coconut oil pre-poo to prevent hygral fatigue; I also oil my scalp with this mixture when I’m feeling saucy

Carla G.
9 years ago

I mostly use an oil/butter blend, so I guess my response would be, “I alternate.”

honeybrown1976
honeybrown1976
9 years ago

I’m an oil girl 99% of the time. I do have some shea butter in the freezer and might pull it out for the cold months, though.

Danyel
Danyel
9 years ago

On wash days I seal with a butter but I like to reseal during the week with a miture of grapeseed and coconut oil. I don’t know why but it really works!

Destinee
9 years ago

I use oils when I’m wearing out styles and butters when doing protective styles.

June
June
9 years ago

I prefer butters because it helps my leave-ins absorb, oils just swim on my strands with the leave-in. I do whip some butters and oils together, more of the butters, so the answer for me will be both. I use lighter butters in the summer and heavier butters like avocado in the winter.

df
df
9 years ago

i have a question i’m really hoping someone can answer. How do you know if you’ve sealed your hair well. I have this idea in my head that my ends are supposed to be smooth and curly if sealed well…my hair is kinky-curly so I just expect to have soft, springy curls instead of frizz everywhere. And it does happen when at first when I seal with Jane Carter’s Nourish Shine but then my hair frizzes up later. So, how do you know for sure? Thanks!

df
df
9 years ago
Reply to  df

i wanted to add that i get fairly defined curls by just moisturizing but when I add oil or shea butter, my hair either frizzes up immediately or eventually, it sucks. My hair seems to like creams as a sealer but the only creamy textures that my hair seems to like have water as a first ingredient. Would something like Shea moisture’s deep treatment mask be an effective sealer?

cygnet
cygnet
9 years ago

The only butter I’ve tried is shea, which I was able to get locally. I found it to be too stiff and heavy for my hair, but I kept it and used a lot of it anyway, mixed with other things. I’ve had it now for about three years, and of the several jars of blended butter I got out of it when I mixed some olive oil and honey into it, I still have nearly a full jar left, which I’m currently using on the portal incisions from my arthroscopic knee surgery at the end of last month. Small… Read more »

Amelia Nitrate
9 years ago

Lately I’ve been using an oil mixture from Africa’s Best, which has worked pretty well. I tried using Carol’s Daughter rosemary/mint oil, but like most products from that line, it made my hair feel a bit too product-filled and didn’t last for very long. When it gets cold (which is basically now in the UK), I run back to Anita Grant’s whipped butter. I still think that this has been the absolute best product for my hair, and when I used it my hair was extremely healthy. I’m actually about to try her coffee-chocolate butter because that smell seems best… Read more »

napfrocurlzgirl
9 years ago

My fave mix is avocado and shea butter w/avocado, jojoba and grapeseed, oils for cold months. In warm months, I use shea butter and avocado butter or cupuacu, kukumi or murmuru butter w/jojoba and grapeseed oils and some aloe vera gel. My hair can’t handle heavy products and doesn’t take kindly to build-up, but these are light enough for me to use w/o any problems. Every week on wash day, I always finish up w/JBCO on my scalp but this weekend, I’m making a revolutionary black castor oil!!!!!

smallfro
smallfro
9 years ago

Oils — avocado, shea, coconut, or olive. Not sure which I like best now. I got the shea oil from amazon.com and like it better than the butter, not as heavy.

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago

I don’t seal often because my go-to leave-in is oil/butter-rich and dosen’t require it. If I use a leave-in with little to no oils/butters, I seal with coconut oil–anything else would be too heavy for my hair. In the winter, I seal my ends with castor oil.

MrsCottonCurls
MrsCottonCurls
9 years ago

For me, it totally depends on how I’m styling my hair. If it’s going to be in a protective style for a few days, then butters it is. But if I’m wearing it out in all it’s glory, then I prefer oils. Butters tend to weigh down my fine strands. However, I love them both EQUALLY!

MrsCottonCurls
MrsCottonCurls
9 years ago

[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/semi blowout 4–2011.jpg[/img]

Janna
9 years ago

Both. Olive, Jojoba, Coconut, Shea. They all work for me, it just depends on the amounts.

K.
K.
9 years ago

I’ve never used butters but my hair is super dry since I cut my locs.

Coconut oil is my staple but I only use it when my hair is wet otherwise there would never be enough coconut oil in the world.

I’m thinking about trying butters…

AnaDion
8 years ago

Oil. The hairs toward the front of my hair are super fine and could never handle the weight of a butter- especially since my hair barely curls in that section anyways. Sometimes I do use butters on the back of my head, where the strands are thicker, but for the most part, olive oil is more that satisfactory for me.

Robbie Delli
8 years ago

Wow! This could be one of the most helpful blogs we’ve ever come across on thesubject. Basically magnificent article! I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

Delta P
Delta P
5 years ago

I make some of my butters at home :). I loooovvveee butters in my hair as a sealant and also aloe vera juice.

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