4 Oils and Butters That Are Essential to My Hair Regimen


I’m usually a fan of formulated products, because, let’s be honest, any amount of book or Google research isn’t going to supercede a chemistry degree or extensive background in hair research. That’s why I mainly leave it to the pros. When I wrote my piece about not liking castor oil, a few people scoffed at me and suggested mixes with that oil, but no, I was talking about the purest form. Sometimes, that just doesn’t work. But I do have a few raw ingredients that I’ve used over the years that don’ t need the power of chemistry, and here they are:

Unrefined Coconut Oil

So I kind of want to put exclamation points after that title, but I don’t want to be obvious with my bias. When my hair was shorter, I honestly wasn’t loving coconut oil that much, but later I did a challenge, and found the best brands and ways for it to work for me. Nutiva Coconut Oil seems creamier than other brands to me, and my hair just likes it better. I use it in a myriad of ways – to refresh a wash and go (fluffing it over my hair), oil rinse, on my ends, etc- it’s just very versatile to me, and I can also use it to cook!

Rosemary Essential Oil

I used to find the smell of rosemary so cloying, but now I find it soothing. It’s definitely too strong to use rosemary oil alone, but mixed with a carrier oil, it has claims of reducing breakage and strengthening ends. I’m in. I add maybe six drops or so to 8oz of good carrier oil, like jojoba or vitamin E. I especially love to use this mix to finish off a wash and go or oil rinse in the shower.



Am I allowed to say water in this article? It may be so obvious, but I still have some people asking me how shea butter or other oils moisturize, and it makes me sad. Oils do not provide moisture! They seal it, with the exception of a few (and even then I wouldn’t sub them for stronger moisturizers) that have slight moisturizing properties. Water is essential to moisture, which is why you’ll never hear me pitching any product that doesn’t have water or something similar as a multi-day moisturizer or leave-in. Spritzing my hair with water makes it feel great, and it really doesn’t ruin frizz control or definition. You can use filtered water (which I personally think is better due to all of the pollution in natural rain) or tap water to refresh your wash and go if you don’t feel like buying fancy spray leave-ins. Water is just as good, maybe better.

Olive Oil and Honey


If you need a quick, natural deep conditioner, olive oil and honey is the best combo, in my opinion. The honey provides moisturizing properties while olive oil is great for scalp health and is even said to promote hair growth. Mix 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/2 a cup of honey to wet hair, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. I sometimes like to sleep with this mixture in my hair, but it can get messy since my hair is longer now. The picture above is from me after using the treatment in 2009! And it’s still awesome.

So what are you all using (besides castor oil, okay, just kidding)?

Picture of Elle D.

Elle D.

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9 Responses

  1. Sorry for the late comment.. Take an empty spray bottle like in the picture.. Put some conditionner put like ”5 drops” to fill the end of the bottle.. than put water in it.. Shake it.. Spray it on your hair.. Until you’re able to comb your hair easily.. Than put the coconut, shea, olive or any oil.. I’d suggest coconut. I’m a man and my cousin told me to do this. And my hair is growing way more than it was before.. Hope that helped you.

  2. My hair doesn’t seem to like any oil. I’ve tried coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, Shea butter you name it. Anytime i put in oil in it, it just becomes super hard and dry. The only thing it seems to like is leave in conditioner but i feel like it’s not enough. Any suggestions?

  3. I love avocado oil but also use extra virgin coconut (pre-poo); castor (oil rinsing and in deep conditioners); olive oil (in deep conditioners); and wheat germ oil (oil rinsing).

    I’ve seen some vendors market oil based products as moisturizing products. That claim doesn’t help ladies who are trying to learn the about healthy hair care.

  4. I really like olive , coconut, avocado, almond and….castor oil! Lol. I used to do honey prepoo treatments when i had a TWA. I should go back to it someday.

    I only got shea butter to work in my hair one time and i cant remember how i used it. ;(

    1. Shea butter only works for me if my hair is dry…If I put shea in my wet hair it just sits on top of my hair it doesn’t penetrate…..but dry hair it just sinks in and softens and enlongates.

    2. I would love to try avocado oil. I hair such great things about it. As far as shea butter, if you don’t like to use it raw, maybe you can try whipping the shea butter, mixing it with your favorite oils then applying it to clean damp hair. Then make a few twist or plaits and take down once fully dried? I always get very soft moist hair when I do this.

      1. You sbould definitely check it out. It applies so smooth and feels good.

        Thanks for the tip. Ill try it out that way.

        1. Yes I’m always reading about how smooth it makes your hair feel! Should I get a specific brand or does any brand made with good quality work? I hope you figure out how to make shea butter work for your hair. When all else fails shea butter is affordable, last forever and an awesome sealant, for me at least.

          1. A good quality one would help. I have used a good and bad you can definitely tell a difference..i use the Now! Brand. I hope so too because i put it on my skin lol i want to experiment it in my hair.

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