How Long Should You Leave Oil in Your Hair? Can You Apply Oil on Wet Hair?

Body oils offer a lot of nourishment to your hair. It adds nutrients to your scalp and hair follicles, keeps your hair soft, and reduces frizz. Hence, one essential hair car routine is applying oils to your hair.

However, applying oil to your hair comes with its own rules and practices. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Making a mistake with hair oil can damage your hair rather than improve it. 

People are often confused about how long you should leave the oil in your hair. At one time or the other, you’ve probably wondered whether it was okay to comb your hair with oil in it, or whether you should oil the wet hair or dry hair.

This post will answer all your most asked questions about oiling your hair, so let’s get to it.

How Long Should You Leave Oil in Your Hair?

One debate we keep having is how long we should leave the oil on our hair for, and if there is really a one-size-fits-all answer to that question.

According to experts, one or two hours is enough to leave the oil on your hair, with a maximum of 6 to 8 hours if you’d really like the oil to sit for long. However, going further than that can be risky, just as applying too much oil to your hair is counterproductive and could cause dryness.

And on a note of warning, people with psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff should avoid oiling totally because it could make dandruff stick to your scalp and cause flaking. It could also lead to itches, red patches, and inflammation. 

Now that we know how long you should leave the oil in your hair, let’s find out how long you SHOULDN’T leave oil in your hair because, hey, oiling your hair is great, but letting it sit too long in your hair has its disadvantages.

Is It Bad to Leave Oil in Your Hair for Too Long?

Yes, it is, and there are side effects to doing that too.

When you leave the oil in your hair above eight hours, the oil can clog your pores by forming a layer on your scalp. It could also attract dirt and accumulate dandruff. Instead of feeling great, your hair would feel greasy and dirty and become difficult to wash off all the added dirt.

That’s why 8 hours is generally recommended as the maximum time to leave the oil on your hair.

On one hand, the longer the oil stays on your hair, the more your hair soaks up its nutrients. On the other hand, things stop being fun, and the same oil could adversely affect your hair when you leave it for too long.

At this point, you’re probably wondering where an overnight coconut oil routine fits into this picture. Well, an entire night is approximately 8 hours or just a little above that, and it could also be a good idea or a bad one, depending on some factors.

It’s a bad idea to leave oil in your hair overnight in the below cases.

1. You have oily hair and skin

If you have oily hair and skin, leaving coconut oil on your hair overnight would make your hair too oily. What you need is to balance and remove excess oil from your hair, not add to it.

2. Too much keratin in your hair 

Your hair comprises keratin- a protein that protects your hair and keeps it healthy. Sometimes, harsh chemicals, thermal heat, and other stressors can reduce the keratin, thereby making your hair weak and prone to frizzes and split ends.

However, you could sometimes have too much keratin that can make your hair stiff and lose moisture. If your hair already has too much keratin, using coconut oil in any instance, more importantly, leaving it overnight will further increase the keratin production due to its amino acid content.

Conclusively, if a few hours would do, why leave it overnight?

Should You Oil Hair Every Day? How Many Times A Week Should You Oil Your Hair?

Do you realize that applying oil on your hair daily means you also have to wash it with shampoo daily? 

One fact hair experts can agree on is that excessive shampooing strips your hair of its natural oils and could lead to dry and brittle hair.

So, instead of improving your hair health and softness, which you have in mind to achieve, you would be causing your hair damage in the long run, even if you use a good shampoo.

Many women in India get away with oiling their hair daily because they braid their hair right after without always washing it. But even then, the oil can clog your pores or attract dirt to your hair.

For best results, oiling your hair once or twice a week is sufficient and recommended by experts.

Can You Comb Hair After Oiling?

No. You shouldn’t be quick to comb your hair after applying oil.

When there’s oil on your hair, it is more vulnerable to breakage because your scalp is in a relaxed state. Oil can also weigh your hair down, making combing a dangerous activity that can cause hair breakage especially if you comb your hair forcefully.

It is best to detangle your hair before applying oil, not after.

However, if you don’t comb your hair before oiling or have to comb it after applying oil for some reason, then you need to begin gently from the tips and get to the top. It is easier that way, and it removes the knots from your hair, allowing oil to spread to your scalp and strands better.

Is Applying Oil on Wet Hair Good?

Applying oil to your wet hair is bad, because of the nature of water and oil. Oil and water repel each other, so applying oil to wet hair will prevent the oil from penetrating the hair properly, defeating the purpose.

If you want the oil to penetrate your hair properly, you must apply it when your hair is in a dry or semi-dry state. That way, it can nourish your hair and scalp properly.

If you have dry and brittle hair, you should apply oil on your hair when it’s damp or spray some water on your hair before applying the oil to your hair.

Although some persons still apply oil to wet hair based on preference, the fact is that oils can’t penetrate the shaft of wet hair as well as they can penetrate dry hair.

As means of a middle ground, damp or semi-dry is ideal.

When Should You Wash Hair After Applying Oil?

You should wash oil off your hair on the same day you apply the oil, but of course, the timing is what differs.

As we specified earlier, you should leave oil in your hair for a minimum of 1 to 2 hours and a maximum of 8 hours.

When you apply oil to your hair, let it sit for how long you want it to, and then wash it off with shampoo.

However, if you have reasons to keep oil overnight, you can apply it before bed and wash it off early the next day. Don’t leave it on for too long after you wake up, and don’t consider leaving it for 24 hours.

Reasons for leaving oil in your hair overnight include wanting to expose your hair to intensive treatment to handle excessive frizz, coarseness, and dry scalp, or wanting to make your morning preparation faster.

Final Words:

Oiling is great for maintaining and improving your hair health, but too much of everything is bad. You should do it once or twice a week and wash it off in a few hours.

When you do your oiling right, you can get beautiful, healthy hair that you’ll love. With the pointers in this article, you can do right by your hair and enjoy the results.