Why You Should Add a Hot Oil Treatment to Your Hair Routine

When hair is looking — and feeling — dry and frizzy, we often reach for a hair mask or consider finally booking that appointment for a haircut. If strands are a bit parched but they don’t need a trim quite yet, a hot oil treatment can help turn tresses from frazzled into shiny, smooth strands.

Hot oil treatments shouldn’t be confused with hair oils, which are typically used as a styling product to reduce frizz and give ends a polished finish. Hot oil treatments go a step beyond that. They are intensive treatments that only need to be used once a week, so they can easily be incorporated into a Saturday spa day at home. Most hot oils help treat damage from coloring, heat styling and overprocessing. Plus, they help restore luster and minimize the appearance of straggly ends. There are also hot oil treatments that stimulate the scalp to boost hair growth.

Depending on the instructions, hot oil treatments can be applied to wet, damp or dry hair and some can be left on as little as a minute all the way up to overnight for a major repairing job. No matter the treatment, it’s essential to make sure the temperature is right. The heat helps boost the treatment’s efficacy, but there is a reason why they’re called hot oil treatments and not scalding hair treatments. Most formulas are heated up with hot water or using the microwave, so it’s essential to handle them properly. Too hot a treatment can cause irritation to hands, scalp and hair. The treatment should be pleasantly warm to the touch, but not so hot that it will burn. (We’re not deep-frying here.) Those concerned can look for self-heating formulas that magically heat up when they come in contact with your head.

Schedule some time for a pampering session and try out one of these nourishing hot oil treatments.

[ Next: Why Scalp Exfoliators Are the Secret to Gorgeous Hair ]