The benefits of hair oiling for children
What can hair oiling do for your child and why should you include this ancient practice in their hair care routine?
A common concern among many mothers is whether or not hair oiling is suitable for their children. Kids’ hair is not the same as ours. It usually has a softer, more delicate texture and can break or get damaged easily in comparison to adult hair, so it’s wise to be cautious about what products should be used.
The great news is that while children often need kid-friendly shampoos, conditioners or detangling sprays, hair oiling is one ritual that is good for both mothers and children!
BENEFITS OF HAIR OILING
Kids with short or fine hair may find hair oiling encourages growth and protects from damage or breakage. Curly haired kids might benefit from oils as a way to define their beautiful curls and keep frizz at bay. Oils can also be great for avoiding tangles and making brushing less stressful for little ones. Regular scalp and hair oiling can have plenty of general benefits for your child’s hair, no matter their type. These include:
✔ Smoothness: oil adds lubrication which helps to condition hair, leading to a tangle and frizz-free mane for your little one
✔ Nourishment: regular hair oiling enriches the scalp and hair with vitamins and nutrients which improve hair quality, strength and in some cases, growth.
✔ Circulation: having an oil massage on the scalp boosts blood circulation in this area which promotes better overall scalp health
✔ Bonding: giving your child a head massage as part of hair oiling is caring and reassuring – the perfect opportunity to bond with each other!
✔ Calming: hair oiling has a soothing effect and gives your little one a sense of relaxation and peace.
If you’re new to the concept of hair oiling, don’t be worried! It is actually very simple. The best way to go about doing it is as follows:
✔ Warm the oil gently but not too hot. This warmth helps the oil to penetrate the skin and hair strands more deeply.
✔ Massage into your little ones’ scalp and hair for 5-10 minutes.
✔ Leave it to absorb for around an hour
✔ Wash it out using a suitable shampoo.
Repeat this oiling process once per week or maybe twice a month, whichever suits your schedule and your child’s hair type.
Don’t overdo it
Try not to use more oil than you actually need. Remember, kids are much more active than us adults and usually sweat a lot more often. The mixture of excess oil and sweat can block pores on a child’s head, causing itchiness and dandruff. If oil sits on kids’ scalps for too long, it can have a similar effect, so always wash oils out thoroughly and within the right time frame.
THE PROPERTIES OF DIFFERENT OILS
In this modern age, we are very lucky as we have such an array of nutritious oils available to pick from, but it can also be a little overwhelming for mums to know which one to choose. It’s always a good idea to avoid artificial fragrances and any other additives that may irritate a child’s sensitive skin, so a good starting point is to keep things natural. Oils generally have an abundance of nourishing properties, but it’s good to be informed about the nutritional nuances of many of the popular options you can find locally.
Let’s have a look through the specific benefits of each kind of common oil. This will give you the information you need to select the right one for your child’s individual hair and scalp needs.
Olive oil is an exceptionally popular hair oil. It is a good choice for dry, thick hair because it contains high levels of vitamin E. It is good for moisturising and softening hair, and also repairing split ends. Some of its chemical elements, such as squalene and oleic acid, lend an emollient property to this oil which is linked to boosting softness and smoothing the outer shaft of the hair.
Coconut oil is rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin E, protein and lauric acid. Protein helps to strengthen hair and studies have indicated that this oil is very good at guarding against protein loss, while also repairing damaged hair. Coconut oil has certain antibacterial and anti-fungal properties too, which are great for warding off dandruff and scalp issues. It is considered a cooling oil so it can be a good choice in hot weather. Equally, this also means it is better to avoid it if your little one has a cough, cold or is feeling under the weather at all.
Sesame oil is a wonderful hair oil. It is best known for promoting hair growth and tackling fungal infections. It is rich in fatty acids which combat hair loss or thinning, brittle hair and split ends. It also has antibacterial properties that fight against dandruff and additionally, it may have a protective effect against UV rays and the damage they can cause to hair, making it a great fit for the heat.
Mustard oil is a deeply conditioning oil. It increases blood circulation, is warm by nature and is often favoured in the cooler seasons. It helps with frizz, dryness and scalp irritation. However, it can cause a rash in a small number of people, so always do a patch test before applying to your child’s scalp and seek medical advice before use if you feel unsure.
Almond oil is incredibly abundant in Vitamin E, protein and omega-9 fatty acids. It is also an emollient, meaning it can be really useful at smoothing and softening hair over time, making those tangles easier to manage! It also adds plenty of shine and suppleness to your child’s hair, essential for a glorious mane. However, if you suspect your little one may be at risk of having a nut allergy, you should not use almond oil on their hair, or for any other purpose, as the allergic reaction it triggers could be a serious one. Always talk to your doctor for advice if you have any concerns.
Ayurvedic oils are widely available and are formulated more like a tonic than a single oil. Usually one of the oils listed above is used as a base, and then strengthened by a variety of herbs and minerals, such as Brahmi, Amla or Bhringraj, that promote a healthy scalp and strong hair. Sometimes this can be the best option if your little one suffers from any recurring scalp problems, like itchiness, congestion, dandruff or even dermatitis.
MAKING A CHOICE
As with everything, deciding on the right oil for your child’s hair is a personal choice. Using the information we’ve discussed here, you can pick out the one you think will work best, but feel free to switch it up depending on your child’s preference, how well it works for their hair and variable factors such as the season or your budget. Make sure to consult a doctor before using nut oils as it is possible your child may have an allergy, especially if there is any family history of nut allergies. This is not common, but it is always safer to check with a medical professional. Finally, remember that results take time and a consistent hair oiling routine.