Nowadays, like most Black adults who spend a considerable amount of time online, I get most of my hair care tips from Youtube (because I’m by no means a capable kitchen beautician) and my favourite natural hair care content creators have been delivering a startling and very loud message over the last few years: ‘SAY NO TO OILS AND BUTTERS.’ At the same time, naysayers are also proclaiming in capital letters that the ‘No Oil And Butters’ method is a lie. As I sit here about to detangle my hair before my next protective style, with too many products and not enough time, I really need to know… who’s telling the truth?
How Did The ‘No Oil And Butters’ Natural Hair Care Trend Get Started?
Ditching or reducing the use of raw oils, heavy butters and creams in natural hair styling is by no means a new conversation, especially amongst curly hair specialists fighting the good fight against dry hair and breakage. Way back in 2013, NYC salon founder Jennifer-Rose Johnson caused a stir when she told viewers across her social channels that heavy use of raw oils and raw butters, and creams wasn’t necessary and actually DOESN’T help seal in moisture like once thought. Instead, she introduced a simple three step routine, and recommended people with afro hair should shampoo often (at least once a week with a sulphate-free product), and simply need one conditioner and a styling product such as gel for moisturized and defined curls and coils. More recently, Camille Janae, a curly hair and loc educator from Sacramento California, went viral in 2021 when her TikTok video claimed “oil and butters are making your hair more thirsty. In the short clip, where she’s drenching a client’s afro, she emphasized “water is the source of hydration, oil and water do not mix… the hair repels the water which leads to dehydrated hair, please stop doing this.”
How to have healthy hair:— Hair Hope Killer (@JenniferRoseNYC) November 19, 2020
1. Shampoo and condition OFTEN.
2. Use ONE styling product (gel OR wrap foam)
3. Get trims on time.
4. NO OIL. It dries out the hair by preventing moisture from the environment entering the hair shaft.
5. Cover hair at night.
Admittedly I instinctively joined the naysayers. Just water?! No leave-in conditioner at all?! How do you unlearn techniques that feel just as traditional as cornrows and braids? As Camille Janae explained to Loop Lifestyle last year, “In the Black community it is ingrained in us in our upbringing to grease the scalp, to use oil in our haircare, so when someone, even if they are Black, is telling you to stop doing something their mom did, your grandma did, your great-grandma did it can cause you to have strong feelings because it is a traditional practice.”
How Do You Add The ‘No Oils And Butters’ Rule To Your Wash Day Routine?
Do All Hair Experts & Brands Agree When It Comes To Natural Hair, Oils & Butters?
“This ritual has roots back in Africa and using scalp oils is culturally important for many reasons”