filter by category
April 6, 2010

The Great Scalp Greasing Debate


Tiana asks:


Hi CN Community,

I would like to know more about "grease" for our scalps. What, if anything, should we be using? I remember growing up and we used to grease out scalp religiously. Is that necessary for us naturals? Since I have been natural, I haven't had any dandruff- -but I also have not put anything on my scalp either? I am at odds! Help!

Tiana


________________________________________

Hola Chicas,

For the record, my mom religiously greased my scalp and hair with the mineral oil laden Isoplus or Ultrasheen. My hair grew like a weed...literally! Was it the heavy grease protecting my hair and lubricating the scalp, or the low manipulation (twice a month wash session and braided or twisted ponytails in between)? Either way, the routine worked :-)

On the one hand, I've heard that oiling the scalp can cause buildup and inhibit growth, but on the other hand, I've heard that it provides nourishment and feeds the scalp to stimulate healthier growth. I guess to each his own...

So ladies, natural or transitioning, do you oil your scalp? If so, what do you use (i.e. shea, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.), and what benefits have you seen?

Later Gators,
Nik

52 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

Good Morning,
I oil my scalp w/ coconut oil....Its absorbs really fast and leaves my hair shiny. I swear my hair isnt growing, just getting thicker...idk, I cant tell, and ofcourse, Im scared to straighten it to do a length check.
~PetiteBebe~

Anonymous said...

A lot of people had their scalps greased with this stuff while they were growing up. But isn't hair growth during your childhood and early teenage years due to the overall growth and hormonal changes the body is going through during those years?

I don't think that mineral oil is responsible for that growth, but I don't think it can necessarily prevent healthy growth either.

I cut mineral oil products out of my hair regimen, however I still use products that contain it on my extra-dry skin. It works like a charm for that.

aubin said...

My mom and grandmother also used heavy greases on my scalp as a kid, but now I think that the reason my hair grew so well then was because of low manipulation. I would have my in braids for 2-3 weeks (with regular greasings in between). I sweat alot in summer, especially from my head, so those heavy greases when I was a kid left me with a slick forehead (yuck!) and small bumps around my edges.

Now, a good alternative I've been using with success for a while is a mixture of EVOO and water in a spray bottle. When I two-strand twist my hair (about twice per week), I make sure to spray my scalp at the parts. Every once in a while, I put my hair in cornrows for a week or two, then I spray my parts daily to keep my scalp moist. On occasion I will use an applicator bottle to apply jojoba oil directly to my scalp and my edges. When I had some hair loss a while back (due to stress) that jojoba oil really helped - the bald patches were fully grown in within a month and I gained a little over a half inch of growth per month for the next four months.

My hair is very porous and tends to get really dry if I don't keep up with the moisturizer but generally my scalp is fine, it just doesn't get very dry so maybe that's why the oil spritz works fine for me but the greases are just too heavy.

aubin said...

My mom and grandmother also used heavy greases on my scalp as a kid, but now I think that the reason my hair grew so well then was because of low manipulation. I would have my in braids for 2-3 weeks (with regular greasings in between). I sweat alot in summer, especially from my head, so those heavy greases when I was a kid left me with a slick forehead (yuck!) and small bumps around my edges.

Now, a good alternative I've been using with success for a while is a mixture of EVOO and water in a spray bottle. When I two-strand twist my hair (about twice per week), I make sure to spray my scalp at the parts. Every once in a while, I put my hair in cornrows for a week or two, then I spray my parts daily to keep my scalp moist. On occasion I will use an applicator bottle to apply jojoba oil directly to my scalp and my edges. When I had some hair loss a while back (due to stress) that jojoba oil really helped - the bald patches were fully grown in within a month and I gained a little over a half inch of growth per month for the next four months.

My hair is very porous and tends to get really dry if I don't keep up with the moisturizer but generally my scalp is fine, it just doesn't get very dry so maybe that's why the oil spritz works fine for me but the greases are just too heavy.

Alice said...

My mom used to religiously grease my hair as a kid using something from the infamous Pink Oil line.

Now? I use coconut oil (much better!) but I only grease my scalp when it gets itchy/dry. Which isn't too often.

Anonymous said...

I have dandruff issue and my Dermatologist (who happens to be black, lol. My friends always ask what race he is when I tell them he said this) said that you should NEVER put anything directly on your scalp. He said your scalp cells shed naturally and putting grease on your scalp causes the cells to stick together and cause more dandruff. He said that anything I put on my hair gets on my scalp anyway so there is no need to grease. Now occasionally, if I'm wearing cornrows, twists, etc I do rub a lil coconut or jojoba all over my hair and I do try to get a little on my scalp too. But I defintely stay away from the Dax/Isoplus/etc hair grease Momma use to use on my scalp!

Claudia said...

I have a really greasy scalp to begin with, so I never ever use anything on it. My hair still grows just fine, it's keeping up with the trims that causes me trouble. I should really keep my hair in a protective style until it's passed my shoulders, but I love my hair this way.

NaturallyEJ said...

I seem to be the complete opposite, my hair for some reason is normally very dry, to the point where at times I feel like it is unhealthy. I know the mineral oils isn't suppose to be good for hair, but I sometimes use the ultra sheen (blue one) that is pictured above in this post. I have had the same small bottle for months now, so I do not use it often nor do I use a lot of it. Other times, I just get some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and part my hair to apply it to the spots where I feel it's needed. I don't get dandruff, but if my hair is constantly being washed and my scalp never gets any direct moisture then it tends to itch and feel really dry. I absolutely hate that feeling...

JustTrena said...

I used to grease my scalp too until a few years back when the grease would cause my scalp to flame up something serious! I think after we get a certain age, the stuff we used to do, that may not have been that good for us, catches up...kinda like when you're younger, you can eat anything and not gain a pound, but pass 30 and even the smell of something can cause your stomach to swell! lol

I don't think the mineral oil is good for our scalp at all but I do believe some of the natural oils help out a lot! My favorite is castor oil for my scalp.

MissCurly said...

I'm co-signing with the ladies on that our hair growth as kids was very fast due to low manipulation and just overall body growth as a child. Plus your hair looks longer as a little kid opposed to a tall regualr sized adult IMO anyways.

I may be the only child who's scalp didnt get greased lol. I did have low manipulation styles except on picture day my mom always had my hair out I guess to show off length. My hair was down to my butt when I was a kid. Nothing to do with greased scalp just like most everyone said when your a kid your hair and body is in a growth faze. As we get older and become adults it either slows down or stops.

I am trying JBCO on my scalp to see if it does what everyone is saying (increase thickness/ growth) but I only started doing it the last month. Not sure if it actually makes a difference too soon to tell.......

EllaMomi2002 said...

My mother used to grease our scalp too. I always had tons of hair, don't know if it was the grease or not. She used to use Bergamot (heavy blue grease with sickening smell) I hated that grease.

I personally dislike grease, so nope, no scalp greasing for me.

afrosuzee said...

I definitely think it came from low manipulation. I used to wear my hair braided, and I had it redone every week or two weeks. My mom didn't put heat on it, and it had not manipulation between stylings. It grew very quickly. My hair doesn't grow that fast now, but I also don't wear protective styles.

Sarah said...

I think it's kind of counterintuitive. Our scalps secrete oils all the time. It's our actual hair that can get very dry. So... greasing your scalp may not really help having dry hair.

beautywithcurls said...

Technically You Really Don't Need To Grease Your Scalp Because Your Scalp Produces Its Own Natural Oils. Since Our Hair Is Curly The Natural Oil Will Not Get To The Rest Of The Hair Alone.I Do Add Oil To My Hair Because I Will Not Always Comb My Natural Oil Through So I Will Add Oil To The Rest Of My Hair. Coconut, Jojoba,Olive Oil, Rosemary...Etc. Having Things In A Spray Bottle Help A Lot I Don't Like To Mess With My Hair Every Day.

It's Definitely The Low Manipulation, I Don't Really Believe Things Make Your Hair Grow That Fast, It Can Help With Thickness But Miracle Growth, I Doubt. My Scalp Was Greased Once In A While Usually When Braiding But Most Of The Time I Use To Brush Things In Like Oils And Indian Hemp Then My Ponytail In Or Braid It.

Anonymous said...

As a child my scalp received grease! When I started caring for my own hair as a young adult I ditched the grease and watched my hair grow like weeds. Theses days my hair grows really slow in the winter months and fast in the spring and summer months.

Heavenly Hummingbird said...

I always kept piles of grease in my hair as a child it was so greasy that I didnt have any bounce it was literrally stuck to my head lol (yuck) but as I got older I would use oil sheen. Now that I am natural I use ORS hair lotion and EVOO.

thelady said...

I used to grease when I was younger because it was the thing to do. As an adult I stopped greasing because I do not have a dry scalp and I hate product build up.

Angie said...

No oiling for me! I'm currently reading Ultra Black Hair Growth II and according to Cathy Howse a clean scalp will produce sebum (oils that replenish the scalps moisture) itself. So all you have to do is keep the ends moisturized.

Anonymous said...

I've greased my scalp since I was little. Now as an adult I still do it. For some reason my hair thrives when I use oil. Right now I'm using JBCO once a week and massage it in.
I can usually tell when I need to oil my scalp.

.cris. said...

My mom oiled my scalp religiously when I was a child and i still do to this day. When I was relaxed I would do it after my weekly wash right before flat ironing my hair. Now that I'm transitioning I don't do it as much, but when I do its when my hair will be out (like in curls) I do have dandruff in the crown so I especially pay attention to those areas.
I think it's helpful regardless, but like many things, in moderation.

beautywithcurls said...

You're Right Angie It's All About The Ends!

Anonymous said...

The only 3 times in my life that I have tried to put a little bit of coconut oil on my scalp I ended up with dandruff and it got extremely itchy (it never is.) I had to wash my hair the morning after. So my conclusion is: my scalp wants to be left alone.

When my hair was texturized, overprocessed and coloured, and I had no idea about what haircare was, I used to style my curls "sealing" the leave in conditioner with grease (100% paraffine).
This accidental sealing made me achieve mid-back length.

I remember one time I used a conditioner with shea butter in it and my hair litterally screamed in joy, as its diet consisted in a sulfates starter, paraffine and garnier fructis as a main course, texturizer and heat for dessert and absolutely nothing else. (hey maybe the fructis accidentally did the trick!)

V

Anonymous said...

Extra virgin olive oil and some coconut oil work the best on my hair...However, I use little bit of shea on my edges to lay it down a bit (my edges are REALLY kinky)...
My grandmother and mother used heavy grease, pink oil (you nmae it) on my hair when I was younger, and my hair was still kind of short (Then again, they were always doing something different with my hair-I had a Jheri curl when I was eight!). Now that I have a daughter, I just keep it simple: Shea butter all the way, and her hair is growing like crazy.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I mean to say "name," my bad - lol!

Marcia said...

I think it's the low manipulation. My mom would grease my scalp then braid it. It was super low manipulation because it was styled once a week or every other week.

Anonymous said...

I have been using Virgin Coconut Oil on my scalp for the last year and it has helped with dandruff.

Anonymous said...

i already have a really greasy scalp, as greasy as my German husbands scalp. but i do use lemon oil it encourages the scalp to produce more sebum, my hair is always shiny, supple and healthy!!!! no breakage or splitting ends. growth has never been an issue

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, lemon oil...interesting, might have to try that...

Moni said...

I don't grease my scalp. The closest I get to it is when I rub coconut oil on my hands, then massaging my scalp with my fingertips. I also sometimes spray my scalp with aloe gro (aloe juice mixed with my hair tea) during the winter to moisturize my hair and scalp.

Anonymous said...

My scalp produces enough oils to grease itself. At times it produces so much that I am distressed about cutting the scalp gunk while trying to keep some moisture in my * VERY DRY* hair. My mom was never hardcore with greasing my scalp specifically (my hair was always lotioned and greased though) and my hair grew well.

Notthecoolmom said...

My mom did grease my scalp and as I got older I would put something on it once in awhile, but I had dry scalp ALL the time and hated to wear a black shirt. Since I have been natural (1 year tomorrow!) I have not had any major issues and minor ones during the coldest winter months. I don't usually put anything specifically on my scalp, but I do pre-poo, seal and style with olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil.

Ms.Fenty said...

Up until about a year or two ago, I used to grease my scalp pretty often. My mom always used the green DAX on my scalp, but I hated how heavy and dirty it made my hair feel, especially with relaxed,flat ironed hair (I'm transitioning now). So I started buying the light, blue one, its not as heavy so I used it for a long time, but I have very dry scalp and dandruff and nothing I was using helped.

So last year I found this mineral oil and petrolatum laden product that worked wonders for me, it was AMAZING, and I would have kept on using it regardless of the ingredients, but my stylist told me that it was making some of her clients' hair thin out, so I had to stop.
Now I use hemp oil mixed with peppermint and lavender, and its not as bad as it was before, but it itches like crazy and there's still some dandruff (clean hair or not) so I'm still searching, I'll probably try jojoba oil when my hemp is finished (I read that it mimics your natural sebum).

And IDK about that dermatologist's advice because once I went a week without putting anything on my scalp and I was itching nonstop with serious dandruff (and I mean serious)

Anonymous said...

In Upstate New York:

I shampoo and condition my hair. Rinse the conditioner out. Spray wet hair with Isoplus Oil Sheen. Comb hair to the ends. Let hair dry on its own.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion i think it is all about genetics i also had my scalp and hair greased as a youngster with the faithful "blue magic" but my hair was always down my back so now that i'm grown i oil my scalp weekly with coconut oil since i did my big chop in 08 the length of my hair has caught to the length it was before i big chopped i really think it is all about genetics.... MS TONYA<<

rose said...

lol I know im sidetracking here, but I had a good laugh @ the hair grease treatment most of us got. I wonder where our parents got the idea? @ any case, my advice to the writer is try going w/out grease and see how it affects your hair...it might end up being a good thing. I know it was for me...My black Haitian hairstylist advised me against it.

Cess268 said...

my mom greased my scalp as a child and my hair was healthy. As I got older (also perm laden) i noticed that I kept dry scaly scalp and had to practically overuse "grease". Now that I am natural I use jojoba oil tea tree oil or coconut oil and I dont have to use a lot of it. my scalp is so healthy now that I can actually skip a couple of days between oil and moiturizing if I want and still have good results. so I dont know.

Anyaposh said...

I have major dry scalp & dandruff issues these days. I wash and conditioner my hair, then oil my scalp with olive oil. During the week, my hair is fine (I don't moisture with water/leave-in) but at the end of the week my scalp is dry & flaking off! This is not cool. I've tried the no grease way & my scalp still flakes! May be I should go back to the castor oil with mineral oil/petrolatum from Hollywood Beauty!

Aishah said...

I stopped greasing my scalp after reading Textured Tresses (by Diane DaCosta). In this book they dropped the mother of all epiphanies when they stated that a lot of African American women actually have OILY scalp, contrary to what we've ALWAYS been told. Unfortunately the texture of our hair prevents those scalp oils from being dispersed along the length of the hair so the oil builds up on the scalp and the HAIR remains dry. Dandruff comes from your scalp being too dry OR too oily!

Now this may not be true for everyone but it made a WHOLE lot of sense to me because when I have dandruff and I scratch my head I can scrape the dandruff from under my nails and I can feel that it is oily. Since I've started washing my hair more (which would be a no no if you actually do have dry scalp) and stopped greasing my scalp, my dandruff problem has pretty much resolved itself! (I went from washing my hair once every two weeks to about once every 5 days).

So now anytime a hairdresser tells me I have dry scalp I run the other way and have serious doubts about whether or not she REALLY knows what she's doing.

I hope someone else finds this info as enlightening as I did.

Ralph Anderson said...

Now a days in market many kind of oil, shampoo , and cream available for hair care but you above provide great info about "grease".

Lovelyn said...

My mother greased my scalp when I was little with hair grease laced with petroleum products. I survived the process, but as an adult don't think it was the best idea. I've gone in the same direction as Aishah. I wash my hair more often every 4 to 5 days and I use a mixture of rosewater, glycine and coconut oil on my hair.

amine said...

i think everyone's scalp is different and for my scalp, i use any natural oil i can get and shea butter to soothe it. when i don't oil it, it becomes itchy and dry and flaky and i know it isnt dandruff because it becomes well conditioned after i put some oil. i'm African and my grandmothers used to rub shea butter on their scalp to soothe it and there was nothing wrong with their scalp.

Anonymous said...

I hate the term 'greasing your scalp.' The scalp should be oiled with a nutricious oil like sweet almond, jojoba, or olive oil. Not greasy petroleum/ lanolin/ mineral oil based products. Yes the scalp needs moisture, but it certainly imo doesn't need grease.

Curly Gigi said...

In the Curly Girl book by Lorrain Massey, she recommends treating the scalp like skin which needs moisturizing. How to accomplish that, I guess is a personal decision. However, she does recommends cleaning the scalp once a week with a combo of 1 tbl. brown sugar to 3 tbl. conditioner. She calls it an Exfoliating Scrub. I guess this would clean the scalp and prevent buildup. Then you would co-wash as normal. Sounds good :)

Anonymous said...

Well my personal theory is that the grease protected my hair from the hot comb and i wore braided hairstyles so that is why my hair grew as a child.

I don't really oil my scalp as much. Only on wash day and 1xwk when my hair is in braids. I use un-refined coconut oil, monoi coconut oil or Parnevu t-tree oil for bumps. I prefer coconut oil because it keeps the scalp lubricated and breaks down sebum and dandruff.

negesti7 said...

I feel that there is no problem with greasing your scalp. Hey, i still do it. I have been using Dax (the green one) from the time I was small until adulthood. My hair is long and full. Remember this, I hair needs moisture and trust me grease is more that enough moisture.

momo7 said...

I used to get my scalp (and hair) greased all the time but my scalp seemed to always have severe dandruff. Also, although my hair was very long, it was either blow-fried or hot combed (I hated both); my hair would often get puffy and could not hold a style unless it was in cornrows (which I also didn't like). Since I stopped all that stuff about 5 years ago (the heat, grease, etc) my scalp has never had dandruff. I massage my scalp with coconut oil @ least once a week as a pre poo, but it's mainly grapeseed oil (its a very light oil) throughout the week as needed since the coco oil tends to ignite my acne prone skin. Of course my hair still gets puffy in humidity but it's nothing like before (if I would just look @ the sun out the window my hair would stick up back then lol) and my hair and scalp feel much healthier.

LBell said...

I really wish more black folks would let go of the notion that grease (or the right kind of grease) grows hair.

I grew up having my scalp greased religiously (Ultra Sheen blue, then later green) and then as a teen I tried various "growth" greases (most notably Sulfur 8). With all the grease put on my scalp from the age of 3 to 18 I should have grown 2-3 heads' worth of WL hair but my hair never got past SL. It had NOTHING to do with products and EVERYTHING to do with improper handling. I had to go (back to) natural and take my hair care into my own hands to realize that regardless of what product(s) I may put on my hair OR scalp, if I want to see length, I need to leave my hair ALONE as much as possible. The end.

Since going (back to) natural I have oiled my scalp on occasion if I noticed dryness. But for most of the past 14 years I haven't put anything on it.

@negesti7: Grease is not moisture! Only water gives moisture. Unless you're putting that Dax on a damp scalp...

KayDanai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I ABSOLUTELY have to grease my scalp. I tend to have dry, itchy,flaky scalp, and a bit of water and grease helps relieve that! If i want something lighter, I'll use coconut oil.

~Betsy

Netta-Bug said...

Stuff like this is SO confusing for a newly natural girl like me...I never seemed to have a problem with hair grease, probably because I had gotten so accustomed to it, but since I went natural I haven't greased my scalp because of the bad rep grease gets. My hair is very kinky and I have a dry scalp and dry hair. By mid day, any moisture I put in my hair has virtually disappeared. I'm at a loss now and I'm about to try out some grease in hopes that it will provide more, longer-lasting moisture.

Anonymous said...

Only when I have braids in, cause I can reach my scalp. I might grease it every two weeks, wash it every four.

Anonymous said...

I've had grease in my scalp since before I could walk. As a result my hair is now very thick (thicker than my mothers) but barely touches my shoulders on a good day. As an adult if I don't "oil" (which seems to be the politically correct term here) my scalp I have extreme difficulty controlling my hair and preventing my scalp from drying up. After a wash, if I don't apply oil within two days max my scalp will begin to dry, flake, and itch forcing me to wash my hair again and do it right. There was a brief period in my life when I was sick and the treatments made my body lose lots of moisture including my skin and hair causing breakage and heavy amounts of shedding daily. When I was well enough, I started using moisturizers, conditioners, and oiling regularly with everything from olive, to coconut, petroleum, etc. I stopped applying heat to my hair and tried to wear it down naturally as much as I could get away with. For a year I was pulling handfuls of hair out of the brush and comb and even the drain after washing it. If I didn't have such thick hair I would've had to worry about bald spots. At most it was difficult to put any kind of ponytail in. When the moisture finally set in, it took another six months to strengthen it up and return to a natural rate of shedding. Hair oiling is a must for me.

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...