Should You Do Hot Oil Treatment on Wet or Dry Hair?

Written by Shehnaz Shirazi

Updated on

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hot oil treatment on wet or dry hair?

Hot oil treatments have been a popular hair care practice for decades, offering numerous benefits to improve the health and appearance of the hair.

But one question often arises: whether to perform a hot oil treatment on wet or dry hair. While both methods have pros and cons, hot oil treatments yield better results on damp hair.

Let me explain why you should do it this way …

Hot Oil Treatment is Better on Damp Hair

When hair is damp, the cuticles are slightly open, allowing the oil to penetrate the hair shaft more easily to nourish and moisturize the hair more effectively.

The cuticles also seal back together as the hair dries, which means that the hair will retain the moisture and nutrients it obtains from the oil. Damp hair is softer and more pliable than dry or wet hair, making it easier to apply the oil in hard-to-reach areas without pulling or tugging the hair.

Why Avoid Hot Oil Treatment on Dry Hair?

When hair is dry, the cuticles are closed and less receptive to oil. Applying hot oil to dry hair can result in excessive buildup and residue on the surface of your strands, which can cause the cuticles to clump together.

This can cause the hair to feel weighed down and dirty, making it more difficult to style. In some cases, it may also cause an oily scalp.

Why Avoid Hot Oil Treatment on Wet Hair?

Water and oil do not mix. They are immiscible, meaning they do not mix or dissolve in one another. When hot oil treatment is applied to wet hair, the water will repel the oil, reducing its effectiveness in nourishing and moisturizing the hair.

Therefore, if you apply hot oil treatment to dry or wet hair, you’re just wasting the product as the treatment will not yield the best results in both cases.

Things to Consider Before a Hot Oil Treatment

The effectiveness of hot oil treatments can vary from person to person based on factors such as hair type, texture, condition, scalp sensitivity, and the product used. It is important to consider these factors when deciding if a hot oil treatment is right for you.

Here is a list of what you need to consider before deciding on a hot oil treatment:

Hair Type and Texture

Different hair types have different needs and may react differently to hot oil treatments. It’s important to consider your hair type and texture before choosing a hot oil and treatment method.

For example, people with low porosity hair should be cautious about applying hot oil treatments because the hair cuticle layer is tight and does not easily absorb products. This can result in greasy buildup of the hot oil treatment on the hair.

People with fine hair may struggle with the oil clogging their scalp because heavy products easily weigh fine hair down. So instead of the oil coating the hair strands, they end up mostly on the scalp.

Scalp Sensitivity

Scalp sensitivity refers to the sensitivity of the skin on the scalp to certain products, including hot oil treatments. People with sensitive scalps may experience itching, redness, irritation, or other forms of discomfort when using hot oil treatments. Various factors, including allergies, skin conditions, and chemical sensitivities, can cause this sensitivity.

When using hot oil treatments, it is important to consider hot oil treatments formulated for sensitive skin and avoid products containing harsh chemicals or fragrances. Additionally, they should always do a patch test before applying the hot oil treatment to their scalp to ensure they do not have an adverse reaction.

The Product

Consider a product with only natural ingredients, and avoid harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances. Many hot oil treatments are manufactured with a blend of oils and essential oils, which may cause irritation on their own or when combined. Some essential oils have been known to irritate sensitive skin types, so it is important to check the ingredients list before using any hot oil treatment.

Best Hot Oil Treatments For Hair to Consider

1. Alberto VO5 Hot Oil Treatment

Product Summary


  • No alcohol, no paraben, no petroleum, no silicone, and no mineral oil.
  • Protects hair from dryness and breakage.
  • Makes hair feel silky soft.
  • Easy application.


  • Small tube.

The Alberto VO5 hot oil treatment is a deep conditioning treatment for all hair types, including curls and coils. Its unique formula is enriched with five vitamins to deeply hydrate the hair from roots to ends, resulting in healthy and lustrous hair that is soft to the touch.

The benefits of using Alberto VO5 hot oil include the following:

Nourishment: The five nourishing vitamins in the product deeply penetrates your hair, nourishing it from the inside out and leaving it feeling soft and silky.

Revitalization: The hot oil treatment helps revive dull and damaged hair, giving it a new lease of life.

Easy application: Apply the product to your hair, massage it, and let it work its magic.

Healthy appearance: The hot oil treatment leaves your hair with a radiant glow.

The product has no nasties like alcohol, paraben, silicone, and mineral oils, making it an ideal product for people with natural hair.

2. Skin Said Yes Hot Oil Treatment

Product Summary


  • 5 options for different hair needs.
  • 100% natural and vegan.
  • Made with plant-based oils.
  • Safe for color-treated hair.
  • No synthetic ingredients like silicone and mineral oils.
  • You also get 4 cornstarch caps.
  • Dermatologically-checked.
  • Lasts up to 2 months.


  • Pricey but good value for money.

Skin Said Yes is a new cosmetics brand that makes 100% natural, dermatologically-tested, and vegan-friendly products without silicone and artificial fragrances.

Their hot oil treatment is one of the finest for healing dry and damaged hair while stimulating the scalp for growth.

Its blend of restorative oils extracts from Inca Inchi seed, baobab, camellia, and sweet almond deepens and seals the cuticles for maximum hydration without leaving any oily residue.

The scent of rosemary, thyme leaf, peppermint, and lavender oils adds a cool, refreshing feel to the hair while leaving behind a pleasant aroma that lingers long after use. The product comes in a 198 ml plastic bottle with an airtight pump dispenser for easy application and hygiene.

The brand also makes 5 different types of hot oil treatments that address different needs:

  • Hair growth hot oil: Contains castor oil and black seed oil.
  • Hair loss reduction hot oil: Contains thyme, peppermint, and blackseed oils.
  • Scalp moisturizer hot oil: It contains argan oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.
  • Hair strength hot oil: Contains castor oil and jojoba oil.
  • Damage and split ends prevention hot oil: Contains argan oil and jojoba oil.

3. OKAY Jamaican Black Castor Oil Hot Oil Treatment

Product Summary


  • Reduces hair loss.
  • Improves hair elasticity.
  • Makes hair thicker and more manageable.
  • No paraben, no alcohol.
  • cruelty-free brand.


  • Divided opinions on the scent.

The OKAY Jamaican Black Castor Oil Hot Oil Treatment is a highly concentrated formula designed to minimize hair damage and restore strength.

It is the best hot oil treatment for hair breakage, frizz, split ends, hair elasticity restoration, and hair loss prevention.

It has Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids and pure Jamaican castor oil, making the product an even better choice for people with afro hair textures.

My only gripe with this product is the divisive smell. Some people seem to love the earthy scent, and some do not.

4. CHI Luxury Black Seed Hot Oil Therapy

Product Summary


  • Serum-like texture.
  • Customers love the smell.
  • Rejuvenates stressed out hair.
  • Can be used on dry hair.


  • Too small.

The CHI Luxury Black Seed Hot Oil treatment is a luxurious hair care product designed to nourish and rejuvenate damaged, dry, and over-processed hair. Infused with black seed oil, this treatment is rich in vitamins and minerals that help to repair and strengthen hair from within.

The hot oil treatment can be used as a post-shampoo treatment, helping to penetrate the hair shaft for maximum hydration and nourishment. Its formula works by restoring the hair’s natural moisture balance, helping to eliminate dryness, brittleness, and split ends.

This product is unique in its use of black seed oil, known for its strengthening and moisturizing properties. Black seed oil is also rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the hair from environmental damage, such as sun exposure, pollutants, and styling heat.

CHI Luxury Black Seed Intense Repair Hot Oil Treatment is suitable for all hair types but particularly beneficial for those with damaged, dry, or over-processed hair. It is also a great option for those looking for a natural, nourishing treatment that will help improve their hair’s overall health.

5. OKAY Argan Hot Oil Hair Treatment

Product Summary


  • Tames frizz.
  • Lightweight and non sticky.
  • Improves hair texture.
  • Makes hair shiny.

The OKAY Argan Hot Oil Treatment is a 100% natural hair care product designed to nourish, moisturize, and restore dry, brittle, stressed, and damaged hair. This treatment is formulated with a blend of nourishing oils, including Jojoba, Apricot, Grapeseed, Carrot Seed, and Tamanu Oil, that help to soften hair strands and improve hair appearance.

It also helps to reduce frizz and split ends while making your hair look shiny and healthy. The OKAY Argan Hot Oil Treatment is suitable for all hair types, including colored or bleached.

How to Do Hot Oil Treatment on Damp Hair?

  1. Start with clean hair:Before starting, ensure your hair is clean and damp but not soaking wet. You can either towel dry or blow-dry your hair until it is damp.
  2. Choose the right oil:Select an oil best suited to your hair type. Some popular options include olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and argan oil. You can also use a pre-made hot oil treatment product.
  3. Heat the oil:Place the oil in a heat-safe bowl and heat it in the microwave until it is warm to the touch but not hot. Be sure to test the temperature of the oil before using it to avoid burning your scalp or skin.
  4. Apply the oil:Pay careful attention to the dry ends, and apply the oil to your hair, working your way up to the roots. Make sure to fully saturate your hair, but be careful not to overload it.
  5. Cover your hair:Wrap your hair in plastic wrap or a shower cap to keep the heat in and allow the oil to penetrate. You can also use a warm towel to cover your hair.
  6. Leave the oil on for 20-30 minutes:Allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes so it has time to penetrate and nourish the hair. You can also use a plastic cap or a hooded dryer to intensify the heat and enable faster absorption. If your hair is coarse and dry, you can leave the cap in the hair overnight for best results.
  7. Rinse the oil out:Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water (not hot water) to remove all traces of the oil. You may need to use a mild shampoo to remove any remaining oil.
  8. Style your hair:After the hot oil treatment, you can style your hair as desired. Your hair should be left feeling soft, smooth, and hydrated.

It’s important to note that everyone’s hair is different, so you may need to adjust the amount of oil you use, the length of time you leave the oil on, and the frequency of your hot oil treatments to get the best results for your hair.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the benefits of hot oil treatment on damp hair and achieve healthier, more beautiful hair.

Do You Need to Rinse Out the Hot Oil Treatment?

To avoid greasiness and buildup, rinse out the hot oil treatment thoroughly. Once you’ve allowed the oil to sit on your hair for a while, the oil’s ingredients have already penetrated the cuticle layer to deliver nutrients where the hair needs most.

When the hair starts to dry, the cuticle cells close. If you don’t rinse the remaining oil, it will only create buildup by sitting on top of an impenetrable cuticle layer.

How Often to Do Hot Oil Treatment?

The frequency of hot oil treatments depends on several factors, including the type of oil used, the condition of your hair, and the results you are trying to achieve.

For healthy hair, it’s recommended to do a hot oil treatment once a month to maintain its moisture levels. For dry, damaged, or chemically treated hair, you may need to do a hot oil treatment more frequently, such as once a week or twice a month.

Listen to your hair and observe its condition. If you notice your hair becoming oily or weighed down after a hot oil treatment, you may need to reduce the frequency. On the other hand, if your hair is still feeling dry or brittle, you may need to increase the frequency.

Keep in mind that too much oil can cause build-up on the scalp and lead to hair problems, so it’s important to use the right amount of oil for your hair type and follow a proper washing and conditioning routine to remove all traces of the oil after the treatment.

Don’t Waste Your Hot Oil!

Clean damp hair is the trick to getting the best out of a hot oil treatment.

Whether doing a DIY hot oil treatment or using a ready-made product, If you want the oil to be absorbed quickly without leaving residues or making your hair feel flat, do it right after you’ve towel-dried your hair. Trust me. It’s a major difference!

About the Author

Shehnaz ShiraziShehnaz Shirazi

Shehnaz Shirazi has been writing in the beauty and cosmetics industry for over 8 years, sharing her expansive hair care and beauty knowledge. Shehnaz researches and tests new hair care trends and publishes her insights here.