The Best Oil for Pressing Black Hair

The best pressing oil will straighten black hair and give it body.

Photo: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Many African-American women will try anything to straighten their hair. They try pressing combs and oil, flat irons, blow-outs and chemical relaxers, and each one causes more damage than the next. Nobody wants heat damaged hair, but if you press hair with the wrong oil, that could be the result. The best pressing oil will protect hair from heat damage and give you a healthy, smooth shine.

Dangers of Pressing With Oil

Many women are vehemently opposed to using oil on their hair because of the damage it can cause. While there are many different natural and store-bought oils beneficial to your hair when used without heat, it's not recommended to press your own hair. Marvin Carrington, a stylist who spoke to "Essence" in 2009, believes women with chemically treated hair have the most risk. "Pressing must be done by a professional because the comb must be set at a certain temperature," he said. "Overlaying heat on top of a perm can be damaging if you do not do it correctly."

For Shiny Hair

If you're the kind of girl who throws caution to the wind and presses your own hair at home, there are certain ingredients that make some hair oils better than others. If you're looking to amp up your hair's shine, check the ingredients of your pressing oil or cream first. Vegetable shortening, castor oil and beeswax will contribute to an all-over healthier shine. A product with a high concentration of castor oil will give your hair the glossiest look.

For Body

If your hair is flat, dull and lifeless, it's crying for help. This is a major indicator that your hair is damaged from over-processing. Whether you've used too many chemical relaxers or too much heat, there are ways to inject life and body back into your locks. Check the oil-based product you're using to press your hair for ingredients such as corn oil and castor oil. For the best body, choose water-based products. They will not weigh hair down like a pressing cream with a high oil content. A little oil goes a long way.

Growing your Hair

Without protection, hair oil can get so hot it will boil the inside of your hair and weaken the strand. If you're looking to grow out shorter locks, this can be counterproductive because your hair is more susceptible to breakage (not to mention, it's a frizz disaster waiting to happen). To protect your hair, Carrington recommends Kuumba's Full of Locks Hair Oil, which creates a protective barrier between the heat of your hot comb and your hair.

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