Hot Oil Treatments Have Been Used Since the '70s, and This Is Why

Updated 01/11/18

Have you ever wanted to take defibrillator paddles to your hair and yell, "Clear!"? Sometimes our strands enter a dire code blue, and the resuscitation process is a bit more taxing than we expected. Enter hot oil treatments. Yep, we're talking about those little plastic tubes of amber liquid—probably branded Vo5—that you've seen stashed in your grandma's or mother's medicine cabinet. But don't be so quick to dismiss it as an outdated treatment—there's a reason it's been around for several decades, and that's because it works.

Before shampooing and after warming up the oil to a comfortable temperature, you can deposit the oil onto your scalp to stimulate blood flow and encourage hair growth while also coating the strands to strengthen them and help them shine. So whether your hair is kinky-curly or straight and thin, the new age of hot oil treatments is here to answer your 911 call.

Josie Maran Argan Hot Oil Self-Heating Hair Treatment $19

Josie Maran is somewhat of an oil maven. Her signature argan oil is a total skin savior (dry cuticles, acne, and fine lines be damned), so we're not surprised that her hot oil treatment is a complete godsend. Made (of course) with 100% pure argan oil, this treatment makes your strands four times stronger than their current status.

L'Oréal OleoTherapy Self-Heating Hot Oil $6

No pre-heating is required for this treatment—in fact, you're supposed to use it after shampooing (although, it also works as a pre-shampoo treatment). Massage it into your scalp and hair, and it'll self-heat for extra nourishment.

Lush Hair Doctor $11

While this thick, paste-like treatment doesn't resemble the consistency of a traditional hair oil, it has both cleansing and nourishing properties (fuller's earth and rich oils like coconut oil and lanolin, respectively). Your scalp will thank you.

Palmer's Hot Oil Treatment $7

Similar to the OleoTherapy, this treatment warms on contact, and then cools the scalp for a soothing sensation that also nourishes and strengthens dry, brittle hair. One Amazon user muses that you'll actually get more than the estimated five uses out of the bottle.

Queen Helene Cholesterol Hot Oil Treatment $4

Perfect for severely damaged strands affected by coloring, processing, chemicals, weather, and heat damage, this heavy-duty cholesterol treatment deeply penetrates the hair shaft to resolve brittleness and breakage. All you need is three minutes post-shampoo and you're closer to having shiny, bouncy hair again.

Shea Moisture SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum $13

This serum can be used as either a leave-in treatment before styling (no rinsing necessary) or as a hot oil treatment worn on the scalp and hair for five to 15 minutes prior to shampooing. Either way, your hair will be treated to a deeply hydrating, restorative dosage.

St. Tropica Organic Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask $4

Fortified with bitoin (a nutrient used to help hair grow) and organic cold-pressed coconut oil, this rich hydrating cream can be heated in the microwave and then applied to the scalp and hair for 20 minutes. You'll want to rinse and repeat, though, as the solution is so hydrating, it could leave a bit of a film behind.

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