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Do Oils and Butters Belong in Your Natural Hair Routine?

Debating whether oils and butters should be used on natural hair is spirited at best and downright disrespectful at worst conversation. People have strong opinions about the role occlusives play in natural hair care and everyone from YouTube vloggers to Cardi B have put their two cents in. When it comes to the “oils and butters” debate, we think it’s actually very simple. Are oils and butters being a part of your routine working for you? If it is, great! Carry on. However, if the money you’ve spent on hair products could pay for a car lease, if your hair never really feels moisturized, if your hair routine involves several steps and hours dedicated to manipulating your curl pattern, then an oil and butter-free life might be for you. Here are what some hairstylists have said about why using oils and butters may not be what’s best for your natural hair.

Woman Puts Her Hair Into a Bun - stock photo Close-up of mid adult black woman using a satin scrunchie to put her blown out Type 4 natural hair into a bun | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Getty / Grace Cary)

Should You Stop Using Oils and Butters on Your Natural Hair?

According to, Aeleise Ollarvia and Aishia Strickland, the creators of The 30DayHairDetox, raw oils, butters, or any other occlusives prevent water from penetrating the hair. Simply put, this blocks the hair’s ability to absorb water. That will prevent the hair from being hydrated. The more hydrated the hair the better.

According to Ollarva and Strickland, all hair types would benefit from cutting out raw butters and oils from their hair routine. Once the hair is properly hydrated consistently, all styles are easier to create and maintain. However, the people who really benefit from skipping occlusives are those who wear their hair in a wash-and-go style.

What to Use Instead of Oils and Butters

When it comes to starting an oil and butter-free hair routine, hair specialist Abena Palmore posted videos, recommending detoxing by using a clarifying shampoo and washing the hair until water no longer beads on the hair shaft and instead fully absorbs it. She also recommends using water-soluble products as stylers and sealants. This is to avoid product buildup which will inevitably prevent your hair from absorbing water.

Innersense Organic Beauty Quiet Calm Curl Control

$26 at Ulta.com

While this product is not oil and butter-free, it does follow Ollarvia and Strickland’s rule about only using them if they are formulated in a product and are not in the top five listed ingredients. The curl cream from Innersense’s number one ingredient is water followed by glycerin, so both ingredients hydrate the hair.

Innersense Organic Beauty Quiet Calm Curl Control | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Ulta.com)

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic

$24.99 at UncleFunkysDaughter.com

This oil-free gel defines curls, drying to a firm non-sticky finish that is still soft.

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: UncleFunkysDaughter.com)

Nurture Hydrating Mousse

$37.50 at NurtureHairCare.com

Not only is it easy to apply, it leaves the hair defined but with a softer hold and gives the hair lots of shine as well.

Nurture Hydrating Mousse | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: NurtureHairCare.com)

Kinky Curly Curling Custard

$18.49 at Amazon.com

This botanical gel from Kinky Curly is not only a go-to styler for wash-n-gos, but it’s also actually a great product to use for twists, braids, buns, and every other style. It also does a great job of keeping the hair hydrated.

Kinky Curly Curling Custard | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Amazon.com)

Whether you decide to cut butters and oils out of your hair routine or not, detangling your hair should be as easy as possible. HERE are our current fave tools to handle the job.

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