When Should You Apply Oil to Your Hair? Before or After Your Shower?

woman with oil in hand before bath

  • As a professional hairdresser, I recommend you apply oil to your hair before your shower.
  • Because if you want to moisturize and repair your hair using oil, you should apply it to dry hair. That way the oil can penetrate the outermost layers of the hair and reach the core.
  • If you apply oil after your shower, the oil won’t be able to penetrate your hair and therefore it won’t moisturize it.
  • The only time I recommend you apply oil after a bath is if you want to use a few drops to get rid of frizz that may be left after blow drying or straightening your hair.


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Because  if you apply oil before your bath or shower, your hair will take full advantage of all the benefits and properties of the oil. 


Most oils, such as coconut or argan oil, contain vitamins, such as A, B, C, and D, minerals such as zinc and magnesium, and a large number of fatty acids, which nourish and repair the hair.

But for your hair to absorb all these nutrients, it’s essential that it’s dry. And I’ll tell you more about this later.


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That’s why I always recommend my clients apply oil before bathing.

Want to know why? Read on.


Why you should apply oil before your shower

Oil and water don't mix in a glass

Because any oil, whether it’s light like coconut oil or dense like olive oil, works best on dry hair.


Let’s go back to elementary school for a moment. You’ve probably done the experiment of trying to mix water and oil in a glass.

And when you did, you saw the liquids were clearly divided, not mixed together.



Because the density of water is greater than that of oil. So what happened when you tried to mix them in a glass? The oil floated.

Let’s apply this reality to hair. When you wet your hair, the cuticles automatically open, holding water molecules.

 If you apply oil on wet hair, those water molecules retained in the hair will repel the oil, which won’t be able to penetrate the hair fiber to nourish your hair. 


What will the results be?

  • You won’t manage to moisturize or repair your hair.
  • Your hair will be too greasy.


So, if you plan to take a bath, you should apply the oil to your hair one hour beforehand and leave it in for a minimum of twenty minutes.

Then you simply rinse it out in the shower with shampoo, and if you want you can use conditioner.

Now, there are two cases when you can apply oil after your shower. And that’s what I’ll talk about next.


You can apply oil after your shower if you want to get rid of frizz or protect your hair from the heat of your straightener

woman irons hair after applying oil

If you frequently use a straightener, I imagine that before straightening your hair, you apply a heat protectant to protect it from the high temperatures of the tool.

Well, you can also use oil as a heat protectant.

How should you use it?


  • After showering, remove excess water from your hair.
  • Put four or five drops of oil in your hair and let it dry naturally.
  • Once your hair is completely dry, you can start straightening it. The oil will protect your hair from the heat of the straightener.


 You can also use oil after your shower as a finishing oil.  If you dry and straighten your hair after your bath, you can apply one or two drops of oil to remove frizz and give shine and softness to your hair.

As you can see, in these two cases you can use oil after your shower because its purpose is more protective than nourishing.



If you want to moisturize and repair your hair, you should apply oil on dry hair before your shower. In this way, the oil will be able to penetrate into the deepest layer of your hair, nourishing and repairing it.

If you want to get rid of frizz after blow-drying and straightening your hair or protect your hair from the heat of the straightener, you should apply oil after your shower.

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