The short answer is no. I’ll provide a long answer to this with an explanation as to why I don’t believe in ‘greasing’ the scalp.

Grease has long been the go to product in the black hair care market. Growing up, it was all I ever used on my hair and the only thing my family purchased besides shampoo and conditioner. Finding Pink Lotion in middle school was like the big leagues.  Although it’s an outdated concept, there was some truth in the old school way of thinking. Our hair does need oils but there are much healthier forms of them than grease and healthy or not, our scalps don’t NEED it.

Let’s talk on the first point- our hair needs healthy oils. Many of the old school brands of hair grease we know so well are made of one thing- petroleum. Greases are basically colored Vaseline.  Lots of other greases contain solid mineral oils and other oils that are not very good for our scalps. These ingredients block the hair follicle and contribute little to the health of the hair. Healthy oils are ones that contain vitamins and minerals in a molecule that is small enough to be absorbed by the hair. Oils and butters like jojoba oil, grape seed oil, avocado butter, etc are nutrient rich and very beneficial for the health of our hair. It’s better, in my opinion, to stick to pure unprocessed oils or butters that you can blend yourself and steer clear of store bought greases. Always check the ingredients of anything you use. If you choose to buy a store bought grease, look at the placement of mineral oil or petroleum  on the list. The ingredients should be ordered by concentration, so products with bad ingredients at the end of the list are better than ones with bad ingredients towards the front of the list.

The second point I want to make is that our scalps don’t need grease. Our bodies are designed in such a way that our scalps secrete a natural oil called sebum. Due to the kinky and curly nature of afro hair, that natural oil doesn’t easily reach the strands of our hair. For this reason, we must use sebum substitutes to keep our hair from losing moisture. Oils and butters are great for the shaft of our hair. All the years that many of us spent ‘greasing our scalps’ should have been spent moisturizing our strands and sealing in that moisture with an oil, pomade, or butter. I think most people in the online hair community understand this concept, but for some reason when wearing braids, there are many people who still reach for something to put on their scalps. There’s no need for it. If you do suffer from dry scalp, it needs to be treated. Scalp and skin issues could very well be an internal problem and putting stuff on the skin will cover up the issue, but not get rid of it.

To summarize, greases usually contain cheap petroleum or mineral oil ingredients that block our hair follicles. Choose natural oils and butters instead. Use those natural oils and butters on the length of your hair- not the scalp. If you absolutely must put something on your scalp you need to cowash at least 3 times a week. Not doing so will cause dirt, lint, and dead skin to build up which is terrible for the hair. From time to time, I do use healthy absorbable oils infused with growth stimulating herbs and minerals. When I use these, the amount is minimal and I typically put in on my hair at night and wash it out the next morning. You may finish your braids and see all those pretty parts in your hair and be really tempted to slap some grease on it…STOP. Don’t do it. Save the fossil fuels for our cars.

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