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Hot oil treatments are very popular since they are easy to use and give good results if you have very dry hair or hair that has been damaged by over processing. Hot oil treatments help to restore shine and condition to your hair. You can buy these deep-conditioning products commercially for around $1.00 per use. If you use two a week this can really add up, but you could make your own treatments at home and save money. Homemade hair conditioners are easy to make and are very inexpensive.

You only need two ingredients: oil and conditioner. You can use olive oil or just plain vegetable oil, which is even cheaper. Put about 1/4 cup of oil in a small saucepan and add a tablespoon of hair conditioner. (You can use any kind of creme rinse, this is good for using up conditioner that you didn't particularly like since you will be shampooing it out anyway). Do not use leave-in conditioners.

Gently heat the oil and the conditioner, stirring as you go along. Remember that oil heats very quickly and can burn quite easily: NEVER leave unattended. You are only heating it to the point of warming the oil and blending it with the conditioner. Once it is warm, remove from heat. Be sure you test the heat of the oil before putting it on your hair.

If it seems too warm, wait several minutes before applying. It is not recommended to use a microwave to heat the oil since temperatures are hard to control and you might wind up with part of it being much hotter than the other. Apply the warm oil to dry hair.

If your hair is long, thick or very damaged (as can happen to bleached, permed or dyed hair), it is best to use a comb to work it in and make sure that you have covered every strand, paying particular attention to the ends of the hair. Then you can wrap your hair in plastic wrap to help keep the heat in and leave it on for about 30 minutes. If your hair is shorter or not as damaged, you can just work it in and leave it for 5 minutes. When the time is up, you will need to shampoo the oil out. You will probably need to shampoo twice. The first time you use it, you might skip using additional conditioner. You don't want to weigh down the hair too much, but if you notice that it seems dry after shampooing it out, then you can use conditioner after shampooing.

For very damaged hair, use the treatment once a week at least, twice if it is very long or damaged. Otherwise, every two weeks is all that is required. If you have problems with your scalp, try adding some tea-tree oil to your hair treatments. Tea tree oil isn't cheap, but you will only use a small amount. It is a natural anti-fungal and can help greatly with dandruff-like problems and seborrhea. You can buy tea tree oil at health food stores.

You can also just do the ends of your hair (use less oil). You can make up a batch of it to keep on hand, just mix well if you notice the conditioner settling. Use a small squeeze bottle (you can reuse the bottles that have hair dye or perm solution, rinse out well) this will make it easy to apply.

As the condition of your hair improves, a once-a-month maintenance treatment is all that is needed.