Coconut oil, argan oil, castor oil… The list goes on and on, and there are so many oils – raw and compounds – that can help you achieve the shiny, healthy mane you’ve been dreaming of. I personally love hair oils. It’s been difficult to find the right one for me, and I had so many different hair situations that effectively turned experimenting with new hair care routines into a nightmare.

In comparison, I probably had a better chance at chopping it off and trying to win the Squid Game instead. But the wait, the stress, and the multiple “I’ll just go with a ponytail” days finally pay back. Because when you’ll find the right product for your hair, you’ll never let it go (sorry, Elsa). 

But what oil is the best for your hair? What are the differences between all these products and what do they do? Let’s find out together. The first factor we need to consider is: what is your specific need? Every hair type and scalp situation is different and works for one may not work for another. Oiling your hair in general can be a long-term life saver and there are some common grounds to this haircare technique. 

For example, regardless of your hair type a clean and moisturised scalp is home to healthy follicles, that will grow strong, beautiful hair. Oiling your hair in general helps locking in moisture, keeping the cuticles of your hair down and maximising its shine; it also protects from heat, one of the worst healthy hair’s enemies; last but not least, hair oils are a powerful ally in getting the best results from your natural hair’s growth.

1. Hair Oil For All Hair Types: Coconut Oil (back to index)

One oil to rule them all – Coconut oil is universally recognised as the number one choice for many haircare enthusiasts. It’s cheap, it smells lovely and its benefits space from hair beauty to skincare, guts well-being and healthy cuisine. And this is why it’s also easily found in your favourite supermarket. Be careful: what you want to buy is unrefined (also known as virgin) coconut oil (or even extra virgin coconut oil) for the best results.

Virgin coconut oil is raw, pure coconut oil with no preservatives; at cold and average temperatures it looks like a thick, cloudy coloured butter and it melts on your hands with the warmth of your body temperature. Coconut oil is an awesome natural oil for your hair - to be spread down your hair shaft and ends as it is, or blended with your favourite hair mask ingredients as a moisture booster. The downside is that coconut oil is an extremely heavy oil, and too much of it will actually lead to the opposite of your desired results.

An excess of coconut oil can promote protein build-up, turning your tresses brittle and easily damaged by other factors, such as heat and overly-enthusiastic brushing. In order to know if coconut oil is the right match for you, it is vital that you know your hair porosity first. Dry or coarse hair usually reject coconut oil, possibly resulting in breakage. 

Fine or medium hair generally absorb it, increasing growth, shine and density. If you find that this natural superfood is doing more damage than good to your locks, give it a second chance! Coconut oil is widely known it for its other benefits like healthy skin, teeth, and diet, and can be easily repurposed.

2. Hair Oil For Damaged Hair: Castor Oil (back to index)

Extracted from the Ricinus communis plant, castor oil is a popular natural treatment and more often than not a guest start in many natural beauty products. As it’s extremely rich in ricinoleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid), castor oil is naturally humectant and useful in retaining moisture. 

Though applying castor oil to the skin is considered safe for most, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people, so make sure you do your research before considering castor oil for your beauty routine. Applying castor oil to the hair on a regular basis helps lubricate the hair shaft, decreasing the chance of breakage. Although it’s not specifically advertised for this property in particular, castor oil – given its ability to reduce inflammation - has been noticed to be a valid ally in battling dandruff and dry, flaky scalp. 

Castor oil has a natural thick texture, and it’s best paired with a lighter carrier oil such as olive oil or the aforementioned coconut oil. For an optimal scalp treatment, try using this mixture on your roots, put on a shower cap and leave it on overnight. Wash and rinse as usual the next morning and make this your weekly routine for long term results!

3. Hair Oil For Frizzy Hair: Argan Oil (back to index)

Native to the beautiful lands of Morocco, argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree and it’s been a popular addition to both Moroccan kitchens and cosmetic routines. After gaining extreme popularity within the beauty enthusiasts of the world, argan oil is now generally worshipped as beauty elixir and it even became the face of many professional haircare brands (think of Nashi Argan or Moroccanoil). 

You probably have already heard of it and know it's rich in antioxidants and vitamins, but what exactly is it and what does this do for your hair? First of all, let’s analyse its miracle properties: argan oil helps control frizz, adds shine, favours elasticity and prevents breakage. It works well combined with other oils, and it’s safe to use every day. It is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E – all the good stuff to add vitality to hair and skin, and finally: argan oil can generally be used on most hair types

When thinking of your hair type and your personal needs, what you want to consider is the composition of your argan oil. Full strength pure argan oil is good for thick, curly hair and overly processed hair; for fine hair and/or oily scalp, a diluted version would be a better option as you want to avoid weighing your hair down. Argan oil is recommended as a conditioner, and spread on the mid length of your hair when styling for a shiny, frizz-free finish.

Also, a few drops added to your hair mask and left on for 15 to 30 minutes will smooth crisped out hair shafts and seal split ends. When buying, remember: authentic argan oil has a rich, golden hue. A lighter colour suggests the oil is not 100% pure or it’s been filtered (losing majority of its miracle properties). Argan oil does not promote hair growth per se, although its moisturising benefits can play a key role in healthier hair follicles (responsible for your hair growth). 

4. Hair Oil For Dandruff And Dry Scalp: Jojoba Oil (back to index)

Pronounced ho-ho-ba, this oil is extracted from the jojoba plant (a shrub native to the desert areas of the United States and Mexico) and it’s been a popular ingredient in many beauty products since the 70s

Fashionably late to the party, jojoba oil’s chemical structure resembles the oil that is produced naturally by our scalps – also known as sebum. Because of its infectious popularity and cheap prices, jojoba oil has been at the centre of a lot of hair and beauty talk. Whilst some of the claims on its benefits have been scientifically proved, some of the myths around jojoba oil turned out to be far-fetched. 

Although jojoba oil is a great moisturiser and to this day it’s included in the recipes of many popular shampoos and conditioners, the oil’s reputation as a direct hair growth stimulant is not supported by research. Therefore, it is not indicated in treating hair loss, alopecia or any other hair disorders for that matter. 

A single tablespoon of warmed up jojoba oil (or two, if you have long hair) can work wonders on your mane if locking moisture in is what you need: remember that it’s not advised to apply the product directly on your scalp as it may clog your pores. 

5. Hair Oil For Dry Hair: Olive Oil (back to index)

An essential in your pantry if you – like me – love Mediterranean food, olive oil can also be your best friend when it comes to taking care of your mane. Olive oil’s primary chemical elements are oleic acid, palmitic acid and squalene, widely known for their softening characteristics. For hair and skin, the key to maintaining a youthful, bright look is elasticity, which can be achieved and maintained with emollients. 

Although science didn’t show any particular interest in backing up olive oil’s popularity in haircare, many beauty gurus include it in their self-care routine claiming it nourishes the hair shaft and smooths hair cuticles, promoting moisture and shine. When using olive oil, measurements are essential as it can be difficult to rinse out. Your best bet would be guesstimating based on the length of your tresses and your desired level of moisture. If you have dry scalp, olive oil is also safe to be massaged onto your skin. Olive oil can be used for deep conditioning too: a 15 minutes leave-in session should be more than enough to restore smoothness after a bad hair day.

Is olive oil right for your hair type? Generally speaking, olive oil is pretty safe to use on every hair type, although it works best with thick or overly-processed hair (we’re talking bleach, perms and relaxed). Remember to wait at least 72 hours before the initial treatment to apply olive oil; in case your hair is bleached, I would recommend testing olive oil on a single hair strand to make sure its green shade is not affecting your colour.

6. Hair Oil For Coarse Hair: Pracaxi Oil (back to index)

If you’ve been paying attention to the latest TikTok hair trends, you surely have heard of pracaxi oil, which has been sponsored as liquid gold for dull strands. But people with coarser hair will know, it’s not easy to find a product able to treat coarse hair experiencing dryness. Majority of the oils out there end up weighing your hair down, disrespecting its natural shape. It can be disheartening, but don’t give up to your scissors or hair straightener before trying this otherworldly elixir.

From the depth of the Amazon forest, pracaxi oil is produced by drying the seeds of the Pentaclethra macroloba tree, following by extraction procedure. Rich in omega 9 and omega 6 acids, pracaxi oil provides regenerative and softening characteristics to hair and skin, resulting in an all-round effective treatment. Pracaxi oil also stimulates the production of collagen and can be used to help reduce the formation of scars. Particularly indicated for naturally curly hair, this oil is a little miracle worker to lock in moisture and has been praised by beauty bloggers and celebrities all over the world.

In Brazil, its country of origin, pracaxi oil is also widely used to treat many skin conditions such as aging spots and pregnancy marks. Ideal for a leave-in night-time routine, it can also be cocktailed with your go-to daily conditioner. Applied in small quantity directly to your scalp, this oil can also be a great addition to your scalp massage – promoting blood flowing to the area and boosting your hair growth. 

To this date, there are no ingredients known to have a negative interaction with Pracaxi oil. And as with any other product/oil – whether it’s raw and natural or store-bought, I recommend performing a patch test on your wrist before applying a large amount to the hair to ensure you do not experience an allergic reaction. 

7. Hair Oil For Unruly Hair: Almond Oil (back to index)

Almonds themselves have been an important part of beauty routine and diets of many civilisations, surviving the tests of time and cultural evolutions. Therefore, it’s only natural that its derivatives would be nothing but warmly welcomed to be implemented in our hair care schedules.

Sweet almond oil smooths our your hair texture and will make it easier to brush and comb; nut oils in general are widely known for their emollient properties and minimizing friction during the styling process, meaning that your hair will be less prone to breakage. If vitamin E is what you could use more of in your self-care, then rest assured sweet almond oil is the friend you’ve been looking for: with its high amount of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, almond oil will have your hair looking strong, young and healthy just by massaging a few drops on your hair shaft and ends.

Mix 2 parts of room temperature coconut oil with 1 part sweet almond oil and the pulp of an avocado for a potent hair mask to apply on clean, dry hair, and leave on for up to 40 minutes: results guaranteed with this hassle-free, all natural hair food home remedy. 

On top of its benefits to hair and beauty, many people choose to implement almond oil orally with the use of a capsule or by taking it in liquid form. I personally don’t know if this directly impacts the health of your hair, and if anything I’d rather have my almonds as they are, perhaps mixed with walnuts and hazelnuts as a healthy snack on the go. But what the supplement does give you is a big dose of protein, vitamin E, and omega-9 fatty acids that could improve your overall health. You can find almond oil supplements in almost any health food store. Once again, make sure that this doesn’t clash with your allergic and dietary requirements! 

8. Hair Oil For Hair Loss: Grapeseed Oil (back to index)

Historically, grape seeds have only been seen as the worthless leftovers of wine-making, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth, and here’s why. 

First of all, the oil extracted from grape seeds contains linoleic acid. Our bodies don’t produce this particular fatty acid unfortunately, but in order to live and keep up our normal bodily functions we do need it indeed, and the only way we can introduce it into our bodies is by getting it from food. 

Although it’s not to be considered a quick fix (and you should always consult a doctor when it comes to bald patches, alopecia and other hair disorders), grapeseed oil made itself noticed in a Japanese study where it’s been administered to mice both as tonic and scalp treatment. 

The results? Significant hair growth in both cases! Ultimately, grapeseed oil (aka vitis vinifera seed oil) is a fragrance-free oil, much lighter than the ones I previously mentioned, making it the perfect match for fine hair that tend to get greasy. Also, grapeseed oil is kind to coloured hair, is a good ally to fight frizz and adds shine (remember to use oils in a moderate amount)!

9. Hair Oil To Increase Volume: Lavender Oil (back to index)

It smells wonderfully, but is lavender oil good for hair? Lavender essential oil is widely known for its soothing properties in aromatherapy, but a 2016 study revealed that it can also be your secret ingredient in a witchcraft-like growth potion for a fuller, voluminous mane.

Although there’s no studies to support the claim that lavender oil could make a difference in fighting alopecia and pattern baldness, it is safe to experiment and try this wonderfully fragranced natural oil on your hair. Gentle to your skin even when coming in direct contact with your scalp, lavender oil has incredibly powerful antimicrobial properties - thus preventing bacteria and fungi from living and growing rent free on your head. Infections, itchy scalp and dandruff begone!

Combined with tea tree oil, it has also been observed to be helpful in battling head lice, an annoying parasite that can be quite commonly found in the hair of kids – as they spend majority of their time playing outdoors and in close contact with other children - usually resulting in classroom-wide spreads.

If you want the best results from lavender oil, mix it with a carrier oil in equal parts and massage the little miracle potion on your scalp. I would recommend jojoba, coconut or castor oil for the best results depending on the condition of your hair and scalp and the natural texture of your hair. Following a bath or shower, apply your lavender oil mix and let it sit for five to ten minutes. You can then rinse it out, although this gentle formula won’t be harmful if left on to work its magic whilst you get on with your day. Alternatively, you can also wrap your hair in a warm towel and keep it on overnight.

If you want the best results from lavender oil, mix it with a carrier oil in equal parts and massage the little miracle potion on your scalp. I would recommend jojoba, coconut or castor oil for the best results depending on the condition of your hair and scalp and the natural texture of your hair. Following a bath or shower, apply your lavender oil mix and let it sit for five to ten minutes. You can then rinse it out, although this gentle formula won’t be harmful if left on to work its magic whilst you get on with your day. Alternatively, you can also wrap your hair in a warm towel and keep it on overnight.

Like any essential oil, dosage is key. Do not exaggerate as too much oil will unfortunately give you the opposite of a desirable effect, irritating your skin and resulting in itchy, reddened patches. Also, avoid using essential oils as they are and always mix it with a carrier oil of your choice.

If you develop dermatitis and/or develop rashes or hives, stop using the oil and speak to a dermatologist. If you are currently taking nervous system sedatives or depressants, lavender oil is not recommended as it may exaggerate sleepiness and drowsiness.

10. What Oil Is Good For Your Hair? (back to index)

In conclusion, what is the best hair oil for you? It takes a lot of time, patience and yes - some money too, in order to get to know what your hair type is and wants. Your diet, hormones and age keep your head an ever-evolving interesting place, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up with your scalp acting up and developing oily patches or your hair strands suddenly feeling like straw between your fingers (thanks for nothing, windy days). 

Sun exposure and water quality are also big factors that have a huge impact on your locks’ wellbeing, and there is no panacea that will fix any problem. Your hair routine should be customised to your current situation. My best advice is: get samples, experiment a little, give your treatment a few weeks before making your decisions, and take note of how your hair feels and external factors too. 

Combined with tea tree oil, it has also been observed to be helpful in battling head lice, an annoying parasite that can be quite commonly found in the hair of kids – as they spend majority of their time playing outdoors and in close contact with other children - usually resulting in classroom-wide spreads.

When in doubt, always consult a trichologist and ask your hairdresser for advice regarding flattering/useful hairstyles, treatments and colouring. Happy styling!

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