Hair oil is a popular product to add shine and extra moisture to your strands. Oil is commonly believed to only be appropriate for very dry or curly hair because of its reputation for being heavy and making hair look greasy.
But did you know that there are multiple types of hair oil, each with its own designated use? Not all hair oils are the same. Some oils are better suited for dry and damaged hair, while others are better at taming frizz or adding superb shine.
If you want to try adding hair oil to your hair care routine but aren’t sure where to turn, here are some tips for choosing the right oil for your hair type.
Differences in hair oils
Hair oils can be extracted from a wide variety of fruits, nuts, seeds and other plants.
Oils can offer many benefits, including hydration, increased strength, improved texture and added shine. However, certain oils are much better at certain things and can have different weights and textures, making them better suited for particular hair types.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a saturated fat that has a unique ability to penetrate the hair shaft, unlike other kinds of oils. This is why it is so effective at hydrating the hair and locking in moisture, and why it is found in so many hair care products.
Penetrating the hair shaft also allows it to repair deeply damaged hair and reduce protein loss, resulting in softer, healthier and more hydrated locks.
- Good for: Coconut oil is a great choice for all hair types, particularly when used as a hydrating hair mask. If you have dry, brittle hair, coconut oil should definitely be on your list.
Argan oil is one of the most common hair oils that is used on its own. It’s highly regarded in the hair care industry due to its conditioning qualities. The fatty acids in the oil help tame unruly hair and leave it soft and shiny.
- Good for: Argan oil can be used on all types of hair, whether brittle, dry, frizzy or coarse, but it’s best for dry and frizzy hair.
Avocado oil contains loads of antioxidants, which can be instrumental in repairing damaged hair and preventing further breakage.
- Good for: If your hair is brittle, splitting or breaking, avocado oil may give it the strength it needs.
Olive oil is another oil that has the ability to penetrate and hydrate deep within the hair shaft. The oil is extremely moisturizing and strengthening.
- Good for: Olive oil is ideal for very curly and very dry hair that lacks moisture. It’s also heavy enough to help tame frizz on curls.
Aside from being moisturizing, one of jojoba oil’s common uses is the treatment of dry scalps. Its hydrating fatty acids may help reduce peeling and flakiness of the scalp, leaving it healthier and less irritated.
- Good for: Jojoba oil is great for people with flaky scalps, as well as dull hair that lacks shine.
Sweet almond oil
Sweet almond oil is hydrating and moisturizing like many other hair oils, but it is unique in that it is much lighter than traditional oils. It can also reduce redness and irritation on the scalp.
- Good for: If you have straight or fine hair, or your scalp produces a lot of oil naturally, sweet almond oil can add shine and moisture without weighing down your hair.
Grapeseed oil has a lot of antioxidants in it to help repair damage and can also tame fly aways, frizz and split ends. It is also lightweight and won’t weigh down hair.
- Good for: Grapeseed oil is ideal for fine or thin hair because of its light weight and texture.
Macadamia nut oil
Macadamia nut oil is a great choice for people with thick, curly hair because it is rich and moisturizing. Apply it to your curls to resolve frizz and nourish deeply.
- Good for: Macadamia oil is great for very dry, curly or damaged hair. It is usually much too heavy for fine hair.
Abyssinian (crambe seed) oil
You may have never heard of abyssinian oil before, but it is an excellent choice for people with fine hair. The oil balances great hydration with a very lightweight formula.
- Good for: If other hair oils weigh down your hair or make you look or feel greasy, try this.
Applying hair oil
You can apply hair oil in numerous ways. Two of the most popular are as wash-out masks or as leave-in styling treatments.
Adding oils to masks helps penetrate the hair more deeply. Let these masks sit overnight or for at least 30 minutes before washing them out. You can also apply hair oil directly as a mask by heating a small portion and massaging it all over the hair. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse or wash out.
You can also apply oil lightly for daily use to resolve frizz, add shine and more. Apply a few drops of oil to the ends of the hair before styling (this is best done when the hair is damp).
If you have fine, thin or naturally oily hair, avoid placing oil at the scalp during daily use. This can make the scalp and crown of the hair look very oily and weigh it down, making it look flat.