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The Best Hair Oils For Every Hair Type

by kristin bugden - March 01, 2021

We all want healthy looking hair, yet sometimes it can be hard to figure out what to use with the seemingly endless array of products out there to choose from. Hair oil is one option that can keep your hair looking and feeling hydrated, but you want to be sure you're reaching for one that’s suitable for your hair type to give your locks a powerful, nourishing boost (without looking and feeling too greasy). So, we tapped the experts for their hair oil product recommendations and tips to make it a bit less overwhelming. 

Fine or thin hair

"In this particular hair category, I would lean more towards a serum — Kerastase Initialiste is a perfect example of what kind of product can work best for thin, finer hair," says Shelly Aguirre, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She adds that it gives the scalp an opportunity to provide a healthy place for hair to grow.

Amanda Lee from Mane Addicts points us to another product suitable for fine locks called Aquage Beyond Shine. "This is an ultralight mist which makes it very easy to get even distribution without having to use too much product — I prefer to use very light oils on fine hair and always like a mist over a pump," she explains to Lively.

Other tips: When shopping for oils for fine/thin hair, Sierra Kener, a stylist at Nine Zero One salon in LA, suggests seeking out ingredients like argan oil, a plant-based oil that’s high in vitamin E and antioxidants, which can help treat and repair strands. A few others include grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and almond oil — all of which don't leave a greasy residue.

best hair oils

Dry, damaged or frizzy hair

"For dry, damaged or frizzy hair, I would recommend the Kerastase Elixir Ultime Nourishing Oil, which I can use on about 75 % of my clients," says Aguirre. "It provides a healthy dose of weightless coverage and the metered pump assists in ensuring that too much product isn't used." Another tip from Aguirre is to combine the Elixir with Kerastase Nectar Thermique. "After applying these two products separately — never cocktailed as this can break down each product's true purpose — my clients notice how shiny and full their hair feels."

A second recommendation for dry, damaged or frizzy hair comes from Caroline Brooks, President of Leonor Greyl (USA). "The L'Huile de Leonor Greyl oil creates amazing results for all hair types, but especially for dry or damaged," she says, adding that you can also use the oil as a pre-shampoo treatment for dry, over-processed hair. The formula features a nourishing blend of oils like coconut, sesame seed and jojoba, as well as UVA/B filters, so you can apply it at the pool or beach to protect your hair from the drying and damaging effects of chlorine and salt water.

Other tips: Avocado oil is another powerful ingredient to keep in mind when treating dry or damaged hair. "Avocado oil is high in fat, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are essential for strong, healthy hair," explains Kener. "Fatty acids can help repair dry or damaged hair by protecting the scalp from environmental damage."

Thick hair

For thick hair, Lee suggests Better Natured Shine Glaze, which contains a signature triple plant milk blend of coconut, Tahitian palm and white orchid, noting it’s a current favorite when needing a heavy-duty oil for a client. "This product also protects the hair from heat up to 450°F," she says.

Cindy Adra, Co-Founder of The Hair Share, tells Lively the Nourishing Keratin Sealer by Davines is another suitable choice for thicker, coarser hair. "The hydrolyzed rice protein strengthens and seals the hair cuticle and is great for split ends, while lentil seed extract and amino acids provide elasticity," she notes. She adds that the product can be used on the ends of normal hair and for chemically treated hair.

Other tips: Olive oil is known to be quite a nourishing and hydrating ingredient for thick hair (it tends to weigh down thinner hair). "This oil is rich in omega-3 acids and other nutrients that are essential for hair health and it also softens your scalp which helps with dry flakes," says Kener. 

Curly hair

Those with curly locks might want to reach for the Ouidad Mongongo Oil which is made with oil from the Mongongo nut and blended with coconut, American palm seed and broccoli seed oils. "The Ouidad line is formulated specifically for curly hair and my curly haired clients rave about it!" says Lee. "This oil keeps curls bouncy, while also offering hydration and continuous hair protection."

Other tips: Kener tells Lively that sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba and argan oils all offer moisture and help with curl alignment while reducing any frizz. She notes that these oils can also help maximize wave definition without weighing your locks down.

Coily hair

If you have coily hair, Goddess Strength 7 Oil Blend by Carol's Daughter is a great option. "This product is jam packed with oils including castor, olive, jojoba, coconut, cumin seed, linseed and sunflower seed which makes for a heavier oil blend that is ideal for curly, coiled hair," notes Adra. 

Other tips: Adra points out that sealant oils are better for thick, coiled strands. "Castor oil is a good example — it's moisturizing and can be applied directly to the scalp to help stimulate blood flow, leading to healthier hair."

What if I have an oily scalp?

Another important question we had for the experts was whether you should be incorporating an oil into your hair care routine if you have an oily scalp. "As far as using an oil when you may already have an oily scalp, this can get a little more tricky," notes Aguirre. "In that case, I would typically steer the client towards a shampoo that can help treat the oily scalp like Kerastase Bain Divalent." Lee seconds that while you want to stay away from using oils too close to the roots if you have an oily scalp, it’s fine to apply oils to the ends. "I also love using an apple cider vinegar shampoo like OUAI Detox Shampoo on oily scalps once every two weeks to help remove any scalp buildup," she says.

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