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These Hair Oils Will Help You Get Longer, Strong Strands

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Photo by Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

By now, oils may already have a place in your skincare routine, but have you tried using them in your hair as well? Like their skin-loving effects, oils are loaded with benefits for healthy hair. And while hair oils may be buzzing as of late, they’ve long been loved for their benefits, having been passed down through generations to encourage the growth of long, shiny, and strong hair.

“Hair oiling is a cherished and ancient beauty ritual from India that not only uses time-tested ingredients to promote healthy hair, but is also a reflection of maternal bonds within families,” says Michelle Ranavat, founder of Ayurvedic skincare and hair care brand RANAVAT. “Most Indian children grow up with their grandmother or mother oiling their hair weekly and tying it into braids.

Among their many benefits, "Oils can add extra shine as well as lock in moisture," adds Kendra Joseph, a certified physician assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. "They may also be helpful for slip and detangling hair."

Before you start reaching for any oil in sight, know that there are specific oils that are known to be beneficial for hair health, and there is a recommended way to use them on the hair. “Popular ingredients include almond, coconut, jasmine, amla, and other plant-based oils to promote strong, healthy hair,” says Ranavat. With all this in mind, here are 10 hair oils you may want to consider adding to your hair care routine if you're looking to boost hair health and hair growth.

About the Experts:

Michelle Ranavat is founder of Ayurvedic skincare and haircare brand RANAVAT.
Kendra Joseph is a certified physician assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
Tippi Shorter is a celebrity hairstylist who has worked with beauty icons like Beyoncé and Alicia Keys.
Ashley Gomila is a Los Angeles-based hair and makeup artist. 

But First, How Do You Use Hair Oils?

There are many ways to add hair oils to your routine, and how or how much you use depends on your unique hair type and needs. “I add a few drops of our serum [more on that below] to my hair in the morning to boost shine, help tame frizz, and protect my strands from heat damage,” says Ranavat. 

Below, she shares a tried-and-true, traditional technique to help you really soak up the benefits:

1. “Divide the hair into smaller sections,” she says. “Take a generous amount of oil into the palms and massage it into the scalp and strands. This stimulates blood circulation, which encourages growth.”

2. “Then, tuck hair into a bun or braid and sleep with it overnight,” she continues. “Keeping the oil in your hair overnight ensures the ingredients penetrate deep into the scalp.”

3. ”If this ritual is done on a regular weekly basis, it’s known to help with hair thinning and loss, increase hair’s tensile strength, reduce frizz, prevent heat damage, and boost hydration,” adds Ranavat.

The Best Healthy Hair Oils 

1. Best Oil for Hair Regrowth:

RANAVAT Fortifying Hair Serum

RANAVAT Fortifying Hair Serum
Courtesy of RANAVAT

According to Ranavat, her jasmine-infused oil “not only helps with hair growth over time, it also combats frizz and leaves hair shiny, soft, and healthy. [It also has] a mood-boosting jasmine scent and a lightweight feel. I add a few drops of our serum to my hair in the morning to boost shine, help tame frizz, and protect my strands from heat damage.”

“The jasmine scent actually doubles as my perfume (I can’t get enough of it!),” she continues. In addition, jasmine oil helps prevent moisture loss, encourages cell turnover, soothes dryness, and helps seal the hair cuticle. It’s a winning ingredient to help prevent hair breakage, which is why it tops our list. 

2. Best Scalp Serum:

PACIFICA Scalp Love Rosemary Mint Serum

PACIFICA Scalp Love Rosemary Mint Serum
Courtesy of PACIFICA

Joseph lists rosemary oil as one of the best oils to use on the hair. While most evidence of oils supporting hair growth is anecdotal, Joseph notes that the effects of rosemary oil have actually been scientifically studied. That study compared this natural ingredient to minoxidil (commonly found in products like Rogaine), a popular hair regrowth treatment, and found that after six months, subjects who used rosemary oil saw just as much hair growth as those who used minoxidil. 

Give the hero ingredient a try in PACIFICA Scalp Love Rosemary Mint Serum. In this hydrating, calming serum, rosemary gets paired with other all-star ingredients like vitamin B5, aloe, hyaluronic acid, and sage to create the ultimate daily treatment to support long, luscious strands.

3. Best Oil for Split Ends:

JOSIE MARAN 100% Pure Argan Oil

JOSIE MARAN 100% Pure Argan Oil

If you’re looking for an oil that can smooth split ends and protect your hair from heat and the sun’s breakage-inducing UV rays, you should reach for argan oil. “Compared to other oils, it’s lighter, so it’s suitable for most hair types,” says Tippi Shorter, celebrity hairstylist. It’s a split-end savior, sealing the cuticle and preventing further damage thanks to a nourishing combination of fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. 

There are a number of different ways this high-quality argan oil can be used on the hair: We like to work a few drops of argan oil on dry, styled hair to smooth down split ends, or use it on towel-dried hair to lock in moisture and protect against heat damage. Want the full 101 on how to use argan oil in the hair? We got you.

4. Best Oil for Frizzy Hair:

LIVING PROOF Anti-Frizz Vanishing Oil

LIVING PROOF Anti-Frizz Vanishing Oil
Courtesy of LIVING PROOF

Los Angeles-based hair and makeup artist, Ashley Gomila, is a big fan of this LIVING PROOF oil because it’s “lightweight yet buildable” for smoothing all types of frizz. But that’s not all it does. “Hair oils are important for several reasons, such as moisturizing benefits, nourishment, and protection,” she says. “Hair oils contain essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that nourish the hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth. They help in strengthening the hair strands, reducing breakage, and improving overall hair health.”

5. Best Luxe Hair Oil:

ORIBE Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil 

ORIBE Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil
Courtesy of ORIBE

Gomila also loves ORIBE’s luxe oil, which contains a rich blend of jasmine, edelweiss flower, lychee, sandalwood, cassis, bergamot, and argan extracts. She likes to apply a very small amount evenly to hands, “warm up the product to activate the ingredients, and start the application on the ends.” She keeps the oil in the places the hair needs it most, especially on damaged hair ‌with areas of dryness that are thirsty for some hydration. 

6. Best Hair Oil for an Itchy Scalp:

BRIOGEO HAIR CARE B. Well Organic + Australian 100% Tea Tree Skin & Scalp Oil

BRIOGEO HAIR CARE B. Well Organic + Australian 100% Tea Tree Skin & Scalp Oil

If you’re prone to oily hair, you may think hair oil isn’t the answer to hair growth, but that’s not always the case. The same way tea tree oil can help you achieve a clear complexion by clearing out dead skin cells and bacteria that cause acne, it can also unplug hair follicles and sebum, all while increasing hair growth and clearing up any scalp issues thanks to a combination of cleansing, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.

But before you go all in on using this essential oil, Joseph notes that it's one of a few you may want to use with a bit of caution. "If not formulated appropriately, citrus oils, tea tree oils, and lavender oils can cause allergic reactions," she says. "Oftentimes when these oils are used as a DIY preparation at home, they can cause more harm than good, as there is a science behind formulating products. Chemical burns and even more irritation can result. However, if you have used these oils and they work well for you, then continue using them! A healthy hair and scalp routine is all about using what works best for you!"

Don't want to risk it? Try reaching for a tried-and-tested hair product that features the ingredient instead, like BRIOGEO HAIR CARE B. Well Organic + Australian 100% Tea Tree Skin & Scalp Oil. Start out gently with the powerful purifier by opting for this clean scalp oil. Made with 100 percent organic Melaleuca Alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, it soothes our dry, itchy, and irritated scalp and skin.

7. Best Hair Oil for Natural Hairstyles:

SHEAMOISTURE Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Oil Serum

SHEAMOISTURE Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Oil Serum

For coily hair types, castor oil can be particularly helpful in softening your strands to lock in moisture while also promoting hair growth. Scalp health is necessary if you want to promote healthy hair growth, which is why blood circulation is so important. That’s where castor oil comes in. “I would recommend castor oil as a scalp treatment,” says Shorter. “It has properties that help blood flow and circulation.”

Get your hair back to a healthy state and grow it as long as possible with the help of SHEAMOISTURE Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Oil Serum that's formulated specifically to maximize the growth potential of curly, coily, and kinky hair. If you regularly straighten, perm, or heat style your hair, this strengthening treatment is about to become your new BFF.

8. Best Hair Oil for Hair Loss:

MARC ANTHONY Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Oil Treatment

MARC ANTHONY Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Oil Treatment

Coconut oil can be a game-changing hair treatment for natural hair and curly hair types, providing much-needed moisture and sealing the hair cuticle to prevent frizz and split ends—but the benefits don’t stop there. If you have thin or fine hair or are currently experiencing hair loss, coconut oil may slow down that process and help to prevent breakage thanks to its unique makeup of fatty acids, which have the ability to penetrate deep within the hair shaft. 

You can also use it as an oil treatment to clear away product buildup (a known inhibitor of hair growth) and soothe a dry scalp or itchy scalp, which makes it a great option for those who suffer from dandruff. Want the full rundown on how to use coconut oil in your hair? Check out our article on the topic. Now, if you don’t have pure coconut oil handy (or if you're looking for something that's less messy), you can also try a product that already contains coconut oil, like MARC ANTHONY Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Oil Treatment.

9. Best Hair Oil for Dandruff:

AFRICAN PRIDE Olive Miracle Maximum Strengthening Growth Oil

AFRICAN PRIDE Olive Miracle Maximum Strengthening Growth Oil

If you have dry hair or split ends, make your strands look smooth and healthy with this kitchen staple (yes, really). It’s no secret that heat styling can hinder hair growth, but olive oil works as a heat protectant, creating a shield around the natural keratin found in your tresses thanks to a combination of antioxidants, vitamin E, and oleic acid. It’s also made up of anti-inflammatory properties that may even assist in treating dandruff.

Looking for a DIY treatment? Try warming some olive oil up and applying it throughout the hair, from scalp to ends, before you shower. Secure hair in a warm towel for 20 minutes then shampoo as usual. We love the AFRICAN PRIDE Olive Miracle Maximum Strengthening Growth Oil because it has both olive oil and tea tree oil in a formula that helps hair growth and reduces ‌breakage.

10. Best Hair Oil for Reducing Breakage:

BUMBLE & BUMBLE Hairdresser's Invisible Oil 

BUMBLE & BUMBLE Hairdresser's Invisible Oil
Courtesy of BUMBLE & BUMBLE

For those needing to strengthen tresses and combat breakage, look no further than almond oil. “Almond oil can help strengthen as well as moisturize,” says Shorter, which makes it ideal for dry, damaged, or color-treated hair that’s currently compromised. If you feel like you just can’t get the length of your hair where you want it, it might be time to incorporate almond oil into your hair care. Not only does it contain vitamin E, proteins, and antioxidants, but it’s also packed with magnesium, which miraculously reduces hair breakage and promotes hair growth.

Almond oil is one of six key oils found in this iconic BUMBLE & BUMBLE Hairdresser's Invisible Oil (coconut oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, macadamia nut oil, and safflower seed oil are also key ingredients). Together these oils help promote longer hair by detangling and providing heat protection—two major causes of breakage. Oh, and for those with color-treated hair, it can help protect color from fading for up to 16 washes.

11. Best Multitasking Hair Oil:

OUAI High Gloss Hair Oil

OUAI High Gloss Hair Oil

While you might not be on a first-name basis with borage oil, you will be after using this. The multitasking oil is known to restore strength and shine to dry or damaged hair, primarily because it's packed with moisture-locking ceramides as well as strengthening heavy-hitters like amino acids and keratin. When your hair is hydrated and strong, it's less susceptible to breakage and has a much higher chance of growing long and strong.

Borage oil and sweet almond oil are two of the key ingredients in OUAI High Gloss Hair Oil, which is designed to smooth frizz, seal split ends, and create a high-shine finish. Warm a pump of the product up in your hands, then apply it on either wet or dry hair, focusing on the mid-shaft and ends. Then comb through your hair and style as usual for a healthy, frizz-free style.

12. Best Hair Oil for Dry Hair:

VOIR A Walk In The Sun: Luxury Hair Oil

VOIR A Walk In The Sun: Luxury Hair Oil

For those with dry hair, jojoba oil may be just the remedy your thirsty strands are looking for. Because of its oil-rich composition, it's highly moisturizing (in fact, it may be a bit too moisturizing if you already have oil-prone hair). On top of that big boost of hydration, it's also rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish hair, including vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, and zinc.

Made for any hair type, VOIR A Walk In The Sun: Luxury Hair Oil is our fave for its oil blend of rosehip, avocado, and jojoba oil. If your scalp is feeling particularly dry, you might try using this oil as a pre-wash treatment, massaging drops directly into roots and following that with your choice of shampoo. 

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About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated July 7, 2023 12:00 AM