Hair oils are a favorite of beauty experts everywhere, and for good reason. They’re full of essential fatty acids and they’re lubricating, which means they’re great for healing split ends, sealing in moisture, and detangling, but with so many new oils seemingly hitting the market every day, it can be hard to know which is the best for you. Here, hair care experts Kevin Mancuso, global creative director of Nexxus, and Garrett Markenson, a stylist and founder of REVERIE, share their top tips to help you find the best oil for your hair care needs.
There are a few different ways you can incorporate oil treatments into your beauty regime. You can use hair products that contain different oils, or you can just use cold-pressed oils (which you probably already have in your kitchen).
You can also apply each of these oils to wet or dry hair when styling, or use as a deep conditioning treatment. To deep condition, start while you’re in the shower. After you shampoo your hair, wring out as much excess water as you can, then work some oil through your hair, stopping about 3 to 4 inches down from your scalp. Put on a shower cap and continue showering. Leave the oil in for 45 minutes to an hour (or longer if your hair really damaged or dry; you can even leave it in overnight), then rinse, dry, and style as normal. Do this once a week for healthy, shiny, salon-worthy hair.
1. Best for thin hair: avocado oil. If your hair is on the thinner side, your best bet is to try out a light oil that will promote cell growth and shine, but won’t weigh down your strands. “The more lightweight it is, the better and safer it is to use on thin hair,” Mancuso says. Avocado oil will absorb into your hair quickly without leaving it limp or greasy.
2. Best for thick or curly hair: babassu oil. When you’re working with thicker, fuller hair, you’re going to want to look for a more heavy-duty oil to define your hair or curls, and prevent frizz. Shea and coconut oils are good options, but Mancuso’s favorite is babassu oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the babassu palm plant. “You want to use something with a little bit of grip to it,” he says. And because babassu oil is low on the comedogenic scale, it’s not greasy or irritating to your skin.
3. Best for color-treated hair: marula oil. If you dye your hair a lot, you probably already know that water is your natural enemy (Hello, split ends and dry hair that could start a fire!), but the good news is you can definitely use anything naturally derived on your hair, so don’t be afraid to use oils to moisturize, condition, and add shine. Markenson’s favorite is marula oil, which comes from the fruit of the marula tree, which is native to southern and western Africa. “Marula oil is lean but not too syrupy,” says Markenson. Plus, its makeup is very close to the natural oils your body produces, it’s rich in vitamins C and E, and it’s fast-absorbing, so it goes on easily and seals your cuticle to lock in moisture for satiny, frizz-free locks.
4. Best for a dry or oily scalp: tea tree oil. You might think you need two different oils to combat each of these issues separately, but both are a result of a chemical imbalance on your scalp. Tea tree oil’s antifungal and antibacterial properties mean it’s great not just for getting rid of excess oils, but also for getting rid of the dead skin cells that can cause dandruff. It also unclogs hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
5. Best for dry hair: argan oil. As the weather cools down, dry hair can become a huge hassle. Argan oil is the perfect antidote to this, as it revitalizes your hair and corrects split ends, according to Mancuso.