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For many beauty lovers, "hair oil" may hint at greasy tresses. Fortunately, contrary to popular belief, oiling your hair has been shown to benefit your locks in a multitude of ways, from encouraging healthier growth and scalp care to adding additional essential protection from heat damage and breakage.
Shop TODAY talked to a trichologist about why your beauty routine may benefit from using a hair oil. We also found some shopper-approved products and formulas you'll want to lather your locks with from hereon out.
How do hair oils benefit your scalp?
According to a study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, using essential oils on the hair and scalp can deliver serious benefits, from nourishing your hair follicles and adding additional moisture to your roots to providing extra strength to your tresses. Additional data also suggests that using a hair oil also helps with regulating sebum secretion, stimulating hair growth and relieving scalp inflammation, among other benefits when incorporated with other formulas.
Certain hair types can also see significant perks from using a hair oil, according to trichologist Dr. David Kingsley. "People with very dry, curly and brittle hair" can benefit from using hair oils mainly because oils have antioxidant properties that protect from free radicals, inflammation, pollution and dandruff.
However, individuals with thin or oily hair, along with those who have a sensitive scalp, should avoid using this product. "I’m not a great advocate for using hair oils directly on the scalp as they tend to make it greasy and may make any dandruff condition worse in the long run. The oil should be applied mainly to the hair shaft," added Kingsley.
What is the difference between hair serum and hair oil?
Hair serum and hair oil may look like interchangeable terms, but they have their fair share of differences when it comes to scalp treatments. While hair serums have a silicone-based formula that acts like a styling product and adds shine to your tresses, hair oils serve as heat protectants while hydrating your hair.
In addition, most hair oils are used on damp hair to help with detangling and frizz control. Oils also reduce the amount of water absorbed in your locks, leading to less intense scalp sweating over time.
Best hair oils, according to shoppers
Repair your split ends with Sol de Janeiro's tropical blend of pequi, patauá and buriti fruit oils. While it only hit stores recently, one Shop TODAY editor already swears by it since it leaves her locks frizz-free after air-drying.
Those with fine hair will adore Hair Story's oil blend for its multipurpose quality. This rich oil is meant to transform dull and brittle hair into lustrous and supple strands. Plus, your hair will look less frazzled thanks to the mix of argan, evening primrose and jojoba oil.
Reduce tangles with this floral-infused hair oil that captures the essence of jojoba, coconut and lavender for an extra soothing treatment. The waterless formula is made with a 100 percent potent oil blend that can be used on your hair and body.
Olaplex's bonding oil is formulated to protect colors, fight frizz and provide heat protection. Plus, with over 1,200 five-star ratings at Kohl's, customers agree this oil will control flyaways and provide that salon finish when you blow-dry it.
Seal your split ends with this multitasking hair oil with over 1,000 five-star ratings at Sephora. Ouai's formula provides a super-smooth finish while delivering a frizz-free texture after your styling session. Also, the galanga root extract ingredient will prevent your color from fading over time.
This magic elixir from Kiehl's is meant to improve hair shine thanks to its use of rosemary oil. According to a 2021 study, this ingredient promotes increased blood circulation in the hair follicle.
This strengthening hair oil from Kérastase is for all the blondes looking for a post-bleach recovery. According to the brand, this oil leaves hair 91 percent stronger and twice as shinier. One verified Sephora shopper said they saw instant results after using one pump of this "miracle worker" after showering for a week. "My hair is completely revived and healthy-looking!"
For those experiencing hair breakage, this scalp oil from Jonathan Van Ness's hair line will restore your strands. The oil works as a pre-shampoo to promote shinier and healthier hair. According to a consumer study, customers saw a decrease in hair loss by 97 percent after 21 days.
Alodia's hair and scalp oil is a multitasker delivering many benefits, especially for those dealing with a dry, flaky scalp. You can use it as a pre-shampoo, deep conditioner or as a daily scalp treatment to nourish your hair and stop breakage. It's also formulated with lavender oil, which promotes analgesic activity, soothing, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and healing properties.
Feel the antioxidant power of vitamin E with this multiuse oil blend designed to soften those pesky knots. The product is made with safe synthetics and natural oils to ensure your strands are hydrated. It also contains argan oil, which is known to be rich in powerful micronutrients like tocopherols and polyphenols.
For those with dry and brittle hair, this shea-infused oil from The Inkey List will deliver some serious shine and moisture. Use it overnight to attain a sleek texture or as a pre-wash for extra conditioning. Plus, one customer shared that this treatment "nourishes my hairs and leaves no greasiness."
With a perfect five-star rating on the brand's website, customers rave about how this oil naturally helps your hair's regrowth. Ideal for people with thin and curly hair, one verified reviewer also shared how this oil helped fill in patchy areas while promoting shine throughout.
This honey-infused formula from Gisou is based on a family recipe targeting dryness and hair breakage. If you're looking for a luminous finish without a heavy texture, this hair oil is the solution.
Specially designed for greasier locks, this Ayurvedic-inspired hair treatment features organic ingredients like bhringraj and rosemary oil to prevent overactive oil production. For the best results, massage five to 10 drops into the scalp and work through to the ends.
According to a study from the International Journal of Trichology, coconut oil is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft better due to its low molecular weight and straight linear chain. This ultra-lightweight formula from Marc Anthony not only contains the hydrating ingredient, its ingredients list also features biotin and shea butter to control frizz and promote shine.
For the perfect pre-shower treatment, massage your scalp with this stimulating oil from René Furterer. From reducing hair loss to restoring hair strength, the warming essential oils will stimulate your scalp and give you that nice spa feeling. "I use this once a week and I've noticed my hair looks fuller and healthier at the root," said one Dermstore shopper.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 11 expert-approved products that'll make your curls last for days
- I tried this top-rated $8 shampoo brush — and my hair has never felt cleaner
- The best hair care routine for your 40s, according to trichologists
- This easy-to-use tool turned my flat hair into stunning waves in just 15 minutes
- 6 stylist-approved extensions for long hair without the wait