With a history that dates back thousands of years, the use of hair oils is nothing new—it’s the formulas, extracts and technologies that have improved. Because of an oil’s innate ability to soften and condition (the scalp is constantly producing oil that travels from root to tip to protect the hair), oil, when used on the hair, also provides a hydrating effect.
“Oils mimic the natural action of sebum production by protecting and also maintaining hydration to avoid water loss,” says Jacqueline Flam Stokes, vice president of retail marketing and sales for Klorane. “When choosing an oil, look for something that’s very concentrated with triglycerides (present in vegetable and fruit oils and have a similar action to the sebum in the hair) and use it sparingly. Stay away from mineral and paraffin oils which can make the hair greasy,” Flam Stokes says.
Whether your hair craves an oil daily (if it’s dehydrated) or you just like to use one as needed (for shine and moisture), hair products with oil can make a world of difference. The key: find one that doesn’t leave your locks looking greasy. Look for products containing these oils, depending on the needs of your hair:
Argan Oil: For smooth and shiny hair
This oil protects the hair and makes it smoother, softer and less frizzy.
Olive Oil: To revive dry hair
Good for dry hair, olive oil helps restore elasticity and shine but may be too heavy for those with thin or fine hair.
Sweet Almond Oil: To improve hair health
The blend of vitamins A, B and E in this type of oil helps add shine and body to thicker hair types.
Coconut Oil: To reinforce hair
A long-standing oil that’s been used to improve hair, coconut oil penetrates deep into the hair shaft to strengthen weak spots.
Avocado Oil: To fight breakage
Rich in amino acids, vitamins and fatty acids, this vegetable-derived oil improves strength and makes hair shiny and more resistant to breakage.