Best hair oil: How to find the right one for your locks
There's a shine-boosting oil for every one of you
No matter how thick or fine, curly or straight your locks are, there’s a hair oil out there to help with any (and all) of your mane concerns...
Does the thought of slathering on a hair oil give you the ick? You’re not alone. So many people fear that as soon as they apply a little lubrication to their locks, their strands are going to look like they’ve been dipped into a deep fat fryer. As a Black woman with thick Afro hair, oils have always been a part of my beauty routine. However, my friends with finer hair, have long been wary about whether the benefits outweigh the cons. I’m here to tell you that there is an oil to help with every hair type, whether it’s a heat protection spray for over-processed ends or a soothing oil mist for flaky scalps.
Plus, there’s more choice than ever, so you can find a sophisticated formula that won’t make you look like you’re channelling wet-look catwalk hair – unless that’s your vibe. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know.
What’s the deal? One of the most well-known hair oils around, Argan earned the nickname of ‘liquid gold’, thanks to its universal appeal. “It’s a lovely light oil suitable for ALL hair types,” says Talisha Cox, Owner of Elite Hair Lounge, London. “That being said, type 4 curls may need a little more, as it’s very lightweight.” In its most raw form, Argan oil contains a mix of antioxidants (like Vitamin E) and fatty acids. Fun fact, the sebum our bodies naturally produce is made up of a high percentage of fatty acids too, so if you have dry hair, applying this oil is a good way to lubricate your strands if they’re looking a bit dull.
What’s the deal? This oil has been working its way into countless hair care products over the years because of its stellar moisturising benefits. Whilst so many other oils work on moisturising the outer layers of your strands, jojoba is made up of clever fats that can actually penetrate the outer layer of hair, this means it can nourish and repair beneath the surface – pretty cool, right? It’s often found in products for dry or chemically treated hair, but you can also use it in its raw form on the ends of your hair as an overnight treatment. Smooth this through your hair after blow-drying or straightening, for that just-stepped-out-of-the-salon shine.
What’s the deal? Manketti (also known as mongongo oil), is similar in it’s make up of fatty acids as argan oil, but is a little more nutrient-rich with more fat content and a higher content of protein, so it’s a great oil for those of us with brittle, weakened hair. Oils like manketti oil are also great for protecting the hair, as Paul Edmonds, Shu Uemera Art of Hair Ambassador, says, “The right oil can not only make your strands feel stronger, softer and shinier, but it can help protect from external damaging factors”. Naturally curly hair will lap up this oil. Massage into the lengths to revive parched ends.
What’s the deal? Yep, the same olive oil that’s sitting in your kitchen cupboard actually works a treat on the hair, but be warned, in its purest form it’s only going to work on the surface of the strands. That’s because along with oils like almond and coconut, olive oil has a larger molecule size. “These are all great but they will only have a cosmetic effect as the molecule size is too large to penetrate the hair shaft,” says Edmonds. “So, it’s usually better to look out for the oil in a hair product, rather than it’s raw form, as it will have been refined and can do more for your strands”. You can use this nutrient-rich oil as a hot oil treatment before you wash your hair. Pop it on and let the reparative properties get to work.
What's the deal? Coconut oil is really an undeniable beauty multi-tasker (what else can be used to clean your teeth, take off your makeup and thrown in a smoothie?), it has loads of benefits for the hair, including calming frizz and helping to detangle. If you’re looking to give your locks their shine back, you can apply raw coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment as the concentration of fatty acids will coat the hair and protect it from stripping when you rinse. However, if you have brittle hair, beware that using coconut oil too often can cause protein build up and too much protein in the hair will cause it to break. If you have finer hair, this oil-in-milk formula will allow you to reap the benefits from coconut oil, without it weighing down the strands.
What’s the deal? Now, the texture and colour of this oil in its purest form is… interesting (the pale-yellow liquid has a distinct taste and odour). But, trust me, you’ll be slathering it on when you know the benefits… It comes from the castor bean and is packed with ricinoleic acid, which is known to help with inflammation – great if you suffer from dandruff. It also stimulates the follicles, which can help with hair growth, so if you fancy giving yourself a DIY head massage, this is the oil to pick.
Massage a bit of this into the roots and you’ll be working towards longer, stronger locks.
article writen by by KEEKS REID for Cosmopolitan