Benefits of Hair Oil and How to Use

As a longtime beauty lover who’s personal motto is “I’ll Try Anything Once,” I thought that I had perfected my haircare routine down to a science: shampoo, condition, mask weekly, use a leave-in heat protectant spray when I blow dry… no strand left untreated. But while looking into potential remedies for an unusually dry scalp, I came across the practice of oiling your hair as a beauty treatment — and realized I’d never actually tried it.

The natural oils that your sebaceous glands produce are essential to keeping your hair smooth, shiny, and healthy. But since every head of hair is different, you might occasionally benefit from adding hair oil into your beauty routine. Here are the main benefits of oiling your hair:

  • Protects against heat damage: When oil coats the hair shaft, you get a kind of makeshift protective barrier against heat styling and the damage that can come from it. 
  • Strengthens, hydrates and fights frizz: This protective barrier is also great for nourishing your hair while helping to prevent moisture loss. And nothing tops a nice hair oil for taming frizz and keeping your strands looking perfectly smooth — and if you’re wondering how to get shiny hair, it’s great for that too.
  • Helps with a dry scalp: If you’re dealing with a dry scalp or flaky dandruff, it’s probably a sign that your hair could benefit from an oil treatment. It’s a targeted way to get rich fatty acids right to the source to help nourish and soothe your scalp beyond your daily conditioner.
  • Promotes hair growth: The physical practice of massaging the oil into your scalp helps to promote blood flow, which is a great way to stimulate the follicles to grow. And many oils are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that promote hair growth and scalp health, so it’s a win-win on both fronts.
  • Prevents oily hair: If you have noticeably oily hair, you’ve probably been caught in the vicious cycle of “oily scalp, overwash, even oilier scalp, repeat” at least once. When you wash your hair too frequently, you’re stripping your scalp of the essential oils it needs to maintain an optimal moisture balance, leading it to produce more oil to compensate. Oiling your hair and scalp is a great way to help restore everything to their default moisture settings — and be sure to check out our blog post to get more tips on how to get rid of oily hair.

How to oil your hair properly

Now that I have you convinced on the benefits of hair oil, let’s discuss the different oils you can choose from.

Blended hair oil

I like products that are multifunction — because the less steps in a beauty routine, the better. Powered by deeply nourishing roucou oil and a blend of other beneficial ingredients, OI anti-frizz oil adds shine and softness to your hair, while also detangling and fighting frizz. Your hair is left nourished, hydrated, shiny and frizz-free, with added protection against environmental factors.

Coconut oil

If you really want to streamline your skincare, haircare and even cooking routines, make sure you have some coconut oil in stock at all times! Packed with vitamins and fatty acids, coconut oil has some seriously impressive benefits for your hair: it penetrates the cuticle to nourish your scalp, lightly removing buildup to create the optimal condition for hair growth. If you’re looking to get healthier, longer and stronger looking hair, essentially every hair type can benefit from a coconut oil hair mask treatment.

 Argan oil

Rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, argan oil is another favorite of the beauty community to make your hair more elastic, shiny and healthy, while also preventing damage or split ends. The vitamin E in argan oil is the key to fixing damage from everyday pollution, free radicals, and the damage that can come from styling or chemical treatments.

Almond oil

Almond oil is an emollient that fills gaps present in your hair at the cellular level — meaning it can make your hair look noticeably healthier and smooth to the touch. And like other oils we’ve mentioned, the protein, fatty acids and vitamin E in almond oil will help transform dryness or damage: try a DIY almond oil hair mask to give your hair an amazing boost of extra nourishment, and get ready to see visibly healthier hair.

Olive oil

I like my hair treatments like I like my panzanella salad: covered in olive oil. Deliciousness aside, olive oil contains high amounts of emollient fatty acids that soften and smooth your hair. It also acts as a natural heat protectant for your hair, while nourishing damaged strands to leave you with more vibrant-looking locks.

Baderbeauty bob haircut Davines

photo by @karlibobarley

Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is an affordable way to nourish your hair — it’s rich in linoleic acid, which is essential to keep our major organs functioning properly. Not getting enough linoleic acid can lead to hair loss, dry skin and dry hair, so using this (plus the other naturally conditioning properties in grapeseed oil) can help you get shinier, more vibrant hair.

Jojoba oil

I’m a fan of Authentic Nourishing Oil — not only does it contain jojoba oil, but it also contains other naturally-derived oils such as eucalyptus, sunflower seed, bergamot fruit, and bitter orange. The real appeal? You can use this oil to nourish and hydrate your hair and skin.

Castor oil

Castor oil is another great choice to provide essential proteins and nutrients to your hair follicles, while also helping to combat inflammation or irritation on your scalp. By coating your hair in castor oil, you can help to give yourself glossier, shinier and healthier looking hair.

A step-by-step guide to oiling your hair

There are different ways to apply oil to your hair, but I like the approach of turning it into a relaxing, enjoyable ritual of self-care. And yes, this means a scalp massage!

  1. If the type of oil you’re using is in a solid form at room temperature (like coconut oil), either warm it in your hands or microwave it just until it’s melted. 
  2. Start massaging the oil into your scalp with your fingertips, gently moving the oil down the hair shaft to your ends. The amount of oil you need to use is dependent on the length and thickness of your hair — start with a palmful, and add more if needed to ensure your hair is evenly coated.
  3. Pull your hair up into a loose bun and let it sit for at least a few hours, or overnight for a more intensive treatment. Since steam can help improve absorption of the oil, you can also try wrapping your hair in a damp hot towel for a mini steam session on your hair.
  4. When you’re ready to rinse the oil out of your hair, take note that it might take a little more clarifying than usual to remove all traces from your strands. Just use shampoo and conditioner to ensure you won’t lose any of the moisture and nourishment that the oil treatment has given you.

Additional ways to upgrade your hair oil

Adding an essential oil to a “carrier” oil such as coconut oil is a nice way to upgrade your oil treatment. Lavender oil not only smells amazing, but its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties have also been known to help speed up hair growth. Peppermint oil’s signature tingling feeling boosts circulation to your scalp, and rosemary oil has been shown to help with hair thickness and growth in general, so these are two other great choices to add into your oil treatment routine. Just mix a few drops of the essential oil of your choice into carrier oil, massage into your scalp and enjoy a few minutes of indulgent self-care. 

By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor

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