Oiling your hair is one of the best things you can do to keep your hair healthy, moisturized and supple. But there are so many different oils out there that it can be difficult to decide which one to use. In order to help you out with this, I made this list of the 11 best oils for your hair. And I will tell you for each of these hair oils what their effect on your hair is and which hair type will benefit from it most.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
General tips for choosing a hair oil
Before we get into the details of the various hair care oils, let me say that I always recommend using natural oils. Ideally, they are 100% pure and not mixed with other ingredients. Many of the cosmetic hair care oils contain silicones and other chemicals. If you have the possibility, avoid those.
1. Argan hair oil
Argan oil* is also known as Moroccan oil because we get the oil from the nut of the argan tree. That tree is native to, you guessed it, Morocco.
Argan oil has a very moisturizing effect on your hair. This is one of the reasons why I often recommend argan oil for curly hair.
On the other hand, curlies shouldn’t use it too much on their scalp, as argan oil has an “anti-sebum” effect. And many people with curly hair need all the sebum their hair can get!
But also people with straight hair can benefit from argan oil a lot. Researchers found that it can actually decrease damage done to your hair from coloring it! I don’t know about you, but for me, this alone makes argan oil something I would recommend for any hair type!
You can get Argan oil here*!
2. Jojoba oil
Jojoba oil is actually a wax. And it has a very similar makeup to the sebum our skin produces. As the sebum is specifically made to protect our hair and skin, this means that jojoba oil is a perfect product to help in moisturizing our hair.
Another thing that makes me go for jojoba oil over other hair oils is the fact that it doesn’t leave a thick film. This makes it perfect for my curly hair, as I want to put some oil in it regularly, without looking too greasy. So when you need something nurturing for your tips on an everyday basis, jojoba oil* is perfect.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a deep conditioning treatment, jojoba oil might be a little light. It also is not penetrating, but a sealing oil. (More on the difference between those below the list!)
You can buy Jojoba oil here*!
3. Almond oil
Almond oil* is also a rather light oil. I like using it as a leave-in when my hair doesn’t need that much nurturing. I would also recommend it as an ingredient for homemade hair masks for finer hair.
For deep conditioning treatments for very dry and thick hair, I would opt for a heavier oil than almond oil.
4. Macadamia oil for hair
Oh, Macadamia oil! When I started using hair oils, this was one of the first oils my hair really loved! Back then my hair was very dry and damaged and was only slowly finding back to my natural wavy to curly structure.
Using Macadamia oil* as a pre-wash hair treatment or even as an oil mask overnight, made a huge difference for my hair. It is
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has become famous as a hair treatment in recent years. And it can have very beneficial effects. But for quite a few people it can also seriously dry out your hair. I am one of those people.
When I use pure coconut oil on my hair, it gets dry and strawy. This is probably due to the effect coconut oil has on proteins in our hair, and my hair is protein sensitive.
The only coconut oil that works for my hair is the Monoi Tiki Tahiti Tiare oil (get it here)*. My hair loves it, but it is not a pure oil and contains some fragrances and other things. Other than this, I avoid coconut oil on my locks and rather use it for cooking.
6. Avocado oil
Avocado oil* is a very rich oil and could be too much for fine hair. Note that if you have to shampoo three times to get your oil mask out of your hair, you’ve probably lost all of the benefits of the oil treatment.
As it is a penetrating oil, it is very beneficial for drier hair structures. If you are curly or just struggling with dry hair, avocado oil is a great hair oil for pre-wash treatments!
7. Olive oil
Another great oil for dry hair is olive oil*. The advantage of this one is, that you probably already have it in your kitchen. No matter if you use it for your skin, in a DIY scrub, or if you put it on your hair: Olive oil brings moisture, flexibility, and softness!
I definitely recommend olive oil for curly hair and structurally damaged hair. On the other hand, if you tend to have a very oily scalp, you might want to skip this one. Or only use it on the lengths and tips of your hair.
8. Camellia seed oil
Camellia seed oil* is a nice, light hair oil. Similarly to jojoba oil, it won’t leave your hair looking greasy. Instead, you get a nice, light shine and more flexibility to the single hair. This makes Camellia seed oil a perfect oil for finer hair.
A downside to it is, that it can be really expensive. A workaround for a lower price can be to check for food grade blade oil. Some of these contain 100% camellia oil. And no one is going to check if you use it for your blades or your hair. I promise.
9. Mustard oil
Okay, a warning first: If you don’t like mustard, you will hate the smell of mustard oil*! Needless to say, I don’t recommend using this oil as a leave-in. Unless you don’t have to go out and meet people.
But as a hair mask, mustard oil can do nice things for you! It increases the blood circulation in your scalp. This, in turn, can help stimulate hair growth.
You can order mustard oil here*!
10. Amla oil
Amla is the fruit of the Indian gooseberry tree. The plant is very important in traditional Indian medicine, and amla oil has been used for cosmetic purposes for hundreds of years.
Unfortunately, till today there is not much scientific proof for any of the numerous benefits Amla is supposed to have. But simply the very high content of Vitamin C in the amla fruit makes some of those benefits for hair and skin very believable.
What can Amla do?
One of the most famous benefits people believe amla oil to have is the reduction of premature pigment loss. Meaning, it will help prevent early greying. I don’t know if it’s true. But I know that amla oil* does a nice job as an oil mask before washing my hair. So if that also possibly helps to keep my hair color for a little longer – I’ll take the chance!
Like mustard oil, amla oil has a specific smell. Some people like it, some hate it. To be on the safe side, I would use it at home only. And wash it out before I need to be in public places.
11. Castor oil
Castor oil* is the one hair oil that is famous for supposedly making your hair grow faster. Science has not managed to really prove this yet. But many people have stories about castor oil making their hair grow much faster than before. And I have seen some good results on my eyelashes, too. (Yes, I know that is not scientific evidence. I am just saying it might be worth trying.)
Be aware that it cannot make your hair grow several inches overnight though. Your hair will not grow faster than 1-2 cm per month on average.
You can buy organic Castor oil here*!
The difference between penetrating and sealing oils for hair
Alright, now that we covered the list of the best oils for your hair, let’s quickly get into the difference between penetrating and sealing oils. This is important, as they will serve different functions in your hair care.
What are penetrating oils for hair?
Penetrating oils are, as the name suggests, oils that penetrate the hair shaft. Meaning, they get into the inside of your hair and can literally strengthen it from the inside out. (Yes, I know this sounds like an ad. It’s true though.)
The ability of an oil to penetrate the hair depends on its molecular makeup. And because I know you probably don’t feel like checking the composition of every oil on this list, I made it easier for you:
Who needs penetrating oils?
Penetrating oils help a great deal to retain moisture and improve the elasticity of hair. This makes them a very important hair care product for people with naturally dry and curly hair.
And now the list of sealing oils!
The other kind of oil, the one that is not penetrating, is a sealing oil. This means, that the oil is building a film on top of your hair. This way it can protect it from outer influences. Sealing oils are good to make combing easier, to reduce frizz and to get that “glossy” effect.
If your hair is naturally saturated – people with naturally sleek, heavy hair, I am looking at you! – sealing oils are the perfect finish for your tips and lengths.
Sealing oils are also perfect for people with high porosity hair IF used after a moisturizing product.
Related: The best high porosity hair products
For your convenience, I made a list of sealing oils, too:
What are your favorite hair care oils?
So now that I told you all about my favorite hair care oils, tell me about your experiences! Which hair oils do you like? Have you tried any from this list? Let me know in the comments below!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.