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Best oil for hair growth 2023: Curb breakage and build strong strands

For long, healthy, lustrous locks, use one of our best oils for hair growth

You won’t find a miracle product that will allow your hair to grow overnight, in a day or even a week, but you can improve your chances of growing long and luscious locks by using a hair oil. Promoting growth by curbing future breakage, hair loss and damage, as well as stimulating the scalp to grow healthier strands, hair oils deliver plenty of benefits.

There are loads of hair oils out there, containing a range of ingredients that can help to strengthen roots, soothe dry scalps and aid hair growth. And as far as price goes, this can vary anywhere between £10 and £100.

So, which oils for hair growth are the best? We’ve put many to the test to discover which ones work best at making hair look and feel healthier without leaving an oily or greasy residue. Below, you’ll find a roundup of our favourites, alongside a buying guide with some tips to help you make the best buying decision.

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Best oil for hair growth: At a glance

How to choose the best oil for hair growth for you

When should I start using a hair oil for growth?

If you’ve started to notice that your hair is looking a bit thinner in certain areas, or you hastily cut your hair short and would like to speed up its regrowth, adding a hair oil to your hair care routine could be a great option. The sooner you start using a hair oil designed with growth in mind the better, since it’s far easier to try to repair damaged hair than attempt to grow new hair in places in which it’s no longer naturally springing up. Consistency truly is key in seeing and feeling results.

If you have any hesitations, or are concerned about hair loss in particular, it may be worth consulting your GP or a dermatologist to get to the root of the problem. But if you’d simply like to make your hair appear fuller, healthier and shinier, we’ve found some great options for every hair type and budget.

What kind of hair growth can I expect?

Depending on whether you’re looking to attain luscious locks or are dealing with postpartum hair loss or a medical condition that causes hair loss or thinning, there are a whole host of options available. As mentioned, no hair oil will deliver immediate results, or even within a week or month of using it.

Even the healthiest hair grows only about half an inch each month, which might not be overtly obvious just by looking at your hair. But where you might start to notice regrowth more easily is around your hairline, in the form of baby hairs, or when lifting your hair up from the scalp and noticing new hair growing in areas where you might previously have seen thinning.

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What ingredients should I look out for?

There are several ingredients that will boost hair growth, while also making hair look and feel shinier, and prevent breakage. Look for such ingredients on product packaging or ingredient lists, to ensure you choose the right hair oil for your hair.

One of the main ingredients to look for is biotin, which is known to support the hair’s natural keratin – a kind of protein that you may have heard of in relation to your hair, nails or skin. Also keep an eye out for products that include natural oils, such as castor oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil and coconut oil, which have soothing, hydrating and restorative properties. Peptides, which are also often referred to as proteins, are another hair strengthening ingredient.

Can I use hair oil on a sensitive scalp?

To minimise any irritation or reactions, we always recommend conducting a patch test, no matter whether or not you have a sensitive or irritable scalp. Apply a small amount of your chosen hair oil on the skin behind your ear and leave on for a few hours or even overnight. If you suffer no visible reaction or redness, you should be fine to apply the hair oil to your scalp.

However, if you experience any itching, irritation or redness, this indicates an adverse reaction to that particular hair oil and you should discontinue using it. Again, if you have any qualms, please contact your GP, a dermatologist or a pharmacist for advice.

How do you apply hair oil?

Many hair oils come in a bottle with a pipette, which will allow you to apply the oil directly onto the scalp and to the ends of the hair. Others are typically dispensed onto the fingers or hands and then massaged into the scalp or applied to the hair.

Either way, once you’ve applied your chosen hair oil, you should use your fingers or hands to gently massage the product into your scalp. To ensure you’ve covered the full area, use a brush or comb to softly brush the oil through the scalp and hair.

We recommend applying hair oil on a day or evening when you don’t have any plans, since hair oils can leave your hair looking greasy. Our top tip is to apply hair oil overnight, giving it the opportunity to work its magic while you sleep. In the morning, you’ll likely need to rinse your hair to remove any residue that remains; but typically, the longer you can leave in a formulation, the better.

How much should I spend?

With the most budget-friendly hair oils for growth starting around the £10 mark – going up to as much as £100 and over, depending on the brand – you don’t need to spend vast amounts to improve the look and feel of your hair.

Since a hair oil can be used daily or nightly – or more periodically, depending on your needs – it may be worth investing in a hair product that not only aids growth, but can add shine, volume and even UV or heat protection to your hair.

How we test hair oils

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. So, when it comes to hair oils, we apply each of the hair oils we review to clean, dry hair to evaluate how easy it is to evenly distribute each product through the hair and onto the scalp. We tested the oils featured below for a total of seven consecutive days and, while this is not enough time to notice any visible signs of hair growth, we were able to note how a formula feels on the hair, whether or not the hair feels nourished, if it improves hair breakage, or if shine is boosted.

We also note if any of the hair oils leave any residue on the pillowcase if used on hair overnight. Finally, we confirm whether or not the hair oils are vegan, dermatologically tested and fragrance-free.

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The best oil for hair growth you can buy in 2023

1. Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil: The best oil for hair growth with multiple benefits

Price when reviewed: £26 (30ml) | Check price at Look Fantastic

If you have especially damaged hair that’s prone to breakage or brittleness, this multi-use product from Olaplex is a great option. Offering UV and heat protection up to 232°C, this cruelty-free formula is incredibly lightweight and can be applied to wet or dry hair. It doesn’t leave the hair looking or feeling greasy, with locks appearing thicker and considerably healthier with use.

Note that a tiny amount goes a long way: simply drop onto the palms of your hand and then work into the scalp or lengths of the hair. Despite the size of the bottle, it offers great value. You can use it to smooth down frizz and flyaway hairs, too, leaving hair feeling incredibly soft and super-shiny.

Key features – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist tested: No

Check price at Look Fantastic

2. Kérastase INITIALISTE Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrate: The best overall hair oil for growth

Price when reviewed: £36 (60ml) | Check price at Look Fantastic  

For those who struggle with a lot of breakage and routinely find their hairbrush full of hair after combing, this part serum, part oil is one of our favourites. Once your hair becomes stronger at the root, hair loss will reduce overall – and this is what we noticed following just a few weeks of using this product.

The formulation feels soothing on the scalp, while it gets to work stimulating new hair growth. Ingredients include peptides, proteins and plant cells, known to make hair stronger and thicker. Plus, it doesn’t leave hair feeling overly greasy or weighed down.

Key features – Vegan: No; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist tested: No

Check price at Feel Unique

3. The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density: The best budget oil for hair growth

Price when reviewed: £19 (60ml) | Check price at Look Fantastic

You may already be aware of The Ordinary’s impressive skincare range. But did you know that the company’s lineup also includes haircare products? Even though this is labelled as a serum, it actually has quite a runny, liquid consistency, which allows it to be applied easily to the scalp and hair.

Ingredients such as peptides, caffeine and castor oil stimulate the scalp, and we noticed a few extra baby hairs growing around our hairline, where no previous hair growth had been visible over the past few years. This leave-on treatment is best applied at night, massaging the serum into a clean, dry scalp – and you’ll be pleased to learn that it doesn’t leave any visible residue on your pillowcase. And the bonus? You don’t need to spend a huge sum to see results.

Key features – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance-free: Yes; Dermatologist tested: No

Check price at Look Fantastic

4. Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Growth Oil: The best oil for hair growth for sensitive skin

Price when reviewed: £10 (59ml) | Check price at Superdrug

For those with sensitive skin, or whose scalp can often feel irritated or itchy, this growth oil from Mielle Organics is soothing and gentle on the scalp. Comprising a blend of more than 30 essential oils including peppermint oil, castor oil, jojoba oil and biotin, also known as vitamin B7, many of these ingredients boast hair and scalp boosting properties.

This nourishing oil works particularly well on textured or curly hair, braids and weaves; it can be used to smooth split ends, or as an intensive hot oil treatment, too. If you’re looking for a hair growth oil with multiple uses, this is definitely one to try out.

Key features – Vegan: No; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist tested: No

Check price at Superdrug

5. Grow Gorgeous Growth Serum Intense: The best intensive oil for hair growth

Price when reviewed: £45 (60ml) | Check price at Look Fantastic

This concentrated leave-in serum, which comes with a pipette for dispensing, is designed for fine, thinning hair. If you’ve begun to experience hair thinning, especially around the hairline, then you’ll be pleased to learn that we were impressed to see baby hairs sprouting soon after starting use.

Designed to be used on towel-dried or dry hair, the brand recommends applying 20 drops directly onto your scalp and hairline. However, you’ll figure out your own requirements depending on the length of your hair as you use it. Any excess oil can then be smoothed through the length of your hair. Although it may sound like this could leave your hair looking greasy, surprisingly, it dries quickly. This means you can use it overnight or, say, on days when you don’t have a lot planned or are working from home. Note that this oil can be used daily or more periodically, depending on your needs.

Key features – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist tested: No

Check price at Look Fantastic

6. NIOXIN Night Density Rescue Intensive Therapy: The best overnight treatment oil for hair growth

Price when reviewed: £51 (70ml) | Check price at Boots

From hair loss specialists NIOXIN, this leave-in treatment hair oil has been designed for overnight use and can be applied to dry or wet hair. Starting use, we experienced less hair fall each day during the period of testing.

We found that application of two to four drops, as recommended, was more than sufficient for our use. The formula didn’t leave the roots looking particularly oily or greasy in the morning, which means you won’t have to wash your hair the morning after you’ve used it. As is the case with the majority of hair oils, the longer you leave them on the scalp without rinsing, the better. And if you’re concerned that this night treatment might leave unwanted residue on your pillowcase, we experienced no such issues.

Key features – Vegan: No; Fragrance free: No; Dermatologist tested: Yes

Check price at Boots

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