Give your locks some TLC with our pick of the best hair oils for growth, restoration and lustre
Hair oils can be used to treat hair and to style it, and many of the best hair oils do both at the same time. Some will be massaged into the scalp and roots and left to work their magic over the course of a few hours or even overnight. Others are for smoothing over dry hair to give radiance and protection. Some are added to damp hair, post wash, to ensure a sleek finish once dry.
If adding oil to your hair isn’t something you’ve ever considered as part of your beauty repertoire, you might want to think again. There are many benefits to using oils regardless of your hair type, even if your locks are prone to turning lank and greasy in the blink of an eye.
But all hair oil promotes shine, hydration, softness and health. The fatty acids in the oil strengthen the hair shaft and help prevent splitting. They also smooth and seal rough cuticles. The oil coverage helps to prevent further damage by protecting the hair from heat and pollution – it also holds moisture inside the hair cells.
Hair oils come in liquid and spray format, and there are options for all budgets.
Best hair oils: At a glance
- Best for an indulgent pampering: HoliRoots Hair Oil | Buy now
- Best value for money: Ogx Coconut Miracle Oil Extra Strength Penetrating Oil | Buy now
- Best for sore, sensitive, flaky scalps: Hair & Scalp Nourishing Oil | Buy now
- Best for wigs, weaves and hair extensions: For Halle WonderOil | Buy now
- Best for on-the-go styling: Champo Weightless Hair Oil | Buy now
How to choose the best hair oil for you
What’s in hair oil?
Hair oil almost always contains natural oils, from coconut to argon, castor to macadamia. In some cases, stronger chemicals might be used, including alcohol, chemical perfumes or sulphates.
Is hair oil for wet or dry hair?
Both. People with greasy or fine hair are advised to apply oil to wet or damp hair as the water helps it to spread easily and evenly, whereas those with thirsty or frizzy locks should apply oil to dry hair for an intense hit.
How often should hair oil be used?
The consensus among hairstylists seems to be once a week for a deep oil treatment that you need to wash out, but multiple times a day if you’re using oil as a styling aid to smooth down flyaway hairs or topping up shine.
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Is there hair oil for different types of hair?
Absolutely. Even hair that is prone to going greasy very quickly can benefit from hair oil – it’s just a matter of finding the right product and being careful with quantity. There are also oils for all types of afro hair, bleached hair, heat damaged hair, hair extensions and for people with really sensitive, sore scalps.
Are there any downsides to using hair oil?
The only drawback is if you either use too much styling oil and make your hair lank or if you do a deep root treatment with oil and fail to wash it out properly. This will not only lead to your hair looking and feeling greasy, but on hot days it will cause unwanted heat on your hair and scalp, leading to a loss of moisture and increased damage to your hair.
Won’t oil just make hair look super greasy?
Not if you’re careful with quantity. It can take some time to get used to how much oil your hair needs when you’re first starting out – thinner hair may only need a drop, whilst thicker hair can need a whole lot more. If you’re worried about your hair looking greasy, start with a small amount of oil and build up; as the classic saying goes, you can always add more but you can’t take it away once it’s on.
The best hair oils to buy in 2022
1. Champo Weightless Hair Oil: Best for on-the-go styling
Price: £28 for 28ml | Buy now from Harrods
This clear oil contains jojoba and olive oils – amongst other things – and the scent is a sharply botanical fragrance, think cut grass and lemons.
It comes in a diminutive ‘dropper’ bottle that will fit comfortably in even the smallest of handbags. It’s perfect for on-the-go styling, designed to be used on dry hair as a way of controlling flyaway hairs and smoothing any frizzing or splitting. Two drops of this rubbed between warm palms before smoothing over the hair from scalp to ends results in an instant shine, as well as a sense that your hair is going to behave! Essentially, a good hair day in a bottle.
Key specs – Quantity: 28ml; Packaging: Glass bottle with dropper lid
2. Hair & Scalp Nourishing Oil: Best for sore, sensitive, flaky scalps
Price: £21 for 100 ml | Buy now from Amazon
This is absolutely a treatment rather than a styling product, which has a strong botanical fragrance thanks to key ingredients including lavender, rosemary and sage.
The bottle advises “a small amount” but it actually took three or four palms full of oil to get a sense of coverage across the scalp. There is a very slight tingling feeling right from the start, and the scalp soon feels soothed and cool. People with particularly itchy scalps or who have chemical burns from bleach will certainly find relief with an overnight treatment.
The oil washed out easily and there was no greasy residue in the clean, dry hair – only shine and the silkiest hair you could hope for.
Key specs – Quantity: 100ml; Packaging: Glass bottle with screw top
3. Ogx Coconut Miracle Oil Extra Strength Penetrating Oil: Best value for money
Price: £9 for 100ml | Buy now from Boots
At less than £10 for 100ml this oil, which is to be applied to damp hair, is a complete bargain. As its name suggests, it’s primarily coconut oil blended with vanilla bean and other natural essences.
Rub a 10p coin-sized amount between palms and smooth through damp hair, although you might require more if your hair is particularly dry or thick. Similarly, if you have naturally greasy or fine hair, you might want to apply oil just to the lengths and ends of your tresses.
It smells gorgeous – and quite strong, so expect a few compliments on your new “perfume”.
Key specs – Quantity: 100ml; Packaging: Flip top bottle
4. For Halle Wonder Oil: Best for wigs, weaves and hair extensions
Price: £18 for 30ml | Buy now from Amazon
While this works perfectly well on natural hair, it is specially formulated for extensions and wigs. With argan and seaberry oil, this product smells intensely feminine, which makes it a pleasure to use.
Smooth four pumps of this oil over towel-dried hair and the shine is instant, feeling soft and looking glossy without any pesky flyaways once the hair is fully dried. With this sort of TLC, your extensions will look better and last longer.
Key specs – Quantity: 30ml; Packaging: Tube with pump dispenser
5. HoliRoots Hair Oil: Best for indulgent pampering
Price: £28 for 55ml | Buy now from Boots
This treatment oil is designed for weekly use, to be applied to dry hair and left on for anything from one hour to overnight.
It smells great – think tropical and sweet, but with a depth of fragrance that you only get with natural ingredients, including castor oil. There are no nasties such as parabens, sulphates or animal-derived ingredients in the Holiroots collection.
Using this is designed to be something of a ritual – it’s not meant to be a quick fix. Applied before bed, a few drops – try ten or so – massaged into the scalp will feel like a relaxing period of self-care. After washing out with shampoo the following morning you’ll find soft, silky hair that has been nourished from the root down.
Key specs – Quantity: 55ml; Packaging: Glass bottle with dropper lid