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6 Best Hair Oils That Treat Thinning Hair, Restore Shine, Fight Frizz + More

Discover the one for your hair type or concern

Whether you’re dreaming of silky-smooth strands or just want to give your hair some extra TLC, hair oil can do just that. Women have been using these elixirs for centuries to achieve healthier, smoother manes. And no matter your hair concern, whether you want to tame frizz, add shine or boost growth, there’s a hair oil for that. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about hair oils, from what to look for in a hair oil, how to use these treatments and the best hair oils that will work for you. Read on to find the one that will transform your tresses.

What are hair oils?

“Hair oils are typically natural or synthetic oils that are applied to the hair and scalp to nourish, condition, and improve the overall health/appearance of hair,” says Kristine Benglyan, hair expert and Brand Director of iBeauty Brands.

Bottles of hair oil
Nadia A/Getty

“Since our hair cannot regulate its moisture, maintaining proper hydration levels is key in preventing hair from becoming dull and brittle,” says Helen Reavey, celebrity hairstylist, certified trichologist, and founder of Act+Acre. “Hair oils are leave-on products formulated to nourish, moisturize, and condition the hair. They’re often made by combining natural ingredients such as argan oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, and meadowfoam seed oil and typically are made to be used on the mid-lengths and ends of the hair.”

For more on hair oil, check out the below video from @BlowoutProfessor on YouTube.

The benefits of using hair oils

Different hair oils have different benefits, it depends on what you are looking for. Jerome Lordet, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Jerome Lordet Salon, walks us through a few of the benefits and intentions for specific oils. He notes, “there are oils intended for the scalp and the strands, and they have different benefits for the hair. Oiling the scalp can moisturize and nourish it, and if massaged in can help exfoliate as well.” He says rubbing in the oil can be beneficial for hair growth. And the hydration hair oils provide “can also help prevent frizz and breakage.” He adds that “on the strands, hair oil can eliminate frizz and boost shine. Some oils offer additional benefits, like heat protectants or bond repairs.” 

Reavey mentions a few more of the many benefits of hair oil as she says hair oil, “mends split ends and reduces breakage for healthier-looking hair. [It] improves visible signs of damage — from heat styling, aging, and environmental aggressors, and maintains hair’s natural moisture balance, resulting in healthy, soft and stronger locks.”

Related: 11 Best Hair Growth Products for Women Over 50 to Treat Thinning, According to Hair Loss Experts

What to look for in a hair oil

“If you have thin/fine hair, using an oil without added silicone can help to avoid weighing hair down too much or making it look greasy,” advises Lordet. “There are oils that can nourish your scalp if you’re looking to improve growth, but most good hair oils regardless of ingredients will help smooth and tame frizz or flyaways. He also says that products with argan oil, jojoba oil, castor oil or coconut oil as a key ingredient “are typically good bets!”

In terms of formulas you should stay away from, Reavey recommends looking out for ingredients such as parabens, petrolatum/petroleum and synthetic fragrances.

Related: Is Sulfate Bad for Your Hair? Pros Reveal What Hair Care Ingredients Are Best To Avoid

Do hair oils work for all hair types?

Hair oil works and benefits all types of hair, but Reavey says, “it’s important to remember that different hair types require different types of oil.” If you have fine or oily hair, she recommends “opting for lightweight oils like argan or jojoba oil, while individuals with dry or coarse hair may benefit from heavier oils with ingredients such as coconut or avocado oil.”

Benglyan goes more in depth with what Reavey mentioned below based on different hair types or concerns.

Dry hair? If your hair tends to feel dry and brittle, oils can be a lifesaver. They hydrate the strands, tame frizz and make your hair more manageable.

Curly or coily hair? These hair types often struggle with retaining moisture. Oils can help lock in hydration, define curls and keep frizz at bay.

Fine or thin hair? Lightweight oils like argan or jojoba won’t weigh your hair down. They add moisture without making your hair look greasy or flat.

Oily hair? Surprisingly, oils can still be beneficial. Opt for lighter options like grapeseed or tea tree oil to help balance oil production and nourish your hair without making it greasier.

Have a sensitive scalp? Some oils contain soothing ingredients like chamomile or lavender, perfect for calming an irritated scalp.

Have chemically-treated hair? Whether you dye or perm your hair, oils can help restore moisture and improve its overall health and appearance.

How to use hair oils

Woman applying hair oil
Delmaine Donson/Getty

There are so many ways to use hair oils. In general, “when using hair oils, be conservative in your application as too much will make hair look greasy or dirty,” says Lordet. “Rub a couple small drops of oil between your hands and apply lightly, starting from the ends and working up the length of your hair.”

Although this is not the case if you are oiling your roots for hair growth. A lot of people are turning to hair oiling pre-shampooing by applying to the roots of the scalp and leaving it in for around 1-3 hours before showering. 

Reavy also notes people use hair oil for pre-styling, as a finishing touch, as an add-on to a hair mask or even as an overnight treatment. She goes more in detail for each usage below:

  • Pre-styling: Evenly distribute on damp hair to help detangle and protect hair against thermal damage.
  • As a finishing touch: Evenly distribute on dry hair to tame frizz and reduce flyaways.
  • As an add-on to a hair mask: Add a few drops to your hair mask and massage an even layer on wet, cleansed hair. Leave on for up to 20 minutes, then rinse.
  • As an overnight treatment: Distribute onto the mid-lengths to ends of hair. Braid hair to lock in the treatment and wash in the morning.

To see hair oil in action, watch the below YouTube video from trichologist Abbey Yung.

Related: Slugging: This New Spin on an Old Hack Has Gone Viral Because It Hydrates Hair Like Nothing Else — For Pennies!

The best hair oils

Here, the expert-approved hair oils that will work wonders to beautify your tresses.

Best overall hair oil

Act+Acre 5% Argan Repair Hair Oil

Act+Acre 5% Argan Repair Hair Oil

As mentioned previously, argan oil is a great ingredient to look for in a hair oil because it has a number of benefits for hair. And this oil, recommended by Reavey contains it among other ingredients for its ability to restore hair health and shine while also reducing flyaways and frizz

Best hair oil for fine, thin hair

Sam McKnight Love Me Do Nourishing Oil, one of the best hair oils
Sam McKnight

Sam McKnight Love Me Do Nourishing Oil

While those with finer locks may think hair oils will weigh down strands, think again! Reavey suggests this option because the fast-absorbing formula ensures thin hair looks gorgeous, not greasy.

Best hair oil for thick hair

Davines OI Oil, one of the best hair oils

Davines OI Oil

For strands on the opposite end of the spectrum from above, Lordet favors this oil by Davines. This oil works especially well on the coarsest of hair without leaving behind a greasy residue.

Best hair oil for shine

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum

Say bye-bye to dull hair by using this suggestion from Reavey. This product leaves your hair silky and shiny without feeling heavy or looking greasy.

Best hair oil for curly hair

Curlsmith Bonding Hair Oil, one of the best hair oils

Curlsmith Bonding Hair Oil

If you have curly or coily hair, Reavey suggests this oil from Curlsmith. What is unique about this product is that it targets hair bonds to seal cuticles while it enhances your curly texture. This is also key for taming frizz.

Best heat protectant hair oil

SUTRA Beauty Heat Guard
SUTRA Beauty

SUTRA Beauty Heat Guard

Benglyan loves this oil as “It not only protects from heat and chemical damage but it’s filled with different nourishing oils that work well for all hair types & uses.” She says, “It has so many beneficial ingredients like castor oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed extract, avocado oil, just to name a few. Most oils only contain a few of these ingredients so their uses are much more specific.”

For more hair care tips and tricks:

Menopause Hair Care: What Works Best for Women Over 50, According to Hair Pros

Hyaluronic Acid Makes Hair Healthy, Shiny and Youthful — Here’s How to Use It

How to Fix a Receding Hairline: The TikTok Tricks That Actually Work for Women Over 50

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