“What oil is best for hair?” We’re asked this question all the time. And fortunately for you, we’ve got a simple answer for you. Read on to learn all about oils and which is best for your hair.


Jump to:

What Oil Is Best for Hair?

For a piece on what is the best oil for hair, a woman with natural hair spraying a bottle onto the curls
Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

With so many hair products lining the shelves of every supermarket, it’s hard to imagine not having to reach for products with harmful chemicals when caring for your hair. 

One popular choice is natural hair oils. Oil has plenty of benefits for our hair. It works with the natural oils of the scalp to hydrate and strengthen many hair types. 

There are plenty of different hair oils out there, and each comes with its own benefits. So, in this article, we’re exploring the best oil for your hair and what you can hope to gain from it.

Let’s get to it!

Why Hair Needs Oil

To help answer "what oil is best for your hair", a photo of healthy blonde hair tied in a knot on a green background
IMG Stock Studio/Shutterstock

There are plenty of reasons to consider using oil for your hair. Here are the key advantages:

  • Oil can strengthen your hair. Oil makes your hair more elastic, so it isn’t as likely to break. You can quickly test the elasticity of your hair by taking a stand and pulling it between your fingers. Elastic hair will lengthen slightly, like a rubber band. If your hair elasticity is low, it will snap nearly immediately. 
  • Protect your hair from heat damage. Suppose you’re passionate about styling your hair. In that case, you probably know that heat treatments can cause damage to your locks — even after just a few uses. This is where you can use oil to place a protective coating over each strand of hair to help defend it against heat damage.
  • Hydrate your hair to prevent frizz. Healthy hair should retain moisture. By applying oil to your hair, you create a rich barrier in fatty acids and vitamin E that help lock in your hair’s moisture. It also prevents humidity from affecting the hair shaft, which reduces frizz. Coarser hair types often suffer from a lack of moisture and frizz. For them, the right oil can work wonders for protecting their hair and making it more manageable.
  • Promote hair growth: While there’s no miracle cure for hair growth, oils can strengthen the hair shaft and prevent hair breakage. This allows your hair to grow instead of fixing itself and protecting you from unnecessary hair loss.
  • Protect your hair from the sun: Plenty of people protect their skin from the sun by rubbing oils and lotions onto their bodies. The same goes very much for hair. Plant phenols found in a variety of botanical oils can naturally revert UV radiation. 

What’s the Best Oil for Your Hair?

Different plant oils achieve varying effects. Depending on your hair type, you might have specific hair care goals. Perhaps your primary concern is retaining moisture? Or maybe you’re trying to bring some shine to lackluster hair?

Whatever your aims, here are some different types of hair oil and where they’re the most applicable:

Coconut Oil

Image of Coconut oil (the best for hair) sitting on a layflat image with leaves and granite in the background
AnnaNikitina84/Shutterstock

Coconut oil is an excellent choice for people with curly hair. It’s absorbed into the hair shaft very quickly, meaning your curls won’t be weighed down by moisture on the surface.

This smooth absorption is thanks to the small molecular size of coconut oil. It’s a great way of retaining moisture without losing volume. If you’re looking for a coconut oil alternative, avocado oil achieves a similar effect.

Coconut oil also prevents split ends. You can apply it by warming a small amount of oil in your hands and gently rubbing it into the ends of your hair.

It’s best to do this just before you go to bed to prevent hairs from splitting during your sleep. Coconut oil is also one of the best oils for UV protection – both for your skin and hair.

Lightweight Oils: Carrot, Jojoba, Apricot Kernel

If you want to add extra sheen to your hair, you can achieve this with a small number of lightweight oils like carrot oil or jojoba. You simply rub a tiny amount into dry, styled hair for a bit of extra gloss. 

These oils are also suited to fine hair that can’t afford to be weighed down too much. Be cautious, however. Applying oil too close to your scalp can make fine hair look greasy and flat.

So, avoid the roots during application. Jojoba oil is also great for dry and damaged hair. It can also help those with dandruff and dry scalp issues, as it moisturizes hair, making it softer and shinier.

Jojoba profoundly penetrates the hair shaft and follicle, thus working from the inside out as an excellent moisturizer.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil sits in a tube for a piece on best oils for hair
Rawf8/Shutterstock

If your goal is to promote hair growth and stimulate your hair, peppermint oil is the right choice. It supports blood circulation on the scalp and boasts a pleasant tingly sensation. The extra blood flow helps to send those much-needed nutrients to your hair and so that it grows stronger. 

Argan Oil

Argan oil is one of the most popular oils for all hair types. It’s pretty lightweight, making it suitable even for fine and thin hair. If you have curly locks, you might need to apply a little extra. 

But the main benefit of argan oil is its wealth of antioxidants and fatty acids. This lends moisture to your hair similarly to how your body does with its own fatty acids. As a result, argan oil lubricates dry strands to elevate even dull-looking hair.

The moisture also helps get more shine out of your hair, making your hair softer and more manageable by smoothing the strands. Argan oil isn’t as greasy as oils like coconut and can be applied daily. 

Olive Oil

Olives and olive oil sit on a wooden table alongside green leaves
Dusan Zidar/Shutterstock

That’s right – plain old olive oil can work wonders for your skin and hair. However, the oil you might find on your kitchen shelf might not be the best hair product.

It only applies to the exterior of your strands due to their large molecular size. But it can still add a nice cosmetic effect to help repair hair and add strength and protection. 

Find the Right Oil for your Hair

We hope this article has provided some insight into the benefits hair oil could provide for you. There are many more oils than this available on the market, each with different application methods and advantages. Let us know which one is your favorite!

Author: Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things lifestyle, with a special passion for hair. In addition to You Probably Need a Haircut, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, G2, and Judicious Inc.