Contrary to popular belief, there’s a hair oil out there for everyone. How do we know? We spoke to some of the best in the industry when it comes to hair knowledge and style execution.
Eddie Parra, esteemed celebrity hairstylist and founder of extension label Opul Beauty, stated that “the best hair oil is determined by your specific needs. Ideally you want something light that you can layer on over time. Your hair should absorb the oil and not be coated by it.”
We also connected with Braydon Nelson, a professional in the realm of hair styling whose expertise has graced the pages of Vogue and Elle. With a portfolio that includes collaborations with iconic labels such as Chanel, Dior, and Brioni, Nelson’s insights on hair care are nothing short of masterful.
Nelson is steadfast in his attention to ingredient lists. “A lot of mainstream oils have tones of silicon in them,” he said. “Silicon can be helpful to coat the hair, but it doesn’t really allow ingredients to penetrate into the hair for lasting results.”
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Are hair oils only for dry hair?
While Neslon says “yes,” he goes on to say “they can also be used on all hair texture depending on the oil. I also suggest to my clients with colored hair to use a hair oil before shampooing to help protect from hard water or unbalanced pH levels in shampoo that may dry your hair out. I also like to use oil for natural styling or just some extra styling.”
How do you choose the best hair oil for your hair type?
“I would base it on your hair density,” Parra suggested. “If you have a lot of hair, you can get away with a heavier oil. If you have thinner hair you want something on the lighter side that your hair can absorb.” Keep in mind his advice that a hair oil shouldn’t coat the hair, but absorb into it. Those with thinner hair can definitely benefit from hair oil as long as the formulation is designed for them.
The Best Hair Oils
Best overall: Shu Uemera Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil
Shu Uemera Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil is a luxurious blend of camellia oil and essential fatty acids, providing deep nourishment and protection for all hair types. Simply apply a small amount to damp or dry hair for enhanced shine, manageability, and a weightless finish.
“Essence Absolue by Shu Uemera is the best hair oil overall because of its consistency,” Parra raved. “It is extremely light and safe for clients to use. You don’t have to worry so much about the portion because your hair will absorb it and you can always reapply.”
- Light, layerable consistency
- Hair absorbs well, wet or dry
- Nourishing formula treats and protects all hair types
- Relatively more expensive than other options
Best for hair growth: Vegamour GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum
“Vegamour has taken everyone by storm for its transformative effects on stress induced hair loss,” Parra stated. “They have taken CBD and use it to calm your scalp from stress induced hair loss.”
Vegamour GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum is a potent formula containing natural ingredients like mung bean, red clover, and curcumin to support hair growth. Apply a few drops to the scalp daily to promote healthier, thicker hair with visible results in as little as 90 days, per the brand.
- Transformative effects on stress-induced hair loss
- Utilizes CBD to calm the scalp
- Relatively more expensive than other options
Best for dry scalp: Aveda Overnight Scalp Renewal Serum
Aveda Overnight Scalp Renewal Serum rejuvenates the scalp with a powerful blend of tangerine peel and wintergreen-derived salicylic acid. Use it before bedtime to exfoliate and nourish the scalp, promoting a balanced, revitalized foundation for healthy hair.
“This Overnight Scalp Renewal Serum by Aveda is by far the most transformative results for scalp health,” Parra raved. “Not only does it hydrate your scalp, but it rejuvenates and strengthens your scalp.” What more could you ask for in a hair oil tailored to scalp care.
- Hydrates, rejuvenates, and strengthens the scalp
- Prevents premature scalp aging
- Overnight application may be inconvenient for those with busy schedules
Best for frizz: Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil
Parra loves Living Proof as it “is known for its scientific background. This hair oil has been constructed to be quickly absorbed by your hair in order to block humidity, leaving your hair polished and frizz free.” And, according to Parra, it does the job well, keeping frizz at bay for long periods of time.
This oil is a lightweight, silicone-free formula specially designed to tackle frizz and flyaways. Apply a small amount to damp or dry hair to achieve smooth, frizz-free locks with a natural, touchable texture.
- Scientifically formulated for quick absorption and effective frizz control
- Blocks humidity, leaving hair polished and free from frizz
- Effectiveness may vary based on individual hair types and conditions
Best for shine: Kevin.Murphy Shimmer.Shine
“Shimmer.Shine by Kevin.Murphy is a gold elixir oil that is used on dry hair as a finishing spray,” Parra explained. “Whether your hair is in an updo, waved, or natural, this finishing spray will add tons of shine. Not to mention the gold particles that help reflect the light.”
This weightless spray is infused with a blend of vitamins and bamboo extracts, delivering radiant shine to dull hair. Simply mist over styled hair for an instant luminous finish that enhances vibrancy and luminosity.
- Gold elixir oil adds a luxurious shine to hair
- Ideal as a finishing spray for various hairstyles, enhancing their appearance
- Gold particles may not suit extremely light and bright blondes as well as something like the Shimmer.Me Blonde treatment
Best for curly hair: Ouidad Mongongo Multi-Use Curl Treatment
Ouidad Mongongo Multi-Use Curl Treatment is specially formulated for curly hair, utilizing mongongo oil to hydrate and define curls. Apply to damp hair to enhance curl patterns, reduce frizz, and leave hair soft and manageable.
Another Eddie Parra recommendation, this treatment oil “has the most flexibility in use,” something ideal for those one the curl pattern spectrum. “Depending on your hair density you want to start with smaller amounts,” he said. “I would start with it as a treatment and, if you feel like your hair can handle it, use it as a leave-in.”
- Versatile use for different curl patterns, offering flexibility
- Can be used as a treatment or leave-in based on individual hair density
- Initial experimentation may be needed to determine the right amount for each user
Best for fine hair: Prose Custom Hair Oil
“This hair oil by Prose is created for finer hair, which is why it is used as a treatment,” Parra stated. “You are to apply this oil prior to shampoo,” making it ideal for those with fine hair. No excess oil is left on the hair shaft unabsorbed. “I would leave it in while at the gym,” Parra recommended.
Prose Custom Hair Oil can be personalized for fine hair types, addressing specific needs based on a customized formula. Apply a few drops to damp or dry hair to nourish, add shine, and protect without weighing down delicate strands.
- Tailored for finer hair, providing a specialized treatment
- Applied before shampooing, preventing excess oil buildup
- Customization requires a consultation, which may be time-consuming
Best for thick hair: Kerastase Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil
“Elixir Ultime is a nourishing oil by Kerastase,” Parra said. “This oil is thick but absorbent.” Ideal for thick tresses, this oil takes its time when soaking into the hair shaft. “I would start with wet hair so it distributes more evenly through the hair and then reapply as it dries,” he advised.
The L’Huile Original Hair Oil caters to thick hair with a blend of precious oils, providing intense nourishment and a luxurious finish. Apply to mid-lengths and ends for enhanced smoothness, shine, and protection.
- Nourishing oil suitable for thick hair, providing deep hydration
- Thick consistency ensures even distribution for optimal results
- Initial application may take longer due to the thickness of the oil
Best splurge: Sisley Hair Ritual Precious Hair Oil
“Hair Ritual by Sisley has my favorite favorite oil called Precious Hair Oil (the title says it all),” Nelson said. “This oil is amazing because if you can control the weight by how much you use. One pump is good for fine hair and 3-4 pumps is good on thicker hair.” Well worth the splurge if you’re in the market to treat yourself or someone else, the Precious Hair Oil uses unique oils for nutrition and glossiness, from cotton oil to Moringa, passion fruit, and shea oil.
I find this hair oil to be ideal for days by the sea — a good few pumps before getting in the ocean and/or afterwards if you’ve got somewhere to go and don’t want beach tangles makes a world of a difference. It’s the only oil I use on boat or beach days because nothing nourishes sea-dried hair quite like it.
- Customizable weight control allows users to adjust for different hair types
- Unique oil blend offers both nutrition and a glossy finish
- A luxurious option not ideal for those on a budget
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