Whether you are trying to avoid chemicals or are just looking to experiment with some new hair care products, try natural oils such as coconut, argan, jojoba, almond, olive and grapeseed. These are some of the best oils for hair health and can be used directly on the skin and hair. Essential oils, such as lavender and lemongrass, also possess many qualities that help nourish and strengthen hair, while leaving it looking and smelling great.
As more people are adopting healthier lifestyles, including eating foods that are organic and GMO-free, so goes the same trend in beauty products. Green beauty products are rapidly gaining popularity, with more women than ever wanting to use natural products. A recent Harris Poll survey revealed 53 percent of women over age 18 use all-natural hair care products. Since there are so many choices, many women wonder which oils are the best to use in their hair. This helpful guide will break down some different types to help you choose the right types of oils to nourish healthy hair.
As you may be able to guess, coconut oil comes from coconuts. It is one of the most versatile oils in existence, and is also great for the skin. It contains large amounts of fatty acids which allow it to penetrate hair deeply without evaporating. Coconut oil is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that are essential for good hair health. Coconut oil is available in several different varieties, such as refined, unrefined and extra-virgin, and is one of the best oils for hair growth.
Ideal for: All hair types, but particularly those with dry, damaged or dull hair. Coconut oil works well for those wishing to repair brittle hair and split ends, and is recommended for people with slow hair growth.
Benefits: Coconut oil has many benefits, including protecting against heat damage and repairing damaged and broken hair. Using it regularly also helps prevent hair loss and promotes healthy hair growth and a healthy scalp. Coconut oil improves the look of hair by helping it retain moisture and adding a beautiful, healthy shine. Many coconut oils also possess a delicious coconut scent that makes hair smell wonderful.
How to use it: Use organic coconut oil whenever possible. Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, heating it up will soften it and allow for easier application. For those with an oily scalp: Apply to the hair, excluding the roots. For those with a dry scalp: Apply to the hair, including the roots. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and rinse with your usual alcohol-free shampoo. Treating your hair once a week with coconut oil will help protect it against damage and keep it looking healthy and shiny.
Argan oil, also known as Moroccan oil, is derived from nuts produced from argan trees. Rich in fatty acids, antioxidants and Vitamin E, argan oil not only makes your hair look wonderful, but also has many protective qualities. It is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold” due to its rich golden color. All- natural, organic argan oil is best to use, since it is minimally processed and does not contain any chemicals or additives.
Ideal for: Dry, brittle, frizzy or coarse hair that is frequently styled and exposed to heat. Also ideal for people with hair that tends to get greasy. Benefits: Argan oil protects hair against damage from UV rays and heat. It also moisturizes and smoothes hair, making it soft and manageable and imparting a lustrous shine.
How to use it: Argan oil is viscous and can be poured at room temperature. Since it is not as greasy as coconut oil, you can use argan oil more frequently than once a week — even daily, if you like. The recommended use is to pour a few drops into your hands, rub them together, then apply to your hair, avoiding the roots. Argan oil can be applied to dry or damp hair and works great as a quick anti-frizz treatment. Here is a recipe for an argan oil hair repair mask.
Jojoba oil, pronounced ho-ho-ba, is a product of the jojoba plant. Jojoba oil is ideal for use in the hair, since it shares many characteristics with sebum, the oil our scalps naturally produce. It won’t interfere with the scalp’s natural balance. Since it deeply penetrates the hair shaft and follicle, working from the inside out, jojoba oil is a great moisturizer. Jojoba oil also has antibacterial qualities. All-natural, unrefined jojoba oil is the best type to use on hair and skin, since it does not contain any chemical ingredients.
Ideal for: Dry, damaged or dull hair and those with dandruff and dry scalp issues. Benefits: Jojoba oil moisturizes hair, prevents dandruff and dry scalp and makes hair soft and shiny.
How to use it: Jojoba oil can be used in a few different ways. It is viscous at room temperature and can be poured. As a leave-in treatment, you can apply it to your scalp before shampooing your hair, and leave it in for 30 minutes or longer. You can even leave it in overnight. Try adding a few drops to your conditioner or apply it straight to the ends of your hair after shampooing. Here is a recipe for a jojoba oil hair moisturizer.
Sweet Almond Oil
Almond oil comes from the kernels inside almonds. Sweet almond oil comes from edible almonds that have been specifically grown to have a sweet taste. Not only great for cooking, sweet almond oil is also wonderful for your hair. It contains Vitamin E, fatty acids, proteins and antioxidants, along with magnesium, which reduces hair breakage and helps it grow. People with mineral deficiencies are prone to slow hair growth and hair loss, so adding some almond oil into your diet can also greatly help with these issues. Whether used for cooking or beauty care, all-natural sweet almond oil is best, as there are no added chemicals.
Ideal for: Dry and damaged hair, dandruff-prone hair and those with slow- growing hair or hair loss issues. Benefits: Sweet almond oil moisturizes, seals and protects hair and also protects against hair loss and breakage. Using it regularly helps you grow longer and stronger hair.
How to use it: Almond oil is viscous at room temperature. Warm one tablespoon of oil and rub it into the scalp. You can leave it on overnight and wash it out the next morning. You may also want to use almond oil after you shampoo to restore moisture in hair and prevent breakage and split ends. Rub a few drops onto your palms and smooth it onto towel-dried hair. Combing it through your hair and allowing hair to air dry makes hair shiny and tangle-free.
Olive oil is another extremely versatile oil, derived from pressing olives. It has protective and moisturizing properties. Since it coats the hair shaft and shields keratin, olive oil has protective qualities. It also has exfoliating and dandruff-fighting properties when combined with lemon juice. When used regularly, olive oil can replace the need to use conditioner and other hair- smoothing products. Organic, extra virgin olive oil is best, since it is rich in natural antioxidants and does not contain any chemical ingredients.
Ideal for: Damaged, dull, dry or frizzy hair, as well as hair that is dandruff- prone. Benefits: Olive oil protects against heat damage, imparts a sleek look and shine, moisturizes and gives damaged and broken hair a healthy appearance.
How to use it: You can use olive oil as a weekly hair treatment on either dry or damp hair. Coat your hair with one to two tablespoons of olive oil and cover your hair with a shower cap for about 30 minutes. Be sure to shampoo hair thoroughly afterward and rinse with cold water. There is no need to use conditioner after an olive oil treatment. When used with lemon juice every other week, olive oil also fights dandruff. For this treatment, mix a few tablespoons each of water, olive oil and lemon juice. Rub it into the scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes before you shampoo it out.
Grapeseed oil is an extract of cold-pressed grape seeds. It contains emollients, antioxidants and nutrients that are essential to the growth of healthy hair and skin cells. While it possesses the same moisturizing qualities as many other natural oils, grapeseed oil is superior in its ability to treat brittle and weak hair and hair loss. It is also an effective dandruff and dermatitis fighter and may help people regrow hair. This light and versatile green-colored oil is also beneficial for heart health when used for cooking. Pure, all-natural grapeseed oil is the best type to use for both cooking and skin and hair care purposes.
Ideal for: Dry, dull hair and brittle hair, hair that is prone to getting greasy and dandruff-prone hair. It is also effective at combating hair loss.
Benefits: Grapeseed oil moisturizes and conditions hair. It also makes hair strong and healthy and is effective in treating frizz and split ends. Grapeseed oil is helpful in fighting dandruff and reduces scalp inflammation in those who suffer from dermatitis. In addition, it blocks the production of DHT, a hormone that causes hair loss. The high content of Vitamin E in grapeseed oil encourages the production of linoleic acid, which helps restore strength and shine to weak and brittle hair.
How to use it: Grapeseed oil is lightweight compared to many of the others on this list, making it ideal for frequent use. It also does not have any kind of odor. To use as a deep conditioning treatment, coat your hair with a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water for shiny and moisturized hair. For dandruff treatment, rub oil directly into the scalp and allow it to absorb. As an overnight treatment, coat hair with warm grapeseed oil, cover with a shower cap or towel and wash it out in the morning. Grapeseed oil also makes a great carrier oil for essential oils that aid in stress relief and relaxation of hair follicles.
Lavender oil is an essential oil derived from lavender flowers. Studies have shown the topical use of lavender oil promotes hair growth. It increases the number of hair follicles on the head, resulting in fuller and thicker hair. It also has antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities, which make it ideal for use by people with dandruff. When used to massage the scalp and mixed with a carrier oil, it improves circulation, stimulates hair growth and can even prevent hair loss. The hair follicles that grow when the scalp is treated with lavender oil are rooted more deeply, causing less hair loss.
Ideal for: All hair types, especially those who tend to have oily hair in the front and back and dry scalp in other areas.
Benefits: Lavender oil promotes hair growth without the side effects caused by other topical hair growth products. It prevents hair loss, moisturizes the scalp and balances sebum production. Its regular use results in fuller and thicker hair. Along with its many benefits to the hair and scalp, lavender oil is also proven to relieve stress, which is also a cause of hair loss. Lavender oil also has a distinct and pleasant aroma.
How to use it: Since lavender oil is an essential oil, mix it with a carrier oil such as warm olive or coconut oil. If using as a scalp massage, mix eight to 10 drops of lavender oil with two tablespoons of a carrier oil and massage into the scalp. Leave it on overnight, covering hair with a towel or shower cap. Shampoo hair in the morning. You can also add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner for moisturized and great-smelling hair.
Lemongrass oil is an essential oil derived from an herb in the Poaceae grass family. It contains many vitamins and minerals that are great for the hair. Lemongrass oil has healing qualities and works well for a variety of hair and scalp issues. Lemongrass oil is also proven to strengthen hair follicles and prevent and reduce hair loss.
Ideal for: All hair types, but particularly beneficial for people who experience dry scalp and dandruff. It also strengthens hair follicles in people with hair loss.
Benefits: Lemongrass oil possesses antifungal and antiviral properties, and is effective in relieving dry scalp and dandruff. It is proven to inhibit dandruff caused by yeast issues. Lemongrass oil also prevents hair loss and gives hair a healthy shine. It also smells fresh and clean, and is a known stress reliever.
How to use it: You can add about 10 drops of lemongrass oil to your bottle of shampoo or conditioner. When using as a scalp massage, add two or three drops to your hair along with your conditioner. Remember, never apply essential oils to your scalp or skin without a carrier such as coconut oil or olive oil.
Things to Consider When Using Natural Oil in Your Hair
Once you have decided to add all-natural oils into your hair care regimen, there are a few things to consider. Knowing your hair’s needs and the types of oils that work best is always helpful, as is where to purchase all-natural, high- quality oils. Application tips such as how to safely incorporate essential oils and the correct amount of oils to use for hair treatments are also important to know.
- Use high-quality, minimally processed oils. Whenever possible, use organic, all-natural oils. These types of oils retain their natural levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and do not contain any chemical or non-natural ingredients or additives.
- Check out the ingredients. Be sure to read the label to check that there are no hidden chemicals or unnatural ingredients. Sometimes oils that claim to be natural contain other ingredients, such as perfumes or additives, so always be aware of what you are buying.
- Consider your hair type and needs. Every hair type is different, and it may take you a while to figure out which oil is best for your needs. What oils are good for your hair may not work well for another person, and vice versa. Do not be afraid to experiment and keep trying until you find the oils that are best for you. Consistent use of oils will result in healthy, shiny and beautiful-looking hair, but be patient: It may take some time to see results.
- When using essential oils, never apply them directly to the scalp or hair. They do not dilute in water and must be used with a carrier oil. Always test a small drop of oil on your skin to be sure you do not experience an adverse reaction, and be sure not to ingest them. It is always a good idea to check with your health care provider if you are not sure about using essential oils, especially women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Be sure not to use too much. Since oil is greasy, you should use it sparingly. Always wash your hair thoroughly with a quality, alcohol-free shampoo after any hair treatment containing oil.
Benefits of Using Natural Oils in Hair
From improving dry scalp and hair loss issues to adding shine and protecting against damage, natural oils offer a green way to care for your hair. The use of natural oils is also good for the environment and your overall health, since it reduces exposure to harmful chemicals. Here are some of the many benefits of using natural oils in your hair care routine.
- Stimulates hair growth
- Combats dry scalp and dandruff
- Helps prevent and remedy heat and styling damage
- Adds shine
- Nourishes hair
- Prevents oily hair
- Better for the environment
- Reduces exposure to chemical and other non-natural ingredients
Hair Types and the Best Oils for Each
Knowledge of your hair type and its unique needs is essential when choosing what oils will work best. Most people have a combination of hair and scalp issues, so experimenting with different combinations of oils and hair treatments is key to finding the ones that work best for you.
- Dry, dull hair: coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil
- Dry scalp: jojoba oil, lavender oil, lemongrass oil
- Damaged hair: coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil
- Hair loss: sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, lemongrass oil
- Dandruff-prone hair: jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, lemongrass oil
- Slow-growing hair: coconut oil and sweet almond oil