Healthy hair requires a healthy scalp, and for thousands of years, natural oils have been used for hair care, caring for the scalp and the hair simultaneously. However, since the turn of the twentieth century, they have taken a back seat as chemically enhanced hair products became commercially available. Today, with a wider knowledge regarding the harmful chemicals which these products expose us to, and a greater concern for the environment, more people are turning to natural products and there has been an upsurge in recent years. A recent poll suggested that 53% of women over the age of 18 are now using natural hair care products, with that figure expected to rise rapidly.
Loaded with nutrients to naturally care for the scalp and hair, restoring health and vitality, natural oils are suitable for all hair types. So what are the top 5 oils which we recommend?
Coconut Oil needs no introduction, it is synonymous with skin and hair care. It is packed with fatty acids, vitamin E, carbohydrates, and minerals that are essential for great hair health.
Ideal for: Dry, dull hair, damaged hair, slow-growing hair, softening the hair, frizzy hair, protecting against heat damage.
Benefits: It’s an emollient and will deeply penetrate dry hair and stay inside instead of evaporating. It intensely moisturises each strand and works as a heat protectant. Repairs brittle hair and split ends. Regular use will prevent hair damage, breakage and loss, and stimulate healthy growth. Leaves hair soft and lustrous and the scalp glowing with health.
Recommended usage: As a pre-wash, 20-30 minutes before the usual hair wash routine/As an intensive overnight mask. Apply to damp hair: warm the oil slightly to make it easier to use, and massage it into the scalp with the fingertips, then gently spread throughout the hair from roots to tip and use a wide toothed comb to detangle the hair. Wrap the hair in a warm towel. Shampoo out with a mild, alcohol free shampoo. As a remedy to revive dry ends between washes: warm a little in the hands to apply to dry ends and apply sparingly.
Use 1-2 times a week for best results.
Known as ‘liquid gold’, Argan oil has a long illustrious history as a hair care oil. It is packed with fatty acids, vitamin E, carbohydrates, and minerals that are essential for great hair health.
Ideal for: Dry, dull hair, coloured hair, oily/combination hair and scalp, damaged hair, curly/textured hair, slow-growing hair, softening the hair, high porosity frizzy hair, restoring pH balance, protecting against heat and chemical damage (including hair colouring).
Benefits: Argan oil deeply nourishes the scalp and roots, balances sebum production and restores the pH level of the hair. It’s a natural moisturiser and will penetrate the cortex to nourish the hair shaft, helping to repair damage from within. It will form a protective layer around each strand, protecting against oxidative stress, water absorption, heat, chemical and UV damage, imparting shine, smoothing the hair and reducing frizz. It regenerates the cells, actively strengthening the hair, promoting elasticity and protecting against brittleness, breakage and split ends. Regular use will accelerate the production of keratin, stimulating hair growth and protecting against hair fall and loss. A study showed that argan oil can also rejuvenate coloured hair. Its antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties will promote a healthy scalp and protect against conditions like dandruff and dermatitis. It will also regulate the oil balance in the hair. It is extremely lightweight and ideal for curly, textured hair. Leaves the hair soft, smooth, shiny and manageable.
Recommended usage: As an overnight mask: see Coconut Oil. As a leave-in conditioner before heat styling or to reduce frizz: apply a couple of drops to the palms of your hands and smooth through the damp hair. As a styling product to define curls: apply a couple of drops to the palms of your hands and apply to dry hair where needed.
Jojoba oil first became extremely popular for use in the hair care industry back in the 1980’s and has retained its popularity to date. It is packed with fatty acids, vitamin E, carbohydrates, and minerals that are essential for great hair health. Jojoba is technically a wax and not an oil, and is biologically similar to the skin’s own sebum.
Ideal for: Dry, dull hair, fine, thinning hair, coloured hair, oily/combination hair and scalp, damaged hair, curly/textured hair, frizzy hair, slow-growing hair, softening the hair, restoring pH balance, protecting against heat and chemical damage.
Benefits: Jojoba oil deeply nourishes the scalp and roots, and restores the pH level of the hair. It balances the sebum production and will eliminate oily or dry scalp problems, while the antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties will protect against conditions like dandruff and psoriasis. Jojoba oil conditions and moisturises the hair, repairs cell damage, strengthens the hair shaft, thickens hair strands and promotes healthy hair growth. As a lightweight oil, it does not penetrate the hair as deeply as other oils, but creates a protective barrier, filling in the cracks of damaged hair, and protecting against further damage by UV, heat and oxidative stress. It will leave hair shiny with health, soft and manageable.
Recommended usage: Add a couple of drops to normal shampoo, conditioner or hairstyling products for everyday use. As a pre-wash or overnight mask – see Coconut Oil. As a conditioner after washing (on alternative days, not recommended for everyday use): apply a couple of drops only to the palms of your hands and smooth through the damp hair.
Almond oil is not new to the world of hair care, having been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat dry scalp conditions. It contains one of the high levels of natural vitamin E, plus fatty acids, proteins and antioxidants, in addition to magnesium and biotin.
Ideal for: Dry, fine, damaged and dull hair, treat dandruff or psoriasis, slow growing hair, thinning hair or hair loss, softening the hair, frizzy hair, protecting against heat and chemical damage.
Benefits: It moisturises, seals and protects, is absorbed quickly but does not weigh down the hair. Restores and retains moisture and elasticity. Repairs existing damage improves hair resilience and diminishes friction during styling to prevent damage or breakage. It is especially useful for preventing split ends and protecting against heat and UV damage. Reduces frizz and smooths the hair. Also excellent for the skin and scalp, it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to calm irritation and inflammation of the scalp and reduce the symptoms of dandruff and psoriasis. Contains magnesium and natural biotin, known to promote and accelerate hair growth and reduce thinning, and even demonstrated an ability to help reverse hair loss in one study. Used regularly, almond oil will help you to grow stronger, longer and healthier hair. Excellent to restore and re-nourish the hair after chemical treatments or prolonged sun exposure.
Recommended usage: As an overnight mask or pre-wash – see Coconut Oil. As a leave-in conditioner: see Jojoba Oil.
Light, odourless, and extremely versatile, grapeseed oil is a great addition to your hair care regime. It has a high content of vitamin E and other antioxidants, plus fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals.
Ideal for: Dry, dull hair, fine, thinning hair, damaged hair, curly/textured hair, treat dandruff or psoriasis, frizzy hair, slow-growing hair, thinning hair or hair loss, softening the hair, protecting against heat and chemical damage.
Benefits: Superior abilities to treat brittle and weak hair and hair loss. Effectively fights dandruff and dermatitis. Excellent for a scalp massage, it boosts the blood circulation to the scalp to stimulate hair follicles and boost growth. Also blocks the production of the hormone DHT which causes hair loss. Ultra lightweight and hydrating, it perfectly moisturises and is light and gentle enough for fine or thinning hair, yet nourishing enough for thick, curly or coarse hair. Protects against UV, oxidant and heat damage, strengthens the hair structure and restores texture. Grapeseed oil can calm and reduce the symptoms of dandruff and psoriasis, and is non-comedogenic. Perfect for adding shine, reducing frizz and untangling the hair.
Recommended usage: As an overnight mask or pre-wash – see Coconut Oil. As a wash-out conditioner: simply apply to the damp hair after washing and rinse out with water. As a spray for frizz control: Add a tablespoon to one cup of distilled water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray liberally to frizzy hair.
So now you have our top-picks. Which will you choose? Remember you can mix them together to create a perfect blend for your particular hair needs, or have a few different bottles on hand to meet all your requirements.