From avocado to argan, hair oils extracted from nuts, seeds, and fruits can give your hair a powerful health boost. Whether you’re dealing with dryness, dullness, or damaged strands, natural oils help strengthen your hair and enhance its texture. Oils also supply much-needed moisture to your scalp, which may help eliminate dandruff.
Here’s a look at nine natural oils that may help nourish your hair:
One of the most popular natural products for hair care, coconut oil is loaded with lauric acid (a type of saturated fat). In a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, scientists observed that the lauric acid found in coconut oil has a rare ability to penetrate inside the hair shaft and, in turn, repair damaged hair.
What’s more, the same study determined that treatment with coconut oil may help to reduce the loss of protein from hair. (Your hair’s main component, protein may be damaged by chemical processes such as dyeing and highlighting.)
Touted for all hair types, coconut oil is widely favored as a moisture-boosting hair treatment.
Like coconut oil, olive oil penetrates into your hair’s fibers in a way that few other oils can. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the abundance of monounsaturated fats found in olive oil may play a key role in its deeply penetrating, hair-strengthening properties.
Because it’s so moisturizing, olive oil might help save your hair from weather-related dryness during the winter months. Scrunching a few drops of olive oil into your hair can also help keep curls smooth.
Sometimes referred to as “liquid gold,” argan oil comes from the kernels of a tree native to Morocco. In recent years, this oil has become a beloved treatment for many hair types, including frizzy, coarse, and brittle hair. Highly treasured for its conditioning effects, argan oil is packed with essential fatty acids said to leave hair more manageable.
The seeds of the jojoba plant are high in liquid wax and essential fatty acids found to possess moisturizing properties. Long used in shampoos and conditioners, jojoba oil may help soften and restore luster to dull hair. In addition, it may help treat dry scalp and aid in dandruff control.
Like nuts and seeds, avocados are a top source of vitamin E (an antioxidant compound found to fight hair loss when taken in supplement form). While it’s not known whether applying vitamin E-rich oil to your scalp can promote hair growth, avocado oil is often used to prevent hair breakage and repair damaged hair.
To improve hair moisture, many avocado fans mix the oil with honey and egg whites to create a soothing hair mask.
Sweet Almond Oil
One of the lighter choices when it comes to nut oils, sweet almond oil is thought to treat dullness and dryness without weighing hair down. Many people also prize sweet almond oil as a natural solution for dry scalp and dandruff.
Grape Seed Oil
Another lighter option, grape seed oil is a smart selection for people with fine hair. Along with easing frizz, this antioxidant-packed oil may help treat split ends. To prevent greasy buildup, those with especially fine hair should avoid the hair’s roots when applying grape seed oil (or any oil type).
Macadamia Nut Oil
An exceptionally rich oil, macadamia is a popular remedy for dried-out but naturally thick hair. It’s also used to fight frizz and repair heat-damaged hair.
Although it’s one of the lesser-known oils, baobab oil is a favorite choice among those with curly hair. Sourced from the fruit of the baobab tree (a plant native to Africa), this oil is said to enhance hair’s elasticity, increase suppleness, and add a non-greasy shine.
How to Use Hair Oils
There are many different ways to introduce oils into your hair-care routine, including:
- Adding a few drops of oil to your shampoo or conditioner
- Applying several drops of oil to the ends of damp hair before blow-drying/styling
- Slightly heating one to two tablespoons of oil, massaging the oil into your dry hair, then letting the oil sit for a half-hour before shampooing or rinsing with cold water
As a general rule, leave-in treatments are better suited to those with thick or particularly dry/damaged hair, while a pre-shampoo treatment may be more helpful to those with fine hair. To find the technique that’s right for you, experiment with a few different approaches and see how your hair responds.
It’s also important to note that certain nut oils may trigger allergic reactions, especially among individuals with nut allergies.