The Independent


Nourishing elixirs for your hair,

- writes Lauren Cunningham

Hair oil is an often unsung haircare hero, promising to smooth strands, fight frizz and give that just-been-blowdried glossy finish. So, if you’re yet to include one in your daily routine, we’re here to convince you of how and why that needs to change.

Aesthetic results aside, a good hair oil will nourish your hair with a huge range of healthy fats and minerals, battling breakage and

helping to stop split ends. But, as with most beauty buys, not all hair oils are made equal, and not everybody will benefit from the same brand, type or heaviness.

We turned to Kuldeep Knox, founder of haircare brand Chāmpo, to help explain what you really need to look for before putting some of the best brands to the test to see who came out on top. She said: “The best hair oil is the one which will meet the needs of your specific hair type, texture and scalp condition and takes into considerat­ion factors like climate, lifestyle and any concerns you’d like to address.”

“Those with damaged or brittle hair may see benefits from an oil with a higher fat and protein compositio­n [such as argan or coconut oil],” she added. “While those with fine or thinning hair will likely see better results with lighter oils like macadamia seed and Abyssinian oil.”

Kuldeep also attributed hair damage to heat tools, air conditioni­ng, and daily styling, saying that “it’s important to choose ingredient­s that will repair hair’s cuticle and protect it from further damage. Castor oil, for example, is renowned in Ayurveda for enriching hair follicles and nourishing strands due to its high Vitamin E and omega fatty acid content.”

So, now we’ve got the basics covered, and you hopefully have a bit more of an idea of what to look out for, take a look at our list of the best hair oils to buy below for everything from curly and coily hair to damaged strands and hard-to-tame manes. Good hair days don’t have to be a rarity.

How we tested

Our tester took their hard-to-tame mane and put their strands through a month-long intensive treatment trying each and every hair oil to find which ones really are the best to buy. Looking at the price, performanc­e and list of ingredient­s, we’ve worked out which hair oil is best for each hair type and why the list below are the only products you need to know.

Kérastase elixir ultimate l’huile original hair oil £29.24,

The Kérastase hair oil has built up quite the fan base, and it’s easy to see why. The gorgeous golden packaging adds a little luxury to your everyday routine, and our tester is a sucker for boujee-looking bottles. But, of course, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, and the elixir ultimate certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Hero ingredient­s include amla extract, camellia and argan oil which all help to strengthen strands, stimulate hair growth and even prevent premature pigment loss, meaning it works to keep grey hairs at bay. It also acts as a heat protector up to 230C, seals split ends and instantly adds shine while smoothing strands and fighting frizz.

Whether used on damp hair as a primer or dry hair as a finisher, the competitio­n was close, but Kérastase kept the top spot as our favourite find.

Buy now

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian glossy nourishing anti-frizz hair oil £33,

The first thing to note about this hair oil is that it is incredibly thick, meaning it’s best for those with coarse, curly or coily hair. Cupuaçu seed butter deeply conditions while active ingredient­s patauá oil, buriti fruit oil and pequi oil flood the hair with healthy fats fighting signs of breakage while adding shine and defining waves, curls and coils.

Our curly-haired tester found it made the most noticeable difference to hair health out of all of those we tried, but be sure to use it sparingly as there’s a fine line between glossy and greasy-looking strands. It even heats protects, making it a styling star for all occasions.

Buy now

BondiBoost super shine and strength oil £11.95,

This hair oil instantly transporte­d us to a tropical Island – so long as we closed our eyes and blocked out the sounds of the M25 – thanks to its sweet floral coconut scent, giving us a moment of peace on a stressful day. Named super shine, it does exactly what it says on the tin, transformi­ng lacklustre locks into seriously shiny strands. Just be sure to use it very sparingly on the roots, lest you be left looking more greasy than glowing.

But, it isn’t only an aesthetic boosting oil, as argan oil – which is rich in essential fatty acids Omega-3, 6 and 9 – and jojoba oil work to strengthen strands and replenish the hair’s natural lipid content for healthier and stronger locks from the inside out. No parabens, sulphates or silicones are included, and it’s also suitable for vegans, so everyone can enjoy this one.

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Ouai hair oil £24,

Founded by celebrity hairstylis­t Jen Atkin, who has worked on Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, Ouai has racked up quite a loyal following of beauty buffs, and it’s easy to see why. Designed to fight frizz, seal split ends, repair damaged strands and protect from heat styling, this one hair oil has many functions, reducing your need for a whole host of products.

African galanga, argan, ama and Asian borage oils are the key ingredient­s, working to hydrate the hair, soothe scalps and restore strength and shine. Whether used on damp strands to aid with styling, loaded on as a hair mask overnight or sparingly smoothed through dry locks to add extra oomph, it’s a one-stopshop for silky-looking strands no matter your hair type.

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Augustinus Bader the hair oil with TCF8 £39,

Founded by a biomedical scientist, physician and world-leading stem cell biology expert, Augustinus Bader is the luxury brand to know for those looking for potent products with visible results. Every product is made with meticulous detail to the ingredient­s, including a patented trigger factor complex called TFC8, comprised of more than 40 ingredient­s.

Working to stimulate the body’s natural renewal process, this hair oil helps to heal damaged strands and restore and regenerate new ones for healthier, happier hair. Of course, prolonged use will yield the best results, but immediate effects include hydrated, shinier and smoother strands that are only going to get stronger with time.

Buy now

Percy and Reed I need a hero! Wonder treatment oil £26, Percyandre­

While most hair oils are designed to be added into dry locks, this Percy and Reed pick is best used on freshly washed, damp strands to seal in moisture and treat your tresses at their most vulnerable state.

Camellia oleifera seed oil, macadamia ternifolia seed oil and sunflower seed oil are the three key seed oil ingredient­s, moisturisi­ng the hair and scalp to aid stronger and shinier locks. Beta-carotene, carrot root extract and seed oil help to encourage sebum production in the scalp to keep hair naturally hydrated and aid growth.

Our tester fell in love with the scent, how easy it was to use, and the immediate silky feeling it left on our freshly washed hair – not to mention the visible reduction in frizz and flyaways.

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Paul Mitchell tea tree hemp replenishi­ng hair and body oil £26.79, Sallybeaut­

Tea tree oil has long been used to treat blemishes, soothe colds and battle bacteria, but when it comes to hair, it’s been said to help with hair growth and diligently reduce dandruff. So, if you’re prone to a scratchy scalp or blemishes on your body, this two-in-one body and hair oil may be just the ticket.

At 50ml, it is on the slightly smaller side, so don’t expect to bathe your body in it, but for on-the-go use, we found it soothes skin, instantly adds shine to hair, and the tea tree scent was quite the treat. Hemp seed oil is also included, which is high in essential fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6, hydrating and protecting both the skin and hair and hemp extracts and cleansing ingredient­s add to its potent skinboosti­ng power.

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This Osmo hair oil hit us with the distinct smell of strawberri­es, which, although lovely, did catch us off guard when looking through the key ingredient­s of avocado, coconut and argan oil – so it’s safe to say it isn’t a fully natural product. Of course, this is no issue at all, but anyone after an all-natural hair oil may want to look elsewhere.

What this hair oil did excel at was repairing dry locks, as just three drops were enough to instantly hike up hydration levels and leave strands smooth and shiny. The brand recommends using it on damp hair to deeper penetrate each strand, and we did notice that it reduced the drying time a little bit too. So, for hydrated hair that smells super sweet, look no further.

Buy now

Gisou hair oil £35,

Gisou is famous for its honey-infused products, and many a beauty buff will hark on about this outstandin­g hair oil. Enriched with Mirsalehi honey sourced from the Mirsalehi Bee Garden, all of the hydration properties of the honey work wonders to tame frizz, define curls and revive dull-looking locks. Sweet almond oil, argan oil and coconut oil are also included to boost the benefits of this oil, giving it the multi-purpose use as a hair treatment, overnight mask and everyday styling essential. So, for non-vegans after silky, shiny hair, you’re sure to be satisfied – just remember, one to two drops really is enough.

Buy now

Hair oils FAQs What does hair oil do?

Hair oils have a lengthy list of benefits that all hair types can incorporat­e into your routine. Oils can help lock in curls, combat dehydratio­n, add shine, reduce split ends, protect from heated tools and pollution and add moisture.

What to look for in a hair oil

If your hair is naturally fine, look for a lightweigh­t oil that can protect your hair without weighing it down or leaving it greasy. However, if you have thicker, curlier hair you can afford to apply it less sparingly and it can de-frizz and boost shine.

There are many different types of oils you can reach for too. One of the most popular is argan oil, a lightweigh­t texture that suits all hair types and is rich in antioxidan­ts and fatty acids that will nourish dehydrated, lackluster tresses. Jojoba oil is another common choice that works well on dry hair in need of added moisture.

If you’re struggling with brittle locks, look for manketti oil, that’s rich in nutrients, protein, and fatty acids that strengthen damaged strands and leave them feeling soft with a healthy shine.

Can I use hair oil every day?

How frequently you apply hair oil is dependent on your hair type. If you have Afro, thick or very curly hair, it can be applied daily, but if you have fine, straighter hair, then it’s best to limit it to two to three times a week on wet, clean hair after your shower. This will dilute the oil evenly throughout strands and will also protect from heated styling tools, such as hair dryers or straighten­ers.

The verdict

We’re hoping we’ve now convinced you to work a hair oil into your usual haircare routine, as they really can make a world of difference for happier, healthier locks. But, if you’re still unsure of which one to go for, let us sum it up for you here. The Kérastase elixir ultimate l’huile original hair oil was named our best buy for a reason, working with all hair types to smooth strands, fight frizz and hydrate hair from the inside out.

For curly or coily-haired folk, the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian glossy nourishing anti-frizz hair oil will be your best bet, with a thick formula that only accentuate­s waves, curls and coils. Anyone struggling with damaged locks is sure to fall in love with the

powerful ingredient­s of the Augustinus Based the hair oil with TCF8. And for an everyday essential that fights frizz and adds shine, the Chāmpo weightless hair oil is certainly up for the task.

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