Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Your hair is dry, brittle and not as shiny as it used to be? Hair oil can moisturise and nourish dry hair, repairing and regenerating it. There is a huge range of hair oils that can give your hair the softness and shine you are looking for.

In our hair oil test 2021 we would like to introduce you to the types, effects and use of hair oil and explain them with the help of scientific studies. You will learn what to look for when choosing a new hair oil and how to find the best care product for your hair.

Summary 

  • Hair oils contain high-quality oils and valuable additives that repair and regenerate dry and damaged hair. The most important thing is to find a hair oil that is suitable for your hair type and meets all your needs.
  • In cheaper hair oils, the valuable vegetable oils are often replaced by artificial silicones. Silicones are not dangerous for you, but they can weigh down thin hair
  • Pure vegetable oils can be used not only for the hair, but also for the skin, nails and eyelashes. Argan and coconut oils are particularly versatile and provide the hair with shine and moisture.

The Best Hair Oil: Our Picks



Buying and evaluation criteria for hair oils

With this part, we want to help you navigate the range of hair oils on the market and understand what makes the difference between them. When buying hair oil, you can consider several factors, such as:

In the following section, we will explain to you one by one why you should pay attention to exactly these criteria so that you can find the most suitable hair oil for you.

Ingredients

The most important thing on a hair oil is, of course, the oil used in the production of the product.

There are a large number of plants from which oil can be extracted, and each oil does something different in the hair. In the following table, we have researched and summarised different oils and their effects for you in detail:

Oil Effect
Olive oil Olive oil moisturises the hair and scalp and makes it shiny and smooth. It also provides the scalp with important nutrients and stimulates blood circulation, which supports hair growth and combats hair loss and dandruff.
Argan oil Argan oil contains many monosaturated fatty acids, is rich in nutrients and restores shine and suppleness to the hair (1).
Jojoba oil Jojoba oil nourishes and moisturises dry hair.
Coconut oil Coconut oil stimulates the blood circulation of your scalp, gives it moisture and nutrients. This makes it particularly effective against hair loss and loss and promotes hair growth (2).
Avocado oil Curly hair is often dry and needs intensive care. Avocado oil contains many unsaturated fatty acid and vitamins that provide moisture and nutrients to the hair. It also makes the colour last longer!
Burdock root oil, peanut oil Products with burdock root oil and peanut oil properly care for brittle hair and also provide sufficient moisture in the scalp (3).

In addition to oil, hair oil may contain other additives. Egg yolk, for example, can help against thin and weak hair. Products with egg yolk provide the hair with nutrients and proteins that build and strengthen it.

There is also a big difference between hair oils with and without silicones. You can read more about this in our guide below.

Hair type

Each person's hair has a different structure. Each hair type therefore needs different care, which the hair oil must provide.

The manufacturers themselves describe their products with terms such as "dry hair", "damaged hair", "damaged hair" and others.

It is generally useful to know approximately what your hair type is and which oil is best suited for it. There are several tests on the internet that can help you identify your hair type.

How often you wash your hair, how easy it is to comb, whether you colour it and your styling are just a few factors that can influence hair type.

Jojoba oil can help with dry ends, products with olive oil are ideal for dry scalps and if your hair needs a bit more shine, you should reach for argan oil.

As with any hair care product, there is no best hair oil. The most important thing is to find the product that suits you best and meets all your needs.

Your hair type is not the only criterion and you may have to test a few products before you find the best combination.

Consistency

Hair oils have different consistencies depending on the ingredient and the target effect. 100% pure and untreated oils are usually very rich in nutrients but are heavy and greasy.

The thicker the liquid, the easier the oil is to handle.

Such hair oil is better suited for conditioning treatments and packs that are washed out afterwards. Coconut oil, for example, even has a firm consistency when it is cold.

Hair oils for styling often contain additives that, with their lighter consistency, ensure that your hair never looks stringy and unwashed.

But you compromise on nutrients. A good hair oil should never be sticky or leave a greasy film.

Dosage

If you are already clear about your hair type and know exactly which oil best meets your expectations, you can choose between differently packaged products.

The dosage of the product often goes hand in hand with its consistency. Lighter oils, often styling products, can be purchased in a convenient spray bottle.

This allows you to distribute the product well into the hair so you don't have to handle the oil with your hands. Pump dispensers are ideal for oils that are a little thicker. With a pump, you can get the perfect amount into your hand and massage it into your hair.

Fragrance

Last but not least, if you have already made all the more important choices and your selection is still wide, you can also choose the fragrance of your new hair oil.

A pleasant scent makes hair care a nice ritual and motivates you to use the hair oil regularly. You can choose from oils with a fruity, sweet or vanilla scent.

Special hair oils for men, on the other hand, smell rather fresh or are completely odourless. If you have a sensitive nose, be careful and use a natural oil without an artificial scent

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying hair oil

In order to thoroughly inform you about the effectiveness of hair oil and to present you with the latest scientific findings, we have answered all the important questions in the following section.

When and for whom is hair oil suitable?

There is a suitable hair oil for every hair type. Especially if you suffer from dry hair in general or if your hair is damaged from dyeing, you should give it extra care. Hair oil is usually used as a conditioning treatment before washing your hair.

Haaröl

Regularly coloured hair is much more likely to be damaged and therefore needs special care. With a suitable hair oil, you give them enough moisture and nourishment. (Image source: pixabay / katyandgeorge)

Hair oil can also be used as a heat protector to prevent the damage. Even if your hair just needs a bit more shine, a styling product with high-quality oils is suitable. These often come in convenient spray bottles to keep your hands from getting greasy.

What are the uses of hair oil?

Hair oil can be an important part of good hair care. The oils and additives contained in hair oil moisturise and proteinise your hair, making it shiny and smooth.

Below we present the three most common uses of hair oil:

  • Hair care
  • For dandruff, hair loss and thin hair
  • For styling

In the next paragraphs you will learn essential information about the individual areas of application.

Hair care

Hair oil helps with damaged hair so that your hair is healthy and shines on its own. Repairing hair oils fill brittle areas in your hair and moisturise it. This smoothes your hair structure and makes your hair easier to comb

Against dandruff, hair loss and thin hair

Dandruff is often caused by fungal and bacterial colonisation of the scalp. Products with essential oils such as tea tree oil, thyme oil and geranium oil have an antibacterial and anti-fungal effect.

Therefore, they can eliminate dandruff. Olive oil and coconut oil provide proteins and moisture and prevent its loss (5).

For styling

Hair oil is often used for styling. As leave-in care, it is massaged into towel-dried hair and acts as heat protection when blow-drying and straightening (6).

Haaröl

The heat from regular blow-drying and straightening can also damage the hair. Some hair oils can even be used as heat protection before such styling. (Image source: pixabay / Ryan McGuire)

What types of hair oil are there?

As mentioned above, hair oils differ in the oil used, the type of hair they are meant for, their consistency, dosage and fragrance. A further classification would be between hair oils with silicones and without silicones.

Hair oils with silicones

In cheaper hair oils, natural vegetable oils are often replaced by artificial silicones. Silicones are artificial polymers that create an impermeable layer on the hair (7).

They make the hair soft and smooth and prevent frizz. Styling products with silicones have an immediate visual effect.

Advantages
  • Cheaper
  • Wider choice
  • Instant effect

Disadvantages
  • Artificial
  • Can weigh hair down

The same silicones that quickly beautify your hair can unfortunately also damage it. The silicone layer does not let other care products through to the hair and can weigh the hair down.

Hair oils without silicones

If you can and want to invest a little more money in your new hair oil, you should take a look at the selection of products without silicones.

Hair oils without silicones contain only pure vegetable oils, often even 100% cold-pressed.

Advantages
  • 100 % natural
  • Hair can absorb nutrients directly
  • Long-term care

Disadvantages
  • More expensive
  • Harder to find

There is no artificial layer on the hair and your hair can take all the care and valuable nutrients from the hair oil (8).

Hair oils without silicones provide lasting care and do not weigh your hair down with unnecessary additives.

How and how often should I use hair oil?

When using hair oil, it depends on what your hair care goal is:

  1. As a treatment: Distribute the hair oil throughout your hair and leave it on for as long as possible under a warmed cloth, but at least 20 minutes. You can also leave it on overnight. To wash it out, massage a little shampoo into the oiled hair and then shampoo the damp hair again.
  2. As leave-in care: Apply two to three drops to dry lengths and ends. The hair oil does not need to be rinsed out here.

Follow the instructions on the package, but in general you can use a treatment before every hair wash or hair oil as a leave-in conditioner after every hair wash. Watch what it does to your hair and adjust your care accordingly.

How much does hair oil cost?

You can find hair oils on the market at very different prices. The price often depends on the ingredients. In cheaper hair oils, the high-quality plant oils are often replaced by artificial silicones.

You can buy a cheap hair oil with silicones in a drugstore for as little as 5 euros per 100 ml. If you prefer a hair oil that consists only of natural oils, you will have to invest a little more money

Hair oil price range for 100 ml
Hair oils with silicones 5-15 euros
Hair oils without silicones 15-50 euros

When comparing the prices of different hair oils, you should always pay attention to the package size. The amount of product can differ significantly between manufacturers

What are the alternatives to hair oil?

If for some reason your hair doesn't tolerate hair oil well or if you don't want to buy a special hair oil right away, there are a few alternative solutions for you, too.

If you want to experiment, you can also mix oils together.

If you don't want to buy any hair products to start with and you have some normal oils at home, you can try them out. You can use olive oil as a conditioning treatment.

Wash it out carefully afterwards, otherwise your hair will become quite stringy and greasy. You can also add coconut oil to dry ends (9).

It doesn't need to be washed out and it smells nice. In any case, you should use oil sparingly in dry hair.

If you don't want to use oil at all, find a good conditioner, mask or hair butter for your hair type (10, 11). Apply the product to the lengths and ends and rinse it out so that the roots do not get coated with the extra care.

Image source: - - / 123rf

References (11)

1. Faria PM, Camargo LN. Hair Protective Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa Kernel Oil) and Cupuassu Butter (Theobroma grandiflorum Seed Butter) Post Treatment with Hair Dye . In: Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. Vol 3. Sao Paulo, Brazil; 2013:40-44.
Source

2. Vala GS, Kapadiya PK. Medicinal Benefits of Coconut Oil. In: International Journal of Life Sciences Research. Vol 2. 4th ed. Gujarat, India; 2014:124-126.
Source

3. Achmüller, A. (2018). Haut und Haare: Kraut und Wurzel. (Raetia, Ed.). Bozen.
Source

4. Velasco MV, de Abreu SR, de Freitas AZ, Bedin V, Baby AR, da Gama RM. Optical coherence tomography to evaluate the effects of oxidative hair dye on the fiber. Skin Res Technol. 2016;22(4):430-436. doi:10.1111/srt.12283
Source

5. Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-192.
Source

6. Lima CRRC, Couto RAA, Freire TB, et al. Heat-damaged evaluation of virgin hair. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019;18(6):1885-1892. doi:10.1111/jocd.12892
Source

7. Nazir H, Zhang W, Liu Y, et al. Silicone oil emulsions: strategies to improve their stability and applications in hair care products. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2014;36(2):124-133. doi:10.1111/ics.12104
Source

8. Gruber JV, Lamoureux BR, Joshi N, Moral L. The use of x-ray fluorescent spectroscopy to study the influence of cationic polymers on silicone oil deposition from shampoo. J Cosmet Sci. 2001;52(2):131-136.
Source

9. Wallace TC. Health Effects of Coconut Oil-A Narrative Review of Current Evidence. J Am Coll Nutr. 2019;38(2):97-107. doi:10.1080/07315724.2018.1497562
Source

10. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
Source

11. da Gama RM, França-Stefoni SA, Sá-Dias TC, Bedin V, Baby AR, Velasco MVR. Protective effect of conditioner agents on hair treated with oxidative hair dye. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;17(6):1090-1095. doi:10.1111/jocd.12484
Source

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Faria PM, Camargo LN. Hair Protective Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa Kernel Oil) and Cupuassu Butter (Theobroma grandiflorum Seed Butter) Post Treatment with Hair Dye . In: Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. Vol 3. Sao Paulo, Brazil; 2013:40-44.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Vala GS, Kapadiya PK. Medicinal Benefits of Coconut Oil. In: International Journal of Life Sciences Research. Vol 2. 4th ed. Gujarat, India; 2014:124-126.
Go to source
Buch
Achmüller, A. (2018). Haut und Haare: Kraut und Wurzel. (Raetia, Ed.). Bozen.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Velasco MV, de Abreu SR, de Freitas AZ, Bedin V, Baby AR, da Gama RM. Optical coherence tomography to evaluate the effects of oxidative hair dye on the fiber. Skin Res Technol. 2016;22(4):430-436. doi:10.1111/srt.12283
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-192.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Lima CRRC, Couto RAA, Freire TB, et al. Heat-damaged evaluation of virgin hair. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019;18(6):1885-1892. doi:10.1111/jocd.12892
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Nazir H, Zhang W, Liu Y, et al. Silicone oil emulsions: strategies to improve their stability and applications in hair care products. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2014;36(2):124-133. doi:10.1111/ics.12104
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Gruber JV, Lamoureux BR, Joshi N, Moral L. The use of x-ray fluorescent spectroscopy to study the influence of cationic polymers on silicone oil deposition from shampoo. J Cosmet Sci. 2001;52(2):131-136.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Wallace TC. Health Effects of Coconut Oil-A Narrative Review of Current Evidence. J Am Coll Nutr. 2019;38(2):97-107. doi:10.1080/07315724.2018.1497562
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Review
Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
da Gama RM, França-Stefoni SA, Sá-Dias TC, Bedin V, Baby AR, Velasco MVR. Protective effect of conditioner agents on hair treated with oxidative hair dye. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;17(6):1090-1095. doi:10.1111/jocd.12484
Go to source
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