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The Best Hair Oils and How to Use Them

Hair oil is one of those products you regularly see on the shelves, but no one really seems to talk much about what they do, or how to use them.

Which is a real shame because these multi-taskers are super useful, especially at this time of year.

At the crux of their intention is that it’s difficult for the natural oils created by your scalp to travel very far down the shaft of hair. Among other things like the way you treat your hair with tools, styling and tying it up, and environmental challenges from the sun and the wind, it means the mid-lengths and ends can become dry and damaged, leading to dullness, frizz, tangles and split ends. Which is where the use of a hair oil can help.

Hair oils can:

  • Restore overall strength, hydration, health and shine 
  • Help make locks look better and feel more manageable 
  • Reduce the appearance of split ends
  • Define curls and offer slip that makes it easier to detangle them 
  • Some can protect against heat and UV damage

The problem is, their success really comes down to your application. And your application really depends on your hair type, as well as any specific current issues.

How to choose

Most oils will do a number of things, but it’s worth considering the callouts on the packaging if you’re wanting one to help with something in particular, like UV protection, which is useful in the summer. 

If you have fine hair, it’s wise to look for a more lightweight oil that will either come in a fine mist spray or a very runny liquid in a pump. 

For thicker or coarse hair, denser and even solid versions that contain natural argan or coconut oils can be more helpful.  

How to apply

The amount of hair oil needed changes depending on the length, texture, thickness and condition of the head of hair in question. 

The trick is to apply a very small amount at a time. 

For a light defining application apply a small amount to your fingers. Rub your hands together so it is distributed well between them and then gently pull your fingers through the mid-lengths and ends. 

For a more concentrated treatment application rub between your fingers and then slide or pull through the hair, focussing on small sections and a time as well as your ends, working around the head until all hair is treated. You can leave as is, or shampoo out after an hour or two, or you can even leave overnight. 

You should avoid the scalp area unless you have a very dry scalp, very curly hair, braids, a weave or extensions. In these cases massaging a drop or two into the scalp can help boost circulation, moisture and minimise a prickly, itchy feeling. 

Wet or dry?

In most cases you should apply to dry hair, but applying to damp, just-washed locks can help with detangling and protection from breakage prior to styling.

The best options

A lightweight spray, Kerastase Soleil Huile Sirène, $48, is great in the height of summer for styling or to apply before swimming as it’s designed to protect against the drying effects of the sun, chlorine and salt water.

The light Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil, $91 absorbs instantly with a concentrated blend of plant oils to deeply condition and strengthen, not to mention it has the most divine scent!

Famous for its reparative magic, Olaplex No 7 Bonding Oil, $55 can help mend the most damaged locks and also provides heat protection before using styling tools, up to 230°C.

Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil, $53 helps to replenish hair’s natural lipid content and works well on all hair textures.

For thick and coarse hair the liquid shea butter, sweet almond and jojoba in Ouai Hair Oil, $53 provides fatty acids and moisture that protect strands from the elements.

To seriously upgrade your hair routine Chloe Zara Hair Perfume Oil, $90 has perfume notes of sandalwood, pineapple, fig and saffron suspended in an advanced formula of lightweight oils. 

The Best Fringes for 2021 and How to Pull Them Off

It’s the word on every hairdresser’s lips: Texture. Soft, feathered layers and more edgy shags will be major in 2021. But coming a very close second? The fringe. 

Or to put it more accurately, not just one particular look, but any type of fringe that suits your face shape and style. 

Once getting a fringe meant that very specific, intensely-even, ruler-straight, eyebrow-brushing version that looked great when you left the salon but it’s perfection was quickly undone by the slightest gust of wind or glimmer of moisture in the air – god forbid you perspire. 

Okay yes, that type of fringe is definitely still happening and part of this trend, but in 2021 fringes – or bangs as they are sometimes known, particularly if you’re searching for inspo online – in general are what’s desirable. This good news is through, you can choose one tailored to what works for you. 

In summer if you need to restyle, don’t feel you need to do an entire head wash and style. 

Try spraying your fringe only with dry shampoo and massage in with your fingers before combing. 

Alternatively to minimise fringe separation or grease, bend over the sink and add a dab of shampoo to your fringe only, then rinse clear with cold water. Blast with a blow dryer, aiming the air flow from above, root to tip and back and forth for a quick straight look. 

If you’re wondering what might suit you, here’s a quick guide although don’t take it as gospel, if you’re feeling a specific style, your hairdresser will know how to tailor it to suit. 

  • Square or heart-shaped faces really suit a wispier, feathered fringe to add softness.
  • Oblong face shapes are a great match for blunt, even styles.
  • Round faces can get added dimension from side-swept or curtain fringes.
  • Oval-shaped faces are lucky and can pull off just about any type of fringe!

 

Here are some of the key looks to try

The curtain fringe

Springing from the above idea of soft texture and movement, plus potentially the lesser ability to visit the hairdresser in 2020, the curtain fringe is a slightly longer style you gently push apart in the middle – hence the name. It’s very non-committal and easy as it’s easily grown out and tucked behind the ears if you get a bit over it!

Instagram / @sammcknight1

Curly fringe

It is what it says it is. If you have very curly hair you might have never tried a fringe, or at least battled it daily with a straightener if you did, and then prayed for low humidity. Now, embrace it, but make sure you head to a stylist that knows how to cut curly hair, or you’re at the risk of ending up with a very short version!

Instagram / @goldenbarbie

Blunt fringe

The classic fringe that works great on thick hair types. The key is to keep it clean but don’t skip the conditioner, you don’t want fluffy flyaways. Once you’ve styled it a spritz with a lightweight flexible hairspray will also help keep it in place and looking shiny and chic.

Instagram / @hairbrained_official

Feathered fringe

The feathered, eyelash skimming fringe is one of the most popular styles right now, potentially because many celebrities use clip-in versions and they can be blended without appearing obvious, but it’s also a great option because it doesn’t need to look perfectly ‘done’ all the time and can also be worn swept to the side or easily clipped back. One issue is that it grows out quickly so you’ll need regular visits to your stylist to maintain the exact length you desire.

Instagram / @juliastegner

Micro fringe

The perfect gamine touch to a pixie crop or bob, the very short or ‘micro’ style is a more daring option, so make sure you’ve styled your eyebrows as they’ll definitely be on display. If you’re committing to this style for more than a month or two, a mini straightener can come in handy.

Instagram / @kuhahhtuh