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 shineÂ
- Help make locks look better and feel more manageableÂ
- Reduce the appearance of split ends
- Define curls and offer slip that makes it easier to detangle themÂ
- 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 itâ€™s worth considering the callouts on the packaging if youâ€™re wanting one to help with something in particular, like UV protection, which is useful in the summer.Â
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.Â
For thicker or coarse hair, denser and even solid versions that contain natural argan or coconut oils can be more helpful.Â Â
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.Â
The trick is to apply a very small amount at a time.Â
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.Â
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.Â
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.Â
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 SirÃ¨ne, $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, $91Â 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 230Â°C.
Briogeoâ€™s Don’t Despair, Repair! Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil, $53Â helps to replenish hairâ€™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.Â