Hair Oils Are Back!
5 minutes read
Hair oils? You say. Isn’t that going to make hair flat, oily and like you’ve been living in a yurt for months? Not with the latest formulations.
Anyone over the age of 35 might remember hair oils of the past – thick, greasy, and heavy and a faff to use – you had to wait for them to warm up before distributing the gloopy stuff. Safe to say, most of us haven’t used them in some time.
However, they are back, and this time around, with sophisticated formulations and lighter textures – they feel more like a decadent serum and the best bit? They work wonders on EVERY hair type and texture and help look after the scalp.
Over the last couple of years, every hairdresser, trichologist and skincare expert has been using the mantra: healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, and Google searches for scalp scrubs alone have amassed 14k enquiries per month. The message is starting to get through with products and gadgets to amplify the quality of your scalp, thus resulting in shinier, down-to-there healthy hair.
This is nothing new to anyone who practises Ayurveda, though. Hair-oiling goes back thousands of years and is also embraced in Moroccan spa rituals.
Still, in this fast-paced, post-pandemic stressful world, we are looking to the past for ideas on self-discovery and wellness, but with modern, luxury formulations.
The science of hair oils
According to dermatologist Prof. Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias, “Oils play an important role in protecting hair from damage. Some oils can penetrate the shaft and reduce the amount of water absorbed in the hair, lowering swelling. This can result in lower hygral fatigue (repeated swelling and drying), a factor that can damage hair. In addition, the oil can fill the gap between the cuticle cells and prevent the penetration of the aggressive substances such as surfactants into the follicle.” Meaning hair will be less damaged, and it will boost the smoothness and shininess of locks.
The most useful hair oils
The best hair oils work to add shine, softness, smooth frizz and also protect the hair shaft from external aggressors. It can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment and on wet locks to prevent breakage and ease the way for styling. Alternatively, applied to dry hair helps combat frizz and acts as a leave-in conditioner and shielding agent. They might also help maintain a healthy scalp and boost growth if used with a head massage.
Long been embedded in Moroccan culture – argan oil, derived from the argan tree and sometimes referred to as liquid gold, is used for culinary and cosmetics and is now slowly creeping into western products and beauty treatments. Why? It contains high amounts of oleic and linoleic acids, which makes it extremely rich and moisturizing, plus vitamin A, C and E, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hair also benefits as it preserves melanin while preventing damage to the hair shaft – so natural colour stays true and dyed hair retains vibrancy. Try Nourishing Beauty Hair Oil; it works well for all hair types, it’s not too heavy and the mist delivery system means you don’t overuse it.
Clarins Beauty Coach Rebecca Jones says, “I love the Nourishing Beauty Hair Oil; it has repaired my hair in-between salon visits.”
If you’re using it as a pre-blow dry treatment, use it sparingly, as too much will make the hair look oily. Jones recommends, “A pea-sized amount only 2-3 sprays is sufficient – and apply to mid-lengths and end, avoiding roots.”
Manketti nut oil
Sourced from manketti nuts, the oil has been used in Africa for centuries. It’s high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, helps prevent moisture loss and hydrates without a greasy finish. As for hair type? It’s the perfect remedy for frizzy coils and Afro textures. Try Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil.
Coconut oil remains popular due to its moisture-retaining and scalp-soothing properties; also, it’s affordable, readily attainable and smells like vacation time.
It can be too rich for thin, fine hair types and weigh it down and will make it look incredibly greasy – so it could be used as an overnight hair treatment and then washed off in the AM and allow for one or more washing cycles, depending on how the product has soaked into the hair shaft.
Read next: Scalp Care 101
Modern hair oil uses
– As a pre-shampoo treatment, apply to dry hair and comb through before washing.
– Mix a few drops into your Nourishing Fortifying Hair Mask to boost its nourishing action for very dry or damaged hair.
– Apply to damp hair before blow-drying to shield against heat damage and give hair a sleek finish.
– Smooth over dry hair to tame flyaways and give hair a satin sheen.
Oils For greasy hair
We know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you can use hair oil to balance an over-active greasy scalp. Choose a plant-based oil formulated with ingredients such as rosemary and geranium, like the Blue Lotus Face Oil. It will help purify, re-balance sebum production, tighten the scalp pores, and refine the skin.
Use as a PM, overnight or pre-wash treatment.
Hair oils to de-stress
Researchers have found that stress tightens the scalp and impacts circulation and growth, meaning oxygen and nutrients don’t reach the hair – so a scalp massage is one of the most straightforward techniques to encourage healthy hair growth and relax you simultaneously.
Spend 3-5 minutes massaging your oil into your scalp, temples and neck, and when you wash your hair – allow a few minutes of massage time with your favourite shampoo or conditioner – your hair and mind will thank you. Try Virtue Flourish Manta Brush.
Hair growth oil
Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific evidence proving something like coconut oil will magically boost hair growth by a significant percentage. However, if you are worried about hair thinning and severe breakage, you could turn to stem cell technology. For example, Natucain is a hormone-free growth product that has proven to grow hair 1.5 times faster, reduces hair loss by 90% and improves growth by 93%.
Alternatively, book in to see a trichologist or your MD to see if the problem is hormonal or you’re lacking in specific vitamins and minerals or there are other health issues.
Read next: How To Get Shiny Hair At Home
Skin & Beauty