Eight of the best hair oils to try this winter
Want to know whether a hair oil is really worth all the hype? We drill down and discover there is more than meets the eye to these pint-sized bottles of liquid gold.
bh loves: (from top left) Comb Manuka Honey Infused Hair Oil, $64; Goldwell Kerasilk Color Brilliance Perfector, $35.95; Essano Hair Recovery Oil, $15.99; Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil, $34;
Kerastase Elixir Ultime Versatile Beautifying Oil, $50; OGX Extra Strength Damage Remedy + Coconut Miracle Oil, $17.99; Moroccanoil Treatment Light, $67 and Schwarzkopf Extra Care Oil Elixir, $16.99.
Why use a hair oil?
Imagine a product that improves hair health and texture, protects from thermal damage, combats frizz and fly-aways, prevents breakage, reduces dry time, adds gloss and shine, encourages growth, combats scalp inflammation and dandruff, stacks the dishwasher, pays the power bill, fixes the dripping tap in the ensuite. Okay, scrap those last three. Your life admin is on you. But, at least you'll have more time to do it with the multi-tasking mane-tamer that is hair oil - it's literally our number one healthy hair hack. Is this sounding a bit like an infomercial? Bear with because – you guessed it – there’s more. Many hair oils on the market today even moonlight as body and face oils. And in the spirit of minimalism, conscious consumerism and basically just Kondoing the heck out of all our cupboards, there’s never been a better time to embrace them.
How hair oils work
It’s true that hair oils made from naturally-derived ingredients like argan, coconut and marula are not a new invention. To say nothing of the fact that ancient civilisations have been extolling their beautifying benefits for centuries, they’ve been a staple of salons and well-stocked beauty cabinets ever since Moroccanoil’s namesake product arrived on the scene about 15 years ago. Still, fine-haired females, or anyone whose oily roots are keeping dry shampoo companies afloat, are still trying to understand how adding more of the stuff can possibly help the situation. Here’s the thing – and cast your mind back to that primary school science lesson if you can. Oil and water don't mix. Oil in fact attracts oil, which makes oil-based cleansers and shampoos extremely effective at removing excess sebum and impurities. As a bonus, they actually protect your hair from the more drying ingredients in said cleansers, ensuring your skin and strands aren't stripped of their natural oils and are shielded throughout the process, and after.
The same principle applies to leave-in hair oils, as those who have already jumped on the facial oil bandwagon will be familiar with. If you're still concerned about looking like you’ve swum around in a deep-fryer, note that many hair care brands have created versions specifically formulated for light or fine hair. But, says Danny Pato from Auckland’s award-winning D&M salon, that’s not totally necessary. Explaining that the trick is more in the application, he recommends applying the oil to damp hair before blow-drying. “And for the most even distribution, dispense the product into your palm and rub hands together before spreading it through mid-lengths and ends, avoiding the roots if they’re on the oily side.”
Silky, glossy hair will be the immediate result. If squeaky clean isn’t your thing? Try dousing your hair in sea salt spray before adding your favourite hair oil. Danny says you’ll get all of the oil’s benefits, including healthy shine, but with the beachy texture that you rely on for volume and grip.
Danny calls this combination “luxe grunge”. We call it a valid reason to make space for one extra product in your line up.
What is your favourite hair oil at the moment?