Understanding hair oils + our pick of the best

Arianna | 27 April 2016
a ginger girl smiling while holding blown hair

Are hair oils the most versatile products out there? Find out for yourself…

Hair oils have become a staple in nearly every professional stylist’s hair kit, and can be found in most British women’s bathroom cabinets, too. But what exactly do they do and which one should you use on your hair type, seeing as there are so many on the market? Read on to discover the benefits of hair oils and which one is for you. 

What are the benefits of hair oil?

Thanks to the fact that it’s one of the most versatile hair products on the market, the benefits of hair oils are pretty much endless. Not only can they help tame pesky flyaways, combat frizz and add shine to lacklustre tresses, but they also aid in hydrating each individual strand by penetrating the hair shaft, rather than just coating it. And as hair oils are so effective, you only need a few pumps to reap their full benefits.

What are they used for?

Hair oil can be used at nearly every stage of your hair care and hair styling process. To nourish thirsty, dehydrated locks, use it on dry hair as a pre-shampoo treatment before washing with your normal shampoo and conditioner. Alternatively, if used on damp hair, these oils make for a fantastic detangler, and can aid in unknotting your mane. Some can also double up as a handy heat protectant that you can use prior to straightening or curling your hair. Plus, you can use it after styling to help smooth your tresses and add a healthy sheen. See? We told you it was versatile! 

Our pick of the best hair oils for different hair types


Fine hair

If you have fine hair, go for a lightweight formula that won’t leave your tresses looking greasy. The TRESemmé Oleo Radiance Oil Elixir (£8.99*) is infused with a unique blend of oils that help to add weightless shine to your strands. Our top application tip for fine hair: rub 3-4 pumps of the oil in the palms of your hands and apply it evenly through the mid to end section of your hair, avoiding the roots completely.

Frizz-prone hair

Hair that’s prone to frizz craves nourishing ingredients like argan oil, which will help to soothe and smooth each strand. Alberto Balsam’s Smooth & Sleek Nourishing Oil (£3.99*) contains organic oils and jasmine flower extracts which will assist in leaving hair looking and feeling silky. Plus, it smells divine!

Damaged, dry or coloured hair

Rescue dry, damaged hair that’s prone to breakage with a more intense hair oil treatment like VO5’s Nourish My Shine Hot Oils (£4.28*), which will help to reconstruct damaged hair by bonding together the weak sites of every strand. Developed from VO5’s years of experience in caring for hair, the once-a-week treatment helps add fabulous shine and strengthens weak hair. Unlike other leave-in hair oils, you must thoroughly rinse this one out. Read more about the best hair oil for dry hair, here!

Curly hair

If you have curly, thick or coarse hair, opt for a nourishing formula, like the Dove Pure Care Dry Oil Nourishing Treatment (£6.99*). Although it’s enriched with natural oils, it won’t weigh your curls down and leave them looking flat. Instead, it’ll help to eliminate signs of dryness by replenishing hair lipids (the oils that help to keep your hair smooth), while keeping frizz at bay.

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.