These Oils Are What's Missing From Your Curly-Hair Routine

Photographed by Winnie Au.
If your hair is on the curly end of the spectrum, you're probably already privy to the fact that moisture is your best friend. Whether it's in the form of leave-in conditioner or staying away from shampoos with sulfates, the more hydration your tresses can receive, the better.
And, while you'd hope the sebum in your scalp would provide enough moisture, that's just not the case. That's why oils tend to be the easiest (and most natural, and most versatile) product for curly-haired gals.
We enlisted the help of hairstylist Ryan Richman to find out exactly what oils — argan, olive, and the rest of 'em — can do for you. "Hair oils are great for conditioning, repairing damaged hair caused by heat, combating a dry scalp, or adding a bit of shine," Richman says. "But, you may have to experiment with a few before finding the right oil for you." Not everybody's curly needs are the same, after all.
Ahead, we break down the benefits of five of the most popular oils, along with tips on how to use them and which types of coils they're best for.
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Photo: Via Bertolli.
Olive Oil
Olive oil (yep, the kind that's in your kitchen cabinet) is a surprisingly great tool for dealing with various hair issues. "Loaded with antioxidants, olive oil can promote scalp health and even aid in [preventing] thinning hair and hair loss," says Richman. On top of being an emollient, it also helps remove sebum buildup, which blocks hair follicles.

Want to try it yourself? Richman says it's great as a masque. Heat the oil in the microwave, and thoroughly distribute it through your damp hair and scalp. Then, cover up with a shower cap or warm towel, and leave in the oil for 10 to 45 minutes. Wash out the residue with a sulfate-free shampoo, and you're good to go.

Richman notes that adding other natural products, like honey and apple-cider vinegar, only sweetens the pot. "Honey attracts moisture and is full of antioxidants, while apple-cider vinegar acts as a natural conditioner," he says.
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Photo: Via Life-Flo.
Jojoba Oil
Widely known for its moisturizing properties, jojoba oil is a holy-grail product in the natural-hair community. Richman says it's great for those with thick, unruly hair, but to use it sparingly as it tends to weigh down locks. He recommends using it as a split-end remedy by applying a couple of drops to the ends of damp strands.
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Photo: Via Spectrum.
Coconut Oil
By now, I'm sure you've grown tired of hearing us wax poetic about the many benefits of coconut oil. Makeup remover? Awesome. Moisturizer? Yeah! And, every curly girl you come across will likely talk your ears off about its hair perks, too: It improves cuticles, repairs damaged tresses, and helps fight dandruff.

Richman says all-powerful product works best as a hot-oil treatment. "Warm [your jar of] coconut oil in hot water until it becomes a liquid. Then, apply to damp hair," he recommends. "Leave on for at least 30 minutes — the longer, the better — and lastly, wash your hair using a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo." Good riddance, dry scalp.
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Photo: Via One 'n Only.
Argan Oil
Argan oil is one of those do-it-all ingredients that editors and skin-care enthusiasts fawn over. As a moisturizer, it's pretty much a must-have for fall, and it's been praised as being a cuticle saver. And, according to Richman, it's climbing the ladder of products you should start using on your hair, ASAP.

"Argan oil has quickly become one of the most popular hair oils for curly hair," Richman says. "It works best as a treatment to add moisture and shine, and to help prevent frizz. It can also be used...after you style. Simply rub a few drops in the palm of your hand, and comb through hair with your fingers for a healthy, shiny finish."
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Photo: Via Now Foods.
Grapeseed Oil
For those who love olive and coconut oils, but whose hair is on the thinner side, grapeseed is a great, lighter alternative — think of it as coconut's cool, younger sister. It has high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which help your hair retain moisture. And, like its counterparts, it'll help you fight that dreaded dry scalp.

Richman recommends warming up the oil to a comfortable temperature and applying it to your scalp. Using your fingers, rub it in a circular motion, which helps exfoliate and loosen the skin, while increasing blood flow.
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