Even though a career in beauty has granted me the amazing opportunity to test myriad products, some people would be surprised to know that my hair routine is very low-maintenance. I shampoo my medium-length, sort-of wavy hair two to three times a week, and let it air-dry probably 99% of the time. Even though I'm starting to actually make plans, I still use a curling iron maybe once or twice a month. But no matter what, the one product I use religiously is hair oil. It is truly my ride-or-die product that my otherwise enhancement-free tresses would be lost without.
In the rare instance I somehow forget to bring it with me while traveling, my vacation is ruined until I can get to a Sephora. As a lazy hair gal, I truly think there's no product that does all the things hair oil does; it hydrates and softens, adds shine, quells frizz and flyaways, smells nice (depending on if it's fragranced), protects from UV and heat...seriously, I could go on.
Even if you have healthy hair that's minimally or not color-treated, hair oil is an easy way to maintain naturally shiny, soft strands. (In the case of damaged or bleached strands, it's probably already in your bathroom right now.) Much like oils for the face and below the neck, the best, top-rated hair oils tend to be overflowing with potent ingredients like argan or meadowfoam seed oil, squalane, and the like. Given this, they also tend to be on the pricey end of things, but several high-quality options can be found for under $30. (Also, as you know, a little goes a long way with oils of any kind.)
Ahead, I'm doing a deep dive into the best hair oils to get you healthy, gleamin' hair ASAP.
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, $42
Best For: Defining Texture
$42 for a 3.4-ounce bottle is a lot, but hear me out: I’ve had the same bottle for maybe two years which I know is kinda ick, but the point is that it lasts forever. I use two pumps throughout the ends of freshly-showered hair and wait for my hair to air-dry. The result: Smooth, shiny locks with no other products required. I swear my normally limp waves have even been more defined after using this stuff.
Crown Affair The Oil, $40
Best For: Mirror-Like Shine
When it comes to minimal, luxe products, no one does it quite like Crown Affair. The brand (which recently launched at Sephora) has won fans over with its array of clean products, but IMO the must-have is the hair oil. Compared to other products I’ve tried for frizz, this stuff deeply nourishes my hair and makes it look seriously expensive. The hero ingredient, tsubaki seed oil, is found in many Japanese beauty products and instantly helps hydrate and add shine to your strands.
Verb Moringa + Jojoba Hair Treatment Oil, $20
Best For: Everyday Hydration
Austin-based salon brand Verb's moringa- and jojoba-infused oil can be used in myriad ways; as a pre-shower scalp treatment, on damp ends, dry split-ends, and or as an overnight intensive. (For weightless hydration, the brand's Ghost Oil is another fave.) Also, it doesn't hurt that the bottle is cute as all heck.
Ceremonia Aceite de Moska, $25
Best For: Scalp Soothing
While this is technically a scalp oil, using this as a pre-shampoo treatment has transformed the health of my hair. Like Ceremonia’s entire array of beautiful products, the packaging is an 11/10. But it’s what’s in the inside that counts. Meadowfoam seed, chia seed, Babassu, and maracuja oils are among the potent powerful ingredients to refresh your roots and nourish your hair to health.
Moroccanoil Treatment Light, $48
Best For: Weightless Moisture
Moroccanoil was an early advocate for oils as a cult beauty ingredient. While the original has a dedicated legion of fans, I actually prefer the light version, which I find absorbs more readily into my strands. It has the same (ah-mazing) sweet amber scent that you know and love with all Moroccanoil products. While this stuff is also hella pricey, one bottle will last a long time. (I love the smaller 0.85-ounce bottle for travel.)
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil, $28
Best For: Repairing Damage
No shocker here, Olaplex makes a pretty incredible hair oil. If you have damaged or color-treated strands, the bond-building technology (Olaplex's signature, if you will) works wonders to repair and restore. Plus, it also works as a heat protectant (for up to 450°F) to maintain the health of your hair while styling.
Act+Acre Hair Oil,
Best For: Adding Softness
Act+Acre's famous Scalp Detox treatment gets a lot of limelight, but don't sleep on this newcomer hair oil. For starters, it’s made with just five ingredients. Five! In addition to argan and meadowfoam seed oils, it also contains plant-based squalane (which is more commonly seen in skin care, but is slowly making its way north) to offer long-lasting hydration to your thirsty hair. According to founder and celeb hairstylist Helen Reavey, use one drop for fine hair, two to three for medium hair, and four to five on coarse hair.
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