The best hair oils to smooth and revive dehydrated locks
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The best hair oils for every hair type
Right now we've probably all got a few more inches of hair than we're used to and products that lavish some extra love are key to keeping locks looking as healthy as possible. There's been a spike in demand for repairing hair masks and hair oils too are key players in the quest for shiny, happy, manageable hair, and the fight against dry, crispy ends.
Hair oils work by adding a protective layer to the hair to prevent breakage and keep it swishy; curly hair can particularly benefit from a hair oil because oil from the scalp struggles to travel down the curled texture meaning the ends get dryer quicker than with straight hair. They are also great smoothers in humid weather.
Here are the hair oils we recommend for all hair types.
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Imbue Curl Worshipping Shine Oil, £8.99
Coconut, cupuaçu, avocado and grapeseed oils come together in this lightweight serum-oil to make your hair soft, smooth and shiny. It's designed specifically for use on damp curly and afro hair that requires a more thorough drenching in moisture and targets the scalps, roots and lengths in one go.
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Trepadora Inca Radiance Smoothing Elixir, £23
Trepadora's haircare range was created to deliver healthy curls full of life and bounce; all products are silicone-free and vegan, housed in airless packaging to keep the formulas as fresh as possible. This shine-giving oil can be scrunched into dry curls for some TLC or applied to wet hair if your hair is seriously damaged, for a dose of quenching moisture that is locked in.
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Kiehl's Deeply Restorative Smoothing Hair Oil Concentrate, £18.50
This is loved by GTG's Jemma who uses it when she's taking her braids out thank to its lightweight, shine-giving formula that doesn't weigh down her curls. The serum texture means this isn't at all sticky and it harnesses the power of argan oil to seal the cuticle to lock out humidity and frizz.
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Herbal Essences Bio:renew Hair Oil Blends, £2.99
Herbal Essences is a long-term staple on our shower shelf - it just smells so good - so we're excited to add a hair oil from the brand into our routine too. The delicately scented oil (which comes in three variations - hemp seed oil and aloe to control frizz, argan oil and aloe to help repair damaged locks and coconut and aloe for a hit of hydration) lubricates the outer cuticle of the hair and strengthens the inner core to leave hair hydrated and strong.
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We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir, £25.50
Argan, coconut and soya oil are all blended together in this frizz-busting concoction that can be used on dry, wet or towel-dried hair as a finishing oil or a leave-in treatment. The ingredients list also has Irish whiskey in it to strengthen, shine and add bounce, plus the fact that it's housed in a hip-flask gives this ultimate cool points.
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Kérastase Elixir Ultime, £31.80
This conditioning pre-shampoo or pre-blow-dry ritual is amazing for adding shine and sleekness to dry, frizzy hair types. Non-greasy and lightweight, its versatility lends itself well to being used as a leave-in treatment or as a finishing product to fix flyaways and tame baby hairs.
Enriched with four precious oils to protect, nourish and condition in one fell swoop, it’s a one-stop-shop well worth visiting on the worst of bad hair days.
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Garnier Ultimate Blends The Sleek Perfector Oil, £9.99
Coconut oil has many uses, one of which is as a budget-friendly intensive hair conditioning treatment that gives stronger, healthier-looking hair for a lower price tag. Though widely available at supermarkets, we’ve been quite taken by this slightly more expensive alternative from Garnier instead.
Blended with pure coconut oil and designed to reduce frizz and make hair look its best in the humidity, its exotic scent is wonderful for imagining you're on holiday. Perfect for using before and after washing your hair and everything in between, it also makes for the ideal hair oil to pack if you do go on holiday for a quick fix post-beach.
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Moroccanoil Treatment Original and Light, £32.85
This particular hair oil is brilliant for adding shine and softness to all hair types. Go for the original for thicker and afro hair types or the lighter version if you have hair that tends to get greasy fast.
With a strengthening and shine-enhancing combination of antioxidants, proteins and omega-3 oils to protect against heat and environmental aggressors, we use the Original Treatment on wet hair and the Lighter version as maintenance to keep frizziness in between washes to a minimum.
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The Inkey List Shea Oil Nourishing Hair Treatment, £9.99
The Inkey List's haircare range arrived in June 2020, with one oil in the eight-piece collection. Rich in shea butter and jojoba this non-greasy oil helps to hydrate and nourish hair, targeting brittle and damaged strands in particular. Avoid applying to the scalp when using this as it can make roots greasy if overloaded.
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Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue, £34.40
Enriched with camellia oil to repair, rehydrate and restore what straightening irons or UV damage may have taken away, this leaves hair polished and soft to the touch thanks to its luxurious texture that smoothes and rectifies dry ends instantly. As far as desert island products go, we can't think of one more fitting of the title.
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Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil, £48
Possibly the best-loved product by Afro hair specialist Charlotte Mensah, Manketti Oil offers many of the same multi-tasking benefits of coconut oil, plus it's high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which act as a barrier to help prevent moisture from escaping from the hair for longer. With no greasy finish, this provides weightless shine and definition to Afro and curly hair types.
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Neighbourhood Botanicals Age of Aquarius Hair Oil, £29
Don't be alarmed about the blue hue of this hair oil, the colour is down to German Chamomile which adds enviable gloss to dry, damaged hair (and it doesn't stain hair either). It works in harmony with jojoba wax to seal cuticles while the camelia oil ingredient and shea butter soothe and soften strands. We don't recommend using this on fine hair but coarse hair absolutely drinks it up, defining curls if used when wet and calming frizz when used on dry hair.
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L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Original Oil, £14.75D
Designed to detangle hair and smooth the cuticle, this adds a veil of shine and a dose of softness to long curly hair and became a fail-safe repeat buy for our tester. It suggests applying to damp hair before styling, but adding to already dry hair adds an enviable glossy sheen.
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Bouclème Revive 5 Hair Oil, £28
Loved by curly girls everywhere, Boucleme creates bouncy, healthier-looking hair. Free from parabens, silicone and sulphate this powerful blend of moringa, mongongo, daikon seed, coconut and olive oils works to defend strands against damage caused by UV rays and heat styling, whilst replenishing moisture to the hair and scalp.
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Grow Gorgeous New Repair Heat Protection Leave-in Oil, £25
If you've bleached your hair and it's feeling a little sorry for itself, this light silicone-free protective oil, which goes well on finer hair types, is for you. As well as adding shine, this also helps protect your hair from further heat damage by reinforcing the protective barrier. It locks in moisture while coconut, grapeseed, macula and moringa oils give a glossy finish.