Lately there seems to be an influx of different oils flooding the hair care market. Stroll through the hair aisle at your local pharmacy and you’re met with every hair oils variant imaginable – jojoba, castor, macadamia, argan and coconut, to name just a few.
And we couldn’t be happier. Finally, brands are latching onto natural organic ingredients over synthetic, processed substances. But how do we know that they actually work? Is one better for your hair than the other? We delve behind the hype and bring you the lowdown on the most popular hair oils out there.
Derived from the macadamia nut native to Australia, macadamia oil is known for its nourishing and softening properties, particularly in combating dryness. It’s often used in skin treatments as a deep moisturizer but sadly, there is no concrete proof that it does the same for dry hair.
Thanks to a very popular brand of argan oil-infused products inspired by Morocco, this one is the real heavy-hitter in the hair oil category. Argan oil promises to repair heat damage, fight frizziness, boost hair growth and stop hair from falling out. Quite a mouthful… we know. So does it actually deliver? Well, yes and no. The hair may be left looking beautifully sleek and shiny, but that’s actually due to man-made emollients added to most argan oil products. On its own, there are no studies warranting argan oil as anything more than a temporary shine serum.
Of all the oils, this one most closely resembles the oil naturally found in the epidermis of the skin. So it stands to reason that it would be super beneficial to the scalp too, right? In fact though, studies have shown that while it makes the hair appear glossy (much like argan oil), it does not penetrate into the hair shaft itself. And so while it is highly moisturizing for the skin, it holds no real long-lasting benefits for the hair.
Castor oil is the stuff that old wives’ tales are made of. You’ve probably been told by your elders that it makes hair grow faster, thicker and more lustrous. Here’s the thing: castor oil has a very thick texture and so applying it as a mask will make the hair appear fuller. In reality, this is most likely just the oil stuck onto the strands of the hair. If thinning hair is a problem, you’re better off choosing a treatment product targeted directly at fine hair.
Lastly, the so-called wonder fix-all product: coconut oil. Seriously, its list of benefits is legendary: it promotes hair growth, creates body, tames frizzy hair, adds shine, softens brittle strands and deeply moisturizes. Best of all, it really works and it has science to back it up. Princeton University studied the effects of virgin coconut oil on hair and found that it is able to penetrate right into the cortex of the hair shaft, effectively strengthening and repairing damage at the root.
So there you have it. When it comes to oils that genuinely improve the condition of your hair and offer long-lasting benefits, coconut oil is your best bet. The others won’t necessarily damage your hair, but they won’t help it either. For naturally healthy-looking hair, go coconut!