Business Insider January 4, 2024

Business Insider


15 best hair oils in 2023 for healthy hair


Using bleach or heat to achieve your ideal look means the health of your hair will inevitably suffer some damage. However, the best hair oils can be a bona fide savior for those of us suffering from overprocessed strands. 

Stylists say that to find an effective formula, you'll need to first take your current hair goals and concerns into account. With that in mind, our top pick is the UNITE U Oil; it's one of the best hair oils designed for all hair types and textures that works quickly to replenish your hair's nourishment and shine.

"Hair oils can provide a range of perks, such as nourishing and strengthening hair, adding shine, reducing frizz, promoting growth, and protecting against damage from heat styling tools," says Dawna Jarvis, an expert hairstylist at The Canyon Salon in Westlake Village, CA. While Jarvis notes that people of all different hair types can benefit from using hair oils, not all products are created equal. Read on for more of our favorite formulas that target common hair afflictions. 

Our top picks for the best hair oils

Best overall: UNITE U Oil

The first time I used this product, my hair was in dire condition: dry, dull, and frizzy from repeated bleaching and heat styling. After just one application, I could already see a dramatic difference. Not only did my strands appear shinier and feel softer, but there was noticeably less frizz and flyaways. 

This multi-tasking hair oil is suitable for all hair types and textures, including chemically-treated hair and extensions. Not only does it make your hair look and feel healthier, but it also reduces blow drying time and offers both heat and UV protection. I like to smooth one pump through my hair from the mid-lengths downwards while it's still damp, and then after blow drying or flat ironing add a few more drops to the ends.

Best for fighting frizz: Kérastase Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum

Frizz doesn't stand a chance against this serum, which includes marula oil for moisture and softness, camellia oil for hydration and shine, and argal oil for increased elasticity. Raven Hurtado, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, IL, calls it her go-to hair oil for several reasons.

"It's great for all hair types — even fine hair can benefit — and a little goes a long way," she says. "This lightweight oil is also versatile: You can use it as a pre-treatment, leave-in product before styling, and as a finishing product."

Best for damaged hair: Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil

If you regularly put your tresses through the wringer with heat styling tools, this cult-favorite reparative styling oil is a must, according to Katelyn Ellsworth, hair stylist and founder of The Roslyn salon in San Diego, CA. 

What makes Olaplex No. 7 stand out is the patented technology that promises to rebuild broken and weakened bonds in your strands. Not only that, but this product offers heat protection up to 450 degrees. Since it's pretty concentrated, Ellsworth suggests starting with just a few drops on wet hair to achieve a smooth blow-out, or dry hair to tame fly-aways and frizz.

Best budget: Verb Ghost Weightless Hair Oil

Third-party lab testing has shown that this product can enhance shine by 75%, and I can personally vouch for the fact that this product did give my tresses a lustrous finish. But that's not all the Verb Ghost Weightless Hair Oil can do. It features smoothing and detangling moringa seed oil, strengthening bamboo extract, and hydrolyzed soy protein to lock in moisture. Best of all, it lives up to its name — and it's never weighed down my ultra-fine hair.

Another advantage of unlike many hair oils that tend to be yellow or orange-toned, this hair oil is translucent — making it ideal for blondes who are concerned about unwanted brassiness.

Best for dry hair: Virtue Healing Oil

According to Virtue Labs, a study showed that 100% of women said their hair looked shinier immediately after using this product, and 98% said their hair felt silkier and healthier eight hours later. Moreover, 100% of women felt this product didn't weigh their hair down. That was certainly the case for me: it gives me a lustrous sheen and even makes my split ends look less noticeable without making my hair look greasy.

This vegan and cruelty-free product contains both kalahari melon seed oil, which can protect the hair from environmental aggressors and prevent moisture loss, and Tahitian gardenia flower extract, which can strengthen strands so they're less prone to breakage. The standout ingredient, however, is Alpha Keratin 60ku, Virtue Labs' proprietary hair-repairing protein that targets and fills in the cracks on damaged strands.

Best for adding shine: JVN Complete Nourishing Shine Drops

What sets this product apart, according to Perea, is that it's formulated with squalane instead of silicone — which offers similar shine-boosting benefits without leaving a residue on the hair.

Squalane is a sugarcane-derived molecule that can improve manageability and frizz, nourishing the hair while preserving color. This product also contains antioxidant-rich hibiscus extract to help protect hair from damage and prevent color from fading, as well as meadowfoam ester, which studies show can help lock in moisture.

While this formula may be too heavy for super fine strands, Perea says it's perfect for coarse hair.


Best for curly hair: Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil

The star ingredient in this daily leave-in treatment is certified organic buriti oil — a nutrient-rich oil that can nourish and moisturize the hair, adding shine and reducing frizz, says John Belt, co-owner of Belt Salon and Belt Hair Extensions.

Not only is the product 90% naturally derived but it's also formulated without silicones, which can coat the hair, blocking out moisture and making it appear dull and dry. It's especially advisable for curly-haired folks to avoid silicones since they can cause build-up that weighs those bouncy locks down.

A little goes a long way with this product, too — since you need to use a few drops, the bottle is sure to last you a long time.

Best lightweight: RÅŒZ Santa Lucia Styling Oil

Rest assured that your hair will always smell amazing and never look greasy with this lesser-known styling oil. According to Aviva Jansen Perea, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Day Rate Beauty, it stands out not only because of its pleasant bergamot and citron scent but also because of its ultra lightweight formula.

Perea says the blend of oils and botanicals in this product can nourish even the driest of hair. Those ingredients include moisturizing jojoba oil, smoothing argan oil, strengthening jasmine, and scalp-soothing Roman chamomile as well as aloe vera.



Best for fine hair: Moroccanoil Treatment Light

Khamis Maiouf, a professional hair stylist and barber and founder of Book of Barbering, calls this hair oil — which is specifically formulated for fine and light-colored hair — a "game changer." It's easy to see why: the formula features antioxidant-rich argan oil and linseed extract, which are packed with essential fatty acids that improve hair health. This multitasking product detangles hair, speeds up blow-drying time, and leaves strands smoother and more manageable. And according to an independent study, using Moroccanoil Treatment Light just once can increase shine by up to 118%.

"I love it because it's incredibly lightweight, making it suitable for all hair types — including fine, curly, coarse, dry, damaged, and color-treated," Maiouf says. "It offers excellent heat protection, fights frizz, and adds a beautiful shine to the hair."

Quick tip: "The trick to successfully using hair oils is with a less-is-more technique," Perea says. This is especially true if you have fine hair: Perea recommends focusing your application on the bottom half of your hair, which tends to be the driest since it's farther away from your the natural oils on your scalp.

Best for promoting hair growth: Kreyòl Essense Haitian Black Castor Oil

This product is made with just one ingredient: Haitian castor seed oil. Anecdotal evidence points to the possibility that castor seed oil can promote hair growth, but there's not enough scientific research to prove this link just yet. Still, inflammation is associated with hair loss — and castor oil is known to be rich in several essential fatty acids and antioxidants, giving it anti-inflammatory properties. 

Yvey Valcin recommends adding a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner, or mixing some into your mousse or other styling products. You can also massage a small amount directly into the scalp, or leave it on your hair overnight as a deep conditioning treatment.

Quick tip: Using hair oil as a pre-shampoo treatment can help prevent your strands from becoming over-stripped and dried out during the cleansing process. Hurtado recommends applying your oil of choice directly onto the scalp and dry strands, and letting it sit for 10-30 minutes before stepping into the shower to rinse it out.

Best anti-aging: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Omega + Anti-Frizz Nourishing Hair Oil

The ingredients that do most of the heavy lifting in Alterna's Nourishing Hair oil are their signature caviar extract, climate shield solution, and Age-Control Complex. The latter was formulated according to the brand's research in anti-aging skincare and how it translates to hair rejuvenation.

I've used this oil for years now, and a little goes a long way. I have thick, coarse hair that's seen its fair share of heat damage, and when I use a flat iron it can get extremely dry and frizzy. Once I add a few drops to the midsection and ends of my hair, it helps me lock in the look with extra shine from a blend of Abyssinian, Camellia and avocado oils. It's pretty lightweight, but I would still recommend only using a conservative amount. — Gabrielle Chase, Associate Editor

Best for heat protection: Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer

The first thing I noticed about this product is that it feels more like a leave-in conditioning or detangling spray than an oil. While the formula does contain a blend of six different oils, it also features moisturizing glycerin and sodium hyaluronate and strengthening hydrolyzed vegetable protein. 

I always spritz this on right before blow-drying when my hair is still damp — and I love how it makes my strands easier to brush through after showering. Plus, it protects my hair from heat tools up to 450 degrees and has UV filters to shield it from the drying and color-fading effects of the sun. After using this regularly before heat styling, I've noticed significantly less breakage and split ends.

Best luxury: Kevin Murphy YOUNG.AGAIN

Jarvis calls this styling product another one of her favorites for a very good reason: it's infused with immortelle, an oil from a perennial flower with antioxidant properties that can help protect hair from environmental damage. 

When I used Kevin Murphy YOUNG.AGAIN, I was surprised at how lightweight the formula felt despite being so nourishing. It left my parched hair feeling much softer — possibly due to the combination of safflower seed oil and lemon peel oil. 

It's worth noting that this product also offers heat protection — but only up to 200 degrees. It's also clear in color, meaning blondes don't have to worry about it affecting the tone of their hair.





Best for blondes: UNITE BLONDA Oil

Whether you're a natural blonde, have highlights, or bleach your whole head platinum, this paraben- and cruelty-free oil is specifically formulated for you. When I started noticing that certain hair oils seemed to make my hair look yellow, I switched to this product and very quickly saw an improvement. That's because it features a pale lavender color that helps to neutralize brassy tones and boost the brightness of your tresses.

"I love this hair oil because it not only repairs and hydrates but also helps smooth frizz while providing thermal and UV protection," says Lauren Brighi, a hairstylist and blonding specialist at Candela Hair Studio in Andover, MA.

Best hair and beard oil: CHI Argan Plus Moringa Oil

This luxurious antioxidant-packed oil blend does double duty: it can help smooth dry and frizzy hair while also leaving a coarse or unruly beard feeling soft and looking shiny. One of its star ingredients, moringa oil, has emollient properties — meaning it can both attract moisture to your hair while also preventing moisture loss.

According to Valcin, this hair oil works on all textures, and won't weigh your strands down. What it will do, however, is protect your hair from damage due to thermal styling and UV rays.

"You can even apply it right on your skin after a hot shave," Valcin adds.