We all want to have shiny, healthy hair without overspending on pricey products and treatments. For centuries women have sworn by one DIY method: all-natural hair oils. We've already discussed the amazing benefits of the ultra-popular argan oil, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil, but a slew of other options can add gloss, luster, and length to your locks. We chatted with Ava Shamban, M.D, author of Heal Your Skin, and celebrity hairstylist Corey Powell of Sally Hershberger Los Angeles (clients include Cameron Diaz and Hilary Swank) about these healthy hair helpers. So whether you have fine or coarse tresses, check out a few of Mother Nature’s best moisture-rich serums for your hair type—available at your local health-food store or in your kitchen!
How to use
"Hair oils are a great way to nourish and hydrate your hair," says Corey. Not to mention the perfect way to give your hair the exact vitamins and minerals it needs. Itchy scalp? Oil is the perfect cure! The high fat content in all these natural oils gets absorbed into your skin to instantly soothe irritation and rid dryness. Once or twice a week, use your fingertips to massage one (or more!) of these natural hair oils into your dry tresses. “Brush the oil through from roots to ends using a Mason Pearson hairbrush until your mane is completely saturated. Then shampoo or condition normally." If you have more time, try an at-home hot-oil treatment. "Heat the oil in the microwave and coat your hair with it," says Corey. The oil should be just warm to the touch, not steaming hot. "Then wrap a warm, wet towel around your hair and wait 30 minutes before rinsing." For really damaged hair, cover your oil-drenched mane with a shower cap and leave in overnight. But be warned: "Sleeping with oil in your hair can be a bit messy," explains Corey. So use a thick, tight shower cap to minimize the mess.
Pomegranate seed oil
"Pomegranate seed oil is a favorite of mine because it has a lot of punicic acid, which revitalizes dull strands and increases flexibility," says Corey. "I mix it with olive oil to thin down its texture for clients with finer hair."
"Rosemary oil is great for mixing with other natural oils because it stimulates the hair follicles," says Corey. High in iron, calcium, and vitamin B, the oil acts as an anti-aging agent, helps boost color, shine, thickness, and prevents hair loss.
Sweet almond oil
Like most nut oils, sweet almond has high contents of vitamins A, B, and E. “The oil heals split ends, improves circulation in the scalp to produce stronger hair, and can add luster and shine to dull hair,” says Dr. Shamban. Adds Corey: "The fatty acids add UV protection by reflecting harmful rays.”
“Avocado oil is excellent for the hair because it is rich in proteins and amino acids, and it has high levels of vitamins A, D, and E,” says Dr. Shamban. "The proteins help fill in all the crevices in your hair’s cuticles, so each strand is stronger and better protected from future breakage," adds Corey. “Since it’s a thicker oil, it works best on medium- to coarse-textured hair.”
Need a deep-conditioning treatment? “Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which has been used for years as a holistic, natural remedy to alleviate dryness,” says Dr. Shamban. Not only is olive oil ultra-hydrating but it is packed with nourishing antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that improve elasticity and restore strength and shine. "Olive oil is very heavy and works well with thicker, coarser hair," says Corey.
All hair types
Two other oils Corey swears by? Rice bran and hemp seed. “Rice bran contains vitamin E and creates a harder shell around the cuticle so your strands have less breakage,” says Corey. “You can hardly smell the oil, and it works for any type of hair! But I also love hemp seed oil because it is packed with amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and minerals that make hair stronger and healthier overall.”