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Even the best hair oil suffers from a bit of a branding problem. Oily hair isn’t generally considered a good thing, right? But hair shine is a good thing, when we’re talking about that natural luster your hair has when it’s healthy, and that’s what the best hair oil can do. It catches the light at the right angles, and adds dimension and texture—and even an intentional overdose of sheen can look great when it’s deployed in the right way.
Hair oil can give you the perfect light shine—just a couple drops will do it—or it can take your hairstyle to new frontiers if you want a wetter, slicker look. It can also make a huge difference when added to your favorite hair styler, like a clay pomade or matte paste. It makes for a well styled “wet” look, but one that isn’t as weighed down as it would be with a traditional pomade or gel.
On top of that, these oils are also ultra-beneficial for your hair and scalp’s overall health. They’re the perfect product to follow a shampoo, which can dry out your hair and strip the scalp of all its natural, nourishing moisture. Oil can also tame hair by giving it some weight and holding it down; it’s the remedy for frizzing, fraying, and breakage, and it should be part of the hair-care regimen for guys with medium or long hair—whose strands are too long to receive the sebum from the scalp that stops midway along the hair shaft. Oil is a leave-in conditioner, at least when it’s made with thoughtful, conditioning ingredients (the best ones are essentially just a different oils, go figure). They absorb quickly into the hair, leaving behind a healthy luster, not a grimey, seemingly-unwashed appearance.
Ready to take the plunge? Consider our favorites six favorites.
To nourish dry hair
Oribe hair oil, $56 at Nordstrom
Oribe's oil restores life and body to tired strands, making it dually outstanding for long hair and dry hair. It's a favorite of stylists, since it gives you camera-ready hair and prevents frizz and UV damage. You can even use it prior to shampooing or blow drying to give hair the added defense against overdrying suds and hair-frying heat.
For beard and hair alike
Jack Black beard, face, and hair oil, $32 at Amazon
A blend of 10 oils, like argan and grapeseed, this product nourishes everything it touches. You can smooth frizzy hair or hydrate dry skin (on the face or body). It has long been one of our favorite beard oils but works just as well at the top of your dome.
For thick, curly hair
Moroccanoil hair treatment oil, $44 at Sephora
Moroccanoil is an essential assortment for people with curly, thick hair. (We especially love their conditioner.) Moroccan-sourced argan oil as a key ingredient in all of the brand's products, and this treatment oil adds argan oil and linseed extract to strengthen and subdue unruly hair and keep curls in check.
To add healthy shine
Aesop hair oil, $33 at Nordstrom
Perfect for a hair-product cocktail or standalone, a few drops of Aesop's hair oil gives your hair the right amount of definition and shine. It won't look oily, but instead will catch the light at all the right angles. Plus, it nourishes hair with a blend of rosehip, avocado, sweet almond, and jojoba oils.
For irritated scalps
Earth's Nectar scalp treatment, $19 at Sephora
Some hair oil is actually for the scalp, which in turn promotes healthy hair growth. This one is a blend of tea tree, almond, and jojoba oils; the former is antimicrobial and antiseptic and neutralizes irritation, while the latter two nourish and hydrate your skin.
For daily conditioning
VERB hair oil, $18 at Amazon
VERB's Ghost Oil feels barely there, even when applied daily. Think of it as a luster boost that wears lightly and prevents frizzing and fraying. It's less about style, and more about conditioning.