9 Best Natural Oils for Better Hair Health

Fruit and nut-based oils that help with hair breakage, dryness, and more

From avocado to argan, natural oils extracted from nuts, seeds, and fruits can help strengthen your hair and enhance its texture. People turn to them, or products that contain them, for a variety of hair concerns, such as dryness, dullness, and damage.

Because oils supply much-needed moisture to your scalp, they may help eliminate dandruff too.

Here’s a look at nine natural oils for hair that needs a little extra TLC.

Coconut Oil for Moisture and Repair

Coconut oil next to lavender and soaps on a towel
@delia3107 via Twenty20

One of the most popular natural products for hair care, coconut oil, is loaded with lauric acid (a type of saturated fat). According to scientists, lauric acid found in coconut oil has a rare ability to penetrate inside the hair shaft and, in turn, repair damaged hair.

What’s more, the same study determined that treatment with coconut oil may help to reduce the loss of protein from hair. (Your hair’s main component, protein may be damaged by chemical processes such as dyeing and highlighting.)

Touted for all hair types, coconut oil is widely favored as a moisture-boosting hair treatment.

Olive Oil to Strengthen Hair

Olive sitting in cup of olive oil
ZenShui/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

Like coconut oil, olive oil penetrates into your hair’s fibers in a way that few other oils can. In fact, the abundance of monounsaturated fats found in olive oil may play a key role in its deeply penetrating, hair-strengthening properties.

Because it’s so moisturizing, olive oil might help save your hair from weather-related dryness during the winter months. Scrunching a few drops of olive oil into your hair can also help keep curls smooth.

Argan Oil for Better Manageability

hands holding argan nuts
Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Argan oil comes from the kernels of a tree native to Morocco. In recent years, this oil has become a beloved treatment for many hair types, including frizzy, coarse, and brittle hair.

Praised for its conditioning effects, argan oil is packed with essential fatty acids said to leave hair more manageable.

Jojoba Oil for Softness and Shine

Jojoba oils and plant fragments on tabletop
Liga Cerina / EyeEm / Getty Images

The seeds of the jojoba plant are high in liquid wax and essential fatty acids found to possess moisturizing properties. Long used in shampoos and conditioners, jojoba oil may help soften and restore luster to dull hair. In addition, it may help treat dry scalp and aid in dandruff control.

Avocado Oil to Prevent Hair Breakage

Avocado oil on cutting board next to halved avocado
Westend61 / Getty Images

Like nuts and seeds, avocados are a top source of vitamin E (an antioxidant compound found to fight hair loss when taken in supplement form).

While it’s not known whether applying vitamin E-rich oil to your scalp can promote hair growth, avocado oil is often used to prevent hair breakage and repair damaged hair.

To improve hair moisture, many avocado fans mix the oil with honey and egg whites to create a soothing hair mask.

Sweet Almond Oil for Moisture and Shine

Almond oil and small bowl of almonds on table
fcafotodigita / Getty Images

One of the lighter choices when it comes to nut oils, sweet almond oil is thought to treat dullness and dryness without weighing hair down. Many people also value sweet almond oil as a natural solution for dry scalp and dandruff.

Grapeseed Oil for Frizz and Split Ends

Grape seed oil in a spoon next to grapes
Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

Another lighter option, grapeseed oil is a smart selection for people with fine hair. Along with easing frizz, this antioxidant-packed oil may help treat split ends. To prevent greasy buildup, those with especially fine hair should avoid the hair’s roots when applying grapeseed oil (or any oil type).

Macadamia Nut Oil to Combat Heat Damage

Macadamia nuts and oil on cutting board
VOISIN / Getty Images

An exceptionally rich oil, macadamia is a popular remedy for dried-out but naturally thick hair. It’s also used to fight frizz and repair heat-damaged hair.

Baobab Oil for Curl Care

Baobab fruit on a white background
Valentin Casarsa / Getty Images

Although it’s one of the lesser-known oils, baobab oil is a favorite choice among those with curly hair. Sourced from the fruit of the baobab tree (a plant native to Africa), this oil is said to enhance hair’s elasticity, increase suppleness, and add a non-greasy shine.

How to Apply Oil to Your Hair

There are many different ways to introduce oils into your hair-care routine, including:

  • Adding a few drops of oil to your shampoo or conditioner
  • Applying several drops of oil to the ends of damp hair before blow-drying/styling
  • Slightly heating 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, massaging the oil into your dry hair, then letting the oil sit for a half-hour before shampooing or rinsing with cold water

As a general rule, leave-in treatments are better suited to those with thick or particularly dry/damaged hair, while a pre-shampoo treatment may be more helpful to those with fine hair. To find the technique that’s right for you, experiment with a few different approaches and see how your hair responds.

Essential Oils for Better Hair

Some essential oils may have benefits for hair health as well. Some of the oils thought to promote hair growth include:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Lavender oil (more human studies are needed)

To use essential oils in your hair, add a few drops to a natural carrier oil like olive, grapeseed, jojoba, or coconut oil. You could also add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner. Don't use essential oils directly on your scalp without diluting it since it can cause a skin reaction or irritation.

It’s also important to note that certain nut oils may trigger allergic reactions, especially among individuals with nut allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which oil is best for hair growth and thickness?

    Some researchers have found that rosemary oil can improve hair growth. One study found that rosemary oil was as effective in increasing hair count as minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine (minoxidil).

  • Which oil is best for dry and frizzy hair?

    Argan oil's conditioning properties can help tame frizzy, dry hair.

  • Is vitamin E oil good for hair?

    Vitamin E is thought to be good for hair growth and health because of its antioxidant activity. However, more studies are needed on the benefits of vitamin E oil for hair.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: An overviewInt J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

  2. Faria P, Camargo L, Carvalho R, Paludetti L, Velasco M, Gama R. Hair protective effect of argan oil (Argania spinosa kernel oil) and cupuassu butter (Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter) post treatment with hair dye. JCDSA. 2013;3(3A):40-44. doi:10.4236/jcdsa.2013.33A1006

  3. Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.556759

  4. Ahmad Z. The uses and properties of almond oil. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010;16(1):10-2. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2009.06.015

  5. Komane BM, Vermaak I, Kamatou GPP, Summers B, Alvaro, Viljoen AM. Beauty in baobab: a pilot study of the safety and efficacy of Adansonia digitata seed oil. Brazi J of Pharmaco. 2017;27(1):1-8. doi:10.1016/j.bjp.2016.07.001

  6. Oh JY, Park MA, Kim YC. Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs. Toxicological Research. 2014;30(4):297-304. doi:10.5487/tr.2014.30.4.297

  7. Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. 2015;13(1):15-21.

  8. Lee BH, Lee JS, Kim YC. Hair growth-promoting effects of lavender oil in C57BL/6 mice. Toxicological Research. 2016;32(2):103-108. doi:10.5487/tr.2016.32.2.103

  9. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Tree nut allergy.

  10. Beoy LA, Woei WJ, Hay YK. Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers. Trop Life Sci Res. 2010;21(2):91-99.

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.