If you have oily hair, the thought of applying hair oil is likely what your beauty nightmares are made of. Why would you want to add oil to grease-prone strands? But according to celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein, every hair type—yes even oily—can benefit from hair oils. "Fine or coarse, the ends of anyone's hair need an oil," she says. "It can be a lot or the smallest amount, but please seal at least the very ends."
UK-based trichologist Kate Holden says oils are also good for the scalp. For instance, "tea tree, peppermint, ginger, and cade oil can help alleviate itchiness and reduce inflammation." So while your hair type and concerns may dictate how you use hair oil, chances are your strands could benefit from it in one way or another.
To help you take the guesswork out of finding the best hair oil for you, we scoured the internet to find the most popular and highly rated options on the market before putting dozens to the test in our lab.
Read on to find the best hair oils tested by Byrdie.
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil
Doesn’t have a strong fragrance
Leaves hair with shiny finish
Some reviewers find that it’s pricey for the amount of product in the bottle
If you ask us, the best hair oils are those that get the job done without weighing hair down. This one does that and does that and so much more—making it our top choice. It has a lightweight formula that nourishes the hair without leaving a thick or greasy film on the strands, and it also works to tame flyaways.
In addition to the weightless texture, our reviewer loved that she was able to work it through her hair with ease. She noted that it made combing her strands effortless, and it didn’t leave a residue on her hands or her hair. Her end result was shiny, soft hair with a salon-like finish.
Price at time of publish: $30
Key Ingredients: Grapeseed and fermented green tea oils | Size: 30ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Testers Say
“My hair is so shiny and soft! It looks like I just left the hair salon.” —Emma Rose Connolly, Tester
L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Deep Nourishing Treatment
A little bit goes a long way
Affordable and accessible
Softens the strands
Doesn’t add tons of shine to the hair
If you’re hesitant about hair oil or you prefer drugstore buys, this is a fantastic option for you. It’s affordable and accessible—and it works. It has a midweight texture—not super lightweight but not heavy—and it works to condition the hair and minimize flyaways.
Our tester shared that the oil made her strands feel soft and nourished without feeling sticky or leaving a thick film behind. She also shared that just three drops was enough to work through her hair, so keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way. While she didn’t find that her hair looked much shinier after application, she loved that it appeared sleek and smooth (read: no frizz or flyaways), and felt incredibly soft to the touch.
Price at time of publish: $15
Key Ingredients: Coconut and sunflower seed oils | Size: 100ml | Cruelty-Free: No
Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil
Dropper applicator makes dispensing desired amount of product easy
Rich, luxe texture
People with fine hair might find it to be too greasy
Applying a few drops of a luxe hair oil can serve as a moment of self-care, and this indulgent one is great for that. The chic packaging, honey scent, and rich texture elevate the user experience—but the product really works, too.
While the texture is pretty thick, our tester found that a few drops absorbed into her long, damaged hair quickly, and helped to create smoother looking and feeling strands. She noted that her hair felt incredibly soft after applying the oil, almost as if she had applied a deep conditioning mask. She also noted that the dropper helped her to dispense just the right amount of product.
One thing to keep in mind is that this formula does have a rich consistency. While this could be a major bonus if you have thick hair, those with thin hair should start by applying just one or two drops in order to avoid a greasy finish.
Price at time of publish: $87 for 3.4 fl oz
Key Ingredients: Honey | Size: 20ml, 50ml, 100ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Testers Say
“I noticed the biggest difference in my ends—they look smooth and sealed now instead of rough.” —Mary Honkus, Tester
Verb Ghost Weightless Hair Oil
Creates a very shiny finish
Could provide stronger frizz-control
If you have thin or fine hair, you might cringe at the thought of applying hair oil, but this one could actually be a great fit for you. Despite its fairly rich texture, it absorbs quickly into fine hair without leaving an oily film on the strands.
Our tester shared that just a few drops were enough to evenly coat her thin hair, and the oil worked wonders in terms of adding shine and softness. She noted that after applying the product and blow drying her hair, it looked healthy and she achieved slight frizz reduction. Her one con was that she has very frizzy hair, and she would have loved to see this product create a more significant reduction in her frizz.
Price at time of publish: $20
Key Ingredients: Bamboo extract, moringa seed and argan oils | Size: 60ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Damaged Hair
Kérastase Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum
Helps improve hair dryness
Helps with frizz reduction
Leaves a slight residue on the hair
This product has been loved by stylists for quite some time, and we understand why. The silky texture glides through the hair with ease, leaving it looking and feeling softer and more lustrous.
If you struggle with dry or damaged ends due to bleaching or excessive use of hot tools, this is a great option for you. It can be used before or after styling to smooth and nourish the hair, and we love that it has just a slight floral fragrance that isn’t at all overpowering. Our tester found that it helped reduce frizz and make her hair appear healthier and more smooth. She did note that she could feel a bit of residue on her hair and her hands, but considering how well it helps to improve damaged hair, this isn’t a major concern for us.
Price at time of publish: $54 for 100 ml
Key Ingredients: Marula, camelia, and argan oils | Size: 50ml, 100ml | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Shiny Hair
JVN Complete Nourishing Hair Oil Shine Drops
Adds noticeable shine to the hair
People with fine hair might find it a bit too greasy
Using hair oil can be a great way to add shine and light reflection to dull hair. If that’s your main goal, then this is a great option for you. The lightweight formula utilizes the power of hemisqualane—squalane derived from sugarcane—instead of silicone (which can create residue on the hair over time) to strengthen your strands. Hemisqualane works to strengthen the hair over time, while other ingredients in the formula, like meadowfoam esters and hibiscus extract, provide gloss, moisture, and antioxidant protection.
Our tester shared that she found the oil to be lightweight and effective at adding shine to her hair and making it feel smooth. It’s worth sharing that she along with some online reviewers note that if you use more than a few drops, it can look a bit heavy in the hair. So if you have fine hair, keep this in mind.
Price at time of publish: $24
Key Ingredients: Hemisqualane, meadowfoam esters, hibiscus extract | Size: 50ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Smoothing
TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Hair Shine Anti-Frizz Serum
Affordable and accessible
Helps with frizz-reduction
Some online reviewers find the fragrance to be too overpowering
If you deal with poofy or frizzy hair, this drugstore hair oil might be just what you’re looking for. It’s formulated with keratin and marula oil to strengthen and nourish the hair, and the lightweight formula helps to smooth strands and add shine.
With just one pump prior to blow drying, our tester was able to achieve noticeable frizz-reduction. She also noticed that it helped to tame her flyaways and add shine without creating a residue on her hair. While she loved the woody fragrance, some online reviewers find it to be overpowering.
Price at time of publish: $9
Key Ingredients: Keratin, marula oil | Size: 97ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Pure Oil Blend
Helps nourish dry hair
Nozzle applicator makes precise application easy
Some online reviewers say that it causes some scalp irritation when applied directly to the area
If you have natural hair or extremely dry hair, a hair oil that actually works to add moisture to your strands can be a complete game-changer. This one has an almost perfect rating at Ulta, and it’s easy to understand why. It can be used on the lengths of your hair like a traditional hair oil, on wet or dry strands, or as the brand says, for the skin too.
You might assume that a formula that truly works to moisturize the hair would have a thick consistency, but this one is surprisingly lightweight—and still effective. The nozzle applicator makes it easy to precisely dose and apply the product, and the light texture spreads through the hair easily and absorbs quickly. Our tester shared that his hair felt moisturized and his end result looked great.
One thing to note is that some online reviewers who applied it directly to their scalps mentioned that they experienced some irritation. We recommend applying it to the lengths of the hair to help improve dryness, and if you’re going to apply it to your scalp, be sure to patch-test first.
Price at time of publish: $29
Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, argan and baobab oils | Size: 237ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Frizz
Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil
Helps with frizz-reduction
Some online reviewers say they wish it was more moisturizing
Heat-styling can be incredible for reducing frizz in the hair, but it can also be quite damaging. So, opting to use a hair oil as a form of frizz-reduction is a great option. This one is formulated with quick-drying emollients and the brand’s signature healthy hair molecule to block humidity and smooth dry hair, thus helping to noticeably reduce frizz.
Our tester with fine hair shared that four drops yielded beautiful results—her hair felt soft, smooth, and moisturized, and looked shiny and healthy sans any residue. She also said that she noticed an improvement in her frizz, and that she enjoyed the subtle rose scent.
Price at time of publish: $30
Key Ingredients: Living Proof Healthy Hair Molecule | Size: 50ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Dry Hair
Playa Ritual Hair Oil
Adds noticeable moisture
Helps tame frizz
Doesn't add much noticeable shine
Dry, parched hair can lead to frizz and dullness. That’s why using a moisturizing hair oil, like this one, can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to achieve smooth, healthy-looking hair. Formulated with a blend of nourishing oils, this silicone-free formula penetrates the hair shaft to repair damage, tames frizz, and adds moisture.
Our tester loved that this formula felt undetectable on her strands, yet it created beautiful results. Her hair didn’t feel weighed down or greasy, but she noted that her ends felt significantly softer, and hair maintained a soft feel for a while after using the product. While she was happy with the results, she would have loved it even more if it added shine to her strands.
Price at time of publish: $65
Key Ingredients: Kukui, apricot, and coconut oils | Size: 45ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Curly Hair
Rizos Curls Nourish Oil for Hair, Scalp & Body
Contains a large blend of nourishing oils
Can be used in a variety of ways
It’s a bit pricey given the amount of product in the bottle
If you have curly hair, then chances are you experience some dryness from time to time if not consistently. This product is a great option for you because it’s formulated with a blend of moisturizing oils that will give your hair the hydration boost it needs. Plus, aside from being excellent for curly, dry hair, it can also be used to nourish the scalp and skin on the body.
In addition to moisturizing his hair, our tester noted that the formula absorbed quickly, added shine, and didn’t weigh down his hair. We also appreciate the dropper applicator, especially if you plan on using it for your scalp as this type of application will allow you to easily target your roots.
Price at time of publish: $25
Key Ingredients: Castor, carrot seed, grapefruit peel and orange peel oils | Size: 30ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes
The Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil is our winner due to its lightweight texture, incredible shine, and residue-free, salon-like finish. But if you have damaged hair and you’re looking for something that will make a major improvement in the look and feel of your strands, we recommend the Kérastase Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum. And if frizz control is your main goal, the Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil is best for you.
How We Tested
Byrdie editors researched the most popular and well-loved hair oils on the market, taking expert recommendations and consumer reviews into account before choosing dozens to test. Each one was then evaluated on the basis of application, absorption, feel, and overall look, and then given a score from one to five in each category. Our testers began with clean hair, sprayed their hair with water, applied the oils and let them sit for a few minutes, and then blow-driedblow dried their hair. All tests were performed in The Lab, our Manhattan product testing facility.
Other Options We Tested
Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil
The packaging of this luxury hair oil makes it an instant eye-catcher, and while our tester appreciated how soft the formula made her hair feel, she found it to be heavy and greasy on her fine hair.
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Glossy Nourishing Anti-Frizz Hair Oil
This delicious-smelling hair oil has the same fragrance as the brand’s iconic Bum Bum Cream, and we love how the scent lingers in the hair throughout the day. However, our tester found the formula to be overly sticky and greasy for her hair.
Bread Beauty Supply Hair Oil Everyday Gloss
This glossy oil did a great job at creating a sealed appearance on our tester's damaged ends, but she found the consistency to be heavy and she noted that it felt like the oil was sitting on top of her strands rather than absorbing.
Meet the Expert
- Clariss Rubenstein is a celebrity hairstylist specializing in scalp maintenance and damage control.
- Kate Holden, AIT, is a trichologist consultant based in the United Kingdom. She provides diagnoses and treatments for various hair and scalp conditions.
What To Look For in a Hair Oil
As with all beauty products, understanding what ingredients to seek out—and avoid—in hair oils will help you pick the right one for you. It’s always best to seek formulas with nourishing ingredients, like squalane, plant oils, and coconut oil. Coconut oil in particular is effective for helping to prevent damage, so it’s a great ingredient to look for if you regularly bleach your hair or use hot tools. If you’re on the hunt for a product formulated with coconut oil, the PLAYA Ritual Hair Oil is a great choice.
In terms of ingredients to avoid, that depends on your preferences and needs, but avoiding fragranced formulas is wise if you’re going to be using hair oil on your scalp because fragrance is known to be a potential irritant on the skin. Looking for a fragrance-free option? Go for the Rizos Curls Nourish Oil for Hair, Scalp & Body.
Finding a hair oil with the appropriate texture and consistency is key to yielding the best results. If you have fine hair, opting for something with a thin, lightweight texture, like the Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil is key. This will ensure that your hair isn’t weighed down, and the oil doesn’t contribute to excess greasiness. If you have thick hair, your strands will be able to tolerate a richer formula—they might even require it, especially if they’re dry or damaged. We love the Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil for thick hair because the denser formula will envelop your hair in nourishment and help to give it moisture and shine.
Can you use a hair oil on oily hair?
Like Clariss Rubenstein said, hair oil can be beneficial regardless of your hair type. However, if you have oily hair, it’s best to avoid applying oil near your scalp as it will contribute to greasiness. Instead, focus the product on your lengths and most importantly, the ends of your hair to help address dryness and damage.
When should you apply hair oil?
Hair oils can be applied to wet or dry hair—it really just depends on your needs and the directions of the specific product you’re using. We like applying it to damp hair before styling as it can help with manageability and smoothness, or as a finishing touch on dry hair for increased shine and a way to tame frizz.
Why Trust Byrdie
Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and a product tester specializing in cosmetics. She has fine, oily hair and has tons of experience using hair oils to help manage frizz and damage. She’s even tried several products on this list. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022, where she covers all things beauty.
Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. J Cosmet Sci. 2003;54(2):175-192.