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13 best hair oils for shiny, soft and smooth locks

Putting a range of formulas to the test, we’ve found the oils for every hair type

Lauren Cunningham,Vanese Maddix
Tuesday 23 January 2024 11:02 GMT
We’ve tried and tested products from Bread, Gisou, Kérastase, Morrocanoil and more for this review
We’ve tried and tested products from Bread, Gisou, Kérastase, Morrocanoil and more for this review (The Independent)
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Hair oil is an often unsung haircare hero, promising to smooth strands, fight frizz and give that just-been-blowdried glossy finish. So, if you’re yet to include one in your daily routine, we’re here to convince you of how and why that needs to change.

Aesthetic results aside, a good hair oil will nourish your hair with a huge range of healthy fats and minerals, battling breakage and helping to stop split ends. But, as with most beauty buys, not all hair oils are made equal, and not everybody will benefit from the same brand, type or heaviness.

To better understand what makes hair oil particularly great, we sought the advice of Kuldeep Knox, founder of haircare brand Chāmpo. “The best hair oil is the one which will meet the needs of your specific hair type, texture and scalp condition and takes into consideration factors like climate, lifestyle and any concerns you’d like to address,” she explained.

“Those with damaged or brittle hair may see benefits from an oil with a higher fat and protein composition [such as argan or coconut oil],” she added. “While those with fine or thinning hair will likely see better results with lighter oils like macadamia seed and abyssinian oil.” Kuldeep also attributed hair damage to heat tools, air conditioning, and daily styling, noting that “it’s important to choose ingredients that will repair hair’s cuticle and protect it from further damage”.

With this in mind, Vanese and Lauren took on the task of testing a range of formulas to help find the best hair oils for different hair types, including curly, coily, damaged and hard-to-tame manes.

How we tested the best hair oils

A selection of the best hair oils we tested for this review (Lauren Cunningham)

For context, we tested hair oils on coily hair, sitting at 4C on the hair chart, and long, thick, wavy hair, most similar to 2C over a month-long period. When testing, we considered price, performance, scent, and the ingredients list to determine the best hair oil for each hair type. Keep reading for the formulas that made the cut.

The best hair oils for 2024 are:

  • Best hair oil overall – Kérastase elixir ultimate l’huile original hair oil: £34.61,
  • Best budget hair oil – John Frieda frizz ease miraculous recovery oil: £8.85,
  • Best for frizzy hair – Moroccanoil treatment original: £36.45,
  • Best honey hair oil – Gisou hair oil: £35,
  • Best lightweight hair oil – Olaplex no7 hair oil: £18.64,

Kérastase elixir ultimate l’huile original hair oil

Kérastase elixir ultimate l’huile original hair oil.png
  • Best: Hair oil overall
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients : Amla extract, camellia oil, argan oil
  • For hair type: All hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: No
  • Why we love it
    • Heat protector
    • Fights frizz
    • Works on all hair types
  • Take note
    • Not suitable for vegans

The Kérastase hair oil has built up quite the fan base, and it’s easy to see why. The gorgeous golden packaging adds a little luxury to your everyday routine, and I’m a sucker for luxe-looking bottles. But, of course, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, and the elixir ultimate certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Hero ingredients include amla extract, camellia and argan oil which all help to strengthen strands, stimulate hair growth and even prevent premature pigment loss, meaning it works to keep grey hairs at bay. It also acts as a heat protector up to 230C, seals split ends and instantly adds shine while smoothing strands and fighting frizz. So, whether used on damp hair as a primer or dry hair as a finisher, Kérastase took the top spot for me as the best all-rounder. Lauren Cunningham

The packaging alone of this Kérastase hair oil had me mesmerised. The unique golden bottle makes for a perfect addition to any beauty cabinet. However, the real star is the formulation of the oil that caters to my 4C hair type whether I’m wearing it out naturally or in a braided style. It’s a multipurpose product and can be used as a primer, finisher or refresher, along with its heat protection up to 230C.

I love to use it to refresh my hair when it’s feeling somewhat dull and super frizzy, and I’ve found that it also provides an instantly smooth and nourished feel. Plus, it’s jam-packed with oils from argan, camellia and marula for a truly divine smell.

I’ve recently started going for wash and blow dry appointments at the Amazon Salon and my stylist Korell Williams uses a range of Kérastase products on me, including the elixir ultime which they swear by. If it’s good enough for the professionals, it’s certainly good enough for me. Vanese Maddix

  1. £34 from
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John Frieda frizz ease miraculous recovery oil

John Frieda frizz ease miraculous recovery oil.png
  • Best: Budget hair oil
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients : Dimethicone, argan oil, coconut oil and moringa oil
  • For hair type : Dry, frizzy, damaged hair
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Fights frizz
  • Take note
    • Can be drying

Coming in at just £8, this hair oil is a real bargain buy. Argan oil, coconut oil and moringa oil are the key ingredients working to smooth strands and add shine. But dimethicone is the key ingredient used to fight frizz, which is the aim of the game for this hair oil. As someone with a lot of frizz to fight, I can safely say this hair oil delivers.

Dimethicone is famous for giving a sleek, silky look to hair, although it is a rather controversial ingredient. While some people love it for its silky smooth texture, others find it can be quite drying, as its glossing effects stop moisture from penetrating strands. I’d recommend doing your research beforehand to check it’s right for your hair type and texture, as those with dry ends may wish to stay away. LC

  1. £8 from
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Dior Miss Dior hair oil

Dior Miss Dior hair oil.png
  • Best: Scented hair oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Key ingredients: Essential Rose wax
  • For hair types: Suitable for all hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: No
  • Why we love it
    • Great smell
  • Take note
    • Scent is the main selling point

I don’t usually gravitate towards popular luxury brands when it comes to hair products as I find a lot of them to be quite gimmicky and not suitable for afro hair types. But I decided to give Dior’s hair oil a chance and I haven’t looked back.

It does a great job of adding a radiant and shiny look and feel, and I love using it as the last step in my hair routine as it gives me the same excitement that I get from spritzing myself in my favourite perfumes. The formula is enriched in essential rose wax and as you can imagine, this along with the infusion of the signature Miss Dior blooming bouquet scent makes for incredible smelling hair. VM

  1. £36 from
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Moroccanoil treatment original

Moroccanoil treatment original.png
  • Best: Frizzy hair
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients : Argan oil
  • For hair type : All hair types, especially frizz-prone hair
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Hydrating
    • Can be used as a pre-wash scalp treatment
  • Take note
    • Not for fine hair

Moroccanoil is one of the most famous hair oil brands, building a strong reputation as the go-to solution for hard-to-tame manes. Working with the hero ingredient, argan oil – which comes from the argan tree native to Morocco, hence the name – it is thicker than the likes of coconut oil, jojoba oil or castor oil. Although suitable for all hair types, it will work best for those with thicker, frizzier locks (ie, someone with a similar hair type to me).

A little goes a long way, and the handy pump distributes the perfect amount, so long as you press it gently. I love using this on the ends of my hair, as argan oil works wonders to help heal split ends, moisturise strands and reduce breakage. For a deeper treatment, I also like to work it into my roots for an hour pre-washing to give my scalp some much-needed TLC. LC

  1. £36 from
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Bread Beauty Supply everyday gloss

Bread Beauty Supply everyday gloss.png
  • Best: For wavy, curly and afro hair
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients: Safflower oil, capryl capric triglycerides and kakadu plum oil
  • For hair types: Suitable for all hair types but especially those with wavy, curly, and afro hair
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • High gloss finish
  • Take note
    • Highly scented (which some may dislike

There’s a good reason why this hair oil is always sold out; it’s because it works wonders with whatever stage your hair is at. Whether you use it on wet hair or in between washes, this non-greasy formula brings some much-needed life back to the locks.

As someone with a 4C hair type, my wash routine looks different to those with European hair and depends on whether my hair is in a protective style or out in its natural form. However, one thing I love about the formula is that it leaves my hair looking and feeling completely rejuvenated with a glossy shine. The standout ingredient in the formula is kakadu plum, which is known for its moisturising and hydrating properties.

If you’re wondering why this oil is called everyday gloss, it’s because one sniff will transport you to the exact smell of a strawberry lip gloss (non-overbearing of course). VM

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Celui nourishing hair oil

Celui nourishing hair oil.png
  • Best: Natural hair oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Key ingredients: Jojoba seed oil, lavender flower oil and olive oil
  • For hair types: All hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • All natural

Although you may not have already heard of Celui, it’s certainly one that should be on your radar. Founded by haircare content creator Anisa Sojka (who incidentally shared her tips for healthy hair with us), this oil softens, smooths and seals fraying ends.

Most impressively, the all-natural formula reads more like a cocktail recipe than your typical ingredients list with jojoba seed oil, lavender flower oil and olive oil just a handful of the core players. It’s worth noting that a little goes a long way, so be sure to apply only a small amount if you’re someone with finer strands. LC

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Augustinus Bader the hair oil with TCF8

Augustinus Bader the hair oil with TCF8.png
  • Best: Hair oil for damaged hair
  • Size: 30ml
  • Key ingredients : TFC8 complex, argan oil, vitamin E
  • For hair type : All hair types, especially damaged hair
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Heals damage
  • Take note
    • Long-term use needed

Founded by a biomedical scientist, physician and world-leading stem cell biology expert, Augustinus Bader is the luxury brand to know for those looking for potent products with visible results. Every product is made with a patented trigger factor complex called TFC8, comprised of more than 40 ingredients that deliver incredibly impressive results.

Working to stimulate the body’s natural renewal process, this hair oil helps to heal damaged strands and restore and regenerate new ones for healthier, happier hair. Of course, prolonged use will yield the best results, but I noticed my hair felt hydrated, shinier and smoother after the first couple of uses. LC

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Herlum copa dew oil

Herlum copa dew oil.png
  • Best: Multi-purpose hair oil
  • Size: 50ml
  • Key ingredients: Cold-pressed rosehip and buriti oils
  • For hair types: All hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Multi-purpose benefits
    • Vegan and nut-free formula
  • Take note
    • Consistency might be too light for some people

I’m quite particular when it comes to what I use on my afro hair, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when it came to this do-it-all oil from Herlum – it can be used on the face, body and hair but to my surprise, it does it all. The silky formula absorbs beautifully into my hair when it needs moisture and an instant shine. I also love to add the excess oil to my cuticles.

The formula is enriched with ingredients, including copaiba oil, known for its soothing and nourishing skin properties and century-long use in countries like Brazil. You’ll also find rosehip oil and squalane in the vegan and nut-free formula. VM

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Ouai hair oil

Ouai hair oil.png
  • Best: Hair oil with heat protection
  • Size: 45ml
  • Key ingredients : African galanga oil, argan oil, Asian borage oil
  • For hair types : All hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Heat protecting
  • Take note
    • Go through it quickly

Founded by Jen Atkin, celebrity hairstylist to Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, Ouai has racked up a loyal following of beauty buffs, and it’s easy to see why. Designed to fight frizz, seal split ends, repair damaged strands and protect from heat styling, this one hair oil has many functions, reducing your need for a whole host of products.

African galanga, argan, ama and Asian borage oils are the key ingredients, working to hydrate the hair, soothe scalps and restore strength and shine, which is exactly what I found that it did when smoothed through my strands. Whether used on damp strands to aid with styling, loaded on as a hair mask overnight or sparingly smoothed through dry locks to add extra oomph, it’s a one-stop-shop for silky-looking strands no matter your hair type. LC

  1. £26 from
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Kama Ayurveda bringadi scalp and hair oil

Kama ayurveda bringadi scalp and hair oil.png
  • Best: For soothing itchy scalp
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients: False daisy, indigo and balloon vine
  • For hair types: All hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: No
  • Why we love it
    • Scalp health focus
  • Take note
    • Expensive

There aren’t many hair products that give you the same level of spa-like comfort at home, however, Kama Ayurveda has managed to take that same great smell and feeling and bottle it up as a scalp and hair oil.

Infused with a blend of 13 botanical extracts from false daisy which is known for stimulating hair growth and soothing the mind (double win) and balloon vine, an antioxidant that protects the skin and soothes inflammation. Scalp health is equally as important to me and I love how the formula considers that because there’s truly nothing worse than an itchy scalp.

I like to reach for this especially when my hair is in knotless braids as a way to soothe my scalp and keep it nourished. VM

  1. £49 from
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Gisou hair oil

Gisou hair oil_.png
  • Best: Honey hair oil
  • Size: 50ml
  • Key ingredients : Mirsalehi honey, argan oil, coconut oil
  • For hair type: All hair types, especially dry and damaged hair
  • Suitable for vegans: No
  • Why we love it
    • A little goes a long way
  • Take note
    • Non-vegan

Gisou is famous for its honey-infused products, and many people hark on about this outstanding hair oil. Enriched with honey, it works to tame frizz, define curls and revive dull-looking locks, all of which I have aplenty.

Sweet almond oil, argan oil and coconut oil also work to boost the benefits, meaning it can be used as an overnight mask and everyday styling product – everything you need from a great hair product. For non-vegans after silky, shiny hair, you’re sure to be satisfied – just remember, one to two drops is enough. LC

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Chāmpo weightless hair oil

Chāmpo weightless hair oil.png
  • Best: For thin hair
  • Size: 28ml
  • Key ingredients: Hydrogenated olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil
  • For hair types: All hair types, including fine hair
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Small size
  • Take note
    • Formula too light for thick hair

This Chāmpo option can be trusted to revive lacklustre locks in seconds. Formulated with hydrogenated olive oil, the formula is slightly thinner than some of the others within this review, meaning it’s perfect for those with finer strands.

Jojoba and coconut oil help to hydrate and condition the hair, while turmeric, amla extract and malic acid are just a handful of the ingredients helping to boost growth and strength. Although it was a little too light for my hair type, it did quickly fight frizz and flyaways and the scent is also just divine. Plus, coming in at just 28ml, it’s a great travel find too. LC

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Olaplex no7 hair oil

Large_JPG-No.7BondingOil-2_1440x (1).png
  • Best: Lightweight hair oil
  • Size: 30ml
  • Key ingredients: Punica granatum seed oil, moringa oleifera seed oil, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate (Olaplex’s patented bonding molecule)
  • For hair types: All hair types
  • Suitable for vegans: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight formula
    • Heat protection up to 230C

Olaplex is a brand that needs very little introduction. Its haircare range promises to make locks stronger, healthier and more resilient, thanks to its patented bonding molecule. Its shampoo is one of my favourites, so too is its hair oil, which has become a holy grail. The formula leaves my hair looking and feeling nourished, glossy and shiny. Owing to the fact it’s lightweight, it doesn’t leave my strands feeling heavy, weighed down or greasy, and can be used on both wet and dry hair. With heat protection powers up to 230C, it is a great product to apply before styling. While the bottle looks decidedly small, from experience, it lasts a very long time – so it’s a great investment. Eva Waite-Taylor

  1. £18 from
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Hair oils FAQs

What does hair oil do?

Hair oils have a lengthy list of benefits that all hair types can incorporate into your routine. Oils can help lock in curls, combat dehydration, add shine, reduce split ends, protect from heated tools and pollution and add moisture.

What to look for in a hair oil

If your hair is naturally fine, look for a lightweight oil that can protect your hair without weighing it down or leaving it greasy. However, if you have thicker, curlier hair you can afford to apply it less sparingly and it can de-frizz and boost shine.

There are many different types of oils you can reach for too. One of the most popular is argan oil, a lightweight texture that suits all hair types and is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that will nourish dehydrated, lacklustre tresses. Jojoba oil is another common choice that works well on dry hair in need of added moisture.

If you’re struggling with brittle locks, look for manketti oil, which is rich in nutrients, protein, and fatty acids that strengthen damaged strands and leave them feeling soft with a healthy shine.

Can I use hair oil every day?

How frequently you apply hair oil is dependent on your hair type. If you have coily, thick or very curly hair, it can be applied daily, but if you have fine, straighter hair, then it’s best to limit it to two to three times a week on wet, clean hair after your shower.

This will dilute the oil evenly throughout strands and will also protect from heated styling tools, such as hair dryers or straighteners.

The verdict: Hair oils

We’re hoping we’ve now convinced you to work a hair oil into your usual haircare routine, as they really can make a world of difference. If you’re unsure of which one to go for, let us sum it up for you here. The Kérastase elixir ultimate l’huile original hair oil was named our best buy for a reason, working with all hair types to smooth strands, fight frizz and hydrate hair from the inside out.

For those with curly or coily locks, the Bread Beauty Supply hair oil will be your best bet, with a thick formula that accentuates waves, curls and coils. Anyone struggling with damaged strands is sure to fall in love with the powerful ingredients of the Augustinus Based the hair oil with TCF8. While the Chāmpo weightless hair oil is the perfect pick for an everyday essential that fights frizz and adds shine.

Looking for a hair tool to achieve a bouncy blow dry? Take a look at our guide to the best hair dryers to buy

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