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Natural Oils for Hair Health

by Celia Shatzman

The best hair oils are nourishing without being greasy.

Whatever your hair type or hair care needs, there’s an oil out there. And once you find the right one, it’s a game changer.“

Hair oil has deep roots in Ayurvedic tradition and Indian culture,” says Lisa Mattam, founder of Sahajan. “Touted for everything from conditioning to preventing gray hair to relieving stress, the benefits are endless. I have deep memories of having my hair oiled as a child—it’s a ritual I am happy to continue to practice and now that I am older and can actually learn of the benefits, and I am thrilled at the results. Hair oils protect and maintain hydration in the hair by mimicking the natural action of sebum. They can restore dry, brittle hair and depending on application, can help with the health of the scalp as well.”

If your goal is lustrous mermaid hair, try an application of Captain Blankenship Mermaid Oil. A little goes a long way!

Photo by: Julianna Blizzard

In fact, hair oils are crucial to hair health. “A good hair oil will help keep your hair soft, shiny and prevent flyaways,” says Jana Blankenship, founder of Captain Blankenship. “They can be used to tame frizz, moisturize ends, add shine and as a nourishing scalp treatment.” Blankenship uses hair oils as a scalp treatment once a week by rubbing a few drops into her hands, massaging into her scalp, leaving it on overnight and then rinsing it out in the morning.

There are plenty of other versatile ways to use hair oils. For frizz control, add one to two drops on dry hair and frizz and the appearance of dryness is instantly replaced by shiny, soft hair. For styling out of the shower, Mattam recommends applying two to three drops of oil to the hair, warmed by rubbing the oil in your hands before application. Apply to the mid-length hair down to the ends. Avoiding the roots is essential because the scalp is naturally making oil, so that addition of oil is not necessary. If the hair is being blow-dried, the oil will both lock in and seal hydration in the hair to avoid damage.

“Applying hair oil as a treatment is my favorite,” Mattam says. “Apply hair oil to your hair, combing through. Leave this in for a minimum of two hours, then shampoo out but don’t use conditioner. If you are worried about being too oily, and you are doing this for the first time, you can apply the oil at mid-length and brush through so that the oil can disperse. This provides a luxurious treatment to restore color, shine and strength to the hair. If you have some time, give yourself a scalp massage—this will be beautiful stress relief.”

Depending on your needs, you can look for specific ingredients in a hair oil. Be aware that products may be called hair oils but when you look, the content of oil is very low, cautions Mattam. Ideally, you would use one that is formulated with just a blend of oils. Try to avoid mineral oil, which can make the hair greasy. Instead, look for oils from plants. In Ayurveda, other than coconut oil, the two most prized oils are amla and eclipta alba. “Look for organic carrier oils high in beneficial vitamins, like vitamin E,” Blankenship says. “I recommend argan, kukui, sunflower and jojoba seed oils. Also, look for essential oils such as rosemary, cedarwood, pine and any type of citrus that add shine and help promote healthy hair and scalp.”

Give these natural hair oils a try:

Organic Highlighter

Ranavat Botanics Mighty Majesty Fortifying Hair Serum

Inspired by Indian Royalty beauty rituals, this light Ayurvedic hair serum contains amla, or Indian Gooseberry, to nourish and strengthen hair with its high concentration of vitamin C, along with cold press sunflower oil to moisturize, and jasmine to prevent breakage and boost growth. $55

Mauli Rituals Grow Strong Hair Oil

Pollution, stress and product buildup don’t stand a chance against this potent blend of rich oils, including moringa, argan, flame of the forest and sesame, along with Himalayan cedarwood and turmeric leaf. The Ayurvedic elixir activates hair follicles at a cellular level to protect strands and deeply moisturize. $44


Captain Blankenship Mermaid Hair Oil

The enriching combination of organic plant oils—including argan, jojoba, kukui nut and pine needle—deliver smooth, silky locks that are healthier and more manageable. $34

Sahajan Nurture Hair Oil

Designed to help all hair types fight the side effects of sun, stress, pollution, color treatments and styling, the Ayurvedic oils—eclipta alba herb and amla oil—restore shine and strengthen hair while protecting it from future damage. $50


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