🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Short DatedBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyNut ButtersJams & ChutneysSpreadsPateSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & RelaxationDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsVegan FoodSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsCrisps & ChipsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsFlapjacksPopcornDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesNatural Energy DrinksKombuchaJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeCrustaceans FreeKiwi FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautySun CareShop all Sun CareSun Lotion SPFAfter SunHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettPulsinUSNPhDEat WaterNew NordicSlimExpertNatures AidDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseSkincareJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

Guide to the best hair oils

woman using hair oil
What’s the difference between hair oil and serum? What are the best natural hair oils for shiny hair? Top tips on how to use hair oils on all hair types.

Hair oil might seem like a hot new beauty trend, but this is down to marketing.

In reality, they’re nothing new, with humans having used natural seed and plant oils to nourish their locks since ancient times.

The Ancient Greeks would treat their hair with olive oil to keep it shiny, and coconut oil for hair has been a thing across the southern hemisphere for thousands of years.1

Why hair oil?

If you could see the anatomy of a strand of hair up close, it will seem to be obvious why hair oils are a good idea.

A strand of hair has hundreds of overlapping cuticles. Think of them like roof tiles, all pointing downwards. To stay smooth, these cuticles must all stay uniform and overlapping.

Heat damage, rough handling and too much sun can all roughen up the hair’s cuticles, causing them to become uneven.

Split ends, as you probably know, occur when the hair strand splits from the bottom and the split makes its way up the length of the hair strand.

This is where hair oils come in. They can seal fraying ends and fill the gap between damaged hair cuticles, lubricating the hair strand and preventing further damage.

Think of hair oils as grouting for the tiny invisible cracks on each of your hair strands!

What’s the difference between a hair oil and a hair serum?

Hair oils and hair serums are very similar and often contain many of the same ingredients.

However, whereas hair oils are primarily used to nourish and improve the condition of your hair, hair serums are often silicone-based and have a more specific styling focus such as taming frizz caused by the weather.

The best natural hair oils

Here are a few of the best hair oils around, plus their benefits for your locks.

Argan oil

The hugely popular argan oil is native to Morocco (and aka Moroccan hair oil).

It’s mostly made of fatty acids which explain why it’s so nourishing to hair strands.2

We like Miaflora Argan Oil which contains 100% cold-pressed argan oil, meaning none of the moisturising properties are lost in its manufacture.

How to make an argan oil hair mask

woman with dry hair applying argan oil hair mask


Pour a little oil in a container of hot (not boiling) water until the oil is warm.


After shampooing, massage the oil into the hair and scalp.


Cover with a warm, moist towel for 3-5 minutes.


Rinse with warm water.


Add a little tea tree oil for hair to help a dry scalp and oily roots.

Black seed oil

This oil comes from the pressed seeds of the nigella sativa plant.3

Black seed oil for hair and body offers softening and nourishing properties. It’s great for softening all hair types, as well as used diluted on the scalp to help fight flakiness.

Coconut oil

A favourite pre-shampoo treatment, as well as a way to seal in moisture on damp afro hair types.

Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is heavy and can make finer hair feel greasy if too much is applied.

A product like Fushi Really Good Hair Oil contains a blend of coconut, argan and avocado oil which will nourish all hair types, without weighing it down.

When dandruff is caused by a dry scalp, coconut oil is an excellent choice due to its moisturising properties.4

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and can be used on hair damaged hair due to excessive styling or bleaching.

Tips for using coconut oil in your hair

How much coconut oil you should use depends on your goals.

Some people rub a little coconut oil in their scalp before bed and leave it in overnight before washing it off.

Others use coconut oil as a hair mask. That means leaving it in for a few hours and then rinsing later.

You can also rub a bit into your usual shampoo or conditioner. Just remember, a little goes a long way.

As for which coconut oil to use, you’ll find a wide selection right here, including turmeric and CBD-infused raw oils. If you’re unsure how much to use, simply follow the instructions on the tub.

When shouldn’t you use coconut oil?

It’s important to remember that everyone’s hair is different.

As a word of advice, using too much coconut oil can sometimes have the opposite and clog your hair follicles or give your hair a greasy appearance.

Coconut oil may not be suitable if your scalp is sensitive or if your hair is very coarse. Test a little on an inconspicuous part of your scalp to see if it works for you.

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil has been extracted from hemp seeds, unlike CBD which is extracted from the leaves.

The oil is packed with essential fatty acids Omega 3, 6 and 9 – all important for naturally moisturising and restoring healthy-looking hair.

The high content of fatty acids helps healthy hair growth, as well as Vitamin A, which can help to moisturise the scalp and keep hair healthy.

Not only is hemp seed oil rich in Omega 3,6 and 9 - it's also packed with vitamins D, E and magnesium which help with new hair growth.

It can also help blood circulation which also results in stronger, healthier and longer hair.

The wonder oil can help to soothe itchiness and dryness on the scalp and deter dandruff from forming.

Jojoba oil

This oil is renowned for its ultra-moisturising properties.5

Derived from the seeds of the jojoba plant, you can smooth out frazzled hair cuticles and add shine with just a few drops of jojoba oil for hair.

Handpicked content: What's great about jojoba oil?

Castor oil

Sourced from the castor bean, an inedible bean made up of fatty acids including omega-6 and ricinoleic acid.6

Using castor oil for hair is used all over the world.

Castor oil's moisturising properties may help to reduce the appearance of split ends.

How to use hair oils and serums

  • On damp hair

Most oils and serums can be used on damp hair.

Oils will help to fill in the gaps in any rough cuticles on your hair strand, as well as sealing the moisture in as your hair dries.

  • On dry hair

Many oils and serums can also be used on dry hair. You should avoid applying heavy oil (like castor oil) or serum to the roots of your hair – only the lengths and ends.

Applying heavy products to the roots will leave you with product build-up on your scalp and oily roots.

  • Before washing

Using a hair oil before shampooing might seem pointless, but by penetrating the hair and reducing the amount of water your strands absorb during washing, the oil helps your hair stay stronger over time.

This is because the oil coating the hair results in lower hygral fatigue (repeated swelling and drying), a factor that can damage hair.7

  • Before heat styling

Most serums have an in-built heat protectant which may help to shield your hair from the damaging effects of high heat up to around 240 degrees Centigrade.

Handpicked content: How to get wavy hair without heat

A word of warning. If you’re using oil as a heat protectant, you should be aware that natural oils can have a low smoke point and they burn when exposed to a heat higher than this smoke point.

Coconut oil has a smoke point of 177 degrees Centigrade, so ensure your heat styling tool is set to low.7

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 23 September 2021

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.