Hair oil can be a saving grace, especially if you have long (read: old) hair, breakage-prone hair, or hair that’s endured the worst of the summer elements, including blazing heat and dry winds. Although a hair oil blend can benefit just about everyone, not all hair is created equal, which is why we’ve got several ways to customise your DIY hair oil depending on your hair’s needs. By making your own hair oil, you’ll also be averting chemical additives common to commercial hair oils—plus, you know you’re getting something that’s vegan and cruelty-free since you and your locks will be the only test subjects.
The recipe is simple: 2 tablespoons carrier oil + up to 30 drops essential oil (optional). For longevity, store in a dark glass eye dropper bottle. Read on for all of the ways to customise and use your hair oil.
1. The first step is choosing your carrier (or base) oil. This will make up the majority of your hair oil and serve as a nourishing emollient. Mix and match any of the following:
For normal/healthy hair (hair that’s neither too dry nor too oily):
Argan oil (beloved for its ability to help balance oil production)
Almond oil (rich in antioxidant vitamin E)
Coconut oil (rich in protein)
Olive oil (may be a bit heavy for thin hair)
Castor oil (this ultra-rich oil is best diluted with a thinner oil like grapeseed)
Avocado oil (especially good for rehydrating hair)
Thin or oily hair:
Grapeseed oil (absorbs quickly and is less likely to weigh hair down)
2. Next, choose your essential oils. Experiment with various oil blends to create an aromatherapeutic blend to suit your taste—and your hair’s needs. The combinations are endless, but here are a few oil options to get your started.
For normal/healthy hair:
If your hair is already healthy, your goal is simply to keep it that way. Clary sage encourages hair growth by stimulating the scalp. Clary sage also eases anxiety and soothes ragged nerves. Normal hair may also benefit from lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, parsley, carrot, and rosemary essential oils.
For dry/damaged hair:
If your scalp isn’t producing enough natural oils—or if you’ve put your hair through too much heat styling, try a hair oil with geranium. This uplighting essential oil helps restore a healthy pH to hair (which can be disrupted by hair products), and it also helps rehydrate parched strands. Other essential oils for dry hair include lavender, rosemary, birch, carrot, parsley, yarrow, and sandalwood.
Thin or oily hair:
Often accompanied by dandruff, oily hair occurs when the scalp over produces oil. For this, we have over-washing hair to thank; washing your hair too often (or with harsh, chemical-laden shampoos) strips the scalp of natural moisture, prompting it to overcompensate with too much oil. Clarifying essential oils for hair include cypress and lemon, both of which help with dandruff, too. Other essential oils for oily hair include tea tree oil, sage, thyme, yarrow, pimento berry, and lavender.
3. Finally, once you’ve created your hair oil, decide how you will put it to use! Here are a few ideas:
1. Weekly deeply hydrating mask treatment: apply to dry hair, massage into scalp, wrap hair in a hot, damp towel, wait for 30 minutes, and then shower and shampoo as normal.
2. Pre-shampoo treatment: Apply to lengths 10 minutes before shampooing. This will help detangle and condition the ends without leaving you with heavy strands. This is a good option for those with an oily scalp.
3. Heat protectant: Apply a small amount the lengths after washing and towel-drying. Blow dry or style as usual.
4. Anti-frizz treatment: Rub a few drops between your palms and smooth over strands to fight frizz and add shine.
5. Curl definer: Apply a small about to damp hair and gently scrunch hair to define natural curls.