8 best hair oils
Grease is not the word; keep your locks silky smooth with our best pick
Earlier in September, we saw models during London Fashion Week strut down the runway again in the most sought-after clothes. But one thing that stood out to us was the latest expert-approved hair trend: wet-look lengths. At the House of Holland SS19 show, models were sent down the catwalk donning a just-out-of-the-shower look, with hair more or less soaking in oil to give an extra shine. While we thought the trend was very much left in the 1980s, it is definitely having another moment. Models with slicked-backed hair have been popular long before Robert Palmer’s highly-stylised video for “Simply Irresistible” that helped create an iconic look that serves as a strong style reference for today.
And in the last few years, the style has become a red-carpet staple, with Iggy Azalea, Kristen Stewart and Scarlett Johansson wearing the style, and Taylor Swift being transformed into a complete badass in her 2017 Vogue cover in November. But oil isn’t just for creating the ultimate slick-back. It also has moisturising and nourishing benefits, making overnight conditioning and oils a bathroom staple.
For anyone who subjects their hair to sun, salted-water, pollution or excessive styling, oil can be your guardian angel by delivering a deeply conditioning treatment to restore your lacklustre tresses. Luckily, we tested loads on the shelves to whittle it down to eight of the best.
OUAI Hair Oil: £24 for 50ml, Selfridges
You may have heard of OUAI through simply scrolling through Instagram as it can be found on virtually everyone’s #shelfie. The brand blew up thanks to founder and celebrity coiffeuse Jen Atkin’s close relationship with reality-star turned businesswoman Kim Kardashian West. Jen has been styling Kim’s lustrous locks for years which gives her a good leg to stand on after launching her own hair care line.
While some brands can end up being more puff than perfection, we’re really impressed by this hair oil. It’s light and fragrantly beautiful with a saccharine sweet blend of violet, gardenia, white musk and ylang ylang, which not only nourishes the hair but also perfumes your head space. A little goes a long way too, so for the price, it’s worth every penny.
Kerastase Elixir Ultime Huile Legere: 100ml for £41.40, Keratase
Managing fine hair can be a challenge, so the idea of using an oil probably rings alarm bells. If you use too much, the oil will weigh the hair down and leave it looking dull and flat, and if you use too little, you risk the chance of fighting flyaways. Prepare to be converted: experts at Kerastase have concocted an impression formula of nourishing oils with natural rose water, meaning you get all of the benefits with zero added weight.
Featuring delicate avocado, jojoba and coconut oil – all known for their moisturising properties – this blend is perfect for a pre-wash treatment or used before a blow-dry. We equally loved this product combed liberally through the hair and left to dry naturally for heat-free volume.
VO5 Nourishing Coconut Hot Oil: £4.99 for 4 x 15ml, Boots
Hair that is dry and limp is a common concern, even more so after spending our summers jetting around the world to exotic destinations. While we spent our time sunbathing and frolicking in the salty sea, our hair – if unprotected – can be more damaged than we know. Since its discontinuation in 2016, fans of the iconic V05 hot oil were devastated. Online blogs were joining forces to track down a rogue seller or, gulp, an alternative.
Well, to our relief, the hot oil has returned with a vengeance. With the formula even more potent than before, this silky oil has mega hair-softening powers and even protects the hair from heat damage. We loved dripping our oil into a hot bath and soaking our long tresses so it fully absorbs. Welcome back!
Sisley Paris Precious Hair Care Oil Glossiness & Hydration: £75 for 100ml, Net-A-Porter
Ever wondered how the French always look so effortlessly chic? We are about to reveal their not-so-secret dirty little secret: enter Sisley. Known best for its plant-based and all-natural skincare, the French-owned company turned their attention to managing the all-important coiffure. This antioxidant-rich Precious Hair Care Oil lends a subtle touch of glossy shine and can be applied on dry hair or damp lengths without weighing it down.
SACHAJUAN Intensive Hair Oil: £35 for 50ml, Net-A-Porter
Another cult-favourite from Sweden comes in the form of a very difficult brand even we can’t pronounce. But don’t worry, its formulas are less complicated. The company launched its intensive hair oil in the heart of Stockholm back in the early Ninties and has been popular ever since. Packaged in a slimline glass bottle, the minimalist pump makes it super easy to dispense without the regret of using too much. Its scent is relatively strong and lingers for a few hours after application and makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of a lavish hair salon after an expensive blow-dry.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil: £35 for 100ml, Space NK
The thickest oil of the bunch, we, at first, weren’t too sure about this one. But it did come with a few surprises. When initially applied the oil feels really thick, but after a few minutes, when it starts to absorb into the hair, it leaves your mane feeling incredibly light, soft and not as greasy as you may think.
Its scent reminds us of us being on a tropical island sipping cocktails thanks to its blend of coconut and gardenias. The small pump evenly distributes the right amount of the product, so you don’t end up panicking that you’ve used too much (as is always the case with oil) and equally works well on ultra-fine to thick hair. We recommend finger combing through damp to wet hair and leave to dry naturally for a beach-like look.
Davines Oi All in One Milk: £20.50 for 135ml, Liberty London
There is something quite special about Davines Oi All in One Milk and the all-consuming scent isn’t the only thing to rave about. While it is not explicitly an oil as we know it, the combination of roucou oil (AKA the “hair whisperer”) and provitamin B5 act as a strong double team for hydrating action.
The roucou oil – a ‘secret’ ingredient beloved by native inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest -–has an exceptional conditioning effect and leaves the hair feeling soft and silky. Depending on your hair type, you can spray it directly on the roots and comb through, or alternatively if you have fine hair, spray the milk to dry ends for a moisturising finish.
NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Riche Multi-Purpose Dry Oil: £32 for 100ml, Nuxe
Nuxe’s legendary luxury oil is a favourite among beautephiles around the world and it can be found in virtually every French beauty cabinet and pharmacy. The spritzy, light formula perfectly wraps around your tresses like a big silky hug with a fragrance so good it emulates the smell of a tranquil autumn evening. Not only is it a hair oil, but also doubles up as a velvety moisturiser that can be used on the face and body, the perfect after-bath treat.
Thanks to its combination of almond, camellia, hazelnut, macadamia and borage, the dry oil gently nourishes and repairs the skin, cuticles and hair. It’s no wonder the Huile Prodigieuse gained its cult status over 20 years ago – we are hooked.
The Verdict: 8 best hair oils
Our favourite without a doubt has to go to OUAI, simply for its lightness on both your hair and your pocket. You don’t need to use too much and it leaves your hair feeling baby-soft. Second place goes to Sisley. While it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, the formula really is worth the cash. If you can afford to splash out, we’d recommend the Parisian favourite. The oil from NUXE was also a close contender as it was the perfect all-rounder.
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