Seven Amazing Hair Oils For Healthy Hair & How To Use Them

Hair oiling has its benefits when done right and it has gained attention in the recent past. It is food for the scalp and it conditions the hair strands. While it may not be the trend in every other country across the globe, it certainly is popular in many parts of the world, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In India, for example, hair oiling is a common practice that has been passed down for generations. Research and opinions are still divided on the subject and it is a work-in-progress, but peoples’ ‘live experiences’ tell the story of its efficacy.

Apparently, the hashtag #hairoiling has garnered more then 62.4 million views on TikTok, and international celebrities like the trendsetting Kardashian sisters, Nicole Richie, Zoe Kravitz, Priyanka Chopra, Eva Mendes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mindy Kaling, and many others have made hair oiling a part of their hair care. So, there must be some merit to it.

I, personally have seen great improvement in my hair quality in the recent past. One would think being an Indian, I would be attuned to oiling hair from babyhood, but no, I hated it back then. I didn’t get to choose the hair oils or the shampoos in my childhood – mom and grandmas made those decisions. Teen-time was a different story – fads ruled the roost and several wrong choices sucked health out of the hair!! Now wiser with age and beauty-care education, I can vouch for hair oiling as an effective regimen for bouncy, silky tresses.

Oil The Scalp Or Oil The Strands?

Both benefit from hair oiling and I am breaking them down to list the advantages of each:


  • It increases blood flow to the scalp due to the gentle massaging during oil application
  • Relaxes scalp muscles and reduces anxiety, again due to the massage and the inherent relaxing properties of certain
  • Certain oils have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and hence the scalp remains protected
  • Protects from UV damage
  • Fatty acids in the oils nourish hair follicles

Hair Strands:

  • Certain oils form a coating over the hair shaft, hence they seal the cuticle and trap the moisture inside
  • The oils act as lubricants. They provide increased slip between the hair strands and help avoid tangling
  • Oils flatten the cuticle surfaces, smoothen the strands and improve their health and appearance
  • Oils like coconut oil, penetrate the hair shaft due to their low molecular weight and prevent the loss of protein from
    hair. This can lead to improved elasticity.

Which Oils Are Most Beneficial?

The oils of coconut, almond, castor, argan, olive, amla (gooseberry), fenugreek, sesame, linseed, and mustard oil. Most hair oils are obtained from the nuts and seeds of plants. Each of these oils has a consistency of its own and is to be used to cater to specific hair health needs. Most often, these oils are warmed mildly before application which helps in relaxing the muscles as well as provides for easy absorption by the scalp.

  1. Coconut oil:  It’s great for moisturizing and reducing protein loss in the hair. It’s especially beneficial for those with dry, damaged, or frizzy hair.
  2. Argan oil: Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it nourishes and repairs damaged hair. It also helps to tame frizz and add shine.
  3. Jojoba oil: This oil is similar in composition to the natural oils produced by the scalp, making it great for balancing the scalp’s natural oils. It’s also lightweight and non-greasy, making it a good choice for those with fine hair.
  4. Olive oil: This oil is rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, making it great for moisturizing and strengthening hair. It also helps to soothe a dry or itchy scalp.
  5. Castor oil: This oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s great for promoting hair growth and reducing hair loss.
  6. Rosehip oil: This oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, making it great for repairing damaged hair and promoting healthy hair growth.
  7. Tea tree oil: This oil has antifungal and antimicrobial properties, making it great for treating dandruff and other scalp conditions.

To sum it up, when done right, a hair oil massage can: 

  • Increase blood flow in your scalp 
  • Nourish the scalp  
  • Reduce hair fall 
  • Promote hair growth 
  • Make your hair bouncy, shiny, and smooth 
  • Relax your muscles and ease stress and anxiety 

How To Oil Hair The Right Way 

The benefits of hair oiling are probably one of the most talked about topics within beauty practices. Backed by science, hair oiling is a common cultural tradition practiced by South Asian women. The steps to oiling your hair are pretty straightforward: 

  • Brush your hair to smoothen it out 
  • Section your hair 
  • Gently massage warm oil on the scalp 
  • Keep the oil on for at least 30 mins. Longer the better, but certainly not overnight.
  • Wrap a damp towel around your head for faster oil absorption (optional)

From the face of it, hair oiling comes across as a pretty simple process. And it is! 

Yet, unknowingly, more often than not, we make mistakes that can nullify the benefits or worse – have an opposite impact than what you expect to derive from oiling your hair.    

Are You Making These Hair Oiling Mistakes?  

Using a generic hair oil 

Oiling your hair should always be concern specific. Determine why you need the hair oil massage. Is your oil massage for treating hair fall, dandruff, or simply to hydrate your hair? Whatever the reason, the hair oil ingredients matter.   

Excessive oil usage  

More oil on hair does not translate to greater hair benefits. In fact, it can be counterproductive!  

Excessive oiling of your scalp can clog the pores, may cause boils and dandruff accumulation. There is also the possibility of over-shampooing to remove all the oil, and this is likely to dry the hair strands by stripping them of their natural moisture. Your hair doesn’t have to soak and drip in the oil; it is enough if the oil just about coats the strands. A few pumps or a palmful of oil is sufficient to keep your hair healthy, but you be the best judge. Depending on how long and thick your hair is, choose an amount that will cover your scalp and strands lightly.

Oiling your hair more than once or twice a week is not advisable either.

Vigorous oil massage 

We don’t really need a vigorous hair oil massage – it can actually damage the hair follicles. A gentle but firm massage with your fingertips helps better penetration of nutrients into the scalp. An ideal hair massage can last up to 10-15 mins. Work in circular motions, focussing more on dry patches and areas of hair thinning. Enjoy the massage and let the muscles relax. Oiling hair in a hurry is a waste of your time and it is likely to pull weak hair out of the follicles. Work your way down from the scalp to the hair strands and their tips. Leave the oil on for at least 30 mins, or longer if possible (maybe 2 hours), and then wash it off.

Applying oil to wet hair 

This is a no-no. Wet hair is far weaker than dry hair. If oil is applied to wet hair, there are two things that happen. Oil and water do not mix and hence the very purpose of oiling the hair is lost. Second, the strands are likely to be pulled and tugged at while oiling and it can result in hair breakage. Wetness in the form of sweat on the scalp is even more damaging. Sweat when dried deposits salts on the scalp, thereby clogging pores and causing inflammation. It is best to wash off the sweat, dry your hair and then apply oil if you have to.

Tying up hair tightly

If you need to tie your oiled hair, do so in a loose braid and not in a tight bun.

Hair oiling can be quite a me-time experience if done right. Do you guys oil your hair and has it worked for you? Is there any specific oil that you wish to share with us all? I would love to hear from you in the comments.


Featured Image Credit

Image by Freepik

What Foods To Eat To Reduce Hair Loss

Hair-care Through Food

Hair woes seem larger than life when hair starts thinning, and greying. It is everyone’s crowning glory, and rightfully so. If there is one thing about us humans, that can make or mar looks dramatically, it’s the volume and style of our hair. Strong, shiny, healthy looking hair is a sign of beauty coveted by all.

But, caring for hair has become a challenge in today’s times. Have you often wondered, and envied the thick tresses and crops your grandparents sport, even in their ripe old age? Ask them, and they will in all their wisdom tell you, it’s a lifestyle thing. True so ! You may want to believe them, when you glance at the array of your hair products – oils, masks , shampoos and conditioners on your bathroom shelf, and yet you struggle to keep your hair healthy.

What Causes Hair Damage ?

It all begins with your genes – healthy and thick hair, or otherwise. But, you don’t have to blame it all on them and resign yourself to balding, or greying. Your genes can be tricked into reversing traits that have been encoded in them. Dr Steven Gundry, in his book “Diet Evolution”,  explains how the food that we eat can alleviate even degenerative diseases. So, eating right for hair health is what we are going to be looking at.

Other factors that cause hair damage are external – weather, sun, pollution, quality of water, and hair products. Internally, inflammation, diet, sleep, stress, hormonal imbalances, and medication have a direct bearing on hair health.

How To Get Healthy Hair Then?

While you may have to consult a dermatologist, or a trichologist to determine the root cause of hair thinning and greying, there is something you can do, all by yourself to keep hair-health at its best – eat right. But eating right is only a part of the solution ; healthy hair can be maintained with proper nutrition, but serious hair issues will need professional help.

Hair needs internal nourishment more than anything else to keep follicles healthy and strong , hair shaft smooth and shiny. Nutritional deficiency is the major culprit for most hair woes. Hence, nutrition is of paramount importance to healthy crops and tresses. Hair that has been strengthened from within, can withstand the onslaught of many external and internal factors. Healthy hair follicles, and a strong skin barrier can be your gateway to luscious hair.

A healthy scalp needs ample blood circulation to the area as well as, balanced sebum production, appropriate hydration, and robust skin cells leading to a strengthened skin barrier. We must remember that our scalp is an extension of our skin. So poor skin barrier translates to poor hair health.

Hair cells grow fast ; they are the 2nd fastest growing cells in the body, next only to intestinal cells. But, hair is a non-essential tissue and therefore, our body does not prioritise nutrient supply to hair, if there is a lack of it in the body.

Hair strands and hair shafts are supported by hair follicles and are a direct result of the health within them. Hair strands that retain moisture and shine are envied by all, and the secret to that lies in hair nourishment.

While eating a balanced diet is your best bet, there are still certain nutrients that play a key role in halting hair loss, greying, and may even boost hair growth. External nourishment in the form of hair oils will help, only if all is well within. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, proteins, and fatty acids are the building blocks we need for gorgeous hair.

A little science, before listing out the nutrients for healthier hair. Hair growth in hair follicles occurs in three phases, and ‘anagen’ is the first phase, characterised by active hair growth. Hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days at that time.

 Androgens are hormones that can reduce the anagen or hair growth phase, and cause baldness. Certain antioxidants, through specific chemical reactions, inhibit the action of androgens. This in turn, lengthens the anagen phase, increases hair production, and prevents hair loss.

Nutrients Essential For Hair Growth

Experts recommend the following nutrients for maintaining healthy and lustrous hair. Make sure you take in adequate amounts of the nutrients in your daily diet. Later in the blog, you will find foods that are nutrient-dense, but do make sure you eat seasonal and local produce. If need be, there are many good hair supplements in the form of powders, tablets and capsules. A word of caution here though – consult a professional before you take any supplement ; do not borrow diets and medications.

  1. Vitamin A – We need sebum to keep scalp moisturised, and hair healthy. Vitamin A helps promote the production of sebum.
  2. B-vitamins – Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. B-vitamins help create abundant red blood cells.
  3. Vitamin C – Collagen is an important part of hair structure and its production wanes with age. Vitamin C aids collagen.
  4. Vitamin E – Vitamin E boosts blood circulation and helps strengthen hair follicles.
  5. Iron – Iron deficiency is a major cause of hair loss. Supplementing diet with iron boosts production of red blood cells.
  6. Zinc and selenium – These two nutrients protect the scalp from damage, and help in hair tissue growth.

Now for the foods that are good for hair.

  • Avocados – Rich in vitamin E and B-vitamins. Also a good source of potassium, omega-9, folic acid, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that aid hair growth.
  • Berries – Such as strawberries and others with their high level of vitamin C protect hair follicles from oxidative damage. Citrus fruits and peppers are other sources of vitamin C.
  • Eggs – Proteins are the building blocks of hair, and eggs are replete with protein. Eggs are also a source of vitamins A and D, carotenes, lutein, and zinc, all of which promote healthy hair.
  • Figs – A great source of iron in addition to providing potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, and E.
  • Flaxseeds – Flaxseeds and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the hair and help thicken it. Flaxseeds are also rich in vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
  • Kelp – A sea-weed that is an amazing source of iron, l-lysine, zinc, vitamins B2 and B5, folate, and magnesium.
  • Dark leafy greens – All leafy, and dark leafy greens are a rich source of iron – darker the leaves, higher the iron content. Leafy greens also provide vitamins A, C, and K, B-vitamins, potassium and folate.
  • Mangoes – Good news ! Mangoes contain silica, which helps strengthen hair strands. Vitamins A, B6, C, and folate are also found in mangoes.
  • Pumpkin seeds – Zinc is another key nutrient for healthy hair and pumpkin seeds are full of it – they prevent scalp dryness. They also contain iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and protein, all of which promote hair growth.
  • Soybeans – Are a rich source of iron. They are known to inhibit the hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An imbalance of DHT in the body is one of the main reasons for hair loss. Soybeans are abundant in omega-3, vitamin B2, and magnesium – all good for hair health.
  • Wild-caught fish— Wild-caught fish like salmon are high in omega-3 fats ; they decrease inflammation and support hair growth, and hair thickening.
  • Green tea — Green tea helps detoxify ; contains antioxidants that promote hair growth. It also may stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
  • Chia seeds — Being high in fiber and healthy fats, chia can help aid hair growth.
  • Bone Broth— Bone broth is the perfect food for healthy hair growth as it is high in protein, collagen, and amino acids.
  • Caffeine— Caffeine has been shown to spur hair growth (in moderation though). According to research, caffeine stimulates hair shafts and helps them grow faster, by damping down the effects of DHT, a substance that infamously slows hair growth.

What You Must Avoid

If the following are not good for overall health, they in excess are not good for our hair too. Remember this from the earlier part of the blog ? Hair that has been strengthened from within, can withstand the onslaught of many external and internal factors. Healthy hair follicles, and a strong skin barrier can be your gateway to luscious hair.

Diet soda, sugar, starchy whites, fast food, alcohol, smoking.

Foods to Avoid

Avoid these foods as much as possible:

  • Trans fatty acids — Unhealthy fats like trans fatty acids increase inflammation and production of DHT. Hydrogenated oils like corn oil and soybean oil are loaded with trans fats.
  • Sugar — Sugar spikes hormones-imbalances, insulin resistance, increases DHT and causes inflammation, and all of these can lead to hair loss.
  • Processed foods — Processed foods are loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar and sodium, which are detrimental to hair health.
  • Alcohol — Liver toxicity can cause hair loss and frequent intake of alcohol can increase inflammation in the body.. Similarly, smoking can lead to hair fall.
  • Caffeine — Coffee and tea in small amounts is tolerated and can even be beneficial, but too much caffeine can be counter-productive. It can dehydrate, spike hormone imbalances and even production of DHT.

Resolving hair issues becomes that much more simpler when you know the root cause of hair thinning/loss. Reiterating – consult a professional to resolve hair problems, but eat healthy all the same – with or without the hair concerns.

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