The promise of fuller, thicker hair can make even the most outlandish claims from hair products sound tempting. But rather than rely simply on claims from bottles and advertisements, I asked a dermatologist about what the best oils for hair growth and thickness actually are.
First, the not-so-good news. “Vitamins, supplements, and other products including hair oils that promise thicker, fuller hair are not FDA approved, are an unregulated market, and not well researched,” Alina G. Bridges, D.O., a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic explained. That means major hair loss likely cannot be reversed or stopped simply with a topical oil. That doesn’t mean all is lost, however. For people with mild hair loss due to genetics, stress, or diet, some oils can actually help. While not all will aid in hair regrowth, they can also make hair look fuller by keeping the hair and scalp healthy. “All [oils] improve shine and texture and add nutrients to hair and scalp to strengthen roots, reduce hair breakage/split ends, and increase hair growth,” Dr. Bridges says.
Certain oils can also address individual concerns that could also contribute to hair looking limp or thin. For example, tea tree oil can help with dandruff and help with hair growth if your hair follicles are plugged. This will also help hair look shinier overall. Many ingredients can be purchased individually or found together in serums and oils.
Dr. Bridges also notes that for more severe hair loss, you should consult a doctor. Often, hair loss can be a symptom of larger problems like a thyroid disorder or vitamin deficiency. A more comprehensive approach under a doctor may be able to address hair loss or thinning as well as the underlying issues causing it. For more minor issues with hair thinness or loss, however, these oils can help.
1. The Best Oil For Thin Or Oily Hair
Thin or oily hair can be weighed down by certain oil treatments. This invigorating treatment from OGX, however, is light enough to be applied daily to even thin hair. The oil moisturizes your scalp and even strengthens your roots, which can help it appear more full and healthy. The tea tree oil and peppermint oil can also increase circulation to the scalp and clear follicles that may be clogged from residue. It is a leave-in treatment that can be applied to your scalp and hair after regular cleaning and does not require rinsing.
2. A Deeply Conditioning Oil For Wavy Hair
Rosemary oil “stimulates follicles, can help hair grow longer and stronger,” says Dr. Bridges. Weleda’s rosemary oil also helps deeply condition scalp and hair, making it shiny and fuller looking. A little goes a long way, and the slightly heavier formula makes it good for wavy and curly hair. Use it on its own or mix with coconut oil if you want a longer-lasting mask. The oil is multipurpose and can also be used as a massage oil or added to your bath or shower if you find the scent of rosemary calming.
3. The Best Oil For Damaged Hair
Dr. Bridges recommend people with oily scalps avoid ylang ylang oil since it will boost oil production. But if you have dry, damaged hair or scalp, this can help hydrate and restore hair. Love Beauty And Planet’s repair oil has ylang ylang as well as coconut oil to penetrate hair and scalp and help hair look shinier and healthier. The formula is lightweight, leaving hair soft but not weighed down after application. Simply massage into damp hair all over or use as a pretreatment before shampooing normally.
4. The Best Leave-In Conditioner For Fuller Hair
Tea tree oil can help dandruff, and the antimicrobial properties help unplug follicles which can also help with hair growth, according to Dr. Bridges. This conditioning spray also includes lavender, which also has antimicrobial properties that can help with hair growth. The vitamin E in the formula helps moisturize hair overall for lightweight, all-day moisture. To use, spray on damp hair. Because it’s a leave-in conditioner, it can also be concentrated on the ends to keep them moisturized and to avoid breakage where it’s common. It also works as an excellent detangler as it softens hair from root to tip.
5. A Leave-In Conditioner For Natural Hair
Lemongrass oil is a good choice for dandruff, and this strengthening oil also penetrates hair to help it stay moisturized for longer. Sprayed on damp hair, Alikay Naturals’s lemongrass leave-in conditioner first acts as a detangler, then adds strength and shine. Reviewers also praise it for giving immediate body and lift when applied to the hair. The only thing to note is that reviewers are split on the smell — some love it, some hate it. If you are sensitive to smells, you might prefer to stick to pure coconut oil for your hair.
6. The Best Carrier Oil For Scalp Treatments
Coconut oil is a “carrier oil,” explains Dr. Bridges, meaning it can help essential oils and other ingredients penetrate the skin. By mixing coconut oil with other oils like lemongrass oil or peppermint oil, you’re both moisturizing your scalp and helping with things like dandruff (lemongrass) and hair growth stimulation (peppermint), according to Dr. Bridges. Even used alone, coconut oil can provide deep moisture that can make hair look healthier and thicker. Dr. Bridges recommends applying it as a mask for 10 minutes before shampooing and conditioning as normal. Viva Naturals is a highly rated coconut oil available on Amazon that also is a great value. You’ll be able to use it not only for hair masks but also other beauty and household uses.
7. A Shampoo For Fuller Hair With Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood oil can help balance oil-producing glands in the scalp, says Dr. Bridges. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help with dandruff. In this shampoo, cedarwood oil, as well as rosemary and tea tree oils (other ingredients also good for scalp health), unclog follicles and boost growth, thickness, and shine in the process. This cedarwood shampoo lathers up to nourish and balance the scalp, leaving hair fuller and healthier. Moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oils also won’t strip hair.