The Best Oils For Every Hair Type


It's easy to believe that you don't have the right hair type for hair oil. Case-in-point: Me. An unlikely candidate with 100% virgin, fine, straight hair. I have a lot of it, though, and I like it to be clean–enough to wash it every morning before work. What I’ve discovered is that the right hair oil makes clean hair feel even cleaner. A small amount of Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil on the wet lengths and ends does the trick. “The trick” being shiny, smooth hair that moves a little more; extraordinary, considering I can’t count on two hands the number of months it’s been since my last haircut. And you know who else uses Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil? French model Louise Follain, who says she uses it to detangle. “It's amazing, so you put in just a little and it makes it very silky.”

Leonor Greyl, whose stuff has been around since the late ‘60s, has a whole line of products that are regularly recommended by slews of Top Shelf’d women: Alma Jodorowsky (who loves the whole line) to Aubrey Plaza (who sleeps with Huile de Magnolia in her wet hair at night) to Vanessa Seward (“I use Huile de Leonor Greyl because I’ve got quite dry hair. After I shampoo, I like to leave it on for an hour. You don't even have to put that much in.”). Cassandra Grey likes the brand, too, because Ms. Greyl “made coconut oil chicer.” Feels like consensus to me: For the chic version of a natural oil that works, Leonor is your girl. (If you care less about the “chic” part, try plain coconut oil. That’s what Kelly Rowland does.)

Maybe you want an oil you can share with your significant other: Amélie Pichard bleached her hair for the first time at 14, and she shares her Davines Oi Oil with her boyfriend–she just uses a drop for shine, she says. Is it a coincidence that Kelly Vittengl uses the Oi, too? “My hair was bleached three years ago so the ends are still suffering from that moment,” she confesses in her Top Shelf. “It just adds softness and amazingness.” But if you’re hair is thick and coarse, not necessarily damaged, and you feel you could do with some extra protection to keep it that way, Shu Uemura is a reliable choice given that Brennan Kilbane uses it–alongside makeup artist Fara Homidi, because it “softens, shines, and detangles.” Bonnie Wright agrees, because, she says, without the oil her thick hair “puffs out.”

Jamaican castor oil is another big hit: Ebonee Davis, Marjon Carlos, and Recho Omondi have all mentioned using it, so if your hair is extra dry and extra curly, you might try it, too. Recho says in her Top Shelf, “I’ve tried a bunch of oils and moisturizers, and Jamaican castor oil is the best thing, which I put in either wet or dry hair. It always absorbs really well.” Then, of Moroccanoil–made from pure Argan Oil–Stephanie Gundelach says, “If I don't use that, I can barely comb my hair, it gets too frizzy.” Anja Rubik likes Moroccanoil too, “because it’s not too strong,” and Alencia Johnson, Tina Seidenfaden Busck, and Lucy Spiller (of Glossier) are also on board with its non-greasy moisturizing and volumizing effects.

Kelly Mittendorf loves the Oribe Gold Lust–admittedly, it smells amazing and is pretty lightweight. If you don’t mind spending all your money on a tiny bottle, try either Rahua (which smells like hay, if you ask me)–per Andreea Diaconu and Soraya Silchenstedt–or Rodin by Recine. Both are really, really nice; the oils feel denser and you only need to use a teensy, tiny little bit to really coat the hair shafts. They’re too strong to use in my own hair as product–maybe it’s too fine for that–but if I sleep in the Rodin as a mask and wash it out in the morning, my hair is visibly softer. Shining endorsements of the Rodin have been made by the likes of Anna Gray, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Karlie Kloss. If you weren’t convinced already.

Photographed by Tom Newton.

You can learn a lot from a Top Shelf–or 14. Read here for the many ways women take off their makeup at night.