Beauty decoded: The truth about hair oil and the top 5 products to try

While itching my über-dry scalp all winter, my thoughts drifted to that iconic early-’90s VO5 Hot Oil television commercial. You know the one: “Don’t be so mean to your hair!” That commercial was my last memory of hair oil until the recent popularity of Moroccan oil products that include other oils, like argan. Since rejoicing in its glory myself, I became curious about other oils, like the ones present in most household pantries, and if they might also offer benefits to my hair and scalp.

It turns out that olive oil has been used for centuries to moisturize and strengthen long manes of hair. A tablespoon of the fatty liquid, applied when warm and beneath a towel for 20 minutes, will nourish your tired hair and help improve its strength and elasticity. Excess oil will rinse out easily with a gentle shampooing, and extra virgin oil will work wonders on more oily scalps. For extremely dry hair, coconut oil will condition the scalp and even promote a healthy shine on formerly crunchy and brittle strands. To effectively cleanse greasy hair, ingesting a daily spoonful of sunflower oil will refresh and revive from the inside out.

For all you skeptics out there—trust. Applying oil to your hair doesn’t mean you’re destined to suffer an oily scalp. It actually means that your body may stop over-producing natural oils to compensate for your dry scalp, especially after enjoying a regular Sunday night oil treatment.

If you’re not ready to dive into your kitchen cupboards for a little DIY, try one of my favourite store-bought picks instead »