10 Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft (Complete Buying Guide)

Caring for your hair involves using the right oils for your hair type. Here is a round-up of the top oils that can penetrate the hair shaft.

Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft

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Reasons to Use Penetrating Oils On Your Hair

Penetrating oils are a great way to improve the overall condition of your hair.

Here’s why you should be using them:

Protects Against Damage

Penetrating oils are water-repelling, which means that if you use them before washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner, it will prevent the hair from absorbing too much water.

When this happens, it can lead to Hygral Fatigue, a hair condition that leaves the hair feeling dry and brittle. Using penetrative oils can reduce the risk of hair damage and prevent weakened hair strands.

Prevents Frizz

If you’re struggling with dry hair and frizz, then penetrating oils could be your savior.

Many penetrating oils contain high levels of fatty acids and nutrients, which all help to soften the hair strands and leave them shinier.

These oils can also provide some protection against weather damage and heat exposure, which can reduce damage and keep the hair as healthy as possible.

Promotes Growth

Penetrative oils penetrate deeply into the hair shaft, strengthening the strands and reducing the risk of breakage.

When used on the scalp, it helps to reduce dandruff and stimulate blood circulation, which will promote new hair growth.

Protects Against UV Rays

Many natural oils contain plant polyphenols, which is believed to provide extra protection against UV radiation. This is significant as it reduces potential damage to the hair and scalp, which keeps it healthy.

10 Oils that Penetrate the Hair Shaft

Using penetrative oils can reverse hair damage and keep your hair looking healthy and shiny.

Here are the top 10 oils to consider:

Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft

Brooklyn Botany Avocado Oil

Made from 100% natural avocado oil, this product contains all of the essential vitamins and fatty acids that your hair needs.

This oil is fast-absorbing and can penetrate deep into the hair strands, leaving them soft, shiny, and healthier. Avocado oil also has protection against UV rays, which reduces damage and dryness from sun exposure.

This versatile oil can help to promote hair growth, soothe your scalp, and minimize breakage. It’s hexane-free, fragrance-free, and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients.

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COCO & CO Coconut Oil

COCO & CO Coconut Oil

Made from organic and fair-trade certified coconuts, this oil is both cruelty-free and great for your hair.

Since there were no chemicals used in the extraction process, this coconut oil retains all of the essential nutrients that you need for hair health.

Coconut oil has fast absorption and penetrates the hair strands very effectively, which will make your hair feel nourished and stronger.

This oil can be used 2 – 3 times a week if you have dry hair. For normal to oily hair, once or twice a week is best.

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Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft

Aromatika Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This extra virgin olive oil is 100% pure and cold-pressed, containing an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals that your hair needs.

This oil is thick and suitable for dry, thick, and wavy hair. It helps to soften the skin and protect the hair against harsh chemicals and environmental damage. It’s free from chemicals, colorants, and it’s cruelty-free. 

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Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft

Sky Organics Castor Oil

Castor oil has some penetrative abilities, so it can be used to support healthy hair and scalp. This organic castor oil is a source of fatty acids, which aids in penetrating the hair shaft and strengthening the strands.

This oil is neither lightweight nor heavy, so it’s suitable for normal to dry hair. It’s responsibly sourced, certified organic, and doesn’t contain any unnatural ingredients.

It can be used as a pre-poo or as a deep hair treatment once or twice a week to leave the hair feeling soft, smooth, and nourished.

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Foxbrim Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Argan oil

Foxbrim Naturals Extra Virgin Organic Argan oil

This argan oil has only been cold-pressed once, which means it retains the highest amount of fatty acids and nutrients that your hair will love.

Argan oil feels light, so it’s more suited to people with thin, fine, or oily hair, as it won’t leave the hair feeling too greasy or weighed down. As it’s lightweight in texture, it doesn’t have that typical oily or greasy feeling that you might get with heavier oils.

Using argan oil regularly helps so soften the hair, repair weakened hair strands, and give your hair a natural and healthy shine.

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Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft

Sky Organics Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is packed full of essential minerals and nutrients that your hair needs, such as magnesium, omega-3, fatty acids, and phospholipids. This can help to soften the hair, repair damage, and keep the hair strong and healthy.

Sky Organics sweet almond oil is organic and doesn’t contain added ingredients, making it suitable for all hair and skin types.

As sweet almond oil is a lightweight oil, it’s suitable for thin and oily hair without any worry of it weighing the hair down. This oil is fast-absorbing and will not leave behind any greasy residue.

Sweet almond oil works great as a pre-poo or a hot oil treatment because it penetrates the hair strands and these essential nutrients will get absorbed into the hair and scalp. This will make the hair strands feel stronger and hydrated.

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Oils That Penetrate The Hair Shaft

Vera Botanics Organic Babassu Oil

This babassu oil from Vera Botanics is a premium quality, containing only 100% natural and pure babassu oil, with no other additional ingredients.

Babassu has anti-inflammatory benefits which can help to fight dandruff and soothe an itchy, irritated scalp.

Babassu oil also retains moisture very effectively, which prevents moisture from escaping and leaving the hair dry. That means using this oil regularly can minimize hair damage and reduce split ends.

As babassu oil is rich in fatty acids, it’s very effective at deeply penetrating the hair shaft. It has a non-greasy formula that absorbs into the hair and scalp quickly to prevent it from weighing the hair down or leaving behind residue.

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Dr Adorable Palm Kernel Oil

Dr Adorable Palm Kernel Oil

A less known penetrative oil is palm kernel oil, which comes from the African Palm tree.  This oil has a similar composition to coconut oil, meaning it has high penetrative abilities.

The great thing about palm kernel oil is that is rich in anti-oxidants, which can strengthen the hair and prevent hair fall. This means it also promotes hair growth and keeps the hair healthy.

Palm kernel oil is great for all hair types, especially thin and fine hair, as it helps to thicken the hair strands and provide more texture. When used regularly as a pre-poo or deep conditioning treatment, it will improve the health of the hair and make it feel thoroughly hydrated.

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Sky Organics Shea butter

Sky Organics Shea butter

While it’s technically not an oil, shea butter contains a high amount of stearic acid and has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft.

Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe an itchy scalp and eliminate dandruff. As it’s a butter and thicker in texture, shea butter is best suited for dry or thicker hair that lacks moisture.

Sky Organics shea butter is raw and unrefined, which means it will be solid at room temperature. Simply warm it up between your palms or put it in a microwave for a few seconds to melt it. Applying this regularly to your hair and scalp can soften the hair strands and increase shine.

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3CayG Direct Ucuuba Butter

3CayG Direct Ucuuba Butter

Another highly effective butter that can penetrate the hair shaft is Ucuuba butter. This butter is cold-pressed from the seeds of a Ucuuba tree and is brown in color.

3CayG’s raw and unrefined ucuuba butter will leave the hair feeling nourished and strengthened. As this butter is thick and crumbly, it will have to be melted over a gentle heat before using. It can be mixed with shea butter or another oil to achieve a smoother texture.

Uccuba butter can be used once or twice a week to hydrate the hair and keep it looking healthy.

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How Can Oil Penetrate Your Hair Shaft?

How Can Oil Penetrate Your Hair Shaft

There are a few factors that determine whether oil can penetrate the hair shaft.

The main factors include the percentage of triglyceride and short-chain fatty acids found in the oil. In order for an oil to penetrate the hair shaft, the molecules must be small enough.

For example, coconut oil has very high penetration because it contains a high amount of lauric acid and is composed of small molecules.  

How To Use Penetrating Oils On Hair

Penetrating oils can be used as a pre-poo, deep treatment, or hot oil treatment. Here’s how to do the following:

As a pre-poo method, warm up a generous amount of oil in your hands and work it through your hair, from the roots to the ends.

Leave it in your hair for 5 – 30 minutes, then rinse out with shampoo and conditioner. This method protects the hair against the stripping process of shampoo.

For a deep treatment, you would follow the same method but increase the length of time the oils sit on the hair. 30 minutes to 3 hours is enough time for the oil to deeply penetrate the hair strands and restore moisture.

A hot oil treatment works by heating up the oil in the microwave first before applying.

You will then distribute the hair onto your scalp and use your fingertips to stimulate blood circulation. Applying medium pressure to the scalp helps to remove excess sebum and eliminate bacteria and build-up.

A hot oil treatment can be great for soothing an itchy scalp, eliminating dandruff, and promoting hair growth.

What Is the Difference Between Penetrating and Sealing Oils?

Sealing Oils

There is often confusion between penetrating and sealing oils, and what the purpose of each one is. To put it simply, penetrating oils can penetrate deep into the hair strands, whereas sealing oils only coat the hair strands.

Penetrating oils can be used at the beginning of a hair routine to add moisture to dry hair.

On the other hand, sealing oils should be used at the end of the routine. This is because sealing oils lock in the moisture, which also prevents new moisture from getting in.

Both of these types of oils are great for your hair; they just have different purposes.

How Can You Tell Which Oil is Best for Your Hair?

There are a variety of oils to choose from, but choosing one depends on your hair type and what you are looking to achieve.

For dry and thick hair, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil would be suitable because they are thicker and can penetrate the hair strands to restore shine and softness.

Someone with thin, fine, or oily hair would benefit from using a lightweight oil like sweet almond or grapeseed since these oils won’t weigh the hair down.

How Often Should You Use Oil on Your Hair?

How often you use oil on your hair depends on your hair type and the condition of your hair.

If you have dry or damaged hair, you could use oils 2 – 3 times a week or more. This will keep your hair healthy and conditioned.

If you have oily or fine hair, you might decide to reduce this to just once a week to prevent the hair from getting too greasy.

Ultimately, it all depends on how your hair reacts to the oils and your preference.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Coralle Skye

Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.