These Lightweight Oils Are A Game-Changer For Anyone With Thin, Dry Hair


Hair can feel thin for a lot of reasons. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of genetics. For those who experience thinning later on in life, breakage or hair loss are also prime culprits. Hair oil is a great moisturizer — minimizing split ends while amping up the shine — but the wrong one can make fine hair look flat or oily. And while some are heavy and best suited to those with coarse hair, the best hair oils for thin hair can offer tons of conditioning benefits without weighing strands down.

While some products on the market tout their "thickening" abilities, Maryanne Makredes Senna, MD, a dermatologist and co-director of Massachusetts General Hospital's alopecia clinic, warns that few have been proven effective at actually regrowing hair or slowing hair loss — including long-touted biotin. "Thickening shampoos and other products claim all sorts of things but actually have no proven benefit for people with hair loss," she says.

Few topical ingredients beyond minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, have been shown to regrow hair, according to Dr. Senna. However, there are hair oils that can help give you the look of more fullness and even potentially maintain your hair.

Sensitive scalps should be careful not to cause inflammation which "can worsen hair loss or trigger hair loss in some patients," Dr. Senna says. If you've experienced itching or burning, check your products for fragrance and propylene glycol, and avoid those. And "if your hair loss is patchy or you get big pimples or sores in your scalp," says Dr. John Zampella, an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU, it's a good time to consult a doctor.

Below are some of the best in nearly weightless oils for thin hair, all promising to give a beautiful sheen without weighing down your strands or looking greasy.


The Best Overall Hair Oil For Thin Hair

The lighter cousin of the cult-favorite Moroccanoil Treatment, this is a great complement to thin and fine hair. With a 4.5-star rating after more than 800 reviews, it's a popular Amazon choice for its ability to protect against heat and moisturize. That multitasking also makes it our overall choice.

Thin hair can be especially susceptible to heat damage, so the heat protectant silicone base makes this a smart choice for those who heat style their hair, and the manufacturer even claims it can shorten blow-drying time. The formula is filled with vitamin-rich argan oil and linseed extract to help detangle, add shine, and combat frizz. "I have long fine curly hair that tends to be a bit frizzy. Most leave-in conditioners are too heavy and either weigh down my hair so much it isn't curly or leaves it greasy or both. The light formula is perfect. I comb it through my wet hair and can't tell it's there. But ... it really is conditioning and protecting my hair," one happy customer says.


A Study-Backed Bottle For Hair Maintenance

DHT blockers, including caffeine, are scientifically promising ingredients for those struggling with hair loss, according to Dr. Zampella. "A study out in late 2018 showed that [caffeine] was almost as good as minoxidil in maintaining hairs in the growth phase of the hair cycle," he says. But, the study "did not show that [caffeine] regrew hair."

Though the "magical" claims this hair "growth" oil makes might be a bit of a stretch, the caffeine in it will likely help maintain your hairs while the castor oil moisturizes and can help reduce scalp inflammation. The non-GMO formula free of sulfates and parabens will also be less likely to trigger irritation. "I love this oil. The oil is easily absorbed into the skin with out leaving an oily film," one reviewer says.


The Best Heat-Protecting Hair Oil For Less Than $20

This silicone-based hair oil with strengthening bamboo extract, moisturizing soy protein, and smoothing moringa seed oil is a great choice for those looking to protect their hair when they blow dry, straighten, or curl. While the directions say it can be used daily, reviewers warn to start with a little and add more as needed to avoid it feeling "greasy" or "heavy."

"My hair is baby fine, and lots of products are so heavy they weigh it down, but Verb Ghost Oil is very light. My hair now looks and feels like it did ... before artificial color and heated styling instruments took their toll," one reviewer writes.


The Best Hair Oil For Volume

Recommended by hairstylists, those looking to add fullness to thin or fine hair should consider Aveda's Thickening Tonic. "My hair is so thin, and I have so little of it, so products usually do not work as advertised ... But this is amazing! I will definitely purchase this again," one review says about the 97 percent naturally derived product that is also free of parabens and synthetic fragrance.

However, some reviewers didn’t find it to be particularly moisturizing despite the aloe and nut protein included, so it might not be the best choice for those with dry hair. It also may not be the right pick for sensitive scalps: One of the first ingredients listed is propanediol, which is similar to propylene glycol, and PG is known to cause irritation for some.


The Best Choice For Sensitive Scalps

Those who don't heat style or are just looking to avoid silicones will enjoy this hair oil designed for hair and scalp health. A blend of plant oils and extracts, it's without potentially irritating synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and colors. With no parabens or phthalates either, it's a smart choice if you have a sensitive scalp.

A little goes a long way, reviewers note, but most of those with fine or thin hair enjoyed it, with one review saying: "Very little works on my wavy, fine, and frizzy hair. This stuff works great to tame it and give it some sheen." However, the peanut oil included is probably a deal breaker for those allergic to the legume.

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