Choosing the Best Oil for Your Curls

Choosing the Best Oil for Your Curls

For medium and coarse curls

Olive Oil

An easy to get and comparatively cheap oil – most of us have a bottle of Olive oil in the cupboard. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid (oleic acid is found in our sebum) and it is very moisturizing and softening.

Best Use: Deep Treatment – Use alone, or mix with your favorite conditioner. Try warming the oil first or apply heat after application.

Shelf life: 12 months *

Note: Although cold pressed (from 1st pressing) extra virgin olive oil is the preferred choice, it can be very heavy and viscous. If your hair is medium textured or not very dense, then try a light olive oil (refined).

Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil is produced from the ‘meat’ of the coconut (coconut oil is made from the dry kernel). The structure of coconut oil allows its small molecules to penetrate the hair shaft – where it can soften the strands from the inside. Because of its affinity with protein, it can help hair retain protein so is particularly beneficial if you have damaged hair.

Best Use: Pre-poo – Apply a little coconut oil to damp or dry curls and leave for 30 minutes before cleansing.

Shelf life: 18-24 months * (Virgin Coconut Oil)

Note: Coconut oil may not be for you if your hair is very coarse and you find that you don’t need a lot of protein in your hair care routine (see above).

For fine texture

Almond Oil

Almond oil is inexpensive, all around, lightweight oil. It is high in oleic acid so is very good for moisturizing and softening. It can be used in wet or dry hair, so is very versatile – making it a cost-effective choice for your curls!

Best Use: Softener – Mix a few drops into your rinse conditioner out to boost its softening power (just mix what you need for that use).

Shelf life: 12 months *

Note: Sweet Almond Oil is the carrier oil mentioned here; Bitter Almond Oil (which contains hydrogen cyanide) is an essential oil and should not be used for this purpose.


Easy to find and one of the cheapest oils you can buy – so great if you are on a tight budget. A very lightweight, ‘dry’ oil that will not weigh down your hair or make it feel greasy (providing you don’t over-do it!) so particularly good for waves and low-density curls and coils.

Best Use: Lightweight moisture – Try mixing a little into your leave-in for additional moisture retention benefits.

Shelf life: 6-9 months *

Note: Buy in small quantities because of the short shelf life.

For all textures

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is not really an oil at all but a wax! It closely resembles our skin’s sebum and is non-comedogenic (it will not block pores) – in fact, it can actually help unblock pores so that excess oil can be rinsed away!

Best Use: Sealing – Mix a few drops of jojoba oil with your leave-in or curl cream and scrunch into wet or damp hair (just mix want you to need in your hands). Or apply a couple of drops to your hands, rub them together and smooth over your finished style (when dry).

Shelf life: 18-24 months *

Note: The best jojoba oil for is the organic, golden variety.


Argan oil has been used by the Berber people of Morocco for generations but it is only relatively recently that it is being widely used in cosmetics and hair care. Argan oil is produced from the seeds of the Argan tree which grows in south-west Morocco. All Argan oil today is produced by a women’s co-operative using ancient, traditional methods and the profits are shared between the women of the Berber tribe. It is one of the rarest and most expensive oils in the world and it said to possess nutritional and anti-aging properties.

Best Use: Add shine – Apply sparingly by smoothing over your finished style to add shine.

Shelf life: 12 months *

Note: To make this expensive oil go further, mix with one or more oils of your choice.