Benefits of Argan Oil for Hair and How to Use the Ingredient

Find out how to choose the best argan oil for hair and who should try using this ingredient.

Hair Health Hotline: Argan Oil For Hair
Photo: Getty Images

The task of finding the best oil for your hair routine can seem daunting at first. Dozens of types of oils exist from rosemary to coconut, each serving the same main purpose but featuring its own unique properties.

But if you're ready to spend time comparing the best oils for hair, argan oil is a logical starting point. Thanks to research supporting its benefits for hair health, it's been a popular ingredient for a hot minute. Here, Steve Xu, M.D., founding dermatologist at Geologie, is breaking down the main argan oil benefits for hair, plus pointers on how to incorporate the oil in your routine.

Q: Is argan oil good for hair? My friend swears it makes her hair shinier and helps it grow, and I'm wondering how it stacks up against other hair oils.

A: Argan oil can help moisturize your hair and scalp, combat inflammation of your scalp, and reduce frizz, according to Dr. Xu.

If you're unfamiliar, the ingredient is derived from the kernel of the argan tree, a plant native to Morocco, and the oil is also used in food and medicine traditional to the region, according to an article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. The oil is associated with multiple benefits for hair and scalp health.

What Does Argan Oil Do for Hair?

Since argan oil contains fatty acids, it can help moisturize your hair, holding in water, according to Dr. Xu. Argan oil helps to seal your hair's cuticle (the outermost layer of strands that looks like tiny scales), which can minimize split ends and frizz, he says. Argan oil is especially rich in vitamin E, which can help prevent hair breakage, says Dr. Xu.

Your scalp may benefit from argan oil as well. Applying the oil directly to your scalp "can help with inflammation that can lead to dandruff, itchiness, and other scalp issues," thanks to antioxidants in the oil, in addition to keeping skin moisturized, says Dr. Xu.

Hair Health Hotline: Argan Oil For Hair
Courtesy of Steve Xu

Who Should Use Argan Oil for Hair?

Argan oil is suitable for all hair and scalp types, with the caveat that people with a tree nut (a family that includes the argan nut) allergy should consult their doctor before trying the oil, says Dr. Xu. That said, you'll want to tailor how you use the oil to your individual needs. Pure argan oil works well for thick or curly hair, but if you have thinner hair, a lightweight product containing the oil will be best, says Dr. Xu. Use something heavier on fine hair and you run the risk of weighing down your hair and making your scalp feel oily, he says.

One more thing: If you're experiencing serious hair loss and thinking of trying argan oil for hair growth, you're better off focusing your attention elsewhere, says Dr. Xu. "In cases such as these, it's best to make a trip to your doctor for an alternative recommendation." They can help you pinpoint the cause of your hair loss and suggest a personalized treatment plan.

How to Use Argan Oil for Hair

To choose the best argan oil for hair, it's helpful to keep a few factors in mind. When shopping for pure argan oil, "look for products that have a rich, golden hue and a nutty scent, and aren't diluted with other oils," says Dr. Xu. Look for a label that indicates that the product contains 100 percent argan oil, he advises. Beauty retailers and drugstores often carry the oil.

An argan oil hair product will include directions on the packaging, but if you're going with pure argan oil, there are a few ways you can make use of it, according to Dr. Xu:

  • As a leave-in conditioner. Applying the oil to your hair and scalp can help control oil production, and is especially useful if your scalp is prone to dryness and itchiness.
  • As a deep conditioning treatment. Apply a few drops of oil to your hair, wrapping your hair in a towel for 30 minutes before washing your hair.
  • For styling. Apply a few drops of oil before and after heat styling as a moisturizing, fizz-fighting finisher.

Suffice it to say that your friend is onto something. Argan oil boasts various benefits that most anyone can get in on, regardless of their hair type.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles