The 18 Best Hair Growth Oils for Long, Healthy Hair

Hair growth starts with hair health, but these expert-tested hair oils can help things along.

collage of best hair growth oils including Dr. Hauschka hair tonil and Briogeo b. Well
(Image credit: Future)

Whether the issue is a bad haircut, a case of COVID, stress, or thinning, just about all of our hair growth journeys have come with speed bumps. The key to healthy hair growth is ultimately a healthy lifestyle (i.e., hydrating, eating well, and sleeping enough), but there are also a number of topical products, like hair growth shampoos and hair growth vitamins, that can enhance scalp health and stimulate hair growth alongside your regular shampoo and conditioner. The best hair growth oils are another essential tool to boost any hair growth regimen.

Simply put, "Hair growth oils are serums that help restore nutrients to your scalp and increase stimulation and hair production," Dr. Mona Gohara, a dermatologist who serves as Vice President of the Women’s Dermatologic Society at Yale University, tells Marie Claire. "Oils can thicken the cuticle, making the hair appear fuller. As the hydration is absorbed, the cuticle expands giving the appearance of growth."

Applied directly to your scalp in a few small drops, hair growth oils nourish your hair without weighing it down. (Win-win.) Below, find the best hair growth oils recommended by editors, reviewers, and doctors. Each one is formulated with safe, scalp-stimulating ingredients for your hair to reach new lengths.

What to Look for in a Hair Growth Oil

Different hair growth oils are best for different hair types and needs. For that reason, we asked Dr. Peter Young, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director for Keeps, reiterates that ingredients in each oil support healthy hair growth, giving the appearance of thicker hair, rather than growing net-new hair from nowhere. However, hair growth oils can still go a long way.

"Your hair has fat in it, and oils are pretty much pure fat, so putting them on your hair can help restore those naturally-occurring fats," Dr. Young explains. "Oils high in saturated and monounsaturated fats are good because these types of fatty acids penetrate the hair strand more easily. Oils with polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, don’t have the same effect."

Which so-called optimal fats should you look out for? "One option is coconut oil," he says. "In fact, one study showed that coconut oil assisted with decreasing how much protein the hair lost, which basically means it prevented the hair from getting weaker. Another oil that’s high in saturated fat is palm oil (such as saw palmetto oil), and some options high in monounsaturated fats are almond oil, olive oil, and argan oil." 

When shopping for hair growth products of all types, Dr. Young also recommends "plant-based, organic, and raw" ingredients such as biotin, caffeine, and green tea. These are "science-backed ingredients designed to support hair growth and give the appearance of thicker, healthier-looking hair," he says.

How to Use a Hair Growth Oil

It bears repeating: Hair growth begins with a healthy scalp. For that reason, Dr. Gohara instructs to massage hair growth oils directly into the scalp to stimulate hair at the root. "Once you’ve shown your scalp lots of love," she says, "you can carry the product through to the ends."

Personally, I use a hair growth oil every time I wash my hair. Anabel Kingsley, master trichologist and president of Philip Kingsley, taught me how to apply an oil: After I've detangled my hair and applied my favorite leave-in conditioner, I apply my hair growth oil along my partline. Then, I make other partlines across my head, ear to ear, about an inch apart. Along each partline, I drop thin layer after thin layer of oil, rubbing it into my scalp with my finger every time. Once I'm done, I massage my scalp with my fingers or with a scalp massager so that the oil distributes evenly and absorbs more easily.

How Often to Use Hair Oils

Read the instructions on the back of your hair growth oil very carefully before committing to an application routine. "[S]ome oils have you apply once a day while others are more frequent," Dr. Gohara points out. She adds that it's perfectly all right to use multiple hair products at once, so long as you "couple your hair growth oils with a shampoo and conditioner routine to make sure your hair is getting as clean and nourished as possible." Clarifying shampoos are a perfect companion for hair growth oils, she notes.

Still worried that adding an oil to your regimen will make your hair look greasy? Dr. Gohara points out that many hair growth oils are applied before showering. But if the oil needs to be applied in the morning, you can always wear a sleek bun or ponytail. Indeed, there are countless elaborate updos or quick, easy updos for a day of hair oiling.

The Best Hair Growth Oils

The hair growth oils on this list have either been tested and vetted by Marie Claire's E-Commerce Writer, Gabrielle Ulubay (aka yours truly), Marie Claire's Beauty Director, Deena Campbell, and Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, Samantha Holender; or have been hand-selected by a hair stylist or board-certified dermatologist. Each one includes ingredients clinically proven to support healthy hair growth and support a healthy scalp, and is highly rated by reviewers. While the *best* hair growth oil for you will vary based on factors such as skin type, hair type, and personal preference, you truly can't go wrong with one of the items on this list. For a more personalized recommendation or if you have any concerns, check with your board-certified dermatologist or trichologist.

Getting Healthy Hair

The best hair growth oils can go a long way in supporting your overall hair health, but there are a number of other crucial steps one should take to grow (and sustain) thick, healthy hair. Strong hair starts from the inside: If you want gorgeous, flowing hair, you need to minimize stress, drink plenty of water, and follow a healthy diet rich in nutrients such as protein and iron. 

Kingsley also says that hair thinning should first and foremost be addressed "by optimizing the scalp environment and providing internal nutritional support." For that reason, many hair growth oils focus on supporting a well-moisturized, healthy scalp so that hair follicles can thrive.

Finally, be sure to keep up with your trims and to style carefully. Hairstylist and founder of HERcurls Haiya Eliza recommends getting a haircut at least once every three to four months, and to always get it cut in its natural state. "If you're straightening your hair to cut it, then you're damaging your hair in the process of cutting it," she warns, "and if you go to wear it curly, you're not going to have the same shape as you did when you cut it, because you cut it when it was styled a different way. And you've also applied heat to it, so you've damaged and weakened any curls you have."

Too attached to your length to get a hair cut? Haiya says that eschewing haircuts can actually cause more damage—and hinder your length—because the longer you wait between haircuts, the more likely you are to get split ends. "Naturally, we all get split ends," she says. "A strand will split into two, and that split will keep running up the strand until you stop it. So what happens is you have one strand that's become half a strand, and those two strands just keep breaking off as you brush it, detangle it, and so on." This creates a perfect storm of continual growth and continual breakage—causing you to lose length instead of retaining it.

Meet the Experts

Dr. Mona Gohara
Dr. Mona Gohara

Dr. Mona Gohara is a board-certified dermatologist who graduate medical school with AOA Honors before training as a dermatologist at Yale. Currently, she is the vice president of the Women’s Dermatologic Society as well as a member of The American Academy of Dermatology and The American Society For Dermatologic Surgery.

Dr. Jerry Shapiro
Dr. Jerry Shapiro

Dr. Shapiro is a dermatologist at the New York University School of Medicine who specializes in hair loss and combatting both and female- and male-pattern hair loss. He is particularly committed to finding healthy, nonsurgical methods of fighting hair loss and thinning.

Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, dermatologist
Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, FAAD

Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in general medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, cosmetics, and pediatric dermatology.  She is active on social media and passionate about demystifying skincare and debunking dermatological misconceptions. She is also a social media ambassador for and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, an editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), and has contributed to a number of magazines.

Haiya Eliza
Haiya Eliza

Haiya Eliza is a Cuban-Bolivian hairstylist and founder of HERcurls, a brand focused on educating curl-owners about how to best care for and style their hair. Originally from Miami, she is currently based in Dallas, Texas. 

Dr. Peter Young
Peter Young, M.D.

Peter C. Young, MD is the Keeps Medical Director and a board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Young had a distinguished career serving as a physician in the U.S. Army for nine years before going on to practice dermatology in Massachusetts for 22 years. In addition to his published medical articles, Dr. Young has also been a speaker at national medical meetings on teledermatology and is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr. Young is currently located in Estero, FL.

Trichologist Annabel Kingsley
Anabel Kingsley

Anabel Kingsley is a trichologist and president of Philip Kingsley, a haircare brand devoted to improving hair and scalp health from the inside out.