If you haven't used pure natural oils to nourish and protect your hair, or you want to ditch the commercial oils with chemical additives, the best place to start is probably in the kitchen! Here's the round up on all the oils I've tried and my favourite which I never leave home without it.
1) Olive Oil - as mentioned you can start trying natural oils for hair from your own kitchen as it's a common ingredient for cooking. Any kind will do as long as it's cold pressed. It's nourishing and is perfect for mixing with treatments as it's a bit heavier than some oils. I add it to my henna treatment for moisturising my hair.
While this oil has an array of heath properties it's worth noting that all natural oils do but hair doesn't metabolise like our digestive systems. I won't go into the nutritional properties of these oils. It's just good to know what you're using on your hair is all natural and even edible.
2) Coconut Oil - The first natural oil I tried as a hair treatment. I bought pure unrefined coconut oil from an Indian grocery store and it's cheap. This oil penetrates the hair shaft so it nourishes from the inside. To be honest, I can't tell if it does or not although it has been documented in published studies. I just know that's a lovely smelling oil which is good to use for pre-shampoos.
It solidifies when the weather is cold so it's good for scooping out of a tub. When it's hot, it's liquid and is best stored in a bottle. The only problem is that I don't find it moisturising as a leave in. It makes my hair ends crunchy and stringy. Read about how I use coconut oil in my post here.
3) Jojoba Oil - has been known to "trick" the skin into thinking it has produced enough oil and thus balance oil production. It's chemically comparable with the human sebum. That's the theory and the reason why I moved on from coconut oil. It's spreads well and doesn't give that stringy effect when used as a leave in. Feels moisturising and enriching on the skin.
4) Sweet Almond Oil - I find this feels similar to jojoba oil but lighter. This oil is high in vitamin E which is the reason why I don't bother about using the Tocopherol in my mixes. This is a good all rounder oil. Very nourishing and doesn't have a scent.
5 ) Castor Oil - this is the unrefined version and is widely available as a laxative when taken orally. It's well known to also thicken hair, especially eyelashes. The reason why I bought it was to regrow my hairline and it works but it only enhances what mother nature gave you. It won't make you grow hair where there was none. For something that's all natural, it's worth trying out if you are trying to recover from hair loss.
I put it on my hairline before bed and within a few days, baby hairs are growing longer. The only downsides is that you have to keep using it for the effect. It's a thick and sticky oil. It's hair thickening properties is due to it coating your hair. If you're using it on your hairline, it will look and feel greasy so it's best used mixed with other oils as a hair treatment.
6) Argan Oil - I used to carry a 10ml bottle of this oil in my handbag and used it to seal my ends. It's light, odourless and absorbable. While it's all the rage with commercial hair products today, I don't think it's more superior than any other type of natural oil. Twenty years ago no one had heard of it and all of a sudden it was like the world's best kept secret in hair care. It's a good oil but for me, I think it's similar to sweet almond and jojoba oils.
7) Black Jamaican Castor Oil - this oil is harder to find but it's touted as the best kind of oil to grow your hair on Youtube. I bought mine from an ethnic hair and beauty store called Paks. It's "black" because the castor beans are roasted before the oil is extracted. Apparently the hair growing properties is in the ash so I bought the extra dark version. It has a smoky smell that dissipates after application. So far it's working to not only grow my hair line but also I'm using it protect my eczema patches. As to whether it's more effective than normal castor oil, that remains to be seen and I will update in a few weeks time.
Since castor oil is thick and sticky, its easiest to dispense it from a nozzle tipped applicator bottle.
8) Shea Butter - not really an oil as it's waxy textured and can be a thickener for making your own lotion. You can use it as a lip balm or heavy duty hand protectant. I use it to seal my hair and weigh down frizzies. The raw unrefined kind has a smell so I use it sparingly. The is great for taming and moisturising my hair without oiliness.
9) Grape Seed Oil - reknown to be super light and making heavy oils runnier. I bought a cheap supermarket version which I presume was not cold pressed. I liked it because it did'nt have a smell and it's indeed light. You can get away with using a fair bit without looking greasy. However it makes my hair feel dry, like it's only coating the hair and not nourishing it. I used the rest of the oil for cooking.
10) Rosehip Oil - It's pricey and worth it, especially for keeping wrinkles at bay. The orangey oil is rich in fatty acids and makes the hair feel moisturised. I feel that it absorbs better than any other kind of oil and if you buy the pure cold pressed carrier oil version, it doesn't have that fried chip smell. This cheaper version is paler and odourless which makes it perfect for hair application. This is my second favourite oil for hair.
11) Avocado Oil - this is my absolute favourite oil. I find it light and easily absorbable. I love the healthy green colour. There's no crunchiness or smell. I'm also using it as a face moisturiser by applying pure aloe vera gel after cleansing then smoothing on a few drops of oil. My hair and skin just soaks it up. Many commercial hair products contains avocado oil but why use it with chemical additives when there's the unadulterated thing?