Does Hair Oil Go On Wet Or Dry Hair?

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Oiling your hair is an easy way to give your locks a more luxurious look. This traditional self-care practice not only protects your hair follicles from damage caused by other products you use (like harsh chemical shampoos) but can also promote hair growth.

Using oil to massage your scalp helps to increase blood circulation, which stimulates hair follicles to boost growth. Putting oil in your hair can enhance shine and maintain its hydration — even for oily hair sufferers.

There are many natural hair oils you can use to get the results you’re after, including jojoba, olive, coconut, grapeseed, and argan.

When you make the choice of which oil you want to use, then the next question is: does hair oil go on wet or dry hair? Read on to discover how to oil your hair the correct way.


Does Hair Oil Go On Wet Or Dry Hair?

Depending on the size of molecules that make up the oil, some are able to penetrate the hair shaft to reduce the amount of water the hair absorbs. This process replenishes damaged hair and helps to reduce frizz.

Other hair oils with larger molecules play the role of providing a filming effect with limited penetration. These are used to control flyaways and split ends, as well as enhance shine. Therefore, the type of oil you use is the deciding factor on whether you use it on wet or dry hair.

Hair Oil Benefits

Besides protecting your follicles from damage, promoting hair growth, and adding luxurious shine, using hair oil can also provide the following benefits:

  • Chill Out — Massaging your scalp with hair oil can help to reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Aroma Therapy — Adding essential oils to your hair oil can target particular skin and scalp problems.
  • Stay Young — Using hair oil can stop your hair from greying prematurely.
  • Softly, Softly — Applying hair oil on a regular basis can help to keep your hair soft and moisturised.
  • Float On — Oiling your hair will prevent any damage caused by chlorinated swimming pools frazzling your locks.
  • Been Flakey — Preventing dandruff is easy when using hair oil, as it can be used to soothe and nourish the scalp.

Oil On Wet Hair

Argan oil

You may remember from science class that oil and water don’t mix, which is true.

However, there are always exceptions to any rule. And when it comes to your hair, just like all rules, some are meant to be broken!

If you have curly hair, it’s best to use hair oil on damp hair in order to keep your curls defined and bouncy. To eliminate the frizz, smooth the oil using your fingers through towel-dried hair and either let it dry naturally or use the diffuser on your dryer while scrunching to produce more volume.

For the straight-haired among you, either heating the oil before you wash it or putting it on after a hot shower will give you the best effect. You also need to make sure that you don’t overdo it with the oil. If you do, it could cause your hair to feel heavy, look greasy, and potentially lead to breakouts.

Style as you choose, although if you air dry, you’ll have a sleeker look.

Oil On Dry Hair

Tea Tree oil

Using hair oil on dry hair is a different kettle of fish. This is because the oil will coat the hair like a film instead of penetrating it. This also means that you shouldn’t apply hair oil to the roots if your hair is dry. It will weigh your hair down and promote greasiness, and it has the potential to clog your hair follicles.


However, there are a few ways to support your strands by using hair oil on dry hair.

The first one is a good ‘ole overnight oil treatment. If your locks are dry and frazzled, apply a few drops of oil to dry hair, coating the strands and ends. Then pile it on top of your head and seal it with some plastic wrap before putting on a towel wrap.

Have a good sleep while your hair absorbs the treatment.

It’s also a good idea to add hair oil to your styling routine if you use heated products on a regular basis, such as flat-iron straighteners and curling wands. Using oil before this process will make styling easier by allowing the tools to glide through your hair.

Oils will also protect your hair from the heat.

Using hair oil on dry hair also plays a part in providing your locks with shine. Finishing your hair with oil will even give you more control of any pesky flyaways, as well as smooth sleek ponytails and nourish split ends.

When using hair oils on dry hair, make sure that you apply it with your fingers to the ends and mid-lengths only.

Keep the oil away from your scalp to prevent a greasy buildup that will clog your follicles.

Loco For Coco

Coconuts on Beach

There is one oil in particular that has gained a lot of popularity over the years because of its many beneficial properties. Studies have shown that coconut oil is the only oil that has the power to reduce hair’s protein loss.

Coconut oil, what can’t it do?!

Your hair is made of protein, so any deficiency in your diet can cause limp and stringy hair that sheds.

This makes coconut oil a great addition to everyone’s natural hair care ritual. It works well on both damaged and undamaged hair, and when used as a pre-wash treatment or as a styling product.

Coconut oil’s triglyceride properties allow it to penetrate the hair shaft and lower the amount of water absorbed, which will help to eliminate any damage.

If you have fine hair, it is best to use it at night before bed, because it can take some time for your hair to absorb the oil.

Shampoo your hair as normal the next morning.

Now you’re better equipped to decide whether to use your hair oil on wet or dry hair.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).