Ingredients: what's really in your hair oil?

For over a decade, hair oils have become the must have thing to keep hair looking smooth, feeling silky to the touch and having a lovely shine.

But would you be surprised if I told you that many hair oils (including some very pricey ones) only contain a very small amount of the actual oil they use to sell themselves and instead are often mostly made up from silicone and other chemicals.

what's really in your hair oil graphic

Silicones are used in lots of beauty products - they have a silky texture to them and tend to coat whatever they're applied to. When it comes to hair, the silicones added to products make hair feel and look silky soft, but in reality what you've actually done is wrapped a very thin film around the outside of the hair shaft to enhance its look and feel.  Underneath the silicone,  the hair is still in the same condition it was before - silicones don't add moisture or hydrate the hair. Silicones are used widely in hair products as they're hydrophobic (repel water) so work well at controlling humidity and keeping hair smooth. 

While the jury is out on whether silicones are good or bad for your hair, it's worth bearing them in mind when you're next shopping for a hair product. Just because it says oil on the front doesn't mean that's the only thing that's in the bottle! Silicone based ingredients tend to end in '-cone'; look out for dimethicone, cyclomethicone etc.

Manufacturers will list the ingredients in the product by volume used, so the ingredient that makes up the majority of the product will be listed first, followed by the next and so on. Very often you'll actually find the oil that the product sells itself on (argan oil for example) actually comes near to the end of the ingredients list, meaning only a tiny percentage features inside that bottle.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy to slap a silicone based oil on my hair from time to time, but when it comes to the price, it's worth considering if there's really that much difference between your favourite £30 oil and the £2 one they sell in Primark. I had a look at the ingredients lists and there's really not much to differentiate between them. Other than the branding and advertising that is...

What are your thoughts on hair oils?


  1. Oooh I loved this post! it is a bit like whats hidden in your food isnt it? Handy to know you dont have to break the bank and buy a good hair oil and that you can opt for cheaper. It makes sense really because sometimes after washing my hair which ai habe styled with oil or whatever U sometimes feel it feels drier! Xx

  2. I actually cut out silicones from my hair products (and sulphates) as I've read that a build up can damage your hair, and prevent nutrients/ moisture being absorbed. It means I can't use my (expensive!) Moroccan Oil, plus a lot of conditioners etc but since quitting them my hair is loads thicker. I use a silicone free leave in crème, or a bit of coconut oil now :)

    India / Touchscreens & Beautyqueens

  3. Such a good post I will for sure be looking out for that next time I am out the shops!


  4. Great post! I need a new hair oil so I will definitely take a look at the ingredients when I'm choosing one xx

    Ramblings of a Beauty Bird | Beauty Blog

  5. Great post! I avoided silicones in hair products for around a year and after not noticing much of a change, I reverted back to them. I agree about the majority of hair oils being very similar, but I do find Moroccan Oil to be much better than all of the others I've tried and I need significantly less of it, which makes it just as economical to use, for me. To be honest, my hair loves the stuff and I think the best thing I've ever done to improve the quality of it, is to get regular haircuts, reduce the amount of times I wash it and use lashings of coconut oil as a treatment mask once a fortnight.



  6. I do like posts like this Kat! Although I know a lot more about skincare than I did a couple of years ago I only have a very basic knowledge and it's really interesting to read about things like this that I had no idea about x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty


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