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The best essential oils for skin and hair

17 May 2023 • 11 min read


Oils for your skin and hair are taking the beauty world by storm for their wide range of benefits. Easily absorbed and antioxidant-rich, beauty oils offer many benefits for skin and hair.

Different oils have different properties, and while some can be amazing for your skin, others are great for your hair. Here we’ll break down some of the different essential oils out there and what their known uses are for beauty.

Disclaimer: Please always refer to the directions for use with any essential oil you use.

5 essential oils for your skin and hair

The different properties and amazing benefits of essential oils mean they’re often already included in lots of your favourite beauty products. But, with so many essential oils out there, it can be tricky to know what each one does, which ones to use and how to use them.

Just remember, essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil before use.1 Here are just 5 of our favourite oils to use on your skin and hair.

How to choose a carrier oil

Using essential oils on your skin and hair can bring impressive benefits, but they should always be diluted with a carrier oil before you use them.

Carrier oils, which are sometimes called base oils, are great for your skin and hair too! They’re perfect as a night treatment because they help ‘trap’ skin’s natural moisture, preventing evaporation. Like essential oils, carrier oils have lots of different properties and applications that can benefit your skin and hair, and you can use them on their own too.

Before you pick your carrier oil, there are a few things to think about, like your skin or hair type. When choosing a beauty oil, you should also try and go for unrefined, virgin, and organic varieties. Opt for unscented or scented with cold-pressed essential oils. Here are a few carrier oils you could choose from:

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is fast becoming the best natural oil for your skin to help protect it from the negative effects of free radicals.10 You can use coconut oil as a moisturiser and make-up remover, or it’s ideal for use in cooking and as a salad dressing. So, if you have a tub sitting in your kitchen cupboard, it won’t go to waste!

Handpicked content:10 things you can use coconut oil for

Argan oil

Argan oil comes from the nuts of the argan tree. Used by the indigenous Berber people of Morocco for centuries, it’s now used in a range of hair products. Argan oil is light and easily absorbed, with naturally high vitamin E levels and compounds called saponins, which make it the ideal hair softener and protector.11

Vitamin E is also good for supporting brittle or damaged, colour-treated, or over-styled hair. Leave a small amount on overnight for a super-moisturising hair masque.12

Sweet almond oil

Sweet almond oil comes from the kernels of the almond tree. It’s quite light, so it is often used as a carrier oil by natural practitioners. Its thin texture and emollient properties mean it absorbs well and will work on its own to make skin smooth and silky.13

Sweet almond oil is also a humectant, which helps prevent the loss of moisture.14 It’s suitable for all skin types – although if you have a nut allergy, consult your doctor before using sweet almond oil for your skin.

Rosehip oil

Rosa mosqueta oil, or rosehip oil, is uniquely rich in vitamin A.15 Most nut and seed oils have vitamin E and omegas 3, -6 or -9 in varying proportions, but vitamin A is much rarer.

Vitamin A is the main ingredient in pro-retinol, well known for its benefits for blemishes.15 Rosa mosqueta also has more vitamin C than oranges and is rich in other ingredients vital to skin care.16 Add a drop of rosehip oil to three teaspoons of a carrier oil, apply to damp skin and leave on overnight.

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Side effects of essential oil

Using essential oils on your skin can cause some irritation, even after you’ve mixed them with a carrier oil. In some cases, you may be allergic to the essential oil, or you may have used too much. You also shouldn’t consume essential oils orally.17

Before using any new products, please follow the directions on the product label before use. We always recommend that you do a patch test (after diluting with carrier oil) on an area first and wait 48 hours to see if you have a reaction.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, ask a doctor before using any essential oils.

Handpicked content: How to do a patch test at home

The final say

If you check the label of many skincare and hair products, you’ll likely find essential oils listed, and it’s clear to see why! Essential oils have so many amazing properties for your skin and hair, with each essential oil benefitting you differently.

If you do decide to use essential oils in your skincare or hair routine, always remember to dilute them first by adding a few drops to a carrier oil. And if you experience any irritation, stop using the product immediately and consult a doctor.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your GP or midwife before using essential oils. 



Author: Doaa Al MosawiInternational Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: Mar 2019

BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science

After completing her BSc in Biomedical Science, Doaa worked in Research and laboratory for 3 years. Doaa was also a member of a product development team in a manufacturing company specialising in sun care and personal care products, researching and providing regulatory advice regarding international regulations.

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