If you've got fine hair, you'd probably respond to the idea of using jojoba oil in your hair the same way that someone with acne would respond to slathering on a face oil—with absolute shock and horror. I get it. I, also someone with limp, flat hair, own tons of dry shampoo and texturizing spray, yes, but hair oil? Hell, nah.
But seeing as every single influencer and Insta friend seems to swear by the powers of jojoba oil for hair, regardless of their hair type, I've come to realize that maybe *The One* was still out there, and I just hadn't found my perfect match yet—until, that is, I actually tried jojoba oil. If you have fine, dry hair, and/or dandruff, it's time you rethink hair oils, too, because you're gonna love this one. Below, board-certified dermatologist Ife Rodney, MD, and trichologist Audrey Sivasothy explain everything there is to know about this lovely, light hair oil, from who should use it (you) and when to use it (now).
Does jojoba oil help frizzy hair?
Yup! And it also helps treat your scalp, too. Unlike other hair or skin oils, jojoba oil is not a true oil, according to Rodney. Instead, it’s a wax ester, similar in both structure and function to the sebum naturally produced by our skin. It's also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, all of which make it great for reducing scalp inflammation that appears as redness, itching, or flaking. And because jojoba oil has natural antifungal and antibacterial agents, it usually plays nicely with dandruff, and can even help calm your flakes.
As far as the hair-smoothing benefits go, Rodney says that jojoba oil works by forming a protective coating over each hair strand, which helps reduce frizz, lock in moisture, and make hair soft, shiny, and tangle-free.
Is jojoba oil a moisturizer or sealant?
Uh, translation please? Here's the deal: Some oils (like hemp and flax) tend to just sit on top of your hair, sealing out humidity and smoothing frizz. The downside? They can be super heavy and potentially cause more dryness by blocking moisture from getting into your strand. Other oils—like sweet almond, coconut, and avocado—are purely moisturizing, meaning they sink right into your hair cuticle but don't really protect against water loss. Not ideal for coarse, damaged hair, but excellent for dryness.
So what's jojoba oil's deal? According to Sivasothy, jojoba oil is a lightweight sealant—meaning it helps prevent moisture loss by forming a protective film along the hair shaft. But, because of its sebum-like properties, it also washes away cleanly with shampoo and doesn’t build up readily on your strands, making it a little different than the other sealant oils. "Jojoba oil, like sebum, does not penetrate the hair shaft—but it doesn’t need to penetrate to be effective," Sivasothy says. "Jojoba works best on the outside of the hair strand as a sealant against moisture loss."
What hair benefits the most from jojoba oil?
Because it's considered a lighter oil, jojoba oil can be used on all hair types, though its lightweight feel makes it especially good for those with fine or thin hair, and, says Rodney, its sebum-like qualities make it a great oil for curly hair. "People with curly hair types tend to have less natural sebum production on the scalp, leading to frizzy hair that easily dries out," she says.
Can you leave jojoba oil in your hair overnight?
You betcha! And if you're trying to combat dandruff or super-dry hair, that's exactly what Rodney says you should do. For a dandruff or deep-conditioning treatment, Rodney recommends massaging a handful into your scalp and raking it through your dry or slightly damp hair at bedtime. Then cover it with a shower cap before going to sleep, and shampoo it out in the morning.
How often should you use jojoba oil in your hair?
Word of advice from Sivasothy: A little goes a long way, so those with fine hair should use jojoba oil sparingly. That said, you can incorporate it into your everyday routine: Just massage a few drops into the scalp (notice I didn't say douse yourself) every morning as needed before styling your hair.
For those who are trying to avoid silicones, jojoba oil can also be used as an alternative heat protectant, since the protective coating it forms around your strands makes them more resistant to heat and chemical damage caused by blow-drying, diffusing, or dyeing your hair, says Rodney. Really, where has this oil been all my life?!
What can I mix with jojoba oil for my hair?
Both Rodney and Sivasothy are fans of adding a few drops or 1-2 tablespoons of jojoba oil to a hair conditioner to enhance its softening and moisturizing abilities. And depending on your specific hair concerns—like if your hair is fine, flat, but extra dry and damaged—you might benefit from combining jojoba oil with a heavier penetrating oil (like coconut), says Rodney.
Do you apply jojoba oil to wet or dry hair?
Since the oil is very nourishing and rinses out pretty cleanly, Sivasothy is a big fan of using jojoba oil for hot oil treatments or as a pre-shampoo treatment. Rodney says another option is to massage several drops into the scalp immediately after washing: "When used on a damp scalp, the jojoba oil absorbs more easily and gives longer-lasting scalp hydration." Whether you choose to use it on wet or dry hair, remember: It’s an oil and should always be applied after water-based or hydrating products to lock in all that moisture.
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