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With dozens of oils available in skin care and hair products, it can be hard to know which ones are worth using. One term you may have heard is “dry oil.”

Despite what the name suggests, dry oils aren’t actually dry. It’s a subjective term that refers to any oil that dries quickly when applied to your skin or hair. Likewise, oils that leave a residue are sometimes referred to as wet oils.

Avocado, sesame, and sunflower oils are among the most commonly used dry oils. Other dry oils you’ll often see in skin and hair products include:

Although there’s little research on the effects of dry oil for hair health, anecdotal evidence suggests that dry oils have the potential to hydrate your hair without making it feel greasy.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of dry oil for hair health.

Few scientific studies have examined the benefits of mineral and vegetable oils for human hair. Most of the evidence that suggests dry oils benefit your hair health is anecdotal or theoretical.

Lower hygral fatigue

Hygral fatigue is damage to your hair caused by repeated swelling and drying. Some oils may help reduce hygral fatigue by penetrating the outer layer of your hair and supporting your hair’s natural moisture barrier.

Saturated and monounsaturated fats are better than polyunsaturated fats at penetrating your hair. Sunflower, sesame, safflower, and avocado oil are naturally high in monounsaturated fats.

Hydrate your hair without a greasy texture

Dry oils may help hydrate your hair by creating a seal that prevents moisture inside your hair from escaping. Oils containing monounsaturated and saturated fats are better at penetrating your hair and creating this protective barrier than oils that contain polyunsaturated fats.

Because dry oils dry quickly when applied to your hair, many people claim that they don’t leave a greasy residue behind.

Reduce hair damage

Applying oil to your hair regularly may help keep your hair shafts lubricated. This lubrication reduces friction that may lead to hair damage.

Reduce frizz

The main cause of frizz is friction between hair strands. The lubricating effects of dry oils that decrease friction may also reduce frizz.

Protect scalp from ultraviolet (UV) light

Some dry oils like sunflower oil and avocado oil contain vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant to protect your skin from oxidative damage from UV light and other sources.

Applying vitamin E to your hair could, in theory, increase vitamin E concentrations in your scalp and help protect it. However, there hasn’t been any research specially looking at this.

Dry oils are generally safe to apply to your hair. If you have a known allergy to a product an oil is sourced from, such as avocado or sunflower seeds, it’s best to avoid using this type of oil.

Any time you use a new hair care product, there’s a chance that it may lead to an allergic reaction on your scalp. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

The first time you use a dry oil on your hair, you may want to apply it to a small section of your skin before applying it to your scalp. If you don’t develop an allergic reaction within 24 hours, it’s likely safe to use.

Dry oils sprays release the oil as a mist to make it easy to apply evenly throughout your hair. Most products will give specific instructions on the back of the container.

As a general guideline, you can hold the can 8 to 10 inches from your hair and spray your hair evenly. Start with a small amount and increase until you reach your desired effect.

If you’re using traditional dry oil, rub a few drop between your hands and then run your hands through your hair. Finish by running a wide-tooth comb through your hair to distribute the oil evenly.

You can find dry oil hair spray at many places that sell hair products, such as pharmacies and beauty salons. Many online retailers also stock these hairsprays. Dry oil is also available at some grocery stores and health and beauty stores.

Shop for dry oil hair care products online.

Dry oil is a term that refers to any oil that dries quickly on your skin or hair. Some of the most common types of dry oil include avocado oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil.

Although there isn’t a lot of research on these oils for hair health, anecdotal evidence suggests that they may help hydrate your hair without leaving behind a greasy residue.

If you would like to use a dry oil in your hair care routine, you can either buy a dry oil spray or apply a small amount of oil to your hair yourself.