A small dollop of sunflower oil can make your hair look and feel soft, shiny, and smooth.

Edible sunflower oil is used not only for cooking, but for skin and hair care, too. The fat and antioxidants in sunflower oil make it a good option for dry, dull hair.

Some studies show that coconut oil is better for treating damaged hair. Still, if you’re grabbing sunflower oil from the shelf, here are some things to know about using it on your hair.

Sunflower oil might help out dry hair. The oil is rich in:

Vitamin E and sesamol (sesame oil) are known to have benefits for hair health. They’re both antioxidants and may help neutralize free radicals that can damage the hair and scalp.

Sunflower oil also contains oleic acid, which can stop hair breakage and may make it seem like hair is growing faster (since the ends aren’t breaking off).

It has anti-inflammatory properties which may help calm dandruff and relieve an itchy scalp.

Anecdotally, some people say that their hair feels more hydrated after using sunflower oil, and it may help hair hold onto moisture. Using oil on the hair can help smooth split ends and make your hair softer and easier to manage.

Sunflower oil is lightweight and you can use a small amount on dry hair to smooth frizz.

There are a few ways to use sunflower oil for hair, depending on what you’d like to do.

If you have other oils at home, you can mix several together for a luxe treatment. Many products you find in stores, including shampoo, conditioners, leave-in conditioning sprays, and masks also contain sunflower oil.

People use this oil for overall hair health, for a deep conditioning mask, or a way to smooth frizz and add shine.

Here are 4 ways you can use sunflower oil at home:

Scalp treatmentTake a small dollop of sunflower oil and massage it directly into your scalp (you can do this on wet or dry hair). Comb it through the hair from root to end. Wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave it on for at least 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition as normal.
Hair maskYou can make a DIY hair mask using 1/2 avocado or banana (or both), honey, coconut or olive oil, and sunflower oil.
Frizz controlApply a pea-sized amount of sunflower oil in your palms, then rub your hands together and smooth the oil anywhere you see frizz.
ConditionerFor a richer conditioner, you can add a dime-sized amount of sunflower oil to your existing conditioner. Apply and rinse as normal, and if your hair still feels oily, you may need to double rinse.

Sunflower oil is generally considered safe for use. However, if you’re allergic to sunflower seeds, you should avoid the oil.

If you use too much or don’t rinse thoroughly, your hair may look a little greasy, which just means it needs to be rinsed again. Thorough rinsing with warm water helps remove the remaining oils.

Avoid heat styling your hair after applying a lot of the oil, as it can heat up and burn or damage the hair shaft.

If it’s your first time using the oil, it’s always a good idea to test a small amount on your skin before putting it all over your scalp.

Patch test

Follow these steps to do a patch test:

  • Apply a drop of sunflower oil to a small patch of skin on your arm.
  • Wait 24 hours.
  • Check your skin for redness, irritation, swelling, or itching. If your skin doesn’t show any of these signs, it’s probably safe to use sunflower oil.
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Using sunflower oil as part of your beauty routine can help your hair look shiny and smooth. Plus the treatment is generally low-risk for most people and likely to improve hair’s appearance.

There are few studies available looking at sunflower oil’s ability to strengthen hair, so more research is needed. But anecdotally speaking, many people like the shine and softness that sunflower oil gives their hair.

Sunflower oil is affordable and gentle on the hair, plus it’s already present in many trusted hair care products available.