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What Is Dry Hair Oil, and How Does It Differ From ‘Regular’ Hair Oil?

If there’s anything we’ve learned by way of skincare, haircare and cooking, not all oils are created equal! But as of very recently, in the hair world, we’re seeing a distinction between dry hair oil and regular hair oil. While we definitely sense a thicker consistency in “regular” hair oil, the other variation isn’t even dry. So, once and for all, what is dry hair oil? And how does it differ from its counterpart?

Keep reading for what to know about dry oils, “regular” oils and hair oils as a whole.

a dropper of oil comes out of glass bottle
(via Unsplash)

Hair Oil as a Whole

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably used (or at least familiarized yourself with) hair oil. It’s one of the best products that can often be swooped straight from the kitchen (hello, coconut, almond, rosemary, olive!), traditionally originates from nature (castor, tea tree, jojoba, to name a few!) and serves an array of purposes (hair growth, hydration and scalp treatment are the most prominent).

What Is Dry Hair Oil?

While much less common than traditional hair oils you probably have stashed away under your sink, dry hair oil is very a much a thing. Dry oils often come in a spray bottle as opposed to a dropper or twist-off lid. WEN is an example of a brand that stands by dry hair oils—which can often be used for the face and body, too.

“A subjective concept, dry oil is light and absorbs fast,” says Reverie cofounder Garrett Markenson, who boasts a cult favorite Ever Recovery Oil (that we’ve been using ourselves as of late!). “It leaves hair less greasy while taming frizz.”

For his part, Markenson, who just launched his first product since 2016 (Suna Exfoliating Shampoo), sees the importance in creating an oil that seals, coats and smoothes the cuticle. He combines rich marula oil, sustainably derived squalane and rare Crambe abyssinica. His goal was to create a fast-absorbing formula that minimizes split ends, adds shine and protects against color from UV exposure.

The Differences Between Dry Oil and ‘Regular’ Oil

We use the term “regular” oil to refer to the standard oils you’ve probably used in your hair or seen at your salon. Moroccanoil’s famed Original Treatment and Davines’ breakout Oi Oil are both examples of this type of formula. “‘Regular’ oil, which is generally formulated with silicones, goes on wet,” Markenson explains. “It coats the hair rather than absorbs it, and it’s much heavier.”

This is not to say one type of oil is better than the other, they both have their benefits.

“The choice of what to use would be specific to your hair texture, density and desired hairstyle,” Markenson says. “It’s best to have a consultation about it with your trusted hairdresser.”

If you want to embrace more hair oil knowledge, HERE are three uncommon hair oils you should have on your radar!

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