In an interview with Forbes, celebrity hair stylist Mark Townsend revealed the secret that every woman should add to her beauty routine: oil.
It may seem contradictory to traditional hair advice, which says to avoid having slick, oily hair. But the oils Townsend recommends are meant to improve the look and health of hair, not make it greasy.
Townsend, whose clients include Rachel McAdams, Kirsten Dunst, Dakota Johnson, and Mary-Kate, Ashley and Elizabeth Olsen, says that oil users don’t have to be famous to see a major difference in their hair. “Every woman would benefit from using oils even just once a week,” he says.
What are those benefits? “I could probably list 20 benefits of using a hair oil,” Townsend says. “They’re a lubricant, so they’re great for detangling wet hair. They are a sealant, so they seal the cuticle down. Oils are a great heat protectant.”
There is a science behind how the oils work, too, Townsend explains. “The benefit in most of the oils is all the fatty acids, which replace the lipids in your hair when it starts to get really fine. Right before it splits, that means there’s nothing holding it together, and all those lipids are gone so you need to replace them.”
The secret is in the application. Townsend says the best way to apply oil to hair is to separate the hair into two sections, top and bottom, and mix one drop of oil into each part; thicker hair, however, may require more than two drops.
Applying the oil is easy. Townsend says to start about three or four inches away from the scalp and work it in to the end.
One of the biggest issues Townsend sees with his clients is that they tend to overuse a product in their hair. “I think oils are the most amazing pre-shampoo treatment,” he says. “Put it on first, and it’s going to fill in all those gaps in the hair and help all those little areas where you get a lot of tangles.”
And there are plenty of choices for the right oil, he says, all of which are dependent on the type of hair one has.
“If you have very dry, damaged hair, you want something heavier, like a coconut oil, since dry hair is super absorbent,” Townsend says. He names jojoba oil as an “amazing” lubricant for hair. Another type of oil that’s been garnering a lot of buzz lately is Moroccan argan oil.
“Argan oil has the great benefits of leaving the hair soft, silky and smooth—that oil will reflect the light, making your hair look super shiny,” Townsend says.
For those who aren’t quite sold on oil, there are shampoos, conditioners and other styling products that include these substances in their ingredients. “By adding a drop or two in shampoo you’re combating how stripping shampoo can be to the scalp by putting a little bit of a lubricant back in there,” Townsend explains.