What’s really in your hair oil?

Using oil in your hair is something that is becoming much more mainstream. Lots of brands have been releasing hair oils, and I’ve even bought some of them. However, they aren’t all exactly what they seem. The thing that you need to watch out for is that most of them are not pure oils, but silicone-based products with a small amount of oil in them. I was fooled by this and bought an Organix Macadamia oil that turned out to be mostly silicone, which I was not happy about. 

What silicone does is smooth hair, but it can also really weigh down the hair. It coats the hair, as opposed to actually adding moisture to it, and this coating isn’t easily washed out. Silicone can make it difficult for hair colour to adhere to the hair, so I try to avoid using it in my hair unless I really need to smooth it out, and definitely avoid using it in the weeks leading up to a hair colour appointment . It’s not terrible to use, but it’s important to be aware that you’re using it, as opposed to pure oil.

Moroccanoil hair treatment
Morroccanoil hair treatment (Picture from MakeupAlley)

Probably the most popular, or at least the most talked about, hair oil is Morocanoil hair treatment. The ingredients list for Moroccan oil is below – remember that ingredients lists start with what they have the most of:

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Aragan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

To translate: the first 3 ingredients are silicone, the next two are fragrance, then there is some Argan oil, and then Linseed oil, before more fragrance, and then two colours  – so watch out, it can cause blonde hair to get stained. They use dyes to make the treatment look more like actual Argan oil which is a golden yellow colour because silicones are usually clear. Next on the list is some more fragrance, then a product which is a fragrance/preservative, before finally another fragrance! 

From reading the ingredients list you can see that Moroccanoil is mainly comprised of silicone and fragrance, and has comparatively little Argan oil at all – despite the fact that they claim it is “rich in argan oil and reparative proteins.”

Pure Argan oil is a yellow colour
Pure Argan oil is a yellow colour (Picture from VegetableOils.Org)

In New Zealand Moroccanoil is sold for about $70 for 100ml – or you could buy 118ml of pure Argan oil for $26 plus shipping from iherb.com*Essentials You has a great post on how to tell if you are buying good Argan oil, and the number one tip is that the only ingredient should be 100% Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa) Kernel Oil. You can read more about it on EssentialsYou.com

While this post has mainly focused on Argan oil, most of the same applies for other oils like Macadamia or coconut oil. Read ingredients lists, and if they feature ingredients such as Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone then they are not pure oils and are more like serums. You might find that they work really well for you, and in that case, use them. I like to write these types of posts so that people are aware what they are putting in their hair.

If you want to know more, or need some help translating the ingredients in your haircare products, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Lena x

*If you want to buy from iherb.com, you can use my code JPP391 to save up to $10 on your first order. This benefits me as I get referral credit from you using it.



  • Claire

    Another informative post! Went straight to my macadamia natural oil and whaddaya know- filled with silicone. I love your blog

    • I’m glad you like it! I’m still using my organix “oil” but using it much less generously than I would if it was a real oil

  • Moroccanoil make a Light version of the Oil Treatment specifically for those with light hair- it’s also great for fine hair 🙂

    • I had a look at that, but it still has dyes in it just like the original one.

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