Is Baby Oil The Key To Healthy Hair?

Made of petroleum-based mineral oil with a hint of fragrance, baby oil was originally invented for the purpose of soothing dry, itchy patches on babies' skin to keep it soft and supple. However, the "baby-soft" skin effect that baby oil promises makes it ultra-popular among adults, who use this inert oil for skin care and body massages. In a YouTube interview with makeup artist Gucci Westman in 2020, the then-80-year-old television personality Martha Stewart credited her radiant, supple skin to daily use of baby oil — a dirt-cheap product you can find in every drugstore. Julianne Hough is another celebrity who swears by baby oil for keeping her skin ultra-smooth and glowing. "Actually funny enough, I lather myself up with baby oil in the shower," Hough told Us Weekly.


Additionally, baby oil is reportedly able to moisturize the scalp and smooth locks, relieving scalp issues and making hair stronger. Of course, this sounds like a straight-up fad — we're living in an era where every kitchen and medical cabinet ingredient can double as a beauty-care hack. That being said, you never know until you try. Baby oil contains emollient characteristics that can soften what it touches. Various types of oil — such as coconut oil and olive oil — have been shown to be useful in nourishing hair strands, meaning there may be some validity to this fad. So, is baby oil the key to healthy hair?

Baby oil benefits hair to a certain extent

As it turns out, occlusive baby oil does have several benefits on the hair. According to cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline, baby oil can be used to tame flyaways and keep frizz at bay for a lasting hairstyle. "Because it's an occlusive, it can coat the hair completely to smooth cuticles," Koestline told Byrdie. For those with dry, coarse, and curly hair, baby oil can serve as a moisturizing conditioner to smooth and detangle hair. Just like how baby oil can lock moisture in the skin, it can similarly encapsulate moisture in each hair cuticle and trap its natural moisture, cosmetic chemist Dr. Shuting Hu told Byrdie. However, baby oil should be used in moderation, as it can make your hair greasy.


While baby oil is generally safe to use on your skin and hair, it also carries drawbacks. According to WOW Skin Science, leaving baby oil in your hair can clog pores and cause scalp irritation. If you'd like to use baby oil on your hair, use it in a pinch to give your tresses a slightly lustrous look and a softer feel, but remember to rinse it out before going to bed. If you have naturally oily or straight hair, baby oil is not the best haircare product for you. If you have sensitive skin, perform a test patch on a small area of your scalp before slathering baby oil all over your hair.

Alternatives to baby oil

If you need products to help you nourish your hair on a deeper level, there are various alternatives to baby oil sans greasiness and scalp irritation. Good hair starts with an appropriate washing routine. For those with dry, parched hair that's prone to breakage, consider using a moisturizing shampoo. Rinsing your hair with a moisturizing shampoo can lend your tresses an extra burst of moisture, preventing natural moisture from being washed away. This can keep your hair hydrated and silky smooth, color creative director Tom Smith explained to by L'Oréal. After towel-drying your hair, drench your tresses in one or two pumps of nutrient-filled leave-in conditioner to keep them extra soft.


According to Hair Sure, spritzing sun protection hairspray or serum to shield your hair from ultraviolet rays before heading out or going swimming can also benefit your hair. If possible, avoid hot styling tools as intense heat can damage hair strands — especially chemically treated hair. For the average person, only shampoo every two to three days to avoid drying out your hair strands. If you have super dry hair, washing it only once per week is enough. Every once in a while, go for a deep hair conditioning treatment to replenish the moisture in your hair and repair any harm from chemicals and environmental pollution.