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the 10 best oils for 4C hair

The 10 Best Oils for 4C Hair (2024)

Choosing the best oil for your afro 4C hair can be a little tricky, as everyone's hair is unique and what works for one person may not work for another.

4C hair is known for its tight curls and coils, and it's often seen as one of the most fragile hair types. Due to its unique structure, 4C hair is prone to dryness, breakage and damage, which can make it difficult to maintain health and strength. That's where oils come in! 


Oils offer the perfect solution to moisturise and protect 4C hair, penetrating the hair shaft to provide deep hydration, seal in moisture, and protect from environmental damage. The only problem is, how do you know what oils are right for you? 


We’ve got 10 of the best oils for 4C hair, so whether you need a rich formula to deep condition or something lightweight for everyday use, there’s something here for you. Keep reading to learn more!

Key Overview

  • Consider factors such as porosity and hair concerns when choosing an oil. 
  • Some hair oils particularly suited to 4C hair include coconut, avocado and black seed oil. 
  • You can apply hair oils in a variety of ways including as a scalp treatment, deep conditioner or daily moisturiser. 
  • Avoid products such as mineral oil that can clog follicles and cause hair loss.

How Do I Choose the Best Oils for My 4C Hair?

woman with 4c hair thinking

Choosing the best oil for your afro 4C hair can be a little tricky, as everyone's hair is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. 

Firstly, you will need to consider your 4C hair needs, for example, if you have dry locks. It is worth considering experimenting with different oils so you can identify the ones that work best for your tresses.

Also, take into consideration the porosity of your hair. If you have high porosity hair, then you will want to use a heavier oil but for those with low porosity locks, stick with something more lightweight. 

Remember, finding the best oils for your afro hair may take some trial and error, but with patience and persistence, you'll find the perfect choice!

Which Oils are Good for 4C Hair | Top 10

different oils for 4c hair

1. Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil, also known as nigella sativa oil, is perfect for 4C hair as this natural oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties which keep the scalp and hair well protected. Not only that but its high content of antioxidants and fatty acids lock in moisture to promote healthy hair growth. So, if you’re wondering if you should put oil in your 4C hair, then this is a great all-rounder!

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a popular choice for 4C afro hair because it penetrates the hair shaft to moisturise and strengthen the hair. Rich in vitamins and fatty acids, it nourishes and protects the hair. Be sure to patch test before use, however, as some people have sensitivities to coconut oil. Use in moderation to avoid build-up, and warm in the hands before applying to avoid dragging the hair.

3. Castor Oil

Castor oil is a rich, thick hair oil that's absolutely great for afro hair. Why? Because it's high in fatty acids and vitamin E. It's also a natural humectant, which is just a fancy way of saying that it helps retain moisture in the hair. We recommend using this once a week, diluted with water, to avoid build-up. 

4. Olive Oil

Olive oil is super lightweight and works well for black hair because it's rich in antioxidants and has a high concentration of oleic acid. This acid is able to penetrate the hair shaft for extra hydration. Although it’s lightweight, you should avoid putting this oil on the scalp, as this will help reduce build-up.

5. Jojoba Oil

Ideal for 4C hair, thanks to its lightweight formulation, jojoba oil is similar to the natural oils produced by the scalp and can help to regulate the scalp’s natural oil production. The nourishing qualities help to hydrate hair without weighing it down.

6. Argan Oil

The non-greasy quality of argan oil makes it a good choice for 4C tresses. The antioxidants and fatty acids within this light oil will keep the hair well-nourished and protected to reduce damage and frizz. It also helps to improve hair’s overall appearance by boosting shine and the condition.

7. Avocado Oil

This thick, rich oil is a great hydrator for 4C hair that can help to improve elasticity and strength. Although avocado oil is super moisturising, it can be too heavy for some 4C hair causing build-up, so use in moderation and mix with a lighter oil to create a thinner consistency.

8. Marula Oil

Rich in vitamins E and C, as well as hydrating fatty acids, marula oil often goes under the radar in the hair world, but this powerful ingredient is perfect for protecting 4C hair from free radicals and other environmental factors. The presence of vitamin C will help to promote collagen production to improve overall hair health.  

9. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a natural stimulant that's ideal for boosting circulation to the scalp, promoting healthy 4C hair growth, and reducing thinning. It is also a great oil for tackling dandruff and other scalp conditions. As this is an essential oil, you should always dilute this with a carrier oil before applying to the hair and scalp to avoid irritation.

10. Baobab Oil

Use baobab oil to hydrate and strengthen your 4C hair. This lightweight but nourishing oil is perfect for moisturising parched locks, and would be one of the best choices for low porosity hair. It’s great for reducing breakages and promoting healthy regrowth as well as improving the elasticity of the locks.

Our Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Best Ways to Apply Hair Oils to 4C Afro Hair?

apply hair oil to 4C afro hair

There are several ways to apply hair oils to 4C hair, and here are our favourites:

Pre-poo Treatment

Before shampooing your hair, apply your preferred hair oil to your hair and scalp, focusing particularly on the ends of your hair for a fantastic deep conditioning treatment. Leave the oil in your hair for at least 30 minutes, or you can even leave it in overnight.

Hot Oil Treatment

Heat up your hair oil of choice and apply it to your hair, starting from the roots and working your way to the ends. Cover your hair with a shower cap and sit under a heated dryer or wrap a warm towel around your head for about 30 minutes or so.

Leave-In Treatment

After washing your hair, apply your preferred hair oil to damp hair, focusing in particular on the ends to seal in moisture.

Scalp Massage

Apply a few drops of your preferred hair oil to your fingertips and massage it into your scalp in circular motions to stimulate blood flow and hair growth.

Daily Moisturiser

Apply a small amount of hair oil to your hair and scalp daily, focusing on the ends.

What Oils Should Be Avoided for 4C Hair?

Not all oils will be good for your 4C locks as they can be too heavy, damage the scalp, or cause build-up. Some hair oils to avoid for 4C hair include:

Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly

These oils are derived from petroleum and can clog hair follicles and cause build-up on the scalp, leading to hair loss and other scalp issues.

Heavy Oils

Some heavy oils, such as hemp seed oil or shea butter, can be too heavy for 4C hair and cause build-up, leaving hair looking and feeling greasy.

Essential Oils

While essential oils can undoubtedly provide a nice fragrance, and also some therapeutic benefits, if you don’t properly dilute them, then they can also be irritating to the scalp.

Sulphur Oils

Sulphur oils are sometimes used to promote hair growth, but they can also be harsh and drying to the hair and scalp. 

Remember, everyone's hair is different and what works for one person may not work for another, we would always recommend exercising caution when applying a new product to your locks. It's always a good idea to patch test any new products and monitor how your hair responds to them.


4C hair is known for being fragile and prone to dryness and breakage. Oils are a great solution to moisturise and protect 4C hair, with many options available to suit individual needs. 

We know there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an oil, but we would recommend considering your hair's needs and porosity, as well as experimenting with different oils to find what works best for you. Some of the best oils for 4C hair include baobab, argan, and rosemary oil but our top 10 list shows that there is something for everyone!