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Sunflower Oil Makes Hair Look Thick, Healthy and Youthful — For Pennies!

And it's a powerful anti-ager for skin, too

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There’s certainly no shortage of different naturally-derived oils in the beauty world touted as the miracle cure for all your hair and skin needs. But among all of the many oils out there, sunflower oil for hair offers some unique benefits that make it a standout among its counterparts.

And it’s not just a powerhouse for your strands — sunflower oil can do great things for your skin as well. Keep scrolling to learn exactly what makes this ingredient so special and beauty experts share the easiest ways to add it to your beauty routine.

The benefits of sunflower oil for hair

A bottle of sunflower seed oil on a wooden table with a sunflower and sunflower seeds

Sunflower oil’s unique composition makes it a top pick that offers no shortage of benefits for both your hair and scalp.

Sunflower oil for hair: It deeply moisturizes

This may seem like somewhat of a given — as it is an oil, after all — but sunflower oil contains a few key components that make it extra nourishing. “Sunflower oil consists mainly of two unsaturated fats, oleic acid and linoleic acid,” explains Hatice Yildirim, a cosmetic chemist at KKT Consultants. “They help lock in moisture, tame frizz and smooth the hair.” These fatty acids also make the hair more pliable and improve its elasticity, helping to minimize breakage, adds celebrity hairstylist Clyde Haygood.

Sunflower oil for hair: it shields strands from the sun

You may already know that antioxidants are a great ingredient for your skin, but they’re equally as important for your hair. That’s because the sun’s UV rays produce free radicals that weaken your hair, Yildirim points out, and can even cause your color to fade, too. Enter sunflower oil, which is loaded with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, which creates an invisible barrier over strands to prevent damaging UV rays from weakening hair or altering its hue.

Sunflower oil for hair: It keeps the scalp healthy

Let’s not forget that healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Sunflower oil is rich in zinc, a mineral with anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe an irritated, itchy scalp, as well as treat and prevent flaking, notes Haygood. And those fatty acids we mentioned earlier? They’re also effective for combating itchiness and inflammation on the scalp, he adds.

Sunflower oil for hair: It can help prevent thinning and fallout

If your hair is thinning, sunflower oil alone isn’t going to solve the issue. However, it’s a solid choice when it comes to keeping your hair strong and healthy. The zinc found in sunflower oil is involved in the formation of keratin, the main protein that makes up our hair, which Haygood explains that’s why the oil is great for strengthening your strands. Plus, the oil’s linoleic acid reduces scalp inflammation that may disrupt hair growth, adds Yildirim. “All of these benefits help reduce breakage and ensure your hair stays healthy and keeps growing,” says Yildirim.

3 ways to use sunflower oil for hair

Woman with long, lush hair in a field of sunflowers from which they extract oil
Getty Images

One of the best things about sunflower oil? All of the experts we spoke with agree that it’s a top pick for all hair types and textures. Plus, it’s easy to find, affordable and super simple to work into your hair care routine. Try Pura D’Or Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Buy from Amazon, $15.99), a pure, organic version that can be used on both hair and skin.

Here, 3 easy ways to use the natural oil to beautify hair fast.

1. To use sunflower oil to tame frizz and flyaways

“Apply a few drops into your palms and smooth over dry hair, focusing on any areas with frizz or fly-aways,” suggests Haygood. It’s smoothing benefits are nearly instantaneous and it will add a pretty sheen, too.

2. To use sunflower oil to deep condition brittle hair

Woman applying oil onto scalp using dropper.

For a more intensive treatment, use the oil as a weekly hair mask. Work a small amount of the oil into your roots and scalp, then comb it through the lengths and ends. You can do this on wet or dry hair and leave it on for anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight, says Yildirim. (If doing the latter, pop on a shower cap to keep your pillow case clean.) Finish by shampooing and conditioning as usual.

3. To use sunflower oil to boost shine

Up the smoothing and moisturizing benefits of your conditioner by adding a dime size amount into however much conditioner you usually use, recommends Haygood and apply as usual.

The best hair care products infused with sunflower oil

If you don’t want to take the DIY route, you can also pick up a product that’s made with sunflower oil. Yildirim recommends looking for it in masks, scalp treatments, conditioners and/or smoothing serums, all formulas that will maximize sunflower oil’s benefits for hair. A few options to try:

Bottle of Aveeno Sunflower Oil conditioner.

A ready-made conditioner made with the oil, like Aveeno Sunflower Oil Blend Moisturizing Daily Conditioner (Buy from Walmart, $11.25) sinks into damp hair to restore moisture and shine to strands. Plus, it’s made with oatmeal extract that further hydrates hair and seals hair’s cuticle to leave locks looking extra youthful and lustrous.

Using sunflower oil-infused Sun Bum Conditioning Hair Mask (Buy from Ulta, $16.99) once a week reverses any damage from time spent in the sun or exposing hair to hot tools. Tip: After applying the mask, wrap hair with a warm, damp towel, which allows the mask to soak more deeply into hair for the best benefits.


If your scalp could use some TLC, look no further than Aveda Scalp Solutions Overnight Scalp Renewal Serum (Buy from Aveda, $56) that contains sunflower oil to balance an oily scalp or treat a dry, flaky scalp. Simply add a few drops onto fingertips and massage onto the scalp before bed; wash out in the morning.

Bonus: How sunflower oil benefits skin

Woman with beautiful skin next to sunflowers, the oil of which helps skin glow
solidcolours/Getty Images

Many of those same beneficial nutrients we mentioned earlier can also work wonders for your complexion and body.

Sunflower oil skin benefit: It strengthens skin’s barrier

Fatty acids, oleic and linoleic acids in sunflower oil are essential for preventing loss of hydration and combatting irritation, Yildirim points out. The high concentration of linoleic acid is especially noteworthy here as it’s essential for the formation of ceramides, the building blocks of a healthy skin barrier, she explains. And a healthy skin barrier means there’s less water and moisture escaping the skin and fewer irritants getting in so the complexion stays looking flawless and youthful.

Sunflower oil skin benefit: It makes skin look smooth and supple

Sunflower oil is an emollient, meaning it fills in gaps in dry, dehydrated skin to make it look and feel smoother, explains Yildirim. Bonus: You’ll see that effect right away.

Sunflower oil skin benefit: It protects skin from sun damage

Just as it does for hair, the vitamin E in sunflower oil helps prevent premature aging by combatting damaging free radicals from the sun and pollution, explains Justine Kahn, an esthetician, herbalist and creator of Botnia Skincare. And those free radicals can contribute to everything from dullness to spots to fine lines and wrinkles — all things we want to reduce and prevent as we get older.

Sunflower oil skin benefit: It calms inflammation

Woman with red hair posing in front of a wood wall while smiling and touching her chin

“Linoleic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe skin and reduce irritation,” says Yildirim. This makes the oil a great choice for women who have sensitive skin and/or deal with rosacea or eczema.

How to use sunflower oil for skin

All skin types can benefit from the oil’s many attributes. And yes, that includes even those with oily or acne-prone skin as sunflower oil is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores or contribute to breakouts) and feels lightweight and non-greasy, says Kahn.

1. Use sunflower oil as a moisturizer for face and body

Just as you can apply it directly to your hair, so too can you pat it onto your skin, massaging it in until it absorbs. Yildirim notes that this works great for both the face and body.

2. Use sunflower oil as a makeup remover

Woman holding a cotton pad near her face who is about to remove makeup and clean her face
Cecile Lavabre/Getty

Oil dissolves oil, which is why so many makeup removers are oil-based since they more effectively break down the oil in foundations, blushes, mascaras and amore. Kahn recommends using sunflower oil as a makeup remover by applying 2-3 drops of the oil onto a cotton pad and swipe it across your face and eyes. It won’t feel greasy, but will dissolve even stubborn and waterproof makeup, all while delivering skin-conditioning benefits simultaneously, she explains.

3. Use sunflower oil as a hydrating face mask

To combat super dry, dehydrated skin, Kahn recommends combining one part sunflower oil to two parts honey for a deeply conditioning face mask. Honey can further help lock in moisture, and has antibacterial properties, she points out. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing to reveal softer, smoother skin.

The best skin care products infused with sunflower oil

For ready-made products made with sunflower oil, look for ones that will capitalize on the oil’s moisturizing benefits, such as barrier repair serums, face oil blends or moisturizers, says Yildirim. Four picks that fit the bill:

Tuve of CosRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream.

COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream (Buy from Amazon, $17.06) contains both sunflower oil and ceramides that when applied to the face fortify skin’s barrier to lock in moisture and ward off irritation. Plus, it’s also infused with centella asiatica extract, which has been shown to improve skin’s elasticity by encouraging skin-firming collagen production.

Mad Hippie face oil with sunflower oil in it.
Mad Hippie/Amazon

Antioxidant-rich Mad Hippie Antioxidant Facial Oil (Buy from Ulta, $25.99) features a blend of sunflower, argan and pomegranate seed oils to just name a few. Together, these oils mend any damage and soothe irritated skin to leave the complexion looking radiant and supple.

Bottle of Jason Vitamin E skin oil.

Applying a body oil made with sunflower oil, like Jason Skin Oil (Buy from Amazon, $6.98) post-showering allows the skin-nourishing nutrients to deeply absorb into skin. Bonus: You can also use it in place of shaving cream when shaving and it will even help you get a closer shave as the oil swells and props body hair off of skin.

Tub of  Weleda Skin Food Body Butter.

 Say bye-bye to rough, dry patches by using sunflower oil-packed Weleda Skin Food Body Butter (Buy on Amazon, $16.13). The body butter sinks into skin to restore moisture from the inside-out. What’s more, its shea and cocoa butter base plumps skin to help any crepey or saggy areas appear instantly firmer and smoother.

To learn more about how natural oils benefit skin and hair, click through these stories:

Castor Oil Proven to Regrow Hair on Head, Eyebrows + Eyelashes — For Pennies A Day!

Fight Wrinkles, Dark Circles, and Sun Damage With Rosehip Oil

This $9 Essential Oil Helps Keep Jane Seymour Looking Youthful

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