How to Reap the Benefits of Vitamin E Oil for Your Hair, According to Dermatologists

Encourage growth, add hydration, and boost shine with this do-it-all antioxidant.

The solution for dry, dull hair is simpler than you may think: It may just need a vitamin boost. Specifically, vitamin E. Just a few drops of vitamin E oil to your scalp every week may be all it takes to turn locks silky, explains Alicia Zalka, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep.

Vitamin E is a plant-based antioxidant that’s become a mainstay in the beauty aisle thanks to its healing properties. You’ll find it in skincare for moisturizing and reducing inflammation, and it’s a great choice for hair because of how well it can improve the health of your scalp and locks.

The benefits of using vitamin E oil for hair

This is a versatile ingredient: “Vitamin E oil, when applied to the scalp, acts as a conditioner, helping to hydrate and rejuvenate a dry, flaky scalp. In addition, when applied all over hair, it can help boost shine and prevent hair breakage overall,” says Kim Nichols, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and founding director of NicholsMD in Greenwich, CT. So let’s dive into the top benefits vitamin E oil has for your hair:

✔️ Encourage growth: It can be tough to find a non-prescription product that stimulates hair growth, but vitamin E oil has properties that may help. “Vitamin E oil, because it is an antioxidant, helps reduce oxidative stress in the scalp,” Dr. Nichols says. That’s important because oxidative stress makes it hard for your body to repair any damage, she explains, causing hair follicle cells to break down, potentially leading to hair loss. Vitamin E oil works to nourish your scalp and hair, restoring proper function so your hair grows properly. It also increases blood circulation to the scalp, which aids in overall hair growth, Dr. Nichols notes.

✔️ Soothe dryness: Vitamin E oil is an easy cure for dry and flaky scalps. Just as the oil moisturizes the skin, it similarly conditions, hydrates, and rejuvenates the scalp when applied topically.

✔️ Strengthen hair: Our hair follicles tend to weaken naturally with age and from using chemical products and heat-styling tools. The result: breakage and split ends. To help you avoid that fate, vitamin E oil nurses those damaged hair follicles, making them stronger and healthier, so less prone to breaking.

✔️ Add shine: Dry, brittle, frizzy, or dull hair—thanks, again, to heat, chemicals, and your genetics—can be overcome with vitamin E oil. Over time, the product acts as a protective barrier to hair and gives it the nourishment that it needs to be more lustrous.

How to use vitamin E oil for your hair

Derms recommend starting slow and limiting your vitamin E oil use to a few times a week. This allows you to check your scalp for signs of an allergic reaction, including rashes and scalp irritation, Dr. Nichols says. If you have a sensitive scalp, vitamin E may not be the best option for you since it’s a relatively heavy compound.

Step 1: Apply

Begin with a quarter-sized amount of already-diluted vitamin E oil. You’ll know it’s diluted if the product contains carrier oils like coconut or lavender oils. Then use your fingertips and the palm of your hand to gently massage it into your hair and scalp.

You can also add a few drops of a vitamin E oil product into a shampoo or conditioner that doesn’t already contain vitamin E. This method helps ensure that you get an even distribution of the product.

Step 2: Let the oil sit in your hair for an hour (or overnight)

If you want to fully take advantage of vitamin E oil’s powerful properties, wait an hour before rinsing it out if you applied a vitamin E oil product straight (not through shampoo). However, dermatologists say it is safe to leave the oil in the hair overnight as long as it’s rinsed out the following morning.

Step 3: Rinse

When you rinse your hair, be sure to do it thoroughly and use warm water to guarantee the removal of any dirt and residue build-up on the scalp and hair. Once the product is fully rinsed out, you can dry your hair and style it as usual.

In addition to pure vitamin E oil, check out our favorite vitamin E-infused products for healthier, shinier hair below:

1 Vitamin E Oil 23,000 IU

NOW $12.99

This may be one of the most straightforward versions of vitamin E you can find. If you’re really suffering from dry or damaged ends, turn this oil into a mask pre-shampoo for more intensive care.

2 Pineapple Hydrate Curl Nourishing Mask

This mask—meant specifically for curly hair (but workable on all hair types)—contains avocado oil, which is high in vitamin E. The mask is applied post-shampoo and should be rinsed out well (though it can be used as an overnight treatment once a week).

3 Healing + Vitamin E Shampoo $26.60

There aren’t all that many vitamin E shampoos on the market, but OGX makes a great option that can be used on a daily basis thanks to its gentle formula. The addition of the natural compound helps to reduce split ends and smooth hair for a generally shinier and healthier look.

4 Ritual Hair Oil $38.00

While hair oils can feel heavy and, well, oily, that’s not the case with this option from Playa. This lightweight blend of natural oils helps impart major shine, infusing moisture, taming frizz, and protecting your hair from the elements. In addition to vitamin E, this contains other protective antioxidants.

5 Magic Elixir Scalp and Hair Oil Treatment

Kiehl’ $22.00

This scalp treatment combines the power of vitamin E with rosemary oil, which experts say can help boost scalp circulation. Simply apply the elixir directly to your scalp 10 minutes pre-shampoo to stimulate healthy blood flow.

Additional writing by Lulu Chang