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What Is Dry Oil, and How Do You Use It?

Kaitlin Willow
Writer and expert7 years ago
View Kaitlin Willow's profile
dry oil lifestyle image
Image courtesy of AHAVA

Recently I read about how dry oil is a highly moisturizing hair treatment that adds a bit of shine without making your hair look greasy. Intrigued by the promise—though confused by the name—I ordered a little bottle of dry oil for my hair. After a few uses, my hair looked and felt great, but I remained confused. After all, when you see the word oil, what comes to mind? Probably a slick, wet substance. Add the word dry in front of it, and it sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? How can something be both wet and dry?

Solving the Mystery: What Is Dry Oil? 

To help eliminate my confusion, I reached out to those who know dry oil best—the brands that have helped put it on our radar. Here's what founder of The Organic Pharmacy, Margo Marrone, as well as brand educators at Alterna, had to say about this moisturizing product.

As it turns out, the term dry oil isn't referring to the substance itself. Instead, the name comes from how your skin and hair absorb the oil. Unlike, say, massage oil, which stays primarily on top of the skin to reduce friction, "Dry oil is a very light oil that is instantly absorbed," says Marrone.

Hair, body and face oils are known for being nourishing and moisturizing, among other benefits, but those benefits sometimes come with some unwanted slip and shine. Enter dry oil. According to AHAVA, "Dry oils give all the benefits of oil but without leaving the greasy feeling."

In short: Dry oil is a lightweight, non-greasy, quick-absorbing oil for the skin and/or hair.

How to Use Dry Oil

Each of the brands I talked to offers a dry oil in mist form for ultra-easy application. While each one is made with a special blend of oils and recommended for a specific set of uses, they all share the same goal: to nourish and moisturize, quickly and effortlessly. Here are some of the ways to use dry oil in your beauty routine.

    Kaitlin Willow
    Writer and expert
    View Kaitlin Willow's profile

    Kaitlin Willow is Dermstore's Community Manager. She lives and breathes words—reading as many books as possible and writing her own novel, too. Kaitlin also has a sliiiight obsession with her dog, Benny. Learn more at