smiling woman with healthy 4C hair

Depending on your hair’s porosity or your styling preferences (wash ‘n go, braids, twists, etc.), you may find that your hair thrives better with light oils. So, in this quick guide we’re going to look at the top lightweight oils that are ideal for 4C hair.

As you’ll notice throughout the article, there is a lot of overlap in the benefits that many of these oils provide.

However, there are also some studies that have been done on specific oils and their role in hair growth. When relevant, I’ve included that information for you.

So, without further delay, let’s have a look at these lightweight oils.

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.


1. Grapeseed Oil

Without a doubt, grapeseed oil is the lightest carrier oil that you can use on 4C hair.

It is practically odorless and has a very thin consistency that doesn’t leave the hair feeling greasy.

In addition, grapeseed oil is:

  • Rich in essential fatty acids that can help fight inflammation of the scalp. 
  • A natural source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is both an antioxidant and emollient (i.e. it can soften the hair and prevent water loss).
  • Rich in other antioxidants, including phenols, which also have antibacterial properties. This last characteristic means grapeseed oil might be helpful when there’s a bacterial infection of the scalp).

Lastly, it’s worth noting that grapeseed oil has a high linoleic acid that can get to levels of about 75%. This matters a lot for hair growth because research indicates that linoleic acid may actually promote hair growth (source).

Product to try: Grapeseed Oil from NOW.


2. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil’s main claim to fame is that it is quite similar to sebum.

The similarity comes from the fact that jojoba oil contains wax esters. And it just so happens that 25% of our sebum is also made of wax esters.

So, outside of your natural sebum, jojoba oil is probably the best nourishing treatment you can give your strands and scalp.

On top of this, jojoba oil contains:

  • Vitamins A, D and E.
  • Various antioxidants that can be soothing to an inflamed scalp.

In terms of consistency, jojoba oil is just a smidge heavier than grapeseed oil. As for its odor, jojoba oil has a mild nutty odor that dissipates quickly.

Product to try: Organic Jojoba Oil


3. Apricot Kernel Oil

Not only is this oil’s weight similar to that of sebum, but it is a natural source of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which plays a role in the secretion of sebum.

Since sebum is always the best conditioner and lubricant for hair, apricot oil can support your follicles so that they produce enough sebum.

In addition, apricot kernel oil is rich in vitamin E while also having anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Product to try: Organic Apricot Kernel Oil from Sky Organics


4. Fractionated Coconut Oil

Unlike unrefined coconut oil – which is solid – fractionated coconut oil is liquid and has a much lighter consistency. 

This type of coconut oil has been processed to remove the solid fats. So, what’s left in fractionated coconut oil are the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides).

In addition, you should know that lauric acid – which is mostly responsible for coconut oil’s antibacterial properties – is missing from fractionated oil.

Overall, this is a completely odorless and lightweight oil that is great for lubricating the ends of the hair.

Product to try: Fractionated Coconut Oil from Sky Organics


5. Rosehip Oil

Although it’s not usually considered a hair oil, rosehip oil is definitely one of the lightest oils out there.

Rosehip oil is best known for its bright orange color, which comes mainly from its beta carotene content.

So, just like apricot oil (which also has beta carotene), rosehip oil may help the follicles to produce the appropriate amount of sebum.

In addition, rosehip oil is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant oil that happens to be very soothing to sensitive or irritated skin.

However, good quality rosehip oil can be pricey. So, it’s best to use it in a blend with other oils. For example, consider doing a blend of:

  • 50% jojoba.
  • 25% grapeseed.
  • 25% rosehip.

Product to try: Pure Rosehip Oil from Kosmea

bottle of rosehip oil


6. Safflower Oil

Just like grapeseed, safflower oil is quite high in linoleic acid (about 76%).

So, not surprisingly, there is research suggesting that safflower can improve hair growth, even in cases of alopecia.

In addition, safflower oil seems to be beneficial for scalp dermatitis (eczema) and loss of hair color (source).

Product to try: Naissance Safflower Oil


7. Sunflower Oil

Thanks to its high linoleic acid content (which can reach about 75%) sunflower oil may be helpful in promoting 4C hair growth.

Like all carrier oils, this oil has essential fatty acids that are great for soothing inflammation.

In addition, sunflower oil is naturally in vitamin E, which has antioxidant and emollient properties.

Product to try: Sunflower Oil from Maple Holistics


8. Sweet Almond Oil

Almond oil is high in oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that tends to make oils heavy. However, almond is one of the exception because it’s actually quite light and fluid.

That said, it’s not quite as light as say grapeseed or rosehip oil.

So, this is one oil that might be better on your strands only, not your scalp.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that even though almonds contain biotin (aka the hair growth vitamin), almond oil does not. This is because biotin is a B-vitamin. B-vitamins are water soluble. Therefore there are no B vitamins in natural oils.

Product to try: Almond Oil from NOW



Here are some tips for incorporating these oils into your 4C hair care routine:

  • Use one oil or a blend of oils as a hot oil treatment before shampooing.
  • If you tend to have a dry or sore scalp, consider massaging a few drops onto your scalp at night. Do this 2 to 3 times a week. Rosehip or jojoba oil are great options for this.
  • If you use bentonite clay masks on your hair, adding a few drops of these oils will help to make the mask less drying for your strands.
  • Lightweight oils are the perfect base for a DIY hair growth oil. You can infuse the oils with herbs and essential oils to boost the effectiveness. For a step-by-step guide and recipes, use this guide on how to infuse herbs in oil for hair growth.


What oil grows 4C hair fast?

Research suggests that oils rich in linoleic acid may promote hair growth. This includes oils like pumpkin seed oil, which has been shown to increase hair growth in mice. Another oil that may promote 4C hair growth is safflower oil, which has been shown to improve alopecia.


Remember that hair oils are meant to lock in moisture. They do not provide moisture.

So, you want to avoid applying these lightweight oils to dry hair (this will actually increase dryness). Instead, apply them right after wetting your hair.

Or you can mist your hair with water and then apply them to help your 4C strands retain moisture and eventually, length.

pin for lightweight oils for 4c hair

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