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Do you wonder why your hair clipper doesn’t cut perfectly like it used to do, although it works just fine?
Well, many reasons can cause this, but if you don’t remember when was the last time you oiled its blades, then this is probably why.
But don’t worry, you are not the only one! Many people use their clippers for weeks and months without oiling them. This is because they tend to forget that, like every other machinery, their clippers should be oiled to work properly.
However, in this article, we are not going to preach about why you should oil your hair clipper regularly (if you want to know more about it, you can read our article “How To Oil Hair Clippers In Simple Steps“). Instead, we will provide some useful information about what you can use as an alternative to clipper oil if you happen to run out of it, so you have no excuse even if you don’t have clipper oil handy.
So, please let us walk you through the essential features of a good clipper oil and examine some top-rated hair clipper oil alternatives, their upsides, and their downsides.
Features of A Good Hair Clipper Oil
Many people wrongly assume they can use random oils for their hair clippers, and they take any oil available, like cooking or even engine oil, and apply it to the clipper blades.
As you can understand, this is wrong for many reasons. First of all, compared to other synthetic oils, hair clipper oil is thin and thoroughly refined. Using random oils for your hair clipper can clog its blades, making cutting your hair difficult and, more importantly, causing unwanted side effects like skin irritation and allergies. To learn why this happens you can read our article “how hair clippers work”.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a scientist to know what oil is good for your hair clipper. By checking out the features below, you can determine if an oil you think is good for your clipper is actually a good choice.
1. Low viscosity
A good clipper oil alternative should be thin enough to get between the blades and around them and provide a thorough lubricating covering without clogging up anything. In addition, it should not clog your pores which can cause acne.
That’s why oils with low viscosity are recommended for hair clippers.
Low-viscosity oils flow to every nook of the blade easily and can withstand the high temperatures produced by the rapid rubbing of the blades.
2. It must contain mineral oil
Do you only check out the ingredients of food and skincare products? We challenge you to take a look at the ingredient section of your hair clipper oil. You will see that it is 90%+ mineral oil.
White mineral oil is the best ingredient for hair clipper oils. This is because it’s odorless, colorless, and, better still, it does not accommodate bacterial growth. In addition, white mineral oil is thin and will not clog up the blades.
3. It must be lubricating
Oils should be smooth and slippery; that’s what makes them excellent lubricating agents, and hair-clipper oil is no exception.
A good hair clipper oil must provide as much lubrication as possible to minimize the friction that causes the clipper blades to break down or even rust. With a lubricating hair clipper oil, your blades will last longer, you will have to sharpen them less, and your haircuts will be more precise.
4. It must be able to resist high temperatures.
Oils have different smoking points and responses when exposed to intense temperature and friction. For example, some oils will change consistency and lose their properties, and become less lubricating or even toxic when exposed to high temperatures.
As a general rule of thumb, to get the best performance out of your hair clipper and have it running smoothly, use oils that have high resistance to heat.
Now that we know what features a good hair clipper oil should have, let’s take a look at some popular alternatives out there and see how they stack up.
Top Three Clipper Oil Alternatives
Let’s assume you’re on vacation in a foreign country, and you have forgotten your clipper oil back home. Or maybe your hair clipper oil is over, and for some reason, you can’t get your hands on your usual clipper oil. What do you do?
Well, not lubricating your clippers is not an option, so you should try finding an alternative that will be as effective as your usual clipper oil.
And while there are many clipper oil alternatives on the market, not all of them are of the same quality. This is why we decided only to include the top 3 oils that will offer you the same results as your usual clipper oil.
1. Mineral oil
Mineral oil is a cheap and probably the best hair clipper oil alternative when your regular clipper oil runs out. It is made from Paraffin, naphthenes, and aromatic oils, and it has all the properties a good clipper oil should have. In addition, most clipper oils sold by reputable brands contain white mineral oil as their main ingredient. So, the next time you can’t get your hair clipper oil, look for skin-friendly, medical-grade mineral oil.
Finally, it is very important, when buying products that will come in contact with your skin and hair, to opt for a reputable company with a history of producing high-quality food grade cosmetic products.
Pros of Mineral Oil
- It’s easy to find: Mineral oil is everywhere. You’ll find it in grocery and pharmaceutical stores or with a quick online search.
- It’s skin-friendly: Skin-friendliness is an essential requirement of an excellent clipper oil product. When you use mineral oil, you can be sure that it will not cause irritation, or allergies.
- It’s similar to hair clipper oil: Mineral oil is the identical substitute for hair clipper oil. If you consider that white mineral oil is the prominent ingredient of most clipper oils, then you can understand why this oil is such a good alternative.
- It is a low-viscosity oil: Mineral oil is thin and will coat the clipper blades.
Cons of Mineral Oil
- There are lots of varieties: Mineral oils come in many forms. It could be raw, pure, refined, and many more. Shopping for mineral oils can be a bit confusing, so make sure to choose a high-quality petroleum-based mineral oil.
- Unpurified mineral oil is not a good choice: Unpurified mineral oil is thicker and less lubricating, so you should avoid using it on your clippers.
2. Baby Oil
Baby oil is probably the easiest-to-find clipper oil alternative. What makes it a great replacement is that it is made from a combo of mineral oil, vitamin E, and coconut oil.
Because baby oil is made for babies, it is designed to be super skin-friendly, and this is one of its biggest advantages.
Pros of Baby Oil
- It’s skin-friendly: As already mentioned, baby oil is designed for babies and is super skin-friendly.
- It has a pleasant fragrance: Baby oils smell good because they contain added fragrance. So not only will you help your motor oil clippers run smoothly, but you will also be able to enjoy a great smell.
- It’s accessible: If you have a baby, it is highly possible to have baby oil at home already. But even if you don’t, it is very easy to find it in retail stores or online.
Cons of Baby Oil
- Different types of baby oils: Not all baby oils are suitable for hair clippers. Some of them are made from veggie oils instead of white mineral oil. So make sure to read the ingredients before buying.
3. Silicone Oil
Silicone oil’s main use is as a lubricant for treadmill equipment, but when used in small quantities, it also works well as for clipper blades.
Its texture is highly fluid and smooth and will protect the clipper blades from moisture and friction. Finally, it is affordable and has a relatively low viscosity.
Pros of Silicone Oil
- It’s safe: You can use silicone oil on your clipper and skin confidently because it is gentle and safe for any skin type.
- It has a nice texture: If you don’t like oily materials, then you should try out silicone oil. It has a distinctive silky texture that is fluid and slippery without being greasy.
Cons of Silicone Oil
- It’s hard to find: Silicone oils are not readily available in stores around you. And it’s even more difficult when you want a skin-friendly or edible grade oil.
- It attracts dirt: Silicone traps dirt and dust, so you will have to clean your clipper more often if you use it.
- Viscosity: Not all silicone oils are the same, so you may need to choose a low-viscosity silicon oil for your clippers.
Features Your Hair Clipper Oils Must Not Have
Now that we have talked about the features that make a good clipper oil, and suggested you some good alternatives, let’s take a look at the features that you should avoid when choosing a clipper oil.
1. High Viscosity
Lubricants with high viscosity are a disaster when used on hair clippers. They attract dirt and can reduce the performance of the clipper blades. Thick oils like motor oil or big machine oils will clog the clipper blades, reducing the efficiency of your hair clippers.
2. Harsh or irritating reactions on the skin
Everyone expects to look sassy and sleek after a haircut. But there is something more important – being healthy. When you use your clipper, your skin interacts directly with the clipper blades, and as a result, with the oil you have applied to them. At the same time, when you are getting a haircut, many small non-visible cuts occur. If you use an oil that contains harsh chemicals, these chemicals will get into your skin through these small cuts and cause irritation or even allergic reactions.
3. Plant-based Cooking Oils
Granola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and extra virgin olive oil are all famous plant-based cooking oils. They’re skin-friendly, organic, and cost-effective. Plus, you can easily find them in your kitchen. So why not use them as a hair-clipper oil? Well, the truth is that plant-based cooking oils are not designed for use in machines because they quickly oxidize when exposed to air for a long time.
4. Lubricating Coolant sprays
Coolant sprays such as Mist coolant spray, Andis cool care, and many others are great. These sprays are great for disinfecting and keeping your blades cool and in good condition. But they’re not designed to lubricate clipper blades, so they don’t work as well as a clipper oil substitute.
Hair Clipper Oil Alternatives FAQ
No, you cannot use veggie oils on hair clippers. Although veggie oils are good for your beard, please don’t use them on your clippers. They have thick viscosity and can barely withstand high temperatures.
Another downside of using veggie oils on hair clippers is their low oxidative stability. Simply put, this means that they quickly become thick and rancid after prolonged exposure to air.
Yes, all hair-clipper oil alternatives we suggested are gentle on the skin because they are made of non-toxic ingredients. So you can rest assured that you won’t develop bumps, itchy rashes, or irritation.
Yes, you can use mineral oil on your hair clipper. Mineral oil is a thin-viscosity oil that can also resist high temperatures. These qualities make it a worthy replacement for a hair-clipper one.
Now that you are familiar with hair clipper oil alternatives, you should have no problem keeping your hair clipper in good shape, even if you run out of clipper oil. Before buying an oil, think of its properties and make sure it’s in line with the tips we’ve shared with you.
Do you have any other questions about hair clipper oil or its alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!