Best Known Essential Oils for Hair
Essential oils are extracted from plants through methods like distillation or evaporation. While essential oils are most famous for their aromatic capabilities, they also contain strong chemical properties that can be beneficial for health.
Essential oils have long been used in alternative, Eastern, and homeopathic medicines thanks to their effectiveness and low risk of side effects.
One benefit some essential oils have is improving hair health. Different oils can do everything from helping hair grow to adding strength and shine.Essential oils for your hair
1. Lavender essential oil
Lavender oil can speed up hair growth. Knowing that lavender oil has properties that can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress, researchers on one animal study found that this oil was able to generate faster hair growth in mice.
It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can improve scalp health.
Mix several drops of lavender oil into 3 tablespoons of carrier oil, like olive oil or melted coconut oil, and apply it directly to your scalp. Leave it in for at least 10 minutes before washing it out and shampooing as you normally would. You can do this several times per week.2. Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil can cause a cold, tingling feeling when it increases circulation to the area it’s applied to. This can help promote hair growth during the anagen (or growing) phase.
One study found that peppermint oil, when used on mice, increased the number of follicles, follicle depth, and overall hair growth.
Mix 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with the carrier oil of your choice. Massage it into your scalp, and leave on for 5 minutes before washing out thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner.3. Rosemary essential oil
If you want to improve both hair thickness and hair growth, rosemary oil is a great choice thanks to its ability to improve cellular generation.
According to one study, rosemary oil performed as well as minoxidil, a common hair growth treatment, but with less scalp itching as a side effect.
Mix several drops of rosemary oil with olive or coconut oil, and apply it to your scalp. Leave it in for at least 10 minutes before washing it out with shampoo. Do this twice per week for best results.4. Cedarwood essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil is thought to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss by balancing the oil-producing glands in the scalp. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can treat different conditions that may contribute to dandruff or hair loss.
Mix a few drops of cedarwood essential oil with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil of your choice. Massage it into your scalp, and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it out.
It may be hard to find in grocery stores, but you might be able to purchase it from smaller health food stores.5. Lemongrass essential oil
Dandruff can be a common ailment, and having a healthy, flake-free scalp is an important part of hair health. Lemongrass oil is an effective dandruff treatment, with one 2015 study finding that it significantly reduced dandruff after one week.
Lemongrass oil for dandruff is most effective when used daily. Mix a few drops into your shampoo or conditioner daily, and make sure it’s massaged into your scalp.6. Thyme essential oil
Thyme is particularly strong, even among essential oils. Put only 2 small drops in 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil before applying it to your scalp. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, then wash it out.7. Clary sage essential oil
Clary sage oil contains the same linalyl acetate that helps make lavender oil so effective in increasing hair growth. It can improve hair strength, in addition to increasing hair growth, making hair more difficult to break.
Mix 3 drops of clary sage oil with your favorite conditioner, or with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. If using it daily, rinse out after 2 minutes. If using it once or twice per week, leave it on for 10 minutes.8. Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree oil has powerful cleansing, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. When used topically, it can help unplug hair follicles and increase hair growth.
Tea tree oils come in many concentrations, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Some are highly concentrated essential oils, and other products are mixed in a cream or oil.
A 2013 study even found that a mixture containing tea tree oil and minoxidil was more effective than just the minoxidil alone in improving hair growth, though more studies are needed on using tea tree oil only.
A review in 2015 found tea tree is commonly used in anti-dandruff treatment products.
You can mix 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into your shampoo or conditioner and use it daily. Or, you can mix 3 drops with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil, and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it out.9. Ylang-ylang essential oil
While those with oily hair and skin would want to skip this one, ylang-ylang oil is ideal for those with dry scalps, as it can stimulate sebum production.
As lack of enough oil and sebum causes hair to become dry and brittle, ylang-ylang can improve hair texture and reduce hair breakage.
Mix 5 drops of essential ylang-ylang oil with 2 tablespoons of warm oil. Massage it into your scalp, and wrap your head with a warm towel. Leave it in for 30 minutes before washing it out. Ylang-ylang can also be found in preparations such as shampoo or creams.An extract oil alternative
Horsetail plant extract oil
Horsetail plant oil is an extract oil, not an essential oil. It contains silica, which is thought to improve hair growth speed and strength along with potentially reducing dandruff.
While no studies have evaluated horsetail oil used topically, a 2015 study found that oral tablets containing the oil improved hair growth and strength in women with self-perceived thinning hair.
It can also be effective as a topical treatment, with anecdotal evidence and theory suggesting that it may help boost circulation to the scalp and have the same benefits as the oral tablet. You can buy it online or at your nearest health food store.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions. It can be added to shampoo or massaged into your scalp.Risks and potential complications
The biggest risk of essential oils is skin irritation or allergic reactions. This is especially common when an essential oil is applied directly to the skin, so it’s vital to always use a carrier oil to dilute it.
Allergic reactions are also more common in those with sensitive skin or those who have allergies to the essential oil.
Symptoms of skin irritation include:
- contact dermatitis
- burning, discomfort, or painful tingling
- redness in the affected area
Signs of an allergic reaction include:
- severe dermatitis
- blistering rashes
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the tongue or narrowing of the throat
Only older teenagers and adults should use essential oils topically for hair health. If you think essential oils could benefit your child, ask their pediatrician first to make sure it’s safe.
To evaluate for irritation, remember to test a small amount of the mixture on a small patch of skin before full use.Bottom Line:
Essential oils can help you improve the health of your hair with very little risk of side effects at an affordable price point. They’re also easy to use.
For many, mixing some with a carrier oil or your shampoo and applying that to your scalp regularly can increase hair growth, strength, or shine.Should I Use Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth?
Rosemary essential oil and hair
Rosemary is a culinary and healing herb. This woody perennial is native to the Mediterranean region, where it’s been used as food and medicine for centuries.
Much like oregano, peppermint, and cinnamon, rosemary is frequently found in essential oil form. Essential oils are highly concentrated and distilled extracts of volatile plant compounds. These are used for cooking, cleaning, beauty, health, and other purposes.
In recent years, there have been claims that the oil may be great for hair growth. Some say it could even prevent hair loss, pointing to Mediterranean cultures’ use of rosemary in hair rinses to promote hair growth for hundreds of years as supporting evidence.Can rosemary oil treat hair loss?
The idea that rosemary oil encourages hair growth may come from the rosemary’s basic health benefits. The plant in essential oil form is said to:
- have anti-inflammatory properties
- promote nerve growth
- improve circulation
Like peppermint essential oil (also used to promote hair growth), rosemary essential oil strengthens circulation. As a result, it could prevent hair follicles from being starved of blood supply, dying off, and leading to hair loss.
According to some scientific evidence, rosemary may benefit nerve tissue.
Carnosic acid, an active ingredient in the plant, healed tissue and nerve damage in one study. This ability to heal nerve endings may rejuvenate nerves in the scalp too, in turn possibly restoring hair growth.
More revealing recent studies show that rosemary directly helps protect against hair loss. One 2015 trial pitted the essential oil against minoxidil, commercially known as Rogaine. Both were used on human subjects with androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness).
Results showed that rosemary essential oil was just as effective a minoxidil. During the process, it helped the side effect of itchy scalp more successfully than minoxidil.
Another study of rosemary leaf extract (different from the essential oil) showed it stimulated hair growth. This occurred when hair loss was triggered by testosterone (as in pattern baldness). This study was performed on mice, however.
Two separate clinical reviews — one from 2010 and one from 2011 — also acknowledge rosemary’s hair growth potential. The former cites a study with successful hair regrowth in people with alopecia who used essential oils. One of these essential oils was rosemary.
In the latter review, rosemary essential oil was described as a hair loss restorative. This was due to its circulation-improving effects.How should I use rosemary oil for hair loss?
Here are a few ways to try using rosemary essential oil as a hair restorative and thickener. Try any of these treatments one to two times per week to start out. Use them more often when desired or you’ve become comfortable using them.1. Massage it directly into your scalp
Take about 5 drops of rosemary essential oil and massage evenly into your scalp after bath or shower. Mix with a carrier oil (like jojoba oil or coconut oil) if desired. Rinsing out the oil afterward is optional — though if you do rinse, let the oil sit on your scalp for at least 5 to 10 minutes beforehand. Or try Essence of Nature "Hair Growth Elixir"2. Mix it into your shampoo
This can also apply to conditioners, lotions, or creams. Play it safe and don’t add too much. Keep to about five drops per ounce of product. Afterward, use the product like usual. You can also add 2 to 3 drops directly to any hair product when you apply a dollop of it on your palm before use.What should I know before using rosemary oil?
Avoid getting essential oil in your eyes. If contact occurs, quickly rinse your eyes with cold water.
Likewise, be careful not to apply too much to your scalp. Rosemary essential oil has been known to irritate the skin. It may cause discomfort, but no health dangers. To avoid skin irritation, dilute the oil with a carrier oil or other product before applying it.
Not enough is known about the safety of using rosemary essential oils while pregnant or breastfeeding. Though using the essential oil for hair loss is only done topically, be cautious — its effects in this regard are still unknown.Bottom line:
Rosemary has been used by many to promote hair growth successfully. Using rosemary essential oil could very well do the same for you.
Science and personal experience together both strongly suggest the essential oil does protect against hair loss, particularly that related to male or female pattern baldness. It may even be effective for alopecia.
Rosemary essential oil is a simple remedy that you can use at home, and it may even be competitive with commercial products. What’s more, it’s quite safe when used correctly and yields very few side effects.5 Reasons to Use Lavender Oil for Your Hair
Boasting many uses and a heavenly scent, lavender essential oils are made directly from the lavender plant. Using special distilling techniques, the end-product is a highly concentrated extract of lavender’s useful compounds, full of health benefits and more.
These include pain relief, migraine relief, air freshening, cleaning, and even hair care perks. Studies suggest it has many advantages for hair and healthy, beautiful locs.
We’ll look at these in this article.How does lavender oil improve hair health?
Lavender oil has many beneficial properties that could also support hair health, some of which are described here.1. It helps promote hair growth
Lavender essential oil recently gained attention for stimulating hair growth. A 2016 study found that lavender oil applied to mice made them grow more hair. Their hair also grew thicker and faster than normal.
This benefit is way more effective when the oil can work itself into the skin. Per these studies, lavender oil may help with issues like pattern baldness or alopecia. Human studies are needed to prove this, though people can safely try the oil in their hair.2. It’s antimicrobial
Lavender also has antimicrobial properties, noted in this 2014 review. This means it helps prevent bacteria and fungi from growing.
A 2011 study found that lavender essential oil could help prevent head lice. It may even kill head lice.
The study tested lavender with another essential oil, tea tree oil. Though more studies are needed, using lavender oil could possibly reduce the risk of getting lice. Using tea tree oil with it could be even more successful.
But that doesn’t mean these oils are a replacement for your prescribed treatment plan — you shouldn’t rely solely on oils to treat head lice.4. It may help curb skin inflammation
Lavender is sometimes used as a home remedy for skin inflammation and burns. Using it in essential oil form may be good for scalp inflammation and dryness.
A 2012 study saw lavender oil used topically on skin inflammations and ulcers, with success. It reduced inflammation and sped up the healing process.5. It has a calming effect and divine fragrance
As an extra benefit, lavender has a wonderful smell. Its aroma can literally calm down your nervous system. In this 2012 experiment, human subjects experienced more relaxation, pleasure, and better moods after inhaling its fragrance.How to use lavender oil for hair
There are many ways to use and apply lavender oil to one’s hair. Depending on the benefits you want to experience, certain applications are better than others.1. Massage the oil into your scalp
Want to get the very best of lavender oil’s hair growth and scalp benefits? Massage diluted lavender oil onto your scalp.
This is best to do following a bath or shower. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse out afterward (if desired). You can leave it in overnight with your hair wrapped in a towel if you want maximum benefits. You’ll also experience lavender’s calming and lovely scent as well as some scalp-healing effects.
Oil massaging anywhere from once per week to once per day works well.2. Add the oil to your hair products
For some scalp benefit, hair growth, fragrance, and calming effects, add oil to hair products. For example, you can add a little lavender oil to shampoo, conditioner, or another product.
Be sparing. Only add about five drops per ounce of product to be safe. Next, use hair product as directed. Another option: Add two to three drops directly to a dollop of hair product in your palm before applying.
Use it as often as you would use your hair products regularly.3. Purchase products with lavender essential oil already added
Products with lavender oil already in them can be calming, fragrant, and good for your scalp. They may not necessarily promote hair growth—the lavender oil is very likely to be diluted, with the amount varying from product to product.
Next time you’re purchasing hair care products, look at the ingredients. If the ingredients lists contain “lavender essential oil” or “lavender hydrolate,” these are good candidates. The more natural ingredients and carrier oils, the better. Simply use products as often as is needed or as directed, daily or weekly. Try Essence of Nature "Hair Growth Elixir"4. Use lavender essential oil hair serum
Hair serums are products designed for specific hair care benefits. This includes frizzy hair, oily hair, split ends, and more.
Some hair serums are designed to include lavender essential oil for its effects. They may have some scalp benefits but fewer hair-growth benefits, though they may also prevent hair from breaking.
Just like with purchasing any product, look at the ingredient list on the label. Products that list lavender essential oil content and natural ingredients are your best bet. Follow directions on hair serum product for how often you should use it, daily or weekly.5. Try a lavender hair mask once per week
Try a weekly lavender hair mask. This gives you all the best benefits of lavender oil for hair care. Like a hair serum, it could also give benefits such as preventing breakage or moisturizing.Does lavender oil have side effects?
Make sure not to apply too much oil to scalp or products. Too much essential oil can irritate the skin. To avoid this, always use with a carrier oil when using plain oils.
Never ingest plain essential oils or get them in your eyes. If you accidentally get them in your eyes, wash your eyes out immediately with cool water.
Be cautious using or inhaling lavender if you take nervous system sedatives or depressants. There are known interactions with these medications that may exaggerate sleepiness or drowsiness. Other interactions are unknown.
Other than these considerations, using diluted lavender essential oil topically is perfectly safeThe bottom line:
Lavender oil can be a safe and valuable add-on to your hair care regimen. Studies show it may promote hair growth and prevent thinning. It may also have other perks for overall scalp and hair health. There are also many ways to apply it to your hair or use it with (or in) your favorite products. Just make sure to use it correctly and consider any possible side effects.
Can Peppermint Oil Benefit Your Hair?
Peppermint oil is the essence of peppermint extracted into an oil. Some peppermint oils are stronger than others. The strongest types are made using modern distillation techniques and are called essential oils.
Peppermint essential oil is the most common type of peppermint oil available for purchase. It can be used for health, beauty, and cleaning purposes.
Peppermint contains a compound called menthol. Menthol is responsible for many of the benefits of peppermint oils. Menthol also gives peppermint its taste, smell, and cooling sensation.Why use peppermint oil on hair?
Some people use peppermint oil as part of their beauty and hair care regimen. Its fragrance is pleasant and popularly found in shampoos, skin creams, and other products.
The benefits of peppermint essential oil can be described as:
- insecticidal and pesticidal
- analgesic and anesthetic
- vasodilating (and vasoconstricting)
Some people have used the oil as a remedy for hair loss. This may be because the menthol in peppermint essential oil is a vasodilator, and vasodilators improve blood flow. In many instances (such as in female or male pattern baldness), hair loss occurs due to starved blood flow to hair follicles. Increasing circulation with a vasodilator like peppermint could potentially improve hair growth and prevent some hair loss.
Peppermint menthol also imparts a freshened smell and tingly sensation on the skin and scalp. You can reap these benefits by adding the essential oil to your beauty products.Do studies support its use for hair loss?
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in some parts in the world to promote hair growth. However, the use of peppermint for reinvigorating hair growth is generally recent. It doesn’t have longstanding traditional evidence to back it up, nor has it been studied in depth. Only over the past few decades have peppermint essential oils been widely available to the public.
That said, a recent 2014 study in mice showed that peppermint essential oils could hold a lot of promise for hair growth. Researchers noticed the hair grew faster and thicker, and blood flow to undernourished hair follicles increased. The study opens a door to exploring peppermint essential oil’s benefits for human hair growth.
However, other studies (one in 2011 and one in 2013) showed that menthol from peppermint essential oil promotes vasoconstriction rather than vasodilation. But this vasoconstriction only appears to happen when the skin or muscle area where oil is applied is inflamed, such as after exercise.
More research is needed to better understand the effects of peppermint oil on hair growthHow do you use peppermint oil for hair loss?
There are a few ways you can use peppermint oil on your hair to try to prevent hair loss.
One is by direct scalp massage. Add a couple drops of oil to about one tablespoon of your favorite scalp massage oil. If you don’t have scalp massage oil, you can use a simple household oil like coconut, jojoba, or shea butter oil.
Massage the oil into your scalp. You may feel a tingling, minty sensation. Leave the treatment on for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash your hair with shampoo. If the menthol sensation gets too intense for you, add other oils to balance the effect or wash your scalp with shampoo immediately.
You can also put peppermint oil straight into your shampoo and conditioner bottles. Make sure not to add too much. About five drops per ounce of shampoo or conditioner is recommended. Simply use your shampoo and conditioner with the peppermint essential oil as you usually would, and enjoy the benefits.
Note that products with peppermint scent won’t achieve the same results. These products likely don’t contain essential oil. Peppermint essential oils are distilled to contain the highest levels of menthol possible. There isn’t enough menthol in most other products to have therapeutic benefit.What you should know before using:
Undiluted peppermint essential oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin. Always dilute oils with a carrier oil to help protect your skin.
Avoid getting essential oils in your eyes, and never consume undiluted essential oils. Avoid using essential oils on infants and children, as well.
Check your labels when you purchase essential oils of any kind. Make sure they’re an acceptable grade for skin contact. Don’t use diffuser oil, warming oil, or extract not made for skin contact.The bottom line:
Peppermint essential oil can be a safe home remedy for improving hair growth. More research on the effects of peppermint essential oil on human hair is needed before calling it a cure for hair loss. Still, evidence thus far is encouraging.
Peppermint essential oil should not be considered a cure for more major hair loss problems, such as baldness or alopecia. The treatment may help, but there’s no guarantee it will solve these issues for good.
Regardless, there’s no harm in trying diluted peppermint essential oil. See if it works for you to improve your hair growth. Even if it doesn’t, it could bring other benefits to your hair and scalp.References:
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Written by Ana Gotter — Updated on April 23, 2019
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Written by Ana Gotter — Updated on April 23, 2019ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843973/
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