Using Essential Oils
Essential oils are extremely potent and only should be used 3–4 drops at a time. When used on the scalp and other sensitive skin areas, the essential oil must be diluted with a thicker oil to prevent irritation. This thicker oil is called a “carrier oil” because it carries or holds the essential oil. It is very important that you DO NOT USE ESSENTIAL OILS DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN WITHOUT A PROPER CARRIER OIL. Burning, irritation, and skin discomfort may occur from using these essential oils without a buffer. Lavender oil can be used without a carrier, but many essential oils work better with carrier oils.
Proper dilution is the key. You do not want to dilute the essential oils too much in your carrier or the benefits of the essential oil will be lost. However you need just enough carrier oil to prevent burning or irritation from the strong essential oil. My personal dilutions involve ¼- ½ cup of carrier oil to up to 8–10 drops of essential oils (2–3 drops of each oil). You should slowly add your essential oils to your carrier oil, testing between drops, to insure the proper dilution for your personal tolerance level is met. Once you are comfortable and know the essential oils you are working with pretty well- you’ll be able to interchange them and change the dilutions with relative ease.
Also, warming your carrier oil before hand will enhance your scalp massage experience! Gently place your vial of carrier oil into a bowl of warm water for 2–3 minutes. Do not use the microwave! Only a gentle heating is needed. Then, add your drops of essential oil. Finally, proceed with your warm essential oil massage.
Below, you will find a list of some recommended essential oils for hair care:
This list of essential oils is by no means exhaustive. There are many, may varieties of oils you try! Just check your local health foods store or visit essential oil vendors online to see which oils are available to you.
Storage and Care
Essential oils will keep for years. Keep your oils stored in a cool, dry place. Make sure that your essential oil storage bottles are composed of a dark glass that is impermeable to harmful sunlight (or does not readily allow sunlight to pass through). Sunlight denatures and damages essential oils, causing them to lose their effectiveness and potency. Proper storage and care will ensure an optimal shelf life for your essential oils.
Your Essential Oil Scalp Massage!
Gently apply your essential oil mixture to the pads of your fingers, and massage the oil mixture into the scalp for 5–10 minutes. Make certain that you are not rubbing or messing your hair around during your scalp massage. The pads of your fingers should be firmly planted on the scalp skin, and you should maneuver them in a circular, squeezing, or kneading motion. The skin itself should be manipulated without disturbing the orientation of the hair. Next, you can either rinse out the essential oils and wash your hair or proceed directly with styling. These essential oil massages can be done nightly for increased circulation to the scalp in order to reduce thinning and promote healthy hair growth.
Ladies, do you use essential oils? How do you incorporate them into your regimen?
Audrey Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, health scientist and author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care (available on Amazon.com & Barnes&Noble.com).