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4 Benefits of Essential Oils for Hair Health and Growth

Avatar • Sep 4, 2013

essential_oils

Essential oils in my book are a source of huge fun as it feels like a beautiful fragrance has been trapped in a bottle. Essential oils can be extracted from a wide range of plants (flowers, seeds, leaves, peel). They evaporate very easily (volatile) and generally have a strong scent (aroma based oil). As essential oils are highly concentrated in aroma and are volatile, they are in most instances diluted in a carrier oil. A carrier oil essentially ‘carries’ the essential oil to the skin or hair. A suitable carrier oil will have little to no fragrance of its own for example jojoba oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil etc. An alternative to using a carrier oil in hair care is to add the essential oil to hair conditioner.

Each essential oil will have its own distinct fragrance and some you may love, some you may not. However, essential oils do have functions beyond enjoying fragrance! Here are 4 reasons to consider them in your routine:

1. Supporting Hair Growth
A mix of thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood oils in a carrier oil were shown to improve hair regrowth in some patients experiencing hair loss (19 out of 43 showed improved regrowth — Arch Derm, pp2349-1352, 1998). This is not acceleration of hair growth but rather supporting hair to regrow. For faster growth, a study performed on mice showed that Jujuba oil (also know as jujube or red date oil) stimulated minimally faster growth of around 1 — 1.5 mm more per month compared to no essential oil use. As this is a mouse study, there is no evidence that the same would work in humans.

2. Antifungal and antibacterial
Some oils are known to be active against ringworm and therefore can be considered antifungal. Spice and herbal based oils seem to be the most effective in this function. Examples include, cinnamon oil, fennel oil, lemongrass oil, wild basil oil, Brazilian cherry oil (Mycoses, pp 333–336, 1993). Basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, clove and sage oil are known to have some antibacterial activity.

Tea tree oil gets a special mention in this category as it has a pretty vast repertoire including antifungal, antibacterial and even some antiviral activity. Additionally, it is known to reduce swelling (anti-inflammatory) so is useful as a treatment for any bumps (Clin Microbiol Rev, pp 50–62, 2006).

3. Physical Sensations
Some essential oils can induce a physical effect. Peppermint oil for example induces a tingling sensation on skin or scalp in the case of hair care. Although it is widely and erroneously reported that this tingling is linked to follicle stimulation (no evidence of that yet), it can be a pleasant sensation for some. Ylang ylang is known to increase skin temperature which some may experience as a warm sensation (Phytotherapy Research, pp 758–763, 2006).

4. Fragrance
Aromatherapy is a pretty self explanatory word with an aroma inducing a therapeutic effect. Scientifically, fragrances like lavender and rosemary oil are known to have positive effects on mood which is a huge bonus if you have serious detangling ahead of you. Lavender oil is considered relaxing while rosemary has been linked to improved alertness (International Journal of Neuroscience, pp 217–24, 1998). Peppermint and eucalyptus oil are also considered relaxing (Cephalagia, pp 228–234,1994). This list is based on those that have been scientifically studied, there is no harm in using an oil whose fragrance you like for example vanilla, orange peel, rose oil etc.

NOTE: Some people are allergic to essential oils and when pregnant, some essential oils are not recommended.

Ladies, do you use essential oils in your regimen? Share your experiences!

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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loverlyone
loverlyone
7 years ago

I love my essential/carrier oil mix of rosemary, lavendar, cedarwood, and thyme in olive oil. I have just recently added peppermint and tea tree oil to the mix, and I am looking forward to using it in the future.

BJB
BJB
7 years ago

Thank you The Natural Haven for this article. I definitely want to incorporate essential oils into my hair care, but I’m concerned about the quantity of oils to use. How much is usually recommended — 3drops, 5drops? Is there a limit to how much one should use? Also, essential oils like lavender, thyme, etc. can have strong odors, how to people deal with the conflicting strong odors, or is it easy to develop a harmonious [smelling] solution?

Jc
Jc
7 years ago
Reply to  BJB

In terms of how much, about 1–2% dilution is recommended. This is between 5 to 10 drops per 30ml. You can add less if you want a lower fragrance or a little more if you want a stronger one but you should be careful not to go too much over the 10 drops.

It is actually a matter of experimentation of finding the perfect smell. I tend to find that fragrances like ylang ylang and vanilla help to reduce the scent of stronger fragrances live lavender or thyme. However it is truly your choice and your experiment.

Emma Pedersen
7 years ago

Essential oil is the one part of my hair care regime. I am using essential oil from last two years. That time I was very upset because my hair start falling. When I read about these oils in an article, I start using it. I think they are best oil for everyone.

Nappy4C Rocks
Nappy4C Rocks
7 years ago

tea tree oil is good, but one MUST be very careful with it…potent

Alwina
Alwina
7 years ago

I love peppermint for my shea butter mix, eucalyptus for body massages and I’ve used rosemary for my scalp massages. And I use tea tree oil as part of a spray mix with lavendar aloe vera witch hazel and water; does wonders for minimizing scalp itch. It all feels great!!!

Heather Holly
Heather Holly
7 years ago

I really want to start using essential oils- this is really helpful. I have tried several different things for healthy hair, and so far, I really like keratin hair vitamins best. Saw a difference after a month or so. Love the blog, thanks for all of the tips; I am definitely going to start doing some of the things you pointed out.

bankk
bankk
7 years ago

I really love this blog, thank you for the tips and information therein, but i want to ask that the thyme you are referring to, is it the same thing as the thyme we use for cooking? You can reply via my email box. Thank you and God bless.

divya
divya
6 years ago

i ned black hair with long, shining , strong i dont now how to mix those oil.… i ned a help from u.….… can u plss.…..

kalamityray
6 years ago

Great read! One of my favorite DIY hair care creations to play around with is mixing various essential oils and carrier oils. Makes for great xmas gifts!

Mel Stevens
Mel Stevens
6 years ago

I personally use argan oil, the one from pro naturals, and I love how reliable it is, how it removes all the frizz and its smell!

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just sayin
just sayin
5 years ago

Don’t use tea tree oil on your hair. It is very strong and toxic and can damage it. Cedar oil is the best at repairing damage to the strands. peppermint and the other stimulating oils are good for hair growth.

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