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I Went Ahead and Tried the Vicks VapoRub on My Natural Hair. Here’s What Happened.

• Nov 16, 2017

When I heard that ladies were using Vicks VapoRub to stimulate hair growth, I just had to test it out myself. I had to see what all the hype was about and if you could really get incredible growth after applying it to your scalp.

Lately, my hair has been hidden under a head full of crochet hair. I’ve had my hair in a crochet style since August and plan on keeping it that way until I see fit. However, before my latest install, I decided to apply the generic version of Vicks VapoRub (Walmart’s Equate version) to my scalp and hair line. After I let my hair air dry and picked it out, I applied the ointment. The minute it touched my scalp, I felt the expected cooling sensation. My scalp felt as if it was getting extra air (if that makes sense), as though a cool ocean breeze was running through my hair. I loved the feeling and I could tell that my pores were wide open. I probably should have done a patch test first, but even after sleeping with ointment on my scalp overnight, I had no negative reactions.

Once my new crochet style was put in, I noticed that my scalp felt a lot less itchy. I usually have an itchy scalp for a few days after I get any kind of protective style, but not this time. My scalp truly felt amazing and didn’t smell of Vicks. I know this for a fact because I asked my stylist if she smelled anything strong on my hair and she said no. This means that the smell must have dissipated overnight.

During week 1 of my crochet style.

Almost a week and a half after applying the ointment, I noticed that my scalp was a bit grimy. My scalp was getting dirty a lot sooner than it would have if I didn’t use the Vicks. I always used coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil on my scalp every few days, but that wasn’t what was making my scalp feel dirty. The only difference in my routine was the ointment. It wasn’t awful, but I definitely noticed. I wasn’t too surprised that my scalp was dirty because Vicks has petroleum in it, which in my experience, attracts unwanted dirt and debris. After realizing this, I wanted to wash my scalp, but I didn’t because I still wanted to see if Vicks VapoRub promotes hair growth. If I washed my hair, the water would naturally expose my new growth by swelling my hair and I didn’t want that.

After 3 weeks, I noticed that my new growth appeared to be a lot thicker than what I was used to at that stage.  It looked like my crochet style had been in for 6 weeks, not 3 weeks. I really wasn’t expecting such a drastic difference, but there was no denying it. My cornrows were super visible and the crochet hair looked pushed back.

3 weeks after applying the generic Vicks VapoRub.

Overall, it was exciting to actually see real results from my experiment. I thought the women who reviewed the product were either exaggerating or plain old lying. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were telling the truth. Vicks VapoRub can help promote hair growth ya’ll. I’m not sure if I would have had the same results if my hair was loose, but it definitely was a sight to see with my protective style.

Would I try it again? Probably not. I didn’t like the fact that my scalp seemed to attract dirt. I also realized that if I want to extend my hair growth journey, then it’s probably best to just mix up a batch of the active ingredients that are in Vicks VapoRub and call it a day. I’m sure I can get the same results with a concoction that is a lot more natural. Take a look at this recipe that I found below!

DIY: Vicks VapoRub Recipe

  • 12 drops of eucalyptus, rosemary or peppermint
  • 12 drops of lavender or tea tree
  • 12 drops of fir needle, spruce or pine
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter

In a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl set in side a pot of boiling water), gently melt shea butter. As soon as it is completely melted, remove it from heat and stir in the essential oils. Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool area when not in use.

And there you have it! What do you think of my little adventure?

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14 Comments on "I Went Ahead and Tried the Vicks VapoRub on My Natural Hair. Here’s What Happened."

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Wow! You are so brave! Nice new growth too. Who would’ve THOUGHT Vic vapor rub would do that! Awesome! I would like to try it for the middle part of my head..


Just natural recession of the braids…why are we so thirsty for hair growth…let it happen naturally..only nutrition and good mental health promotes improved hair growth.


You are a stunning beauty, and your hair is just gorgeous! I might just try the Vicks because the natural recipe has shea butter in it and I think I might have a problem with it because I am allergic to some rubbers like latex which shea cross reacts with possibly… and bananas… according to my doctor…


How often do you apply the Rub?

Hello Portia, Congratulations on trying something new and on your new hair growth. I too have been a Vick’s user since August of 2017. I have never slept with the product in my hair though nor leave it in. I always treat my scalp before adding crochet braids. However my regime is to only leave it in for 20–30 minutes followed by my wash and conditioning routine with no sulfate shampoo and conditioner always completing my last rinse with cold water to close the pores in my scalp. I then use Shea butter leave-in conditioner and my 6 — natural… Read more »

What 6 oils do you use in your hair?


Interesting that you experienced build up on your scalp. That’s a no for anybody. I’d probably advise you to use a clarifying shampoo if you choose this method again. It may yield better results.


interesting. although i’m not sure i’m brave enough to give this a try. thanks for reporting! by the way, what type of crochet hair is that? it’s gorgeous!


So glad you included the link to the essential oils version of Vicks VapoRub. I would never try the commercial version from the store with petroleum jelly.

By 3 months, I’ll know if it worked.


i really can’t imagine keeping a protective (crochet at that) style in for 3+ months if you’re wanting to encourage hair growth, seems counter-productive.…


From what I’ve read you are supposed to do this 15/20min before a wash. That would have prevented the grit. Not sure if results would have changed cause I’ve not tried it. I just noticed a difference in your method vs others I’ve read.


I’ll pass. One of the reasons I stopped using products with mineral oil is that it makes my hair dirty a lot quicker.


Iv’e been doing it too but just as a treatment when washing.
Ill apply the vicks to my scalp then leave it on for about 15 minutes.… then wash and condition as usual. Even after wash and condition you can feel the tingle (it feels AMAZING) but no residue or anything after washing. I still feel it is working well. 🙂

Darleen Rowland

How long do u keep it in then shampoo it our then do it again and where did u read about it?

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