Some essential oils may benefit hair by speeding hair growth, improving scalp health, and improving texture.
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.
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.
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.
Included in a mixture with lavender and rosemary, cedarwood extract was also found to
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 can help promote hair growth by both stimulating the scalp and actively preventing hair loss. Like cedarwood oil, thyme oil was also found to be helpful in
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are the benefits of some essential and carrier oils: Almond oil soothes and moisturizes the scalp. Cedarwood oil stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth. Chamomile oil adds shine and softness to hair, and soothes the scalp.Do essential oils actually help hair? ›
Here are the benefits of some essential and carrier oils: Almond oil soothes and moisturizes the scalp. Cedarwood oil stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth. Chamomile oil adds shine and softness to hair, and soothes the scalp.What is the best combination of essential oils for hair? ›
Some of the best essential oils for promoting hair growth include peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood. Depending on your hair type and needs, you may also want to include other oils such as tea tree, clary sage, or thyme. Once you've selected your oils, it's time to mix them together.Can you mix too many essential oils together for hair? ›
You can actually mix in multiple oils, but keep in mind, you don't want to overload your hair with oils that could end up weighing it down. No matter what you choose, just be sure to only use a few drops! P.S. Always make sure you're mixing the oils into something, never apply them straight to your hair.Do essential oils help regrow hair? ›
Peppermint essential oil
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.
There is no robust medical evidence to support this theory, though one small-scale clinical trial found it may be useful in treating thinning hair from temporary hair loss conditions and not female or male pattern baldness.What essential oil strengthens hair? ›
Clary sage essential oil
Clary sage essential oil strengthens hair, ensuring it doesn't break as easily. This essential oil effectively adds volume to your hair and contains linalyl acetate, which stimulates cell growth.
A number of essential oils including lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood are effective in boosting hair growth. Some carrier oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, castor oil, etc. can also be used to improve hair growth. So use them the right way to start noticing new strands of hair!What is the best way to use essential oils for hair growth? ›
Mix a few drops of Lavender oil to 3 tbsps of carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, and apply it to your scalp. Leave it for 10-15 minutes and wash it off with your regular shampoo. You can do this twice a week to promote hair growth.How many drops of essential oil should I put in my hair? ›
One of the best ways to benefit from their nourishing properties is through an invigorating scalp massage; combine 5-6 drops of an essential oil blend with 15 mL (0.5 oz) or roughly 1 tablespoon of a preferred carrier oil and apply evenly onto the scalp and strands.
You can use 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of almond oil mixed with 5 drops of rosemary essential oil, 5 drops of tea tree essential oil, and 5 drops of lavender essential oil for a nice and invigorating hair oil blend.Which carrier oil is best for hair? ›
- Argan oil. Argan oil helps to maintain moisture levels of the hair shaft and reduces the appearance of frizz.
- Grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil helps to protects against environmental stressors and is beneficial for the scalp.
- Jojoba oil. ...
- Coconut oil. ...
- Castor oil. ...
- Sweet almond oil. ...
- Avocado Oil.
“Some popular oils used in hair products include coconut, argan, rosemary, tea tree, and avocado oil,” says Dr. Camp. Rosemary oil in particular is known to potentially promote hair growth and improve scalp and hair health, says James.What are 5 oils for natural hair growth? ›
- Jojoba Oil.
- Argan Oil. Argan oil, also known as Moroccan oil, is extracted from nuts of the argan tree found in Morocco, and will do wonders for your hair. ...
- Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is pretty much the holy grail of hair oil. ...
- Castor Oil. ...
- Olive Oil.
The dermatologist stated that hair oil promotes hair growth is a pure myth. Oils may nourish your hair but they cannot initiate hair growth. So, if at all, you think that hair oils stop hair fall and promote hair growth, you are wrong. - Be it coconut oil or almond oil or onion oil, all oils are good conditioners.Does essential oil make your hair thicker? ›
Since ancient times, essential oils have been utilized to encourage thicker, longer hair. They are a safe, effective approach to hydrate the scalp and hair follicles, which can result in thicker, healthier hair.Does rosemary oil really help hair growth? ›
Researchers found rosemary oil to be as effective at encouraging hair regrowth as minoxidil, a medication better known as Rogaine®, says Dr. Khetarpal. The 2015 study focused on people with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness).