Essential Oils for Hair
Thinning, balding and frizzy hair are among several common hair problems. Thinning and balding hair can occur due to stress and genetics, while frizzy hair can be the result of humid weather and one’s hair type. While there are many prescribed shampoos and conditioners created to cure these problems, they tend to be expensive and are not guaranteed to work. Some of these products may also contain ingredients that could be harmful to a person’s health when use for extended periods of time.
Fortunately, a less expensive and possibly equally effective alternative is available to improve various hair conditions. Using essential oils for hair care is an easy and natural solution with evidence of being effective. There is an extensive list of essential oils for hair that treat many common problems. Below are the best essential oils for hair that can help conditions such as thinning hair, dry hair, frizzy hair and more.
Rosemary Essential Oil for Hair
In traditional medicine, one rumored benefit of rosemary essential oil was its ability to help prevent balding. While scientific research for these traditional claims is ongoing, scientists have still wondered ‘is rosemary essential oil good for hair in general?’
Recent studies have shown that rosemary essential oil has potent antimicrobial properties that can relieve dandruff and other scalp issues.1
A study of 86 patients diagnosed with alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that can cause hair loss) discovered that a mix of essential oils, including rosemary, improved hair growth in the participants. While further evidence is required, using rosemary essential oil for hair growth may provide beneficial results for certain populations.
To harness the benefits of rosemary essential oil for hair, mix 3-5 drops of rosemary essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba or almond oil. Massage the combined oil into the scalp and rinse out. To use rosemary oil for hair loss, add several drops of the essential oil to hair care products for an additional benefit of stimulating the scalp.
Peppermint Essential Oil for Hair
Another effective essential oil for hair is peppermint. There are several peppermint essential oil benefits for hair that include natural antimicrobial and stimulating properties. These can be useful for dandruff control and may help promote hair growth. A few drops of this invigorating essential oil can be added to your regular shampoo and conditioner, then massaged into the scalp to feel the cool, stimulating effects.
Lavender Essential Oil for Hair
Using the beneficial properties of lavender essential oil for hair growth has also been researched. Studies have shown using lavender essential oil in an essential oil blend, may increase hair growth. As with other essential oils for hair health, a few drops of diluted lavender essential oil can be massaged into the scalp daily.
Cedarwood Essential Oil for Hair
With natural moisturizing qualities, benefits of cedarwood essential oil for hair include natural dandruff and dry skin relief. To use cedarwood essential oil for hair growth and moisturizing a dry scalp, combine two drops of cedarwood essential oil with coconut oil and apply to the scalp. Massage the mixture for five minutes and then rinse out with warm water.
While there have been limited studies conducted on cedarwood essential oil for hair loss, its moisturizing properties may help soothe irritated scalps.
Orange Essential Oil for Hair
Known for its fragrance and natural cleaning activity, there are a variety of benefits of orange essential oil for hair including antifungal and antibacterial properties. Orange essential oil is suitable for those who want cleaner, healthier-looking hair. Use it to treat dandruff and scalp problems by mixing a few drops of orange essential oil with a carrier oil. Then massage the mixture into the scalp. Sweet orange essential oil for hair provides similar benefits as wild orange essential oil.
Lemon Oil for Hair
Lemon essential oil’s properties include natural antifungal and antimicrobial activity, which may support a healthy scalp and prevent fungal scalp infections. These qualities might support its use in reducing bacteria or dirt buildup on the scalp and hair shafts.
To reduce oiliness and dandruff, place 3-7 drops of the lemon essential oil in the palm of your hand and distribute throughout hair. Use a comb or fingers to ensure the oil is distributed evenly.
Lemongrass Essential Oil for Hair
Traditionally used as a natural hair tonic, lemongrass essential oil was investigated for its beneficial properties in a 2015 study involving 30 volunteers, ages 20 to 60 with dandruff. Each participant was identified as having used a hair solution containing lemongrass essential oil twice a day, for 14 days. The results showed that using lemongrass essential oil as part of a hair tonic effectively reduced dandruff in the participants.2 While many essential oils are beneficial for hair, lemongrass is considered to be one of the best.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil for Hair
The antiseptic and calming properties of ylang ylang essential oil can add a therapeutic touch to any shower. Add 1-2 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to a mild or unscented shampoo to leave your hair with an enticing, floral scent.
Carrot Seed Essential Oil for Hair
Carrot seed essential oil is often considered one of the best essential oils for hair care. The useful benefits of carrot seed essential oil stem from its antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help maintain a clean scalp.
To resolve scalp issues such as dandruff, massage 12 drops of carrot seed essential oil into the scalp 5-10 minutes before bed. Then rinse out the oil with shampoo in the morning. Additionally, carrot seed essential oil can be added to a shampoo before rinsing.
Grapefruit Essential Oil for Hair
To help combat dirty, oily hair, harness the natural oil-removing benefits of grapefruit essential oil. Like other citrus essential oils, grapefruit essential oil contains natural antibacterial and wound healing qualities that make it one of the best essential oils for healthy hair.
Add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil to 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil or unscented conditioner and apply throughout hair. Rinse out and repeat if necessary.
Tea Tree Essential Oil for Hair
Of all the essential oils good for hair, the beneficial qualities of tea tree essential oil are considered particularly useful for dry, flaky scalps.
In scientific studies, tea tree essential oil has been shown to significantly decrease the severity of dandruff. Thanks to its antiseptic activity, tea tree is also considered one of the best essential oils for lice. As a lice treatment, mix 4-5 drops of tea tree oil in shampoo or combine with coconut milk.
Vanilla Essential Oil for Hair
Known for its pleasant aroma, the beneficial properties of vanilla essential oil include antioxidant and antibacterial activity. These qualities may help keep the scalp and hair clean and healthy looking. To improve the overall appearance of hair, mix 15 drops of vanilla essential oil, 10 drops of almond oil and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well to blend. Spray the mixture on damp hair before combing for silky, healthy looking hair.
Geranium Essential Oil for Hair
Traditionally used to moisturize dry skin, the natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits of geranium essential oil make it one of the top essential oils for a healthy scalp.
For an easy essential oil hair mask, combine 2 drops each of geranium and cedarwood essential oil with 2 Tbsp. of a carrier oil. Apply the mixture to the scalp and leave on for up to 10 minutes. After using geranium and cedarwood essential oils, hair will feel soft and clean.
Thyme Essential Oil for Hair
For hair care, the soothing qualities of thyme essential oil may provide relief for eczema, which can appear on the scalp. Thyme essential oil contains antimicrobial properties that may effectively eliminate bacteria while soothing dry, irritated skin.
One study has noted that combing thyme with cedarwood, lavender and rosemary essential oils may help reduce symptoms of alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease which can cause hair loss. This research helps supports thyme as one of the leading essential oils for hair loss.
To use thyme essential oils for natural hair care, mix 3 drops into 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil. Massage the blend onto the scalp and let sit for up to two minutes. Rinse out, then condition as normal. Thyme essential oil can also be added to a fragrance-free, commercial shampoo.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Hair
Two useful benefits of eucalyptus essential oil are its potent antibacterial and insect-repelling properties. Research has shown that eucalyptus essential oil can help eliminate a number of different strains of bacteria. Anecdotally, eucalyptus essential oil has also been used as part of a natural treatment for head lice.
Ginger Essential Oil for Hair
The renowned benefits of ginger essential oil have traditionally been used to promote hair growth in East Asian cultures. In a 2013 in vitro study, researchers investigated these claims and found that ginger suppressed hair growth, prolonging the telogen phase in isolated hair follicles.3 While further studies are required, these results suggest that ginger essential oil may be more appropriate for natural hair removal.
Frankincense Essential Oil for Hair
For those looking for a well-rounded essential oil for hair, frankincense essential oil’s benefits make it one of the most effective options. With natural wound healing, moisturizing, pain-relieving, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, frankincense essential oil helps support healthy, clean hair.
Add a few drops of frankincense essential oil to 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil, such as coconut and massage into the scalp.
Sandalwood Essential Oil for Hair
The natural qualities of sandalwood essential oil may help improve the overall appearance of hair. Sandalwood essential oil contains natural anti-bacteria and anti-inflammatory properties that may support a healthy scalp. Its invigorating fragrance has also been noted to promote mental alertness.
To enhance the appearance of hair, add 2-5 drops of sandalwood to 1 Tsp. of a carrier oil. Gently massage the blend into the scalp and hair. This may help give hair a heathy, shiny appearance.
Essential Oils for Hair Growth
Today, holistic health remedies for hair are becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are using natural remedies for hair problems as effective alternatives to harsh, prescription hair products. Often asked is what essential oils are good for hair growth?
In recent years, clinical studies have discovered there are several essential oils for natural hair growth. The list of essential oils for hair growth includes rosemary, lavender and peppermint, among others.
Rosemary is one of the best-known essential oils for long hair. Its antimicrobial properties help maintain a healthy scalp and may unblock hair follicles and allow hair to grow longer. When applied topically, peppermint essential oil has cooling, stimulating effect, which also makes it one of the best essential oils for hair growth. Lavender oil, another frequently mentioned essential oil for hair growth, as it possesses natural antibacterial and antioxidant qualities that may promote, healthy longer hair.
While more and more individuals are seeking essential oils for hair growth, fast results may not always be realistic. While individuals may respond differently, stimulating hair growth with essential oils is possible.
Essential Oils for Hair Loss
Hair loss (alopecia) is a gradual process that may eventually result in complete balding or partial loss of hair. Causes of hair loss can be due to emotional or physical stress, anemia, changes in hormones, radiation therapy, certain autoimmune conditions, infections, certain hair styles, or simply a cause of aging.4
Used anecdotally for more than 100 years, there has been a resurgence of interest in using essential oils for thinning hair.1 Among the best essential oils for hair loss, rosemary and cedarwood essential oil are often at the top of the list. Users can add a few drops of these essential oils for thicker hair to their everyday shampoo or conditioner. Rosemary and cedarwood are often the chosen essential oils for male hair loss.
Essential Oils for Dry Hair
Many essential oils including lemon, carrot seed and sandalwood are known to alleviate dry hair, particularly when they are combined with a carrier oil. The moisturizing properties of natural essential oils can help hair look shinier when distributed throughout the hair. The antimicrobial properties can also help to remove dirt or bacteria, giving hair a healthier appearance.
Essential Oils for Dry Scalp
Essential oils for scalp treatment are beneficial for their natural cleansing properties. Often recognized as the top essential oil for scalp health is tea tree essential oil, which studies have shown can help naturally treat lice. Eucalyptus essential oil can also be used to relieve a dry scalp. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in to your regular shampoo. Massage the blend onto your scalp and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Rinse out, then follow with a conditioner for a moisturized scalp.
Essential Oils for Frizzy Hair
While research concerning essential oils for frizzy hair is limited, it’s possible to use essential oils to help manage frizz. To date, the best recommendations are essential oils with moisturizing properties, such as cedarwood or sandalwood essential oil. When combined with a carrier oil like caster or jojoba, the blend may help reduce frizz or untamed hair. These are also good essential oils for curly hair, which may also to be prone frizz.
Essential Oils for Damaged Hair
Rosemary and lavender are notable essential oils for hair breakage due to their ability to strengthen hair follicles. Other essential oils for hair repair include geranium and tea tree essential oil, which help repair hair by stimulating growth when distributed with a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba.
Essential Oils for Hair Removal
While the research on essential oils for hair removal is still in its infancy, one study found ginger essential oil might be effective. In East Asia, researchers looked at 6-gingerol, the active component of ginger. Researchers found that 6-gingerol reduced hair growth in hair follicles and may be more beneficial for natural hair removal.3 While this study did not cover ginger essential oil specifically, many compounds found in ginger can also be found in ginger essential oil may, potentially including 6-gingerol. More research is needed on what essential oils, if any may the best essential oil for hair removal.
Essential Oils for Oily Hair
Citrus essential oils are considered some of the best treatments for oily hair because of their cleansing and antimicrobial characteristics. Both grapefruit and lemon essential oil can help manage oily hair without leaving a greasy buildup.
How to Use Essential Oils for Hair
It’s important to know how to dilute essential oils for hair so they safely and effectively treat the problem. This usually means adding a few drops of an essential oil to water, shampoo or a carrier oil. Knowing how to mix essential oils for hair care is important for proper distribution, but relatively easy. Simply shake or stir the essential oil blends, then spray or massage the treatment into the hair. Using essential oils for hair recipes is easy and usually doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. While there are all kinds of essential oil blends for hair that can be made at home, Essential Oil Experts has provided the following recipe to help add natural moisture to dry or damaged hair.
Mix 2 drops each of sandalwood, cedarwood and geranium essential oil with 3 Tsp. of almond oil. Combine the blend in a bowl then gently massage into hair and scalp. Let sit for several minutes then wash out for a healthy, fragrant treatment.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Hay, I.C., Jamieson, M., Omerod, A.D. (1998). Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata. Arch Dermatol, 134(11), 1349-1352. doi:1001/archderm.134.11.1349
- Chaisripipat, W., Lourith, N., & Kanlayavattanakul, M. (2015). Anti-dandruff Hair Tonic Containing Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) Oil. Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine, 22(4), 226-229. doi:1159/000432407
- Miao, Y., Sun, Y., Wang, W., Du, B., Xiao, S., Hu, Y., & Hu, Z. (2013). 6-Gingerol Inhibits Hair Shaft Growth in Cultured Human Hair Follicles and Modulates Hair Growth in Mice. PLoS ONE, 8(2), e57226. doi:1371/journal.pone.0057226
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus. (2015, April 14). Hair loss. Retrieved May 17, 2017 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003246.htm