Any hair care regimen that’s worth its salt would be incomplete without a good dosage of oil massage therapy.
In fact, applying oil on the scalp on a regular basis has won unanimous approval from hair experts and grandmas the world over as the single most effective technique for both reversing hair damage and promoting hair growth. The science behind this is that massaging promotes blood flow to the scalp, which in turn stimulates the hair follicles and even helps add volume to your hair.
Regular oiling also helps replenish the moisture in your scalp, thereby making dry, frizzy hair more manageable and preventing problems like hair fall and dry, itchy, or flaky scalp.
A 2016 study published in Eplasty found that standardized scalp massage is a way to transmit mechanical stress to human dermal papilla cells in the subcutaneous tissue. Hair thickness was shown to increase with standardized scalp massage.(1)
Olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and castor oil are some of the most trusted and popular choices for a good head massage, and each comes with its own set of benefits. To further amplify the therapeutic impact of these oils, it might be prudent to mix a few drops of essential oils in them.
The potency of essential oils as effective agents for promoting hair health is often underestimated. These natural plant compounds are a gift from Mother Nature and boast a wide array of medicinal properties. They not only promote hair growth but also help prevent dandruff, flaking, dry scalp, and even premature hair graying.
Devoid of any harmful chemicals and the side effects, essential oils offer a safer and eco-friendlier alternative to commercial hair products. Plus, considering their cheap cost and the multiple long-standing therapeutic benefits they offer, these wonder tonics are an absolute steal.
Essential Oils and Their Benefits to Hair
Here are some of the essential oils that you can use to promote hair growth.
1. Rosemary Essential Oil
The antioxidant-rich rosemary essential oil does wonders for your hair by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp and fighting the free radical damage that is responsible for hair fall and graying. In addition, the sulfur and silica in it help reverse hair loss.
Furthermore, its antibacterial nature gently cleanses the scalp and hair of microbes, thus preventing itchiness and dandruff.
A 1998 study published in the Archives of Dermatology points out that rosemary aromatherapy can be used in treating alopecia areata.(2)
A 2015 study published in the SKINmed Journal found that rosemary oil is as effective as minoxidil, a common hair growth treatment, but with less scalp itching as a side effect.(3)
- Mix 2 or 3 drops of rosemary essential oil into 2 tablespoons of base oil, such as olive, coconut, jojoba, almond, or avocado oil.
- Apply it on your hair and massage the scalp using your fingertips for 10 minutes.
- Leave it on for at least 30 minutes, and then shampoo your hair as usual.
- Do this twice a week for best results.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil can help your hair grow long and strong. When massaged into the scalp, lavender essential oil improves blood circulation, prevents hair loss, and accelerates hair growth. It also helps retain the moisture in the scalp, balances sebum production, and helps fight dandruff.
Lavender essential oil also possesses antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can help preserve hair and scalp health. It also works as a mild sedative and antidepressant, which help get rid you of nervous tension and improve the quality of your sleep.
A 2016 study published in Toxicological Research found that lavender oil was able to generate faster hair growth in mice. However, further scientific examination on human subjects is warranted.(4)
- Mix 4 or 5 drops of lavender oil into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Apply it directly on your scalp. Leave it on for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Then wash it out by shampooing your hair as you normally would. Repeat this remedy 2 or 3 times a week.
- You can also add a little lavender oil to your shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products to further enhance their benefits.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is another essential oil that can help promote hair growth. It increases blood flow to the scalp and rejuvenates the hair follicles, stimulating hair growth.
This oil also helps unclog pores and allows for the normal regeneration of skin cells, which is good for a dry scalp. The renowned cooling effect associated with peppermint helps soothe any kind of irritation or itch in the scalp and calms your head from within.
A 2014 study published in Toxicological Research suggests that the topical application of peppermint essential oil increased the depth, size, and number of hair follicles and dermal thickness as well as induced rapid hair growth.(5)
- Blend 5 drops of peppermint essential oil with 2 tablespoons of lukewarm coconut oil. Massage the oil into the scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes. Shampoo it out. Repeat twice a week.
- Another option is to add 2 or 3 drops of peppermint essential oil to your regular shampoo and use it as usual.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil works as a powerful cleanser as it penetrates deep into the hair follicles to unclog pores and facilitate proper sebum flow. It also has potent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help keep your scalp free of fungal infections and acne-causing bacteria.
A 2013 study published in Drug Design, Development and Therapy found that a mixture containing tea tree oil and minoxidil was comparably more efficacious in improving hair growth than just minoxidil alone.(6)
Tea tree oil is also beneficial for dandruff, thanks to its strong antifungal and moisturizing properties. A 2002 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reports that a shampoo containing 5% tea tree oil can be effective in keeping your scalp flake-free.(7)
- Mix 2 or 3 drops of tea tree essential oil into 2 tablespoons of sweet almond carrier oil. Massage the scalp with this oil, allow it to sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse it out using shampoo. Do it twice a week.
- Another option is to mix 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil per ounce of your regular shampoo, and then use it to wash your hair one or two times a week.
5. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Dandruff can cause hair loss and excessive itching on the scalp. Lemongrass essential oil is very effective in resolving these issues.
Due to its antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties, lemongrass helps limit bacterial or microbial growth on the scalp. This, in turn, helps keep your scalp free from dandruff and other problems.
A 2011 study published in the Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health demonstrated the effectiveness of shampoo with 2% lemongrass oil in the treatment of dandruff.(8)
A 2015 study published in Forsch Komplementmed found that lemongrass oil is an effective dandruff treatment, and it significantly reduces dandruff after 1 week and even more so after 2 weeks of usage.(9)
- Mix a few drops of lemongrass oil into your shampoo.
- Apply the shampoo onto your scalp and massage for 2 minutes.
- Leave it on for another couple of minutes.
- Rinse it off using lukewarm water.
- Repeat two or three times a week.
6. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil helps promote blood circulation in the scalp, thereby stimulating the hair follicles and aiding hair growth. It is also beneficial at alleviating scalp and dandruff issues and is a regular additive in shampoos and other hair products aimed at preventing hair loss.
A 1998 study published in the Archives in Dermatology found essential oils, including thyme essential oil, to be safe and effective for the treatment of alopecia areata. Furthermore, it was suggested that treatment with essential oil was significantly more productive than treatment with the carrier oil alone.(2)
- Add 2 drops of thyme essential oil to 2 tablespoons of lukewarm extra-virgin olive oil.
- Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil and mix thoroughly.
- Massage the blend into the scalp and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Shampoo it out.
- Do it 2 or 3 times a week.
7. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile oil is also beneficial for your hair health.
It can help fight dandruff, itchy scalp, dermatitis, psoriasis, and other scalp conditions, as it is a natural soothing and anti-inflammatory agent. The oil also works as a conditioner for your hair and prevents it from environmental damage, leaving your hair soft and lustrous.(10)(11)
Also, as the oil is nongreasy; you can use it often and do not have to wash it out unless you want to.
- Add 3 drops of chamomile essential oil to 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil. Massage the oil blend into your scalp and allow it to sit for at least 1 hour or overnight. Shampoo your hair the next morning. Repeat two or three times a week.
- Another option is to mix 10 drops of chamomile essential oil into ¼ cup of water. Use it as a final rinse after washing your hair.
- As essential oils can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions when applied directly on the skin, it’s highly recommended to dilute them with a carrier oil.
- If you have sensitive skin, always do a patch test before using any essential oil.
- If you have contact dermatitis, burning sensation, discomfort, or painful tingling or redness in the affected area, then do not use essential oils.
- Koyama T, Kobayashi K, Hama T. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Eplasty. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033. Published July 10, 2015.
- Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867. Published November 1998.
- Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skimmed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469. Published 2015.
- Lee BH, Lee JS, Kim YC. Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice. Toxicological Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843973/. Published April 2016.
- Oh JY, Park MA, Kim YC. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs. Toxicological Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289931/. Published December 2014.
- Sakr FM, Gado AMI, Mohammed HR. Preparation and evaluation of a multimodal minoxidil microemulsion versus minoxidil alone in the treatment of androgenic alopecia of mixed etiology: a pilot study. Drug Design, Development and Therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3686323/. Published May 30, 2013.
- Satchell AC, Saurajen A, Bell C, Barnetson RS. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12451368. Published December 2002.
- Wuthi-Udomlert M, Chotipatoomwan P, Panyadee S, Gritsanapan W. Inhibitory effect of formulated lemongrass shampoo on Malassezia furfur: a yeast associated with dandruff. The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21710859. Published March 2011.
- Chaisripipat W, Lourith N, Kanlayavattanakul M. Anti-dandruff Hair Tonic Containing Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) Oil. Forschende Komplementarmedizin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26566122. Published July 14, 2015.
- Dodiya T. Herbal armamentarium for the culprit dandruff. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHYTOPHARMACY RESEARCH. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301899530. Published January 2013.
- Ali B, Wabel NAA-, Shams S. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033. Published July 10, 2015.