Used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes for thousands of years, essential oils are also used in a wide range of hair care products, from shampoos to deep conditioning treatments and serums. Here we explore the best essential oils for hair growth and thickness and look at how to aid more common hair conditions. We also look at simple ways to introduce essential oils into your daily hair care routines.
Why use essential oils for your hair?
Great things come from nature. Essential oils are 100% natural and distilled from plants, which means they are highly concentrated, offering both therapeutic and healing properties. Known to soothe, repair and rejuvenate, essential oils are great for both body and mind. When it comes to your hair, artificial products and chemicals may be more of a hindrance than a help. As the awareness of natural beauty products and their benefits grows, essential oils are now being more widely used in haircare routines, with homemade remedies, becoming a hot trend.
Essential oils for hair growth and thickness
Hair loss or thinning of the hair can happen for many reasons, from hormonal changes and a reaction to medicine to simple genetics and the ageing process. Those who suffer from temporary hair loss due to life events such as stress, pregnancy, illnesses and cancer treatments (non-genetic causes) often turn to hair growth products which can encourage the re-growth or thickening of hair. Increasingly, essential oils feature in the conversation about the best natural solutions for hair loss and damaged hair.
Aromatherapists suggest the best essential oils for hair growth and thickness are:
Cedarwood Essential Oil – this powerful essential oil is believed to improve scalp circulation, which balances the glands and strengthens hair follicles. Cedarwood’s antibacterial properties will also help keep your scalp free from infection and other fungal conditions.
Rosemary Essential Oil – is a wonderful choice for hair growth. Rosemary can help repair your hair and, most importantly, stimulate your hair cells, reducing imbalance and oil levels. Its beautiful and uplifting aroma makes it a popular choice for luxurious hair treatments.
Peppermint Essential Oil – is one of the most uplifting essential oils you will come across. Its cooling properties are associated with improving circulation, which in turn may stimulate hair follicles.
Lavender Essential Oil – calming, soothing and relaxing, lavender essential oil is also great for your hair growth, and due to its more delicate nature, it can be used more often than others.
Essential oils for oily hair
If your hair sometimes feels a little greasy or dirty, it may be because you have excess oil on your scalp. Whilst a little oil is never a bad thing; too much can be a real pain. Oily hair can be caused by skin conditions, washing your hair too much or, most commonly, using hair products made from many artificial ingredients. Natural remedies are one of the best ways to treat oily hair.
The best essential oils for oily hair are:
- Basil Essential Oil
- Bergamot Essential Oil
- Cypress Essential Oil
- Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Lemon Essential Oil
Essential oils for dry hair
There are many reasons why you may experience dry hair. Overexposure to hot climates and wind, over washing, and overuse of products, hairdryers and styling tools, can all cause hair dryness. Those who suffer from illnesses and nutritional deficiencies may also find their hair dryer than usual. Again, the overuse of shampoos, dyes and products that contain harsh chemicals can strip away your hair’s natural oils, so avoid these where possible.
The best essential oils for dry hair are:
- Geranium Essential Oil
- Sandalwood Amyris Essential Oil
- Palmarosa Essential Oil
- Frankincense Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
Essential oils for dandruff
Dandruff is one of the most annoying and noticeable hair conditions. White or grey flakes appear on the scalp and are more visible on darker hair. Possible causes often include skin-related conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis or cradle cap. Stress and cold weather can also make it worse. Over-the-counter dandruff shampoos are often used for severe dandruff, but essential oils can help treat dandruff, too.
The best essential oils for dandruff are:
- Sage Dalmation Essential Oil
- Red Thyme Essential Oil
- Patchouli Essential Oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil
Using essential oils in your hair
The most important thing to remember when using essential oils in your hair is that they are highly concentrated. If using essential oils directly on your skin, you should mix them with a carrier oil. Coconut Oil or Argan Oil are popular choices for hair treatments. Read our ‘Complete Guide to Carrier Oils’ for more information on how to blend them with essential oils. We recommend a skin test 48 hours before use to avoid irritation and seek medical advice if unsure.
Three popular ways to use essential oils in your hair:
Create your own shampoos and conditioners
If you want entirely natural shampoos and conditioners, try making them yourself. You will know exactly what ingredients you are using whilst benefiting from the therapeutic and deeply nourishing properties essential oils offer. Find out how to make your own shampoos and conditioners with our Easy Homemade Hair Care Products guide.
Boost the power of your existing products
Have a hair product you feel comfortable with? If your shampoo and conditioners are free of essential oils, try adding some! As a general guide, 10 drops of essential oil to 100ml of product works well. Just be sure to always use the right essential oil for your hair type or condition.
Make your own scalp scrub
A homemade scalp scrub is a fun and simple way to use essential oils. You will need just three ingredients:
- 3 tbsp of carrier oil
- 8 drops of essential oil
- 2 tsp of Epsom salts
Combine the ingredients in a bowl to create a natural and beautifully smelling scalp scrub. Take care not to scrub too hard, instead gently massage the scalp in circular motions. Leave the scrub on for 20 minutes, then wash away with shampoo and conditioner. Always test a small area of the skin before use.
With just a few drops of essential oil, your journey to healthier hair can begin!