You’ve heard the saying before: Hair is a woman’s crowning glory – and we spend lots of money on it. The New York Post states that women will spend about $250,000 on their appearance over the course of their lifetime. Another source states that the average woman will spend $55,000 dollars on just their hair during their lifetime!
With so much pressure on our appearance in American culture from celebrities to perfect Pinterest photos it’s no wonder that so much focus is placed on looks. But this post isn’t about the moral hazard of focusing too much on outward appearance. It’s about what to do when you need your hair to GROW.
Whether you just want a long, gorgeous mane of hair, you’re dealing bald spots or you just want your hair to be healthy this article will start you off in the right direction. Rather than turning to drug store concoctions I encourage you to consider using essential oils for hair growth. And there are compelling reasons why which I will describe below.
Using Natural Remedies
We women sometimes like to think that we can just pick up a bottle of lotion, cream or X product, apply it to our skin or hair and that’s going to solve the beauty issue of the moment. It’s really not our fault because we’ve been trained to believe that by the beauty industry.
But it’s not true. Products (and even essential oils) are great tools that we can use to get results, but they are not the end all be all.
It can’t go without saying that lifestyle strategies (like great nutrition, exercise and low- stress) are essential for getting the beauty results that you want to see – including a healthy head of hair!
I know you already know all of this, but this is just a friendly reminder. When you’re using essential oils for hair loss ir should be used along with a holistic approach to living well and taking care of yourself.
The other reason why I recommend using essential oils for hair loss instead of drug store remedies is because, when sourced correctly, essential oils are natural compounds. Hair products (like dyes and hair growth treatments) are some of the worst offenders for unnecessary toxic chemical exposure. This is just one more reason to try essential oils for hair loss first.
The added benefit is that essential oils are so versatile! You get more bang for your buck. As you’ll discover in this article, the same essential oils for hair growth and thickness can be used to promote focus, increase energy and even improve your memory.
But before we discuss the best essential oils for hair growth, we should first talk about why hair loss happens in the first place.
How to Stimulate Hair Growth and Stop Thinning Hair
It’s (mostly) a hormone thing!
Really, in most cases the loss of hair or thinning hair is related to hormonal changes or imbalances. For instance, some women experience hair loss after pregnancy when all of those hormones that were built up over 9 months come crashing down. Women that have thyroid issues (overactive or underactive) can also experience hair loss.
But a lot of times once the hormone challenges are resolved, the hair grows back!
This is just another reason to have a holistic approach with all of this and get to the root cause (which isn’t the hair, it’s the hormones).
Heredity certainly plays a role and so does aging . But even on the side of aging a lot of women start seeing hair loss around the time of menopause/perimenopause. Obviously, this is a time of serious hormonal shifts for women and it can cause the hair to thin or just fall out.
If you want to know how to stimulate hair growth, the best thing you can do is work on your hormones and get that part of the equation straightened out while you’re also trying new remedies for your hair. Truth is, if it’s indeed hormone related hair loss, you’ll get better results, much faster once you’ve resolved the hormone piece.
Best Essential Oils for Hair Loss
Rosemary is arguably the best oil for hair loss and regrowth and it’s widely recognized as a great choice for promoting healthy hair. Rosemary works by increasing metabolism at the cellular level (remember Krebs Cycle in biology?). It’s also an oil shown to stimulate natural hair regrowth and promote healing. According to the research, Rosemary is shown to be just as effective as minoxidil, the active ingredient in the over the counter hair treatment, Rogaine. When massaged into the scalp this essential oil works to strengthen hair and is a natural hair regrowth remedy that is easy to use (1).
In a Scotland study, 86 patients with hair loss massaged their scalp with a mixture of essential oils of rosemary, cedarwood, lavender, thyme and carrier oil (such as jojoba oil). Over a period of 7 months, this group was more likely to show improvements in their hair loss when compared to a control group that just used the carrier oil (2).
Added Bonus: Brain Benefit
Rosemary also helps to fight mental fatigue so that you can concentrate for extended periods of time. To enhance focus and clarity of thought, try this:
Before working on a project add a drop to the palm of your hand. Rub your palms together, cup your hands around your nose and inhale deeply several times. Then, dive into your project with improved brain power and concentration.
How to Rosemary for Natural Hair ReGrowth
When shampooing your hair add your shampoo to the palm of your hand. Add 1 to 2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil to the shampoo. Rub your hands together gently to combine and massage the mixture into your scalp. It will feel nice and tingly – very refreshing! Be sure to massage with your fingertips and not your nails! Follow with your conditioner and then rinse.
You can also try one (or more) of the DIY Hair Growth Recipe below. It contains the key essential oils that were shown in the study to promote hair growth.
DIY Hair Growth Recipe I: Simple and Easy
Try this easy peasy hair recipe for promoting growth and healthy locks:
- 3 to 4 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
- 2 tbsp. Of Olive Oil (depending on how long your hair is – you need enough oil to coat your hair)
Mix the olive oil with the Rosemary and massage into your scalp. Leave it in your hair for a minimum of 45 minutes and up to 3 or 4 hours. To prevent your hair from drying out, cover your head with a plastic shower cap. This creates heat inside the shower cap and helps the oils to work better, penetrating the scalp. After time is up, wash your hair as usual.
DIY Hair Growth Recipe II: Ultra Deep Conditioning
Try this deep conditioning treatment for healthy hair:
- 2 tsp Avocado Oil
- 2 tsp Jojoba Oil
- 2 tsp Olive Oil
- 2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
This is a great DIY hair growth recipe building healthy hair naturally. Not only does it include the best essential oils for stimulating hair growth. It also contains other great oils like avocado oil, jojoba oil and olive oil that restore the hair.
Avocado oil is rich in healthy fats which helps to seal in moisture.
Jojoba oil is similar in chemical structure to the sebum that is produced by the skin and scalp. It also adds shine to hair.
Olive oil is highly nourishing for the hair and also helps to repair damage and lock in moisture.
To make this hair treatment, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and massage into the scalp using your fingertips. Leave it in your hair while you shower and then rinse with warm water.
For more deep conditioning, cover your head with a plastic cap to create heat and intensely hydrate the hair. Leave in for 15 minutes or up to an hour. Rinse with warm water.
More Essential Oils for Hair Growth
Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil of them all. It’s chemical constituents make it a powerhouse essential oils desirable for many uses – including hair growth! In a 2016 animal study, lavender substantially increased the amount of hair follicles in rodents. Lavender also helped the hair follicles to go deeper and it even promoted hair thickness. All around score (2).
Added Bonus: Promotes Chill Vibes
If you’re feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed, using lavender is also going to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Using it in your hair treatment alone will give you enough of a whiff to feel more calm and relaxed in seconds. To enhance your experience, add drops to a diffuser or inhale in the palm of your hands.
Cedarwood boosts localized circulation to stimulate natural hair regrowth and slow the process of hair loss. Effective for thinning hair and various kinds of alopecia, Cedarwood is another oil to add in the mix for promoting hair growth.
Added Bonus: Blends Well with Lavender to Reduce Anxiety and Promote Restful Sleep
Cedarwood has an earthy-woody aroma that blends perfectly with Lavender. I’ve used it many times before bed to create a calm, relaxing energy to help me sleep and rest well. Just add a drop to your palms (add a drop of Lavender too if you have it), rub your palms together, cup your nose and inhale deeply several times. You’ll be heading off to dreamland with deep, rejuvenating sleep in no time
Tea Tree or Melaleuca
Tea Tree oil is also powerful for cleansing. It has antimicrobial effects and can promote hair growth by unplugging hair follicles. A 2013 study found that Tea Tree Oil did a better job than minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine) for promoting hair growth (4).
Added Bonus: Bacteria Buster!
Tea Tree Oil has long been recognized for its antibacterial and antiviral effects. You can use it to disinfect countertops, fight viruses that cause cold and flu and even use to soothe itchy skin. If you’re dealing with rashes like eczema, Tea Tree Oil can be blended with a number of carrier oils like coconut oil to soothe irritated skin.
Essential Oils for Oily and Greasy Hair
If you suffer from oily or greasy hair then it could be because your sebaceous glands are working overtime. Your sebaceous glands lubricate your skin and hair with sebum to naturally protect them. While it may seem wise to wash your hair a lot if you’re dealing with excessive oil/grease, over cleansing could actually be causing your problems. I did the same thing to my acne-prone skin when I was growing up. I would over-cleanse to strip the oil (to the point where my face was “squeaky” clean).
Then my skin would go haywire as if to say, “Mayday, mayday! All oil on the face is GONE!” And then my body would work like mad to lubricate my skin again. This created oil slicks and overproduction of sebum which made everything so much worse.
If you’re washing your hair too often or you’re using a harsh, detergent-like shampoo that strips your hair then you may be doing more harm than good.
If you want to cut the grease without stripping the scalp, then try one of the essential oils below. They will naturally cleanse to remove oil and product buildup without stripping your hair of its natural oils (pun 100% intended).
Lemon or Lemongrass Essential Oil
These are two of my favorite oils. They are refreshing, they are invigorating and they cut oil and grease like a mofo. Case in point: Earlier this year we got some new picture frames to spruce up the house.
Of course, the store we got them from had to put the price sticker on the glass part of the frame so that when we tried to peel it off it left this nasty sticky residue. I could’ve spent 30 minutes trying to scrub that sticker off with my nails or use some nasty chemical concoction.
Instead I reached for my lemon essential oil and after rubbing just 2 drops into that annoying sticky stuff I wiped it away with a paper towel and it was completely gone. It took just a few minutes and it smelled really nice, too.
Citrus oils like lemon and lemongrass work the same way on the hair to remove “icky stuff” like product buildup so that your hair is feeling fresh and completely clean.
How to Use Lemon or Lemongrass Oil for Hair
When shampooing your hair add your shampoo to the palm of your hand. Add 1 to 2 drops of Lemon or Lemongrass Essential Oil to the shampoo. Rub your hands together gently to combine and massage the mixture into your scalp. Follow with your conditioner and then rinse away. Your scalp and hair will feel clean without stripping your hair of its natural oils.
Added Bonus: Energizes and Awakens Senses
Lemon and Lemongrass are invigorating oils. Their aroma is “bright” and awakening. I find that if I’m feeling kind of slumpy or dumpy these two oils are the perfect kick in the pants to get me energized and feeling “alive” again. It’s nice to not have to rely on caffeine or sugar as a pick me up. This is one of my favorite ways to use essential oils!
Essential Oils for Dry Hair or Damaged Hair
To get the most out of any of these remedies, it’s important to pay attention to your nutrition and your lifestyle. For dandruff and dry scalp, this is SUPER important.
Make sure that you’re getting a good amount of water every day.
Half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day is essential for luxurious, healthy hair.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your diet is rich in healthy fats. You can find these in foods like avocado, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and oils from fatty fish like freshwater salmon (did you know that Costco has Wild Alaskan Salmon? And it’s delicious).
You can also try the essential oils below.
If your scalp is dry and itchy (the two often go hand in hand) Peppermint can provide a cooling effect that helps to reduce inflammation. Peppermint also has antiseptic properties to help treat dandruff. In one animal study, Peppermint oil applied over 4 weeks proved to be highly effective for hair growth, thickness and increasing the number of hair follicles and their depth (3). This is one of the top essential oils for hair loss and dandruff! Major score. Since lavender is used for all kinds of skin issues, combine these 2 oils to get a cooling and soothing effect.
Added Benefit: Promotes Focus and Energy
I’m not always a huge fan of mornings. If I’m feeling a little sluggish to get out of the bed, I’ll reach on the nightstand for my Peppermint Essential Oil. Just inhaling a drop in the palm of my hands has me feeling awake and ready for the day in seconds.
For a different use, you can add a few drops to the floor of the shower. The steam will intensify the aroma helping you to wake up and get going for the day.
Indian Sandalwood has an earthy aroma (which I love). It can also help to seal moisture into the hair and restore damaged, brittle tresses.
Added Benefit: Skin Hydrator
If you suffer from dry skin, try adding a drop of sandalwood essential oil to your moisturizer. It will help to lock in moisture and it’s calming aroma helps to promote emotional balance.
Geranium helps to balance oil production making this an excellent choice for both skin and hair. If your scalp is dry, geranium can help give your hair the boost that it needs to produce enough oil so that it’s moisturized and shiny.
Added Benefit: Boost Libido and Support Hormone Balance
Geranium’s floral aroma can naturally put you in a good mood. But did you know that it can also support hormone balancing? As mentioned previously, one of the primary causes of hair loss is disrupted hormones. Inhale Geranium in your palms or apply topically over the abdomen for hormone support. The other bonus? It will help boost your libido too. Try using it with Clary Sage Essential Oil (another hormone balancer) to enhance your experience.
How to Use Essential Oils for Dandruff, Dry Scalp or Damaged Hair
When shampooing your hair add your shampoo to the palm of your hand. Add 1 drop of Peppermint and 1 to 2 drops of Lavender to the shampoo. Rub your hands together gently to combine and massage the mixture into your scalp.
When it’s time to condition, add 1 drop of Sandalwood and 1 drop of Geranium to your conditioner and massage it into the scalp. You can also add a tablespoon of olive oil to lock in the moisture. Leave it on your scalp while you wash. Then rinse with warm water.
Two Things to Consider When Using Essential Oils for Hair Loss
1- Time and Consistency Are Key
In order for any natural remedy to work you need to give it some time. And you must be consistent. Growing hair takes time in general, but especially if you’re dealing with hair loss and you’re looking to try natural strategies. Use these remedies as often as you apply products/treatments to your hair for the best results.
2- These Methods Can Increase Your Sex Appeal
Although I didn’t mention it earlier, using essential oils in your hair can increase your sex appeal by like a million percent. Everyone loves hair that smells good. When you add your essential oils to your shampoo, conditioner or hair treatment you’re also giving that special someone just one more thing to love about you.
The Low-Down on the Fragrance In Your Shampoo
If you can use the essential oils I mentioned with unscented hair products or hair products that are naturally scented with essential oils, that’s much better. If you don’t, for starters you’ll be muddling the aroma of your essential oils with whatever the scent is in your shampoo. It might sound like a good idea but it could end up being overkill (ever met someone who’s fragrance was lingering in the room long after they left? No bueno. It’s way too much!).
Second, if you’re using a conventional brand of shampoo (and even some of the natural ones are guilty of this) the ingredients that are used to give your shampoo it’s fragrance are a cocktail of chemicals. You will literally know this if your shampoo has “fragrance” or “parfum” listed as an ingredient.
Unless you are diligent and you’re using a brand of shampoo like Aubrey Organics that only uses essential oils to create that “smell good effect” then you might be exposing yourself to unnecessary (and harmful) chemicals. That may not be such a huge deal if the chemicals didn’t contain allergens, hormone disruptors and sometimes even carcinogens (5).
And just a friendly reminder, hormone disruption is a key factor in hair loss, skin issues and many other undesirable health challenges.
You’ll never know the specific ingredients in the “fragrance” listed on your product because the beauty industry is protected. They don’t have to provide ingredients for their fragrances because it’s considered a trade secret.
The better thing to do is to choose products that fully disclose their ingredients and avoid the ones that have “fragrance” listed as one of them. That’s going to be better for your hair, your hormones and your overall health in the long term.
Now that you know the best essential oils for hair growth and healthy hair which ones are you most excited to try?
- Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E. T., & Sahebkar, A. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 13(1), 15-21.
- Lee, B. H., Lee, J. S., & Kim, Y. C. (2016). Hair growth-promoting effects of lavender oil in C57BL/6 mice. Toxicological research, 32(2), 103.
- Oh, J. Y., Park, M. A., & Kim, Y. C. (2014). Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs. Toxicological research, 30(4), 297.
- Sakr, F. M., Gado, A. M., Mohammed, H. R., & Adam, A. N. I. (2013). 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, 7, 413.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis. A. Balch
- Hay, IC, Jameison M, Ormerod AD (1998 Nov). “Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata,” Arch Dermatol. 135(d):1349-52.