Essential Oils for Hair Explained

Essential oils (or simply EOs) are a popular natural hair care product. Sadly, when it comes to hair oils, not many people understand how different types of oil should be used and what affect they have on our hair and scalp. In this article, I’m going to talk about what essential oils are, how to use them and how they differ from other types of hair oils.

Essential Oil Basics

Let’s begin with the name. Oils are called essential because they carry a very strong essence (or scent) of the plants that they have been extracted from. Essential oils penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and should be used with care – only a few drops of EO are usually used.

Essential oilsNow, most hair care regimens recommend mixing EOs with carrier oils such as castor, almond, olive, jojoba, sesame and so on. Carrier oils help to hold essential oils, making them easier to apply and preventing any unwanted side-effects of using strong EOs. Hard oils, such as coconut oil, are rarely mixed with EOs.

Popular Essential Oils

Below are quick descriptions of some of the most popular essential oils out there.

Peppermint oil: A very strong essential oil that has a strong scent and a pleasant cooling effect on the scalp. Peppermint oil should not be used undiluted, because it can easily burn the skin causing serious damage. Normally just 2-3 drops of peppermint EO is enough to give any hair oil mixture pleasant cooling and refreshing properties. The main benefit of using peppermint oil on hair is that it stimulates blood flow to the scalp, thus helping your body deliver more nutrients and minerals to the hair follicles.

Tea Tree oil: Another popular EO that is known for its superb fungus-fighting properties. Tea tree oil is often used to treat issues with itchy and flaky scalp. These annoying conditions are usually caused by fungus that can also cause dandruff and tea tree oil is a good all-natural way to keep this fungus growth under control.

Remember that tea tree oil should not be applied undiluted in its pure form as it may cause damage/burns. Mix it with a carrier oil or put a little tea tree EO into your normal shampoo/conditioner. Another thing to keep in mind is that too much tea tree oil (or simply using it too often) can lead to scalp/skin dryness, which is not a good thing.

Oil with rosemary and lavenderRosemary oil: This oil has a very, very strong scent that is also quite pleasant. For this reason, it is often added to other oils to improve the way your hair/skin smells after an oil treatment. Some people claim that rosemary EO can help with hair regrowth, though it’s really hard to confirm these reports because rosemary oil is practically always used as an ingredient in a mix of different oils. Do not use rosemary oil undiluted!

Lavender oil: This commonly used EO is a little controversial as it is thought to increase estrogen production, especially in young boys. The effects that this strange property has on adults are not very well studied. Lavender oil is often used as an ingredient in complex EO and carrier oil mixes as well as found in many hair care products.

Ylang Ylang oil: Another oil that has a very strong scent and should be used sparingly. Ylang Ylang smells a bit like jasmine and can be overwhelming if overused. Whether this EO helps with hair growth is very difficult to tell, but it does seem to help moisturize and relieve tension from the scalp! Just remember to mix Ylang Ylang with other EOs as well as some carrier oil/oils – do not use it on its own!

Thyme: Used to treat various skin, ear and mouth infections, thyme oil is also found in most potent hair growth products. It is not clear exactly how and why it works so well to treat certain types of hair loss, but it has been proven to work over and over again (only when used in a special mix with other oils though)!

How to Use Essential Oils

One thing that you must remember about essential oils is not to use them undiluted! They are usually very strong and, if overused, can cause serious skin burns as well as other health issues (such as high blood pressure, headaches and so on). People with high blood pressure should avoid using rosemary oil.

Now, for hundreds of years people have been using EOs to treat hair loss, so they are definitely worth trying. Most people either mix 1-3 drops of their favorite EO into shampoo/conditioner or add some to their pre-shampoo oil treatments.

Another thing about EOs that seems to come up time and time again is that they work best when used in conjunction with other oils. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly why EOs help with hair loss and growth.

One of the most popular (and potent) essential oil recipes for hair growth is:

  • 2 drops of Cedarwood EO
  • 2 drops of thyme EO
  • 2-3 drops of rosemary EO
  • 2-3 drops of lavender EO
  • 3-5 teaspoons of grape seed oil
  • About half a teaspoon of jojoba oil

Mix all of the above oils together and then massage the mixture into your scalp (especially the areas where hair loss is occurring). Wrap your head in a towel or something to keep it warm. Now, depending on how your scalp and hair react to this treatment, you have two choices: either wait 30 minutes and then wash it all out, or keep it in overnight and wash your hair in the morning. Do not overdo this; just two treatments per week should be enough.

About Marina

17 Responses to “Essential Oils for Hair Explained”

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  1. Shontye says:

    My hair is very thick and coarse. When I first went natural(4 yrs.), my hair was healthy and growing, now my hair has come out in patches. I have tried so many products and nothing seems to be working. I don’t understand. I have changed my diet a little and have increased my intake of water tremendously. My edges all the way around and I have two patches at the top of my head. I’m extremely frustrated and found no solace in a salon I’ve been going to for natural hair care. What do you recommend and yes I did go to the dermatologist.

    • me2014 says:

      The only people I have seen that happen to were on blood pressure or psych meds. Try whipped shea butter with emu oil. Also if you can find a salon that uses an organic line of products that might help. If your wearing a weave braids or a wig give it a break so your scalp and hair can breathe. Also try getting a multivitamin that promotes hair nail and skin health.

  2. Ming says:

    Hello Ms.Marina,
    Could I blend ylang-ylang ,lavender & rosemary EO together for my hair & scalp? And if so, what would be the best dilution ? Thank you.

  3. Rita Baum says:

    Can I mix thyme red oil and rosemary oil together with olive oil
    and massage topically on my scalp without any side effects?

  4. renee says:

    Do you put the mixture on wet hair or dry hair or washed hair or dirty hair? Tjanks

  5. Theresa says:

    Hi , The end of my hair keeps on breaking down. I want to know if I mix Rosemary oil, jojoba oil and castor oil into my hair. Is it going to stop the breakage.

    • ilovehorses says:

      What shampoos and conditioner do you use?

      Do you wash your hair with hard water?

      Do you use a lot of heat styling for your hair?

      Do you ever use pre-washing (natural) hair treatment for your hair?

      Can use egg mask or coconut oil treatment for hair….or even mayonaise……for real.

      These are all factors to consider. Including your own health and diet issues.

      Also mixing oils – gotta be careful with that. Can use lighter based oils on a daily basis only at the ends of hair. (Such as 100% Argan or almond oil) to keep the ends moisturized and prevent breakage.

  6. crystalin williams says:

    Hello Marina,
    My scalp has a burning itchy sensation after I used 12 drops of rosemary, olive oil, jojoba oil, mixed in 3 oz of castor oil and Haitian black castor oil. Could this be damaging my hair? I have washed it 3 times and I still have this burning itchy sensation. I don’t know what else to do…. need some advise please!

    • ilovehorses says:

      Yeah…..need to watch out when mixing certain oils. May have been too much for your scalp.

      Rinse scalp with 100% apple cider vinegar. It acts as a cleanser and conditioner in one. =)

      I would rather use one oil at a time.

      The essential oils are better off used with shampoos…….but you can still use them in oil treatments….

      Just make sure that you know which EO can be mixed with other EO and what the best carrier oil (coconut, jojoba, olive oil…etc) would be.

  7. sooraj says:

    I need a best combination of castor,jojoba,argon,rosemary,almond,laveender oil…so please help me…..I don’t know how to

  8. sridevi says:

    i am 27 yrs old. i have very thin hair what to do to grow healthy, thick and long hair.

  9. ilovehorses says:

    Apply concentrated 100% apple cider vinegar on to scalp.
    The rest of the hair – is ok, but dilute it a bit for the vinegar may be too acidic for the rest of the hair. But anyway, the vinegar is a miracle send for hair/scalp and even digesitive system treatment. do it twice or once a week.

    Also use shea moisture brand shampoos and conditioners and masks and restorative serums….etc. What ever you may need to regrow your hair. They don’t have any of the harsh carcinogenic chemicals that other shampoos have.

    Also, look up hot oil treatments (pre-washing).

    Don’t give up. There are so many natural ways to go about regrowing your hair.

    For essential oils mix 1 or 2 drops with shampoo. And apply normally.

    Also, rinse with drinking water once done. And avoid washing hair with hot water.

    Take care and Good luck.

  10. ilovehorses says:

    Also , it could be a hypothyroid issue.

    In that case, you need to change some of your diet intake.

    Avoid certain foods (usually sugar based candy and sweets – eat them sparingly!!)
    And avoid foods with gluten.

    Other than that, drink honey water once or twice a day. Does the body good. =)

  11. Darcy Ruis says:

    The hair growth recipe you give doesn’t say to mix with shampoo. Am I reading that correctly? You just mix and apply those ingredients straight to the scalp and hair?

  12. Monica says:

    I have recently been diagnosed with androgenic alopecia. Because my body is very sensitive to meds I could not take the spironolactone my dermatologist recommended for me. So for 2-3 weeks now I have started using Nioxin Hair system 3 along with doing Rosemary+ jojoba oil massages before showering. I have been experience and increase in shedding and I’m not sure if using the 2 products is too much for me, or if it’s the shampoo. Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

  13. How do i create a base that’s non oily / alcohol free in a spray for my scalp ?
    using the EO mentioned

  14. terri says:

    Can I put the mixture you have above for hair growth in my shampoo?

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