Essential Oils

These Are The Best Essential Oils For Hair Growth, Dry Scalp, & Dandruff

Updated on 26 January 2021 • 8 minute read
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We lose approximately 50-100 hair strands each day. 

If you’re experiencing more hair loss than that, then essential oils could help slow the process. 

While at first, this might seem unlikely, research suggests that in some cases this may be true. 

In recent years essential oils (EOs) and aromatherapy have gained popularity due to their pharmacological properties. 

But EOs aren’t a new fad. 

Think of EOs as Mother Nature’s most concentrated form of plant therapy.

Historically, plant extracts have been used for beauty, skincare, and healing for thousands of years by various civilizations like the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese. 

 

How Essential Oils Work To Support Healthy Hair

It’s estimated that we’re born with about 100,000 hair follicles. 

The total number can vary based on your hair color. 

Those with black or brown hair average 100,000-110,000 hairs while blond-haired people average 150,000. (1) 

There are many factors that can impact hair health.

Some of them, like your genetics, are out of your control.

And others, like your lifestyle and nutrition choices, are fully within your grasp. 

 

Common causes of hair shedding include: 

  • Giving birth (Postpartum hair loss)  
  • Hormonal imbalances like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) 
  • Thyroid issues
  • Unmanaged stress
  • Malnutrition
  • Toxin exposure
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Serious illness or infection (especially if a high fever was involved) 
  • Traumatic or acutely stressful experience (ie: the death of a loved one, divorce) 
  • Stopped birth control 

 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, unmanaged stress is a big factor in excessive hair shedding: (2) 

Most people notice the excessive hair shedding a few months after the stressful event. 

For example, a new mom can see excessive hair shedding about two months after giving birth. 

The shedding usually peaks about four months after giving birth. 

This shedding is normal and temporary.

As your body readjusts, the excessive shedding stops. 

Within six to nine months, the hair tends to regain its normal fullness.

If the stressor stays with you, however, hair shedding can be long-lived. 

People who are constantly under a lot of stress can have long-term excessive hair shedding.”

EOs offer an affordable, accessible, and relatively low-risk way to nourish your scalp, hair follicles, and locks without the harsh or harmful chemicals found in conventional hair care products. 

They are highly concentrated aromatic compounds extracted from tree or plant material such as bark, leaves, flowers, roots, resin, fruit, or nut.  

There are certain essential oils that have been specifically shown to stimulate hair growth, help prevent further hair loss, treat dandruff and itchy scalp, strengthen hair follicles, increase blood flow to the scalp, thicken hair, and even help oily hair. 

If you’re an expecting mama dealing with dandruff or a new mama struggling with postpartum hair loss pay special attention to our Safety & Caution sections to make sure you’re only using pregnancy and breastfeeding safe essential oils

 

The 7 Best Essential Oils For Hair Health

Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) 

Research shows that lavender essential oil can help hair grow fuller and faster. 

A study published in Toxicology Research found that the topical application once a day, 5 times per week, for 4 weeks resulted in: (3) 

  • A significantly increased number of hair follicles
  • Deepened hair follicle depth
  • Thicker dermal layer
  • Decreased number of inflammatory cells 

Lavender oil is also a known antibacterial and antifungal which helps to keep your scalp and hair follicles healthy and clear of any microbes that may impede hair growth. 

As an added bonus lavender oil is also an excellent sedative and sleep aid that helps to lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. 

Since chronic unmanaged stress and hormonal imbalance can lead to more hair loss, this is a really good thing! 

 

Safety & Caution: 
  • No contraindications are known. 
  • Don’t use in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Don’t use it on infants under three months of age. 
  • Discontinue use if you experience an allergic reaction.

 

Rosemary oil (Rosemarinus officinalis)

Rosemary essential oil offers a double whammy – hair growth AND improved hair thickness. 

In a comparative trial of rosemary oil vs minoxidil (a hair growth topical medication) rosemary proved to be as effective as the medication in stimulating a significant increase in hair count after 6 months of use. 

Side effects like scalp itching, however, were more frequent in the medication group. (4) 

Because of its powerful antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, rosemary is also an excellent dandruff destroyer since the condition is known to be caused by a type of fungal overgrowth. 

 

Safety & Caution: 
  • Not safe for babies and children under 6 years old
  • Not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have epilepsy 
  • Toxic if ingested (topical use only)

 

Clary sage oil (Salvia sclarea)

Sage oil is a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic agent. 

It helps strengthen the hair follicles and soothes scalp inflammation thanks to one of its active compounds – linalyl acetate. (5) 

It’s also a sedative with calming properties and a hormonal balancer. 

 

Safety & Caution: 
  • Not safe for children under 2 years of age. 
  • Not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding mamas.
  • Don’t use while consuming alcohol as it may enhance its effects and accelerate drunkenness. 
  • Check with your doctor if you’re on prescription medication or sedatives as clary sage might interact with certain medications. 

 

Cedarwood oil (Juniperus virginiana) 

Cedarwood essential oil stimulates blood circulation to the scalp, which makes your hair follicles very happy. 

A randomized trial published in the Archives of Dermatology studied the effects of an EO blend containing cedarwood, rosemary, thyme, and lavender on 86 alopecia areata patients.

Subjects applied the blend with carrier oils and massaged the scalp daily. 

After 7 months the results were analyzed by two dermatologists independently and it was found that 44% of patients experienced an improvement in alopecia symptoms compared to just 15% in the control group using only carrier oils. (6)

 

Safety & Caution: 
  • Not safe for babies under 6 months old. 
  • Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica) is safe for pregnancy, while Virginia Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

 

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) 

Tea tree oil should be your scalp’s BFF! 

It helps to unclog hair follicles of an excess buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and hair product residue. 

It also helps prevent future buildup if used regularly. 

Hair follicle buildup can cause dandruff and can even slow down the hair growth process. 

Tea tree essential oil can even help treat scalp eczema and other skin conditions. 

It possesses strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

 

Safety & Caution:
  • Not safe for babies under 6 months old
  • Toxic if ingested (topical use only) 
  • May cause skin irritation (perform a patch test) 
  • Avoid contact with eyes and mucus membranes

 

Lemongrass oil (Cymbopogon flexuosus)

This powerful and cleansing oil is another scalp go-to. 

A randomized, placebo-controlled study found lemongrass oil to be effective at treating dandruff after just 7 days with maximum efficacy reported after 14 days of daily topical use. (7)

It’s also an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal. 

 

Safety & Caution: 

  • Not safe for children under 2 years of age. 
  • Not safe for pregnant or nursing mamas. 
  • Avoid if you are using multiple medications. (Always check with your doctor.) 
  • May cause irritation for sensitive skin. 

 

Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)

If you’re experiencing dry, brittle hair with breakage this oil is for you. 

It’s been found to stimulate or normalize the production of sebum, the oily substance that is secreted from your sebaceous glands. 

You might want to skip this one if you already have oily hair. 

(Note: try peppermint essential oil for oily hair.) 

 

Safety & Caution:
  • Not safe for children under 2 years of age. 
  • May cause skin irritation. 
  • May cause headaches. 

 

The Pros & Cons of EOs for Hair Health

The Pros:  

  • EOs are potent – a little goes a long way. For example, did you know that 30 lbs of lavender flowers go into just one bottle? Just a few drops will offer the potent hair strengthening support you’re after.  
  • High-quality EOs should be 100% natural, therapeutic, and preferably organic. This means you have direct access to nature’s beauty apothecary. 
  • If used with care and mindfulness EOs are relatively low-risk and offer little to no side-effects when compared to most conventional prescription or over-the-counter medication. (But please be aware of the contraindications for each oil you’re using!) 
  • You can create your own blends to enhance and maximize their healing effects on your sinuses and any infections. 
  • When you use them safely, EOs can be an effective home remedy for many child-related conditions. You can use them as a first-step defense with your babies before turning to harsher medicines. 

 

The Cons:  

  • EOs are potent – unnecessarily high concentrations or misuse can cause them to become irritants and may even make skin or scalp conditions worse if you’re not careful. You just need a few drops of essential oil. 
  • Unfortunately, there are many adulterated EO products out in the market that feature misleading claims and labels. It’s estimated that more than 75% of all EO on the market are either diluted or contaminated with synthetic material. (8) 
  • Most of the research done on EO is based on animal studies. Though results seem promising, more in-depth research is needed to explore EO hair benefits further.
  • Be sure to research each essential oil before using it on yourself or your children – many essential oils are considered unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas, as well as unsafe for babies and young children

 

Using EOs With Other Natural Hair Remedies 

Hair health like skin health starts from the inside out. 

While you definitely want to tend to the topical and directly applicable aspects like hair treatments, you don’t want to neglect other more overlooked habits like diet, proper supplementation, stress management, and hormonal health. 

Supplements like biotin, Vitamins B, C, D, & E, zinc, iron, and amino acids can all help nourish your cells and follicles from the inside. 

Managing stress and anxiety with yoga, breathwork, and meditation is also important. 

(Don’t forget this can also help to balance your hormones, which are needed for hair health and faster hair growth.) 

And ensure you’re getting your full night’s beauty sleep, too. 

If you’re a mama or new mama we know it can be hard to make time for self-care practices such as yoga and meditation. 

Rather than feeling pressure to “do it all” or feeling overwhelmed, we recommend you lean into it slowly. 

Start with just five minutes of self-care at a time. 

Here’s a 5-Minute guided meditation to help you get started: 

 

How To Choose the Right High-Quality EO for Your Hair & Scalp

Low-quality products may be tainted with additives, fillers, or other chemicals that may be harmful to your health.

Low-quality essential oils don’t offer the same potent effects mentioned here so be careful when purchasing online. 

You don’t want to skimp on hair care so be sure to follow these 7 tips before you buy your EOs: 

  1. Look for certified organic therapeutic grade essential oils.  
  2. Check that GC/MS testing has been done. 
  3. Research the company’s reputation. 
  4. Check the label for all relevant information. 
  5. Check the price and make sure it’s not too low. 
  6. Check the Latin name and make sure it’s on the label.
  7. Check in with yourself and let your body tell you if it’s a yay or nay. 

 

2 DIY EO Blends For Beautiful, Strong Hair

The following recipes can help you address your hair needs without the added harmful chemicals of conventional hair products. 

 

Hair Growth Accelerator Mask

Use our hair oil treatment mask religiously once a week to see maximum regrowth results.

The carrier oils in this mask also act to stimulate hair growth by moisturizing the follicles and restoring to each hair strand of dry hair. 

Symptoms: Thinning hair/ hair loss/ increased hair shedding

 

Mixture: 

  • 4 drops of lavender oil
  • 4 drops of rosemary
  • 4 drops clary sage
  • 4 drops of cedarwood
  • 2 tbsp castor oil 
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed oil 
  • 2 tbsp jojoba oil or almond oil 

 

Safe Mixture for Pregnant or Nursing Mamas: 

  • 6 drops of lavender oil
  • 5 drops of cedarwood
  • 5 drops of ylang-ylang
  • 2 tbsp castor oil 
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed oil 
  • 2 tbsp jojoba oil or almond oil 

 

Instructions: 

Mix ingredients into a small bowl and apply evenly to the entire head – scalp first then work your way to the ends of your hair.* 

You can leave it on anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. 

To remove simply use shampoo and conditioner as normal. 

Apply to brows too if desired. 

*Perform a skin patch test on each oil prior to applying to make sure you don’t have a negative reaction. 

 

Scalp RX Hair Mask

Flaky scalp to the rescue!

This scalp treatment serves as a cleanser and exfoliator. 

When used once a week it can also increase circulation to your hair follicles to stimulate growth and keep your scalp’s natural oils balanced. 

Use the tips of your fingers to create a massaging motion all over your scalp.

Suitable for all hair types. 

Symptoms: Dandruff, flaky and dry scalp, itchy scalp

 

Mixture: 

  • 4 drops tea tree 
  • 4 drops lemongrass 
  • 4 drops lavender
  • 4 drops of peppermint oil 
  • ¼ tsp activated charcoal (purifier and detox) 
  • 1 tbsp salicylic acid (chemical exfoliator) 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (antifungal, moisturizes skin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (cleanser)

 

Safe Mixture for Pregnant or Nursing Mamas: 

  • 8 drops tea tree 
  • 8 drops lavender
  • ¼ tsp activated charcoal (purifier and detox) 
  • 1 tbsp glycolic acid (chemical exfoliator, use less than 10% concentration) 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (antifungal, moisturizes skin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (cleanser)

 

Instructions: 

Mix ingredients into a small bowl and apply evenly to the entire scalp.*

Leave in for 15-30 minutes.

To remove simply use shampoo and conditioner as normal. 

*Perform a skin patch test on each oil prior to applying to make sure you don’t have a negative reaction. 

Pro tip: Massage the scalp with the mask on either with your fingers or a scalp massager tool. 

 

 

 

References:

(1) https://www.baumanmedical.com/qa/many-hairs-human-head/

(2) https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843973/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469

(5) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-clary-sage-essential-oil.html

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26566122

(8) Essential Oils Revolution Online Summit, Interview with Robert Pappas, “Essential Oil Preparation”

 

 

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We Got You, Mama.

Self-Care Rituals & Self-Love Practices To Support You & Your Family.

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