Essential Oils for Your Hair

Using oils in your hair care is a hot trend, from products infused with essential oils to homemade coconut oil deep conditioners.

But they’re not new. For centuries, people have used oils for various medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Now, you can find them in many shampoos, serums, and other hair care products. You can also use them to make your own hair care treatments.

Essential Oils and Carrier Oils

Essential oils are distilled from the plant itself. They have the signature scent of the plant they came from. And they’re highly concentrated. For instance, it takes 220 pounds of lavender flowers to make a single pound of lavender oil.

Carrier oils (such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil) also come from plants, but they have a more neutral smell. And they’re not necessarily distilled down like essential oils are.

Here are the benefits of some essential and carrier oils:

  • Almond oil soothes and moisturizes the scalp.
  • Cedarwood oil stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth.
  • Chamomile oil adds shine and softness to hair, and soothes the scalp.
  • Clary sage oil promotes hair growth and stimulates the scalp.
  • Coconut oil softens hair and increases shine.
  • Geranium oil strengthens hair.
  • Jojoba oil moisturizes the hair, adds nutrients, and stimulates the scalp.
  • Lavender oil deep conditions the hair, keeps it shiny, and helps control dandruff.
  • Moroccan argan oil moisturizes, nourishes, and provides antioxidants to hair.
  • Rosemary oil stimulates the roots, improves hair growth, and increases circulation in the scalp.
  • Sandalwood oil helps with dry ends, and adds fragrance to the hair.

How to Use Essential Oils for Your Hair

You only need a few drops of an essential oil. You can mix one or more types in a shampoo or conditioner. Or mix the drops into 2 ounces of a carrier oil.

Be aware that if you put some essential oils directly to your scalp, they may cause irritation. Read label instructions for how to dilute oils, and never use more than the recommended amount.

If you're allergic to plants such as ragweed, test the oil on a small area of your skin or scalp to see if you have a reaction.

Try these combos:

  • Cedarwood, clary sage, and lavender
  • Jojoba, clary sage, and cedarwood

After you apply the oil mixture, cover your head in a towel or shower cap.

You can wash out the treatment after 30 minutes, leave it on overnight and shampoo in the morning, or use some as a leave-in conditioner. See what works best for your hair texture.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on December 10, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy: “What Are Essential Oils?”

National Institute of Environmental Health Science: “Essential Oils.”

Green, M. and Keville, K. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, Random House Digital Inc., 2008.

Sherri Jessee, owner, Sherri Jessee Salon, Bristol, VA.

Wilson, R. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty, Penguin, 2002.

Gottlieb, B. Alternative Cures: More than 1,000 of the Most Effective Natural Home Remedies, Random House Digital Inc., 2008.

University of Minnesota: "Are Essential Oils Safe?" 

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