by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC
Essential oils are well known to benefit lots of different skin conditions, but did you know they can help with many different hair and scalp conditions too? Here, we are going to look at the best essential oils for the hair & scalp. Whether its an itchy, irritated scalp you want relief from or you are desperate to get more healthy hair growth, then there is an oil blend to help!
The best essential oils for the hair & scalp
Essential oils to stimulate hair growth
These oils are known as ‘rubefacient’ oils, which means they warm the area of application and open up the blood vessels. By increasing the circulation, it means we are ‘feeding’ the bottom of the hair follicles, encouraging them to grow faster. This also means that these are some of the best essential oils for the hair & scalp.
Mix any one of these oils with a carrier oil and massage the scalp with them. (See below for blends and instructions). Using some stimulating massage movements will give extra help to really get the hair growth going!
Black Pepper is a very stimulating, warming oil, so should be used in very small quantities. But its properties are great for promoting hair growth, as it is very warming, thus encouraging circulation to the hair follicles.
(Incompatible with homeopathic treatments)
A warming oil that will stimulate the circulation in the scalp, thus feeding the hair follicles and encouraging better hair growth.
(Avoid during pregnancy, and do not use before or after alcohol)
Rosemary is found in many hair preparations, as it is known to promote a healthy hair growth. A stimulating and warming oil, it will encourage the circulation to the hair follicles, thus promoting hair growth.
(Avoid during pregnancy, and if suffering with epilepsy or high blood pressure)
Essential oils for dry hair
Blend as a hair & scalp treatment or apply within a hair mask (see below for blends and instructions). Ensure to apply all the way through to the ends of the hair, to ensure maximum benefits to your dry hair.
Extracted from the dried carrot seeds this oil is a really nourishing oil that rejuvenates dry conditions including dry hair. It is also useful for a dry scalp, or for someone suffering with dandruff or itchy scalp conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis.
(Avoid during pregnancy)
A good oil for rejuvenating and hydrating and to improve elasticity so great for hair prone to breakages.
(Avoid during pregnancy)
Essential oils for dry & itchy scalp
Use these oils in a hair treatment (see below for blends and instructions), and apply directly to the scalp and gently massage in.
Peppermint is unique as it has both cooling and stimulating properties. This means that peppermint will cool and soothe an itchy scalp, as well as stimulating circulation, to encourage hair growth.
(Incompatible with homeopathic medicines)
A natural antiseptic, tea tree will keep the scalp clean and healthy, reducing irritation, flakes and dandruff.
Benzoin is a soothing oil that reduces inflamed, dry and chapped skin, so useful for dry, itchy or flaky skin.
A lovely refreshing citrus oil that is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory so good for flaky or irritated scalp.
Also know as lemon balm, Melissa is soothing for itchy, dry conditions.
(Avoid during pregnancy)
A great all round oil, Lavender has good cleansing and antibacterial properties. This promotes a clean healthy scalp and promotes hair growth.
Essential oils for greasy hair and scalp
Use these oils in hair treatments blends or a hair mask (see below for blends and instructions). Depending on your area of concern, apply either just to the scalp for an oily scalp or greasy roots, or all the way to the ends of the hair for generally oily hair.
Lemon works very well on greasy scalp, thus also helping greasy and oily hair conditions. It also has very good antiseptic properties, so keeps the scalp and roots clean and grease free.
As with lemon, mandarin will work as an astringent for oily hair and scalp conditions.
A lesser known citrus oil, petitgrain is a good, cleansing tonic for greasy skin and hair conditions
Essential oils for coloured hair
Add a drop to your shampoo or conditioner to brighten coloured hair.
A great oil to rejuvenate and brighten blond tones in the hair.
How do essential oils work for the hair?
The hair is made up of the same thing as the skin, so essential oils work in very much the same way.
Essential oils are the pure oils that are extracted from the flowers and leaves of plants, the peel of fruits and even the bark and resin of trees. The molecules in the oils are so pure and fine that they have the ability to penetrate the skin. From here, they can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and travel around the body to have the desired effect.
In the case of using essential oils for the hair and scalp, the oils can have an effect on the skin of the scalp and the hair follicles within the scalp, thus promoting a cleaner, healthier, less irritated scalp and the stimulation of the circulation to the hair follicles, which will encourage hair growth.
For more uses of essential oils READ HERE
Carrier oils for the hair and scalp
Carrier oils are the base oils that essential oils are blended into. They also have some amazing benefits of their own for the hair and scalp!
Sweet Almond Oil
This oil contains a high percentage of vitamins – Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 & E, therefore is extremely nourishing and protecting. The oil will nourish and protect dry hair.
Evening Primrose Oil
This is very effective at treating dry skin conditions such as dandruff, and due to its high essential fatty acids content, it nourishes and protects the hair.
Jojoba oil is very good at treating both dry and oily skin and hair conditions as it regulates the amount of sebum (natural oil) being produced. Therefore it makes an ideal base for a hair or scalp treatment.
Not to be confused with carrot seed essential oil, carrot oil is highly nourishing and hydrating for the scalp and hair.
Probably the most common carrier oil used on the hair, coconut oil is nourishing, hydrating and often leaves the hair with a beautiful shine.
How to use essential oils for the hair
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Hair & scalp treatment
To make a superpower hair treatment, it is most beneficial to blend essential oils with carrier oils, so you get the most effective results!
Use a small amount of carrier oil and just 1 drop of each essential oil.
Hair & scalp treatment for dry/itchy scalp
- Coconut oil, Peppermint & Lavender
- Evening Primrose Oil, Tea-Tree & Bergamot
- Jojoba oil, Tea-Tree & Melissa
Hair & scalp treatment for greasy scalp & hair
- Jojoba oil, Lemon & Mandarin
- Jojoba oil, Mandarin & Petitgrain
Hair & Scalp treatment for hair growth
For these treatments, it is suggested to use only one stimulating oil and balance it out with a milder more soothing oil. Again, use a small amount of carrier oil and 1 drop of each essential oil.
- Coconut oil, Rosemary & Benzoin
- Sweet Almond oil, Black Pepper & Melissa
Shampoo or Conditioner
Adding 1 drop of your chosen oil to a 10p size amount of either your shampoo or conditioner is a really effective way of getting the desired results of the oils. When using shampoo, really massage the scalp so you get benefits of the essential oils here, or when using conditioner, distribute the conditioner right through to the ends of the hair to treat every strand.
Similar to a hair treatment oil, a hair mask will nourish the scalp and the hair itself. A hair mask, however can include other ingredients to make it a thicker consistency – so you really feel like your whole head is benefitting.
Hair mask for dry hair/scalp
- Mash an over ripe avocado
- Add some coconut oil, to make a soft paste
- Add up to 3 drops of your chosen essential oils (use up to 3)
- Mix well, and apply to your hair, massage in the scalp, and take right through to the ends.
- Leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Hair mask for greasy hair
- Take some plain yogurt.
- Add a very small amount of jojoba oil
- Add up to 3 drops of your chosen oil.
- Mix well and apply to the hair. Massage into the scalp and take it right through to the ends of the hair.
- Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse well.
These are some of my favourite essential oils to use!
Indian Head Massage for hair growth
Indian Head massage is an ancient Asian tradition that has been passed down through generations of women (and men). It is the process of using specific massage movements on the scalp and through the hair to stimulate blood circulation which in turn promotes better and healthy hair growth and condition.
In addition the movements help to clear and focus the mind and is thought to improve concentration and memory!
My favourite products for treating the scalp and the hair
Keeping with the theme of essential oils, here are some of my favourite treats to use!
Using essential oils in these very small quantities, is generally safe. However please be aware of the precautions stated for each oil – as an aromatherapist, I feel obliged to state the precautions!
All essential oils should be avoided in the first 3 months of pregnancy, and then used with caution. Even though I have stated to avoid some oils during pregnancy, with these small quantities, they may be safe. If ever in any doubt of the use of any oils, or if you are pregnant, please consult your doctor before using them.