Using Essential oils in your daily hair routine: Benefits of Essential oils for hair
Conventional methods of hair treatment often contain harsh and toxic chemicals affecting the health of your skin and can be environmentally detrimental to the planet. Using essential oils in your daily hair treatments is a creative and organic alternative, with simple methods of application. Many studies attest to the benefits of essential oils to hair growth, hair health and for alternatives to colouring with unnatural dyes.
Oils for Hair Growth
In a 2016 study, lavender oil was proven to speed up hair growth. Over a period of 3 weeks, the topical application of lavender oil revealed significant increase in the number of hair follicles . Health Line suggests mixing several drops of lavender oil into 3 tablespoons of olive oil and apply directly to your scalp, leaving it in for 10 minutes before washing it out and shampooing. Olive oil contains high levels of of vitamin E, working with the lavender oil to hydrate and soothe the skin. With any treatment, always test on a small area of the skin before applying to the scalp, in case of skin irritation.
Alternatively, use the same measurements, but instead substitute peppermint oil instead of lavender, another proven hair growth treatment. A 2014 study in Korea proved Peppermint oil improves rates of hair growth. The study randomised 4 groups, each testing the effects of different oils on hair growth. After 4 weeks, the group testing peppermint oil showed the most ‘prominent hair growth effects; a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth’.
For sensitive skin, rosemary oil has been proven to perform effectively as a hair growth treatment, without the common side effect of scalp itching. Follow a similar recipe as mentioned before, by mixing several drops of rosemary oil with a carrier oil such as coconut, apply to the scalp and leave on for 10 minutes before washing out with shampoo. Coconut oil is a good carrier oil choice, as it contains medium-chain fatty acids providing a deeper cleanse along with the growth benefits of the rosemary oil.
Oil for Hair & Scalp Health
Lavender oil contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and can be used to combat dry scalp conditions by providing moisture and balancing sebum production. Based on these properties, lavender has also been used to medicate alopecia areata, which according to Dr Axe, ‘Is an autoimmune disease that involves the immune system attacking the cells in your hair follicles, leading to hair loss’.
In this study, eighty-six patients were randomized into 2 groups, one which had essential oils mixed with carrier oils massaged into their scalp daily and the other which only used carrier oils. 44% of patients in the group using essential oils showed improvement compared with only 15% of the patients using carrier oils alone. The results proved that the aromatherapy treatment of essential oil lavender is effective in treating alopecia areata.
Peppermint oil is also just as beneficial to hair health as it is to hair growth. The cooling effect of the oil when applied topically can reduce skin inflammation and improve blood flow to the scalp area. To treat dry and irritated scalp, we suggest using a combination of lavender and peppermint oil for healthy hair. Natural Living Ideas recommends mixing 5 drops each of peppermint oil and lavender oil into 2 tablespoon of warm coconut oil. Apply to your scalp and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before washing off with shampoo.
Another good essential oil for hair health is rosemary oil. Rosemary oil is most beneficial to people with oily hair, as the oil works to reduce production of sebum and can clear clogged pores in the scalp. By regularly using rosemary oil, you can reduce greasiness in your hair for stronger follicles and longer lasting washes.
The common concern of dandruff is another condition simply treated with essential oils. Lemongrass oil is the most effective in this regard, proven by a 2015 study where lemongrass applied twice daily over a period of 14 days dramatically reduced signs of dandruff on the patient’s scalps. Simply add a few drops of lemongrass oil to your daily shampoo or conditioner and massage into your scalp during application.
Hair treatments don’t have to be overly complicated or expensive, and certainly don’t have to be so harsh on your skin. Essential oils can do natural wonders for your hair and can be simply incorporated into your routine. With the essential oils of lavender, peppermint, rosemary and lemongrass, you can transform your hair product cabinet into an aromatherapy collection. The oils are versatile, and can be helpful not only for hair treatments, but for skin and mental health. Don’t buy into the commercial propaganda of hair; natural products are scientifically proven to be just as effective and are a sustainable alternative with multiple purposes.
By Andelain Newman