Essential Oils That are Safe for Hair and Scalp Use

The scalp produces natural oil or sebum. This sebum protects the hair follicles by forming a shield over them while hydrating the scalp.  However, daily hair washing, heated styling tools, dead cells, dust, and wind exposure can strip off the sebum. Regular hair treatments using products with harsh chemicals also contribute to loss of sebum.

When there is not enough oil, your hair becomes frizzy and dry. The scalp becomes flaky and itchy. All these issues affect healthy hair growth. A poor diet also affects hair growth, producing thin and brittle hair.


What to do? Use essential oils.

Essential oils are compounds from the leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, barks, or rinds of plants. Some come from certain herbs.  These oils contain the plant’s flavor and scent or their “essence.” Every plant has a unique aroma and benefits.

These pure oils are extracted through mechanical pressing (cold pressing) or via distillation (steam). To extract essential oils from citrus fruit, the best method is through expression. It is the process of scraping or grating the peels to release the essential oil.

For scalp and hair treatment, use carrier oils to dilute their concentrated content. Some oils work best when blended with other essential oils. Other are powerful on their own. The best carrier oils for fine, thin hair are coconut, sunflower, olive, jojoba, almond, and grapeseed. For dry, thick coarse hair, the ideal carrier oils are avocado, rosehip, sesame, hemp, almond, and olive.

The general rule is to add 1% of essential oil to the base oil. You can follow any of these two options:

  • 30-40 drops essential oil in 100 ml base oil
  • 10-15 drops essential oil in 15 ml or 1 tablespoon of base oil


Scalp and Hair Benefits of Essential Oils:

  • Stimulate hair growth
  • Reduce hair thinning
  • Soothe dry, irritated scalp
  • Reduce oiliness
  • Increase sebum production
  • Stimulates blood circulation in the scalp
  • Treats dandruff and fungal infections
  • Balances scalp hormones
  • Makes hair shiny and healthy

10 Best Essential Oils and Their Benefits for Hair Care:

The first thing that you need to do is to find an essential oil that suits your hair care needs. Oily or greasy hair needs oil that strip off excess oil buildup. For dry hair and scalp, look for essential oil that will stimulate sebum production.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil has a sweet aroma which is relaxing and soothing. This essential oil stimulates hair growth by improving blood circulation in the scalp. Regular use of this essential oil increases the number of hair follicles and stimulates the growth of deeper, stronger roots. It is also a potent antiseptic and antimicrobial oil.

People struggling with dandruff will find this essential oil quite useful. It helps balance the sebum production which moisturizes the scalp and hair.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 8-10 drops of lavender essential oil and 4 teaspoons of carrier oil. Massage the mixture into the scalp. Leave it overnight to reap the healing and nourishing benefits of this essential oil. Wash it off in the morning.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil contains antioxidants that delay hair graying and prevent hair thinning. It is best for people with oily scalps because it can scale down the production of sebum. It enhances healthy growth of hair and improves circulation of blood in the scalp.

This essential oil clears the pores of the scalp, keeping dandruff at bay. Rosemary essential oil also prevents split ends.  Using it for 6 months reduces the symptoms of premature baldness.

To use it for hair growth: Heat 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Add 10 drops of rosemary essential oil. Blend well. Use the mixture as your hot oil treatment. Massage it on your scalp and hair. Wrap a hot towel over your hair. Leave it for 30 minutes. Afterward, shampoo and rinse your hair well. Do this treatment once a month.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil has a soothing and calming scent. It can unclog pores on the scalp. A clean, healthy scalp stimulates fast hair growth. It is ideal for people with dry scalps. Regular use triggers normal sebum production.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 5 drops of peppermint essential oil, 5 drops of lavender essential oil, and 2 tablespoons of warm coconut oil. Massage the blend into your scalp and hair. Leave it for 20 minutes. Shampoo and wash your hair well.

Thyme Essential Oil

This aromatic essential oil is very powerful, so it is best used in moderation. The thyme linalool variety is the gentlest and does not irritate the scalp. Thyme essential oil prevents hair loss. It increases the number of healthy hair follicles and improves blood flow in the scalp.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 2 drops of thyme essential oil, 5 drops of lavender essential oil, and 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Massage it in on your scalp and leave for 20 minutes. Afterward, shampoo and wash.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood essential oil can solve hair loss issue and dandruff. It improves the blood circulation in the scalp. It stimulates the healthy growth of hair follicles. The anti-fungal properties of this oil get rid of itchiness and dandruff.

When blended with rosemary, thyme, and lavender, it can reverse the effects of Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease of the skin which results in hair loss in the scalp and face.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 2-3 drops of Cedarwood essential oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage it into your hair and scalp.

Another option is to blend 5 drops of this oil and 1 tablespoon of your shampoo, then use it to wash your hair.


Lemon Essential Oil

The tiny sacs inside the lemon peel contain essential oils which stimulate good circulation, resulting in increased hair growth. It is an excellent drying and clarifying oil for a greasy scalp. The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of lemon essential oil heal scalp acne and prevent dandruff.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 5-6 drops of lemon essential with 2 tablespoons of jojoba essential oil. Massage it into your scalp and leave for 1-2 hours. Shampoo and wash it off well.

For oily hair, blend this oil with warm water. Use it as a final rinse after washing your hair.

Chamomile Essential Oil

This essential oil smells like apple. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties that relieve itch, dermatitis, and psoriasis on the scalp. It shields hair from damaging environmental pollutants.

Chamomile essential oil is a good conditioning rinse. It makes the hair healthy and shiny. Combine 10 drops and 1 quart of purified water and use it as your final hair wash.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 3 drops of chamomile essential oil to 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil. Massage into your scalp.


Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is usually used as one of the ingredients of dandruff treatment products. It effectively relieves drying and itching.  The antimicrobial properties of this essential oil treat scalp acne and fungal infections.

This essential oil moisturizes the hair and scalp, penetrating deep into the hair follicles. It balances the normal production of sebum and unclogs pores in the scalp. It increases hair growth, gets rid of head lice, and treats hair loss.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil and 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Leave it for 30 minutes, then shampoo out.

For acne or dandruff, add 5 drops to your regular shampoo.


Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

The yellow flowers of Ylang Ylang have the highest-grade essential oil.

Ylang Ylang essential oil stimulates adequate sebum production, keeping the scalp healthy. It resolves hair problems like hair fall and thinning. It can remove head lice.

To use it for hair growth: Blend 5 drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil. Massage the mixture into your scalp and wrap your head with a warm towel. Leave it on for 1 hour. Wash it well afterward.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

This musky-scented essential oil contains phytoestrogen, the substance that prevents and reverses symptoms of premature balding. When used regularly as a massage treatment, Clary Sage essential oil reduces symptoms of dandruff and normalizes sebum production. It makes frizzy and curly hair more manageable.

To use it for hair growth: Blend equal parts of Clary Sage and Jojoba oil. Massage it into your scalp and hair. Leave for 30 minutes before washing it out.

For dry hair, blend 10 drops of this essential oil and 1-2 teaspoon of coconut oil. Massage it in your scalp then brush your hair to coat the strands with this beneficial essential oil.

Safety Precautions:

To prevent allergy, always test the essential oil on a small patch of skin. Wait for 30 minutes before applying or massaging it into the scalp.

  • Avoid contact with your eyes.
  • If you have high blood pressure, epilepsy, and other health issues, pregnant or lactating, consult your physician first to know if you can use essential oils.
  • The topical use is recommended for adults and older teenagers only.


Storage Period of Essential Oils

The shelf life of essential oil depends on their volatile substances.

  • Essential oils with sesquiterpenols and sesquiterpenes can last up to 6 years.
  • Essential oils with monoterpenols or esters expire after 4-5 years.
  • Essential oils with phenols last for 3 years.
  • Essential oils with oxides or monoterpenes can be stored up to 2 years.

Final note

Always buy pure, undiluted essential oils in dark glass bottles. Their strong components can react with plastic and cause negative side effects.

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