Essential oils and carrier oils can help hair grow stronger and healthier, and can support regrowth in those experiencing hair loss.*
Essential oils have long been ingredients in hair care recipes...You'll often find Lavender, Chamomile, Rosemary and Tea Tree in shampoos and conditioners, and for good reason—these oils can positively support the health of the scalp and hair follicles. Which may be the best oils for you? Here's a look at many essential oils and carrier oils used in hair care, with some tips to helping you create your most effective formula.
For dilutions: 1% essential oil in a carrier is 8 drops of essential oil per each ounce of carrier oil.
The Essential Oils
Essential oils can be thought of as the 'active ingredients' in your formulas. Choose one or more and add them at the recommended concentrations to your carrier oil(s). Massage your blend into the scalp daily. Some recommend wrapping the scalp with a warm, moist towel afterward to open the pores and enhance absorption. This can be done before bed, and you may want to use a cover for your bedding to provide protection from the oils. Essential oils can also be added to your current shampoos and conditioners.
Carrot Root - High in carotenes and other antioxidants, Carrot oil is exceptional for stimulating and regenerating skin and follicle cells. Retin-A, containing tretinoin - a form of vitamin A, has long been used alone or with Rogain to support hair growth for men with hair loss due to male pattern baldness. Carrot oil is actually a supercritical extract of carrot root emulsified in Jojoba oil (it is one of the few CO2 essential oils that is solid in its pure form). It may be one of the most beneficial oils for people experiencing hair loss of all types, and can support healthy hair growth for everyone. Use at 1 - 3%
Carrot Seed - Mentioned in the aroma literature for invigorating pallid and dull skin, can do the same for hair follicles. May be especially useful where detoxification is necessary; noted specifically for folks whom have been exposed to environmental toxins (polluted urban areas, office environments, significant automobile commuting time, etc.) Use at .5 - 2%
Cedarwood - Some people may be experiencing less than optimal hair growth or hair loss from bacterial or other infections, or from immune system deficiencies. Cedarwood is one of the essential oils in a blend successfully studied for alopecia areata (along with Thyme, Lavender and Rosemary, based in Jojoba and Grapeseed). Use at .5 - 1%
Chamomile, German - One of aromatherapy's most effective agents for reducing inflammation. Hair loss is sometimes attributed to inflammation in the scalp and follicles, resulting in less-than-ideal cellular function. Some even attribute hair loss to an over-heated scalp. German Chamomile is both anti-inflammatory and cooling, with a pleasant sweet herbaceous aroma. Consider also Lavender for a similar effect. Use at .5 -1%
Clary Sage - Proper hormone balance is crucial for both genders when considering the health of hair. Clary Sage is thought to balance estrogen levels in the skin and scalp, and can be of particular help for women of maturity. Use at .5 - 1%
Clove - Antiseptic and a very potent antioxidant (one of the most potent natural antioxidants ever tested, at over 100,000 on the ORAC scale). Can increase circulation, and may be of best support for stimulating new hair growth. For scalp circulation stimulation, Black Pepper may also be used. Use only in very small amounts due to possible skin sensitivity, .25%
Cypress - Included in formulas for increased circulation and capillary strength. It is important to have good blood circulation to the follicles for optimal hair growth. Many regimens for treating hair loss include Ginko and other herbs specifically for increasing circulation in the scalp. Use at .5 - 1%
Helichrysum - Thought to be regenerating to all soft tissues of the body, helichrysum is found in blends for both mature skin and for healing wounds. It is likely regenerative to scalp tissue as well, and may be particularly important as some physicians see the aging scalp to resemble scar tissue. Also an excellent anti-inflammate, and used to enhance circulation. Use at .5 - 2%
Lavender - Found in hair formulas for all types of hair and scalp conditions. Balancing, soothing, regenerative, anti-inflammate and antibacterial. The most commonly used oil for stress reduction. If stress is playing any part in preventing you from having the head of hair you'd like, add a little Lavender! Use at .5 - 3%
Myrtle - A balancer of scalp oils, particularly useful where over-production of sebum may be clogging the pores and follicles of the scalp. A natural, gentle antiseptic; also considered regenerative. Use at .5 - 1%.
Rosemary - One of the premier hair growth enhancing essential oils, rosemary is found in many preparations for hair and scalp. Thought to increase cellular metabolism, thereby stimulating healthy hair growth. Use the Verbenone type if regenerative properties are desired (may be most useful for supporting treatment of hair loss). Successfully used in alopecia areata treatment. Use at .5 - 2%.
Sage - Highly regarded for hair growth, with stimulating properties found in Rosemary - along with hormone balancing of Clary Sage. Can balance scalp oils, and is found in blends for scar reduction and skin regeneration. Not for children or if pregnant. Use at .5 - 1%.
Sea Buckthorn - Noted as enhancing skin and scalp health for every skin type and even every imbalance. Highly nutritive, potent antioxidant and regenerative. Due to high carotene content, will tend to leave the scalp with a little red color for a while after applied - be careful not to stain clothes and bedding. May prevent UV damage, which has been implicated in reducing energy in hair follicles. This is an amazing oil, well worth its berry-redness! Use at .5 - 2%.
Ylang Ylang - Like Lavender, it is thought to reduce stress. Long used to increase the thickness of the hair shaft and to grow thicker hair. Can have a balancing effect on scalp oil production, and may help with split ends.
The Carrier Oils
Carrier oils are just as important as the essential oils for getting the best results for stimulating hair growth. The carriers provide important essential fatty acids to the scalp and follicles. They offer necessary nutrients, and have therapeutic actions themselves. All these oils may be used for 100% of the base, though it may be most beneficial to blend two or more that suit your specific needs.
Coconut - A carrier oil used in Ayurvedic medicine for enhancing hair growth all by itself. Fractionated coconut (as we carry here at Ananda) is simply Coconut oil that has had the largest-chain molecules 'fractionated' from the smaller ones—this allows the oil to stay liquid at room temperature. Fractionated coconut has a nice light texture, appreciated in the warmer months. Virgin whole coconut can also be used in your formulas, and will remain liquid if blended with other carriers for your base. Highly nutritive, excellent for all types of scalp & hair.
Evening Primrose - Many conditions of the skin are positively affected by essential fats, of which Evening Primrose is a wonderful source. Application and ingestion of this oil has been the subject of many scientific inquiries, with exceptional results for all kinds of dermatitis. Evening Primrose is noted to specifically address hair growth (or hair loss) where poor circulation might be an issue. Evening Primrose also may have a significant effect in reducing inflammation, which may in-turn be beneficial for reversing hair loss.
Grapeseed - In the last few years, this oil became very prominent for healthy cuisine. Sometimes found dark green in color, the darker Grapeseed oils have more significant amounts of antioxidant polyphenols. Grapeseed has a particularly light feel, and may be the best choice if one has an oily scalp, though is wanting the many benefits of essential oil application. Grapeseed and Jojoba were used as the base for a study which treated alopecia areata with essential oils. These oils may be used 50/50 for this purpose.
Hemp - Like Evening Primrose, Hemp offers significant quantities of essential fats, may improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Hemp is a highly regarded oil for its many nutritive constituents, and is considered the most palatable of the high Omega-3 plant oils. Some experts note that ingestion of essential fats can be very significant for hair growth, and Hemp is the most easily ingested of the plant sources (generally Evening Primrose and Borage oils are found too bitter, and are taken in capsules, rather than 'straight' or in a salad dressing, etc.)
Jojoba - Found in many natural hair care products, Jojoba is used for softening and moisturizing dry hair. It is thought to cleanse the follicles of sebum, and promote vibrant, shiny and soft hair.
Rosehip Seed - Considered one of the most therapeutic carrier oils for skin and hair. Rosehip has been the subject of many studies involving the reduction of sun damage and wrinkles for the skin. While not yet proven in the laboratory, Rosehip seed oil's therapeutic effects should benefit those needing its regenerative properties for their scalp and hair. While it can be used at 100% strength, Rosehip is most often blended with other carriers at 10-30% of the base formula.
Sesame - Also highly regarded in Ayurveda, Sesame contains lignans that greatly enhance the efficacy of Vitamin E. Sesame is thought to encourage the growth of dark lustrous hair.
Blends and Recipes
Here are some suggestions for basic hair care formulas. All of these are designed for regular daily application, or as frequently as you feel is beneficial to you. These formulas can be massaged into a wet or dry scalp and left for at least 20 minutes, or applied before bed and left overnight. All formulas may be increased or decreased in total volume, thought the ratio of essential oil to carrier oil should stay close to these suggestions. These are general (though potentially very effective) suggestions -- changing ingredients to best suit your hair is encouraged!
- For Healthy & Vigorous Hair Growth - for those with 'normal' scalp conditions, blend 2 ounces Jojoba and 2 ounces Coconut oils. To this add 64 drops Lavender, 64 drops Rosemary (Cineol or Verbenone), and 16 drops Sage. If pregnant, use Rosemary Cineol and skip the Sage.
- For Healthy Growth for the Mature Feminine Beauty - To 2 ounces Jojoba, 1 ounce Evening Primrose and 1 ounce Rosehip Seed, add 48 drops Lavender, 48 drops Rosemary Verbenone, 48 drops Carrot or Sea Buckthorn and 24 drops Clary Sage.
- Treating Hair Loss For Men - Blend 1oz each Evening Primrose, Coconut, Rosehip Seed and Sesame. To this add 64 drops Carrot oil (HelioCarrot CO2 extract in Jojoba), 32 drops Rosemary Verbenone, 27 drops Helichrysum, 12 drops Clove, 32 drops German Chamomile, 48 drops Lavender, 20 drops Cypress.
- Treating Alopecia Areata - In 4oz of a 50/50 base of Jojoba and Grapeseed oils, add 32 drops each of Lavender, Thyme, Cedarwood and Rosemary c.t. Verbenone.
- For Dark & Thick Hair - In 4 ounces equal parts Jojoba, Coconut and Sesame, add 48 drops Lavender, 48 drops Rosemary Verbenone, and 48 drops Ylang Ylang.
*The FDA has not evaluated these statements. These are traditional applications of applications of these botanical extracts. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.