Oiling hair has been a childhood mantra. Remember when Dadi used to say Champi karlo baal kharab ho Jayenge, we probably regret it now after many years of forgetting to do the daily champi. But the trend of using hair oils is back in action. Right from coconut oil and amla oil to oils that are incorporated with essential oils. But in reality, these essential oils are not a novel innovation in hair care. It all comes down to ancient Indian history where Ayurveda first introduced essential oils for a variety of medicinal and cosmetic purposes. But what exactly are these essential oils is something that we’re gonna read more about here.
What Are Essential Oils?
Be it science or otherwise, for a very long time now, plants have been experimented on to be very beneficial to mankind. The word ‘essential’ in essential oil comes from the fact that these essential oils are concentrated format from the source of a specific plant’s root, leaf, stem, bark, flower, or more. This essentiality comes from the oil that encapsulates the essence of the plant or the flavour and most importantly the scent. Moreover, the plant that the oil has been derived from ideally gives the essential oil its complete name. The scent of the essential oil is much stronger than the plant used to derive it as the number of active ingredients in the oil is much higher. The amount of substance needed to make the oil requires multiple plants of the same kind causing the extract to be very concentrated. The different aromatic components in every plant give each essential oil its characteristic essence.
These essential oils are obtained through distillation or through cold pressing which serves as a mechanical method. However, after the aromatic chemicals are extracted from the essential oils, they are then combined with carrier oil in order to create a product that is now ready to use. These essential oils are mostly used in common practices of aromatherapy. This involves the essential oils being inhaled by different methods. It is important to note that these oils cannot be ingested as they are said to interact with the body in different ways which are rather harmful.
These oils when they are applied through various applications on the skin or body involve absorption of the essential oils. Some applications use heat when applying or massaging different parts of the body. The important part is that, once you inhale the aromas of the essential oils, it stimulates some areas of the limbs and the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that plays a huge role in emotion and stress and smell. This explains why essential oils are good to relieve stress. These oils can immediately uplift mood, calm nerves, balance emotions, and improve basic physical and psychological functioning.
The Importance Of Essential Oils For Hair In Ayurveda
Ayurvedic principles believe that every individual is made up of specific doshas. The way our bodies react to surroundings all depends on the dosha that the person possesses, more like the force of energy. Ayurvedic aromatherapy uses the properties of essential oils and their strong aroma for balancing the 3 doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, every essential oil possesses unique characteristics that help to bring the doshas back to a balanced state.
Essential Oils Vs Carrier Oils
Earlier we mentioned that essential oils are combined with carrier oils. Here is where we will be explaining the details and differences between the two of them. For starters, essential oils are ideally 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.
On the other hand, carrier oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil even though they also come from plants, but have more of a neutral smell in comparison to essential oils. And they’re not necessarily distilled down like essential oils are.
The benefits of the two are more or less the same though. Almond oils are basically used to moisturize and nourish the scalp. Cedarwood oil stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth. Other authentic oils like chamomile oil help to add shine and softness to hair, while also soothing the scalp. Coconut oil is every Indian household’s favourite oil for ages. It helps to soften hair and increase shine. Jojoba oil has come into action as the latest hair and skin trend, however, it helps to moisturize the hair, add nutrients, and stimulate 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.
Best 9 Essential Oils For Hair Growth
1. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Number one on our list is the Ylang Ylang essential oil. It is derived from a flower and has aphrodisiac properties that are strong, along with its potentially distinct odor. It may be too overwhelming to use just by itself, but it combines well when used along with other essential oils for hair, like lavender and even lemon. People out in England have been using this Ylang Ylang essential oil for hair specifically to help grow their hair for a long time, as it was a popular hair growth remedy. This essential oil works by stimulating hair growth to treat thinning hair and also stimulates the production of our scalp’s natural sebum to nourish dry, damaged hair. It is also used in most cases of heavy and sticky dandruff. On the other hand, ylang-ylang is also known to offer aromatherapy benefits, as it works to relieve stress in the body. Since stress is known to cause hair loss called telogen effluvium, using ylang-ylang is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. And for little ones who are frequently around other children, ylang-ylang can also help to repel lice.
2. Tea Tree Essential Oil
This tea tree essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils for soothing damaged skin but is also known to improve scalp health by 2x. Since this essential oil contains antifungal properties, it’s been successfully used to treat dandruff. A study conducted showed that there was a 41% improvement in the severity of dandruff as well as in the symptoms of itchiness and greasiness. In another study, it was observed that Tea tree oil was also shown to slow hair loss and increase hair growth and appearance, without the itching and inflammation the control group had. And like ylang-ylang, tea tree oil is also used to treat head lice.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender as a flower is pleasing to all but when it comes to aromatherapy, here too lavender essential oil does its magic and becomes people’s favourite. This lavender essential oil is used largely for skin and also works well in terms of hair care. There are several studies that have shown that lavender increased the number of hair follicles to obtain thicker and healthier hair growth. The hair follicles that were obtained in the lavender group were also deeper. This means stronger roots for less hair that fell out. Lavender essential oil also showed significant help in hair growth in a study that used a combination of several different essential oils, all with no significant side effects.
4. Lemon Essential Oil
As a very famous citrus oil, lemon helps to build and stimulate blood circulation carrying nutrient-rich blood flow to the scalp and follicles for increased hair growth. This lemon essential oil is also very helpful to reduce overly greasy and oily hair. While all this is good, it is also important to note that there could also be some concern for phototoxicity here, this is why one must not slather their head in lemon essential oil and thereafter go sunbathing. It’s best to use lemon essential oil for hair at night but not more than 2% conc. It also is helpful when it comes to dandruff relief because of its acidic properties.
5. Wheat Germ Essential oil
Wheat germ is a very rich source of natural Vitamin E. This helps to strengthen the hair follicles and build healthier and stronger hair strands. It is also packed with essential fatty acids. This helps to repair damaged hair strands and promotes healthy hair growth.
6. ORPL Essential Oil
ORPL is an essential oil similar to that of Ylang Ylang. Most of the time 2-3 essential oils are used in combination for a combinational approach and so the benefits are twice as much. This ORPL essential oil is very great in promoting nutrient-rich blood flow to the scalp and makes the hair roots stronger. This ORPL essential oil when used regularly, controls flakes, and dandruff and prevents the scalp from various infections. This strengthens hair follicles by stimulating the dormant hair follicles and increasing the blood flow to the hair strands for thicker and stronger hair growth.
7. Cedarwood Essential Oil
Not a very common essential oil. Cedarwood essential oil is thought to promote hair growth through the scalp from the hair roots and reduce hair loss by balancing the oil-producing and sebum glands in the scalp. It also has many medicinal properties like antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can treat different conditions that may contribute to dandruff as also hair loss. This essential oil is used in combination with lavender and rosemary essential hair oils too. It may be hard to find in grocery stores, but you might be able to purchase it from smaller health food stores.
8. Peppermint Essential Oil
You’re probably familiar with the fresh, pungent or stringent scent of mint. Studies have shown that a blend of 3% peppermint essential oil in a carrier base of jojoba oil significantly increases hair growth thickness and length. This improves the strength of the deepened hair follicles. (Peppermint oil can safely promote hair growth, but this essential oil isn’t safe to use on young children.)
9. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil for hair is another one of the essential oils used in aromatherapy. This Rosemary essential oil works well not just for dandruff but also to treat damaged hair from split ends. Particularly for dandruff, due to its antimicrobial properties, it has the ability to minimize scalp itchiness and flakes. It treats both dry, dull hair as well as overly oily hair and can help prevent split ends. In this study, rosemary essential oil was found to be just as effective against balding and hair loss as a convenient way of treating hair loss when used for at least six months. It helps to prevent premature baldness and stimulates the hair follicles.
How To Use Essential Oils For Hair?
By now, you would have realized the main 9 essential oils for hair to build and strengthen hair follicles right from the root but most of them also work on follicles and maintain scalp health. The next thing to know is how exactly to use these essential oils for hair and scalp. The truth is that you just need a very few drops of essential oil. You can mix one or more types of essential oil in a shampoo or even a conditioner. Alternatively, you can also carry out the ayurvedic technique of shiroabhyanga - head and scalp massage with the help of herbal and medicated essential oils. This is done by mixing just a few drops of the essential oil into the carrier oil. Most brands give these essential oils as a booster shot to be mixed with the regular scalp oil as a therapy to the particular condition for example - dandruff. However, it is important that one is aware of the fact that directly applying some essential oils to the scalp can cause irritation. It’s best to first thoroughly go through the label and instructions on how to dilute these essential oils. And it's also best to never exceed the amount or use more than the recommended amount. After you apply the oil mixture, cover your head with 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.
Other Health Benefits Of Essential Oils
Apart from relieving the nerves and nourishing the scalp and strengthening the hair strands or even keeping dandruff at bay. Here’s how essential oils help in other ways. These benefits of the essential oil include the following:
- Stress and Anxiety
- Reduces headaches and migraines
- Improves sleep and Insomnia
- Antibiotic and antimicrobial properties
Generally, essential oils are very safe to apply or even use for aromatherapy when they are combined with a base oil. But make a note to never ingest this. There numerous of them have several properties including medicinal and otherwise.
Q1 - Which Essential Oil Is Good For Hair?
Ans - Most essential oils are good for hair. Some are nourishing while others directly work on reducing dandruff, itching, and flaking. Some of the good essential oils include ORPL, Ylang Ylang, and Wheat germ as they are multi-beneficial.
Q2 - How To Mix Essential Oils For Hair Growth?
Ans - You can mix one or more types of essential oil in a shampoo or even a conditioner. Alternatively, you can also carry out the ayurvedic technique of shiroabhyanga - head and scalp massage with the help of herbal and medicated essential oils. This is done by mixing just a few drops of the essential oil into the carrier oil.
Q3 - How To Use Essential Oils For Hair
Ans - You just need a very few drops of essential oil. You can mix one or more types of essential oil in a shampoo or even a conditioner. Alternatively, you can also carry out the ayurvedic technique of shiroabhyanga - head and scalp massage with the help of herbal and medicated essential oils.
Q4 - Do Essential Oils Really Work For Hair Loss?
Ans - Essential oils alone cannot do wonders when it comes to hair loss. Since hair loss occurs in stages of 7. The earlier stages can be worked upon with the help of essential oils but it is also vital that you are maintaining a healthy diet, as also treating the internal root cause behind your hair fall.