Hair is far more complex than it is given credit for. Comprising about one million follicles on your head, your hair is constantly going through a cycle of active growth (anagen), transition (catagen), and rest (telogen). All of that growth culminates in about 0.3 to 0.4 mm per day on average, which adds up to about six inches in a year.1 Your hair is practically an organ system all its own, and it can tell you about your own health. Taking care of it not only makes you look and feel good, but also ensures your general health and hygiene. There are some essential oils that promote hair growth. Many shampoo and conditioners are now incorporating essential oils for healthy hair into their formulas. So what essential oils are good for hair growth? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best essential oils for hair growth.
What Essential Oils are Good for Hair Growth?
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender is an herb native to areas in northern Africa and the Mediterranean mountains. Lavender oil has a very distinct sweet smell and has some interesting hair-growth supporting properties. In a study, mice were split into five groups:
- A control group given saline solution
- A vehicle control group given jojoba oil
- A positive control group given 3% minoxidil (the most common hair growth medication)
- Experimental group 1, given 3% percent lavender oil
- Experimental group 2, given 5% lavender oil
Each solution was applied topically to the backs of the mice once per day, five times per week, for four weeks. The researchers then recorded the number of hair follicles, dermal thickness, and hair follicle depth. The minoxidil group and both groups given lavender oil showed significantly positive results for number of hair follicles, thickened dermal layer, and deepened hair follicle depth, suggesting that lavender oil may act as an effective hair growth promoting agent.2 It may do this due to its ability to block hair loss causing DHT. Therefore, when searching for essential oils for thicker hair, lavender oil should be considered.
Not only is lavender an essential oil for hair growth, it is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, many use it to help to heal minor wounds and combat inflammation. Lavender also has certain soothing properties that may help to relieve pain and help those who may be suffering from insomnia.3
2. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is a waxy substance that is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant, which is indigenous to the southwestern United States. The oil is frequently added to cosmetics and food thanks to its versatility. In terms of hair growth, jojoba oil is mainly used for its ability to help moisturize your hair and scalp, which can help to combat forms of hair loss caused by dry skin. Jojoba oil may help to reduce dandruff, dry scalp, and itchy scalp. Jojoba is packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper, all of which may help to nourish and strengthen hair to prevent breakage and promote silky, smooth, shiny hair.4
Compared to other essential oils, jojoba oil most closely natural human oils (sebum) which may explain its ability to promote better more natural looking hair. Among essentials oils for dry hair, jojoba oil is one to not be missed.
3. Moroccan Argan Oil
Taken orally, Vitamin E promotes hair growth. In one study, participants were given either given a placebo or 100 mg of tocotrienols (a compound belonging to the vitamin E family). Researchers monitored the number of hairs in a scalp area and the weight of 20 strands of 1 cm long hair before the supplementation, at four months, and finally at eight months. Although the hair weight did not differ between groups, results did show a 34.5 percent increase in the number of hairs for the group given tocotrienol supplements by the end of the study. This is believed to be a result of the antioxidant activity of the tocotrienols, which helps to reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in the scalp, both of which are associated with androgenic alopecia.5
Along with its high vitamin E content, argan oil acts as an effective moisturizer that can help your scalp fight dandruff and dryness. Argan oil may also promote strong, healthy hair instead of thin, brittle strands and help to undo the damage of harsh chemical treatments and dyes.6
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is an herb that originated as a natural cross between water mint and spearmint. Both peppermint leaves and oil have been used for a wide range of health purposes. Topically, peppermint oil has been used to help treat headaches, itching, and muscle aches. As a dietary supplement, peppermint is commonly used to aid digestion and even potentially help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.7
Studies also suggest that peppermint oil can help your hair. In a study on mice, the animals were split into four groups based on the topical solution applied: saline, jojoba oil, 3% minoxidil, and 3% peppermint oil in jojoba oil. The researchers evaluated the hair growth effects based on tissue analysis, hair length, enzymatic activity of alkaline phosphate (ALP), and gene expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Increased ALP and IGF-1 are biomarkers for enhanced air growth.
By the end of the four-week period, the results showed that peppermint oil in jojoba group had the most significant hair growth effects, including increased follicle numbers, dermal thickness, and follicle depth. Alkaline phosphate activity and IGF-1 expression also saw increases. These results suggest that peppermint oil may help to induce a rapid anagen (or growth) phase, thereby promoting hair growth without impacting body weight or food efficiency.8
5. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary is a woody perennial plant that is indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Rosemary oil is commonly believed to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties among other potential health benefits.9
Recent studies suggest that rosemary essential oil may also help to strengthen hair and promote hair growth. In one study, human participants with varying forms of androgenic alopecia were randomly assigned to two groups. One group was given 2% minoxidil while the other was given rosemary oil. Both solutions were applied topically for a period of six months. Each participant had an initial visit with the researchers to set a baseline and then returned to the clinic every three months for evaluation. Evaluation involved microphotographic assessment and hair counts.
Neither group showed significant changes in average hair count at the three-month mark, but both did show some huge increases in hair count by the six month endpoint. Results showed no significant differences in cases of greasy hair, dry hair, and dandruff in either group by the end of the study. Both groups did exhibit scalp itchiness, though itchy scalp was more frequent in the minoxidil group. Overall, the study suggests that rosemary oil may be effective at promoting hair growth at least comparable to 2% minoxidil.10
Cedarwood oil is extracted from the four species of cedar trees and offers a wide range of potential benefits to your health, particularly as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.11
Some studies also suggest that cedarwood essential oil can help to promote hair growth. In one randomized, double blind, controlled trial, 86 participants diagnosed with alopecia areata (characterized by patchy hair loss) were randomly split into two groups. The active group was given a series of essential oils (cedarwood, thyme, rosemary, and lavender) mixed into carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed). The other group was only given the carrier oils. Both groups massaged the mixture into their scalps every day for seven months with follow-up evaluations at three months and the end of the study.
The researchers developed a scale to measure the severity of the alopecia, which was given to observers along with sequential photographs of the participants’ scalps. Results showed that 44 percent of the participants in the essential oils group showed improvement, while just 15 percent of the carrier oil control group participants showed improvement. Although this study was based on the idea of aromatherapy, the fact that the oils were massaged into the scalps of the participants suggests that topical application may have an effect.12
7. Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass is commonly used in drinks and foods to impart its characteristic lemony scent and flavor, but it may also provide a wide range of potential health benefits, from helping to reduce pain and inflammation to inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.13
In terms of hair, lemongrass has been found to effectively help reduce dandruff. Researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind study on 30 participants, aged 20 to 60 years, all of whom experienced dandruff. Along with a control group, participants were given a hair tonic containing lemongrass oil at 5, 10, or 15%, applied twice a day for 14 days. The participants were then evaluated on day seven and 14 of the study.
Results of the study found that all concentrations of the lemongrass oil hair tonic significantly reduced dandruff by day seven with even greater reductions by day 14. The study suggests that 10% lemongrass is the most effective, reducing dandruff by 75 percent on the seventh day evaluation and 81 percent by the end of the study. The mechanism of action may be the lemongrass oil’s natural effectiveness against lipophilic yeasts, a common cause of dandruff.14
These yeasts may cause irritation and itching of the scalp which impairs hair growth. By using essential oils for dandruff you may reduce irritation and itching, thereby supporting hair growth.
8. Tea Tree Oil
Extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, tea tree oil has been used to help skin infections, acne, and a variety of other elements thanks to its potential anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-microbial properties.15
Research suggests that tea tree oil can reduce dandruff and support your general hair and scalp health. In a randomized, single-blind, parallel group study, participants with mild to moderate dandruff were given a shampoo containing either a placebo or a 5% tea tree oil solution used daily for four weeks. Dandruff severity was measured by self-assessment and a quadrant-area severity scale. At the end of the study, the group that had used the 5% tea tree oil shampoo improved by 41 percent in their quadrant-area severity score and showed general improvements in all self-assessments of itchiness, scaliness, and greasiness. The placebo group only showed an 11 percent improvement in quadrant-area severity scores.16
DrFormulas' Essential Oil for Hair GrowthWe have talked extensively about essentials oils for hair growth and thickness. You can apply essential oils on their own or include them in your regular shampoo and conditioner, like with DrFormulas™ Hairomega® DHT Blocker Hair Growth Shampoo, which contains a unique blend of argan, lavender, jojoba, and tea tree oils to support hair growth. DrFormulas only uses the best essential oils for hair growth and thickness.