Hair 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.
There are methods to help grow your hair fast. Essentials oils are one of them.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best essential oils for hair growth.
Essential Oils for 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?
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.
Adina Mahalli, the hair and skincare expert at Maple Holistics, suggests that lavender oil may work to support hair growth thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to balance pH on the scalp and promote general scalp health while stimulating circulation.
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 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
According to Adina Mahalli, the hair and skincare expert at Maple Holistics, peppermint oil can help to increase blood circulation in the scalp, which stimulate hair follicles. “When you have good blood flow to your scalp, nutrients are able to nourish your hair more efficiently which allows your hair to grow strong and healthy,” says Mahalli.
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
Hollee of HolleewoodHair suggests adding 10 to 12 drops of rosemary oil to every ounce of shampoo and massaging into the hair regularly.
Adina Mahalli says that rosemary oil works to reduce inflammation and dilate blood vessels in the scalp to stimulate hair follicles to encourage growth. Along with adding the oil to shampoo, Mahalli suggests creating a rosemary oil hair mask.
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
9. Neem Oil
Emma of the Lady Alopecia blog recommends neem oil. The neem tree is believed to offer a wide range of benefits to the immune system along with the hair and skin.
According to Emma, neem oil:
- Provides a protective barrier on the scalp to inhibit environmental damage, like UV rays and pollution
- Contains a variety of nutrients to nourish and moisturize the scalp, including vitamin E, calcium, and essential fatty acids
- Contains the active ingredient nimbidin, known to reduce inflammation
10. Castor Oil
Emma also recommends castor oil. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which possesses both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It may improve circulation to the scalp, and its high omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acid content help to provide extra moisture to the hair and scalp.
11. Black Seed Oil
Known scientifically as Nigella sativa, black seed oil contains thymoquinone. According to Sasha Nialla, a wellness expert and the founder and CEO of prāz, thymoquinone is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. “Black seed oil for hair extends to the scalp as well, controlling troublesome dandruff and dryness to ensure flakiness never gets the best of us again,” says Nialla, “Furthermore, using black seed oil for hair adds length and strength to locks, while addressing hair loss and encouraging growth.”
Ways to Apply Essential Oil for Hair Growth
Now that we know which essential oils are helpful for hair growth, you can start incorporating them into your hair care routine. Some people choose to apply essential oils directly to the oil and scalp. If you do so we recommend that you first dilute it using a carrier oil like jojoba or argan oil.
Many hair care products incorporate essential oils into their formulas. This may be more convenient for you because there is no mixing involved. You can see which essential oils for hair growth we offer here.