Is it safe to use essential oils in your hair?
Are there any health benefits or consequences to doing so?
We’ll answer those questions and more in today’s guide.
You’ll also score a list of our favorite essential oils to use on your tresses (a whopping 18 total!) and a handful of DIY recipes to help you get started right away.
But before you head over to the fun stuff, let’s answer the important questions first.
Should You Put Essential Oils in Your Hair? Is It Really Safe?
As we discussed in this guide, using chemical-filled commercial shampoos and conditioners, combined with frequent washes and environmental pollutants, can strip away the natural oils in your hair and on your scalp.
This can lead to a dry, itchy scalp, brittle hair that doesn’t grow and hair that always appears frizzy no matter the weather.
Fortunately, you may be able to combat these issues with a little help from the best essential oils for hair.
As long as you follow these rules, of course:
Never apply essential oils on their own or directly to your scalp. Due to the potency of oils, whenever you apply them topically -- including on your head -- you must first mix them with carrier oils to dilute their strength.
Avoid sun exposure with certain oils. Some oils are also phototoxic in nature, such as the citrus oils of grapefruit and bitter orange, so when they’re exposed to sunlight, it can also cause a bad reaction on your skin. (Not all citrus oils are phototoxic, though — more on this later.)
Keep all essential oils and essential oil mixes away from your eyes. If you do make the mistake of getting oil in your eye, a quick rinse with cold water should be your first step. And if the situation doesn’t improve, visit your doctor to be safe.
At the end of this guide, we’ll show you how to use essential oils for hair safely so you can avoid this situation altogether.
One of the first ways to do that is to choose the right oils to use.
18 Essential Oils for Beautiful, Healthy Hair
We can’t stress this enough: the quality of the essential oils you use matters.
Especially since you’ll be using these oils on your skin or breathing them in, it pays to find high-quality essential oils that have been sourced properly. They also shouldn’t contain any fake ingredients or cheap chemical fillers.
From there, your next step is to choose one or more of the following oils that have been shown to add shine to your hair and help it appear super healthy:
#2: Lavender may also be able to help improve your hair.
One study found that lavender, when mixed with thyme, rosemary and cedarwood, was more effective at helping patients with alopecia, a condition causing hair loss on the scalp, than carrier-oil-only treatments like coconut oil.
Researchers from another study discovered lavender on its own helped mice grow thicker, fuller hair follicles.
#3: Tea tree is another essential oil packed with multi-use benefits.
Not only can it help with dry, itchy skin, it can also combat dandruff thanks to its antifungal properties.
Research has found that tea tree oil also helped alopecia patients reduce hair loss, boost hair growth, and minimize the appearance of thinning hair.
(At the end of this guide, we’ll show you a DIY tea tree oil shampoo recipe that may help combat a dry, itchy scalp if you’re suffering from one.)
#5: Rosemary not only works well mixed with lavender, thyme and cedarwood, it also pairs well with swertia and hops, as Francesc Casado Galcera discovered.
In his research, he learned that rosemary:
- Increased hair growth by 22.4%
- Sped up hair growth
- Reduced hair loss
Rosemary may also be nourishing for split ends and works well for both dry and oily hair.
#6: Thyme is another essential oil that was studied with lavender and rosemary for its hair-enhancing potential. Simply rubbing the oil on your scalp may help increase blood flow and bring vital nutrients to your scalp to promote healthy hair growth.
#7: Cedarwood may also promote circulation to your scalp, which can increase hair follicle growth.
#8: Clary sage shares similar properties to rosemary and may help balance oily hair and reduce dandruff.
#9: Patchouli is another oil to reach for if you’re trying to combat dandruff and a dry, itchy scalp.
#10: Eucalyptus may help increase circulation and also fight off bacteria and fungal infections, which can stimulate hair growth and promote a healthy scalp.
#11: Clove shares that stimulating property of eucalyptus and also boasts an antiseptic quality, which may help keep your scalp in great condition.
#12: Citronella is another essential oil that may be able to help balance the natural oils found on your scalp.
#13: Geranium has been thought to strengthen hair follicles so they’re less brittle and dry.
#14: German chamomile is an oil that may help soothe your scalp and reduce irritating inflammations. And since it’s so gentle, it’s ideal for children and those with sensitive skin.
#16: Juniper may be an ideal essential oil for anyone suffering from overly greasy hair and brittle split ends. With its antimicrobial, antifungal and stimulating properties, it may also help improve all areas of your hair’s health.
#17: Spearmint, similar to peppermint essential oil, may help promote hair growth. It also has a lighter menthol scent than peppermint.
#18: Lime has a nice, uplifting fragrance and also contains a boost of antioxidants, which makes it perfect for improving hair health.
Now that you’ve learned about the best essential oils to use for beautiful hair, you’re probably wondering how to use them.
If that’s you, keep reading...
How to Use Essential Oils in Your Hair
Here are the best ways to use the oils listed in today’s guide:
#1: Add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner. You can even leave your conditioner in your hair a bit longer, similar to a hair mask.
#2: Create your own shampoo. This DIY recipe combines tea tree oil and rosemary with honey, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar to create a well-rounded blend that may help cut down on dryness while also helping to improve your hair’s overall health.
This one specifically uses rosemary with lavender and aloe vera to create a creamy, conditioning shampoo:
#3: Whip up your own hair pomade. By melting a few ingredients together, you’ll have a pomade that improves your hair health while also keeping it styled just the way you like.
You can find two DIY recipes for hair pomades using essential oils on this page.
Start Using Essential Oils for Improved Hair Health Now
Keep in mind, whenever you’re using essential oils in your hair, a little goes a long way and you won’t need much to see the awesome benefits we discussed today.
With continued, daily use, you may be the proud owner of a shiny, beautiful, healthy head of hair in no time!