Why You Should Be Using Essential Oils for Hair Growth

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Written by Georgia Gould

Updated: February 21, 2024

While many beauty trends come and go, hair oiling is clearly no fad. An almost non-negotiable weekly ritual for children growing up in Indian cultures, hair oiling is an ancient tradition that uses essential oils and botanicals to help stimulate hair growth and improve the thickness, shine and quality of your hair.

Essential Oils 1
image via @soldejaneiro

Sounds pretty great, right? Yeah, well, that’s because it is. And, like many Eastern beauty practices, the ritual has found its way to Western cultures. In fact, it’s become so mainstream in the last three years or so, it’s sent Google searches through the roof and been popping up on our TikTok feeds almost by the minute.

Using essential oils to improve your hair health, however, can feel like a total minefield. There are just so… many… unknowns. Will you end up weighing down your fine hair if you douse it with a heavy, rich oil? And if you have oily hair, why on earth would you want to apply extra oil to what can already feel like a complete grease fest? Surely that’s trouble waiting to happen?

The truth, however, is that if you know what you’re doing, routinely oiling your hair using curated essential oils can be extremely beneficial – whatever your hair type. Here’s what we know about hair oiling and the benefits of using nature’s finest essential oils to improve the health of your hair and, more importantly, your scalp.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plants and are extremely concentrated, powerful botanicals. They’re created by steaming or pressing different parts of a plant like its flowers, seeds, leaves, roots, stems or fruit, and they not only capture the aroma of the plant (or the essence, if you will), but all the benefits that come with it.

How To Practice Hair Oiling With Essential Oils

The process of hair oiling doesn’t just involve slapping essential oils through the strands of your hair and hoping for the best. To get the most of this beauty ritual, you have to first warm the oil between your fingers. Then you massage your entire scalp area (while your hair is still dry), working both hands in circular motions all over your head for two to three minutes.

Once you’ve massaged your scalp (you can also use a scalp brush for this!), you then smooth the excess oil down the lengths of your hair and leave it overnight – maybe even for a couple of days if you can. If you have long hair you should also braid it or slick it back into a sleek bun to keep it neat and stop the oil from getting all over your clothes or skin.

What Are The Benefits Of Hair Oiling?

First, it’s important to understand that it’s not just about the oils you use. The massage process is equally as important because it stimulates microcirculation which brings oxygen and nutrition to the hair follicles as well as helping to encourage lymphatic drainage. So don’t cut back on this important part of the process.

Then there are the oils themselves. Because they’re born from nature, essential oils are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fatty acids. Of course, there are hundreds of essential oils out there and each one comes with its own unique list of incredible benefits for the hair.

Think strength, shine and moisturization as a main draw, but they can also help balance excess oil or treat specific conditions like hair thinning, dandruff or an itchy scalp. Cedarwood oil, for example, is known for promoting hair growth while the ever-popular argan oil has shown to be a total wonderkid for moisturizing the scalp and protecting your hair from heat damage.

Other popular essential oils for the hair include…

  • Geranium Oil: said to stimulate growth and strengthen the hair
  • Ylang-Ylang Oil: encourages sebum production to reduce dryness and breakage
  • Rosemary Oil: boosts circulation to enhance hair thickness and help reduce hair loss
  • Tea Tree Oil: regulates oil, fights flakes and may also alleviate itching
  • Lemongrass Oil: for improving shine and reducing the symptoms of eczema and dandruff

Always Dilute Essential Oils

These just scratch the surface but the most important thing to remember is that pure essential oils should never be applied in their raw, concentrated forms. They’re super potent and if used alone can cause major irritation to your scalp and skin including burning and itching.

Instead, essential oils should always, and we can’t stress this enough, ALWAYS be diluted by a carrier, or base oil like coconut, jojoba, olive or almond oil. These oils are also extracted from plants but they’re thicker, more stable and lack the aroma of essential oils making them far more gentle on the scalp.

If all this has made you more confused than ever about the best essential oil for your hair type, don’t worry. Many of the most popular hair oils are curated with a mindful blend of essential oils that help deal with a whole host of needs and concerns.

Just like skincare, it’s all about strength in numbers, so our advice is to look out for the most tried, trusted and tested all-rounders.

Here are our current favorites…

The 5 Best Oils For Improving Hair Health

#1. Fable & Mane HoliRoots Hair Oil

04/08/2024 01:51 am GMT

TikTok-approved and a big seller at Sephora, this little beauty is super lightweight and smells insanely good.

@calistatee

Replying to @Anna this is a popular question! Let me know if you want me to compare other products 🫶🏼 🔗 🔗 on my LTK! #fableandmane #mielle #miellehairoil #hairgrowthoil #hairgrowthoilthatworks

♬ original sound – Calista

With a vegan, cruelty-free formula (yay!) it harnesses the natural powers of castor oil and is infused with natural wonders like safflower seed oil, licorice root extract and Indian ginseng to strengthen the scalp and encourage gorgeous hair growth.

#2. Moroccanoil Treatment Original Hair Oil

Moroccanoil Treatment, 3.4 Fl. Oz.
$48.00 ($14.12 / Fl Oz)
04/08/2024 02:11 am GMT

Infused with argan oil and one of the first hair oils to take the US by storm, this is your go-to if you want to add a turbo-boosted hit of moisture to your scalp and a shock of gorgeous shine to your hair.

According to the brand, just one application can increase your hair’s gloss factor by up to 118%. We’ve not checked the math but we’ve been fans for years and can definitely attest to its moisturizing prowess. Just don’t use too much—it can be pretty heavy going.

#3. Miele Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Oil

04/08/2024 02:16 am GMT

One of the biggest selling hair oils on Amazon and with almost 75,000 reviews, it’s no wonder this treatment continues to be big news across social media. The price helps, of course, (it’s less than 10 bucks!), but it’s also rich in a whole bunch of scalp-loving oils.

As well as rosemary and peppermint which are known to invigorate the scalp and help soothe irritated skin, we’re talking tea tree oil, coconut oil, eucalyptus, evening primrose, grapeseed and sweet almond oils. Nice work.

#4. Pattern By Tracee Ellis Ross Jojoba Oil

Soothing jojoba oil combines with safflower, rosehip, olive and lavender oils in this gorgeously lightweight treatment that’s a must-try for coarse, curly or textured hair. Created by Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross, it’s perfect for overnight hair slugging or as a leave-in daily treatment and comes highly rated by Sephora customers.

Essential Oils3
image via @traceeellisross

Also, if you’re looking for an oil that’s not going to irritate your sensitive scalp, look no further because this has your name written all over it. Well, it has Tracee’s name on it, but you know what we mean.

#5. Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil

04/08/2024 02:26 am GMT

Much-loved and a global best-seller, this honey-infused treatment oil not only looks great… but it makes your hair look even greater. With Mirsalehi Honey and Mirsalehi Bee Garden Oil from the founder’s very own bee garden at its core, it’s one of our all-time favorites for adding instant shine, taming flyaway frizzies and hydrating the scalp and hair.

It also contains coconut, argan and sweet almond oils for added hair love you can’t fail to, er, love.

Your Final Takeaway…

  • Be Patient: the visible benefits of hair oiling can take a good 12 months to take effect so don’t expect miracles after your first go.
  • Stick With A Once-A-Week Regime: any more than this can overload your scalp.
  • Go Big On Shampooing: some oils can be tricky to get rid of so shampoo thoroughly, twice if necessary.
  • Protect Your Skin: if you’re oiling your hair overnight wash your pillowcase the next morning to avoid breaking out. Acne-prone skin should also wear a headband to keep pore-clogging oils away from the skin.
  • Don’t Scrub Your Scalp: a firm, but gentle massage is best. And no fingernails!

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