Hair care needs differ from person to person; but, there are certain hair characteristics that everyone would like to have such as strong hair, shiny hair, and thick hair. Other individuals are concerned about hair growth or at least maintaining the length they have now. Or perhaps you would just like to alleviate your dry scalp and say goodbye to dandruff. Whatever the hair concern may be, essential oils can help address them.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are natural oils that have been extracted from plants via a chemical process called distillation. No chemicals are involved in the process though, as the distillation is achieved via water or steam. Typically, every part of the plant is utilized to extract essential oils including its flowers, leaves, stems, bark, or roots. Following distillation, the concentrated essential oil has a unique aroma as well as therapeutic characteristics. Each oil encompasses the aroma and healing abilities of the plant from which it was extracted.
Recognized for their ability to uplift the mind and body for thousands of years, essential oils recently re-appeared to take the natural health world by storm. Now incorporated into products for bathing, moisturizing, cleaning, and even eating, essential oils are most potent in their concentrated form. Likewise, essential oils should not be confused with aromatic oils. Aromatic oils are synthetic meaning they are artificially designed in laboratories to mimic the aroma of natural odors. Accordingly, aromatic oils do not possess the therapeutic benefits that are innate to essential oils. This makes essential oils far more ideal for application to the hair than aromatic oils.
Essential Oils For Hair: What makes them beneficial and how should I use them?
Aside from making your hair smell great, essential oils specialize in nourishing hair, improving blood circulation to the hair follicles and stimulates hair growth. Relieving inflammation in the scalp, fighting bacterial infections, and protecting hair from damage are some additional benefits. Using essential oils for hair will also offer the added benefits of pain relief and stress reduction. Given the potency of essential oils, however, it is important to combine an essential oil with a carrier oil prior to applying it to your hair. Coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil are three excellent carrier oils to use in hair. Choose one and add any of the following essential oils:
Used for centuries for digestive issues, carrot seed essential oil offers benefits including detoxification, nourishment, and hormone regulation which all support hair growth. This oil has subtle earthy and musty undertones but leaves an engaging woody aroma as it evaporates.
Recently revealed to be effective in helping reverse a form of hair loss called alopecia areata, cedarwood is a favored treatment for hair loss as well as dandruff relief. It also promotes hair growth by balancing the scalp’s oil-producing sebaceous glands and warming the scalp to boost blood circulation. Finally, its antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it ideal for treating dandruff build up and fungal issues.
This refreshing apple-scented essential oil comes in two forms, Roman and German; yet, the Roman form demonstrates more hair benefits. Roman chamomile essential oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Therefore, it soothes and reverses dry, itchy scalp, dandruff, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Additionally, chamomile conditions the hair protecting it from potentially damaging environmental pollutants leaving behind a remarkable shine. You will also appreciate the lightness of chamomile in that you can use it often and leave it in your hair if you wish.
The rich supply of phytoestrogens found in this essential oil promotes hair growth while preventing or reversing hair loss. When massaged into the scalp, clary sage regulates sebum production by the sebaceous glands therefore controlling dandruff. Regulating the scalp’s oil supply also makes curly, frizzy hair more manageable. This essential oil expresses the same musky, nutty, woody-sweet scent of the other sages, but should be avoided in pregnant women because it can induce contractions.
Derived from the leaves and twigs of one of the oldest trees on the Earth, cypress essential oil promotes blood circulation while strengthening blood capillaries. The combination of these effects facilitates nutrient delivery to the hair follicles and stimulates hair growth.
Known for its therapeutic benefits throughout the Mediterranean, helichrysum demonstrates anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that fight inflammation and capture free radicals, respectively. This essential oil goes even further by regenerating scalp tissue, boosting blood circulation within the scalp, and balancing sebum production. These benefits collectively enhance the nourishment and growth of hair.
This essential oil improves blood circulation to the hair follicles which promotes hair growth and fighting hair loss. It moisturizes the hair and scalp to balance sebum production and alleviate dandruff while also offering antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. As an added benefit, lavender provides a refreshing aroma that stimulates compassion, gentleness, and relaxation within.
Sometimes overlooked as an essential oil, lemon essential oil derives from the miniature sacs found within the lemon peel which produce its signature light, yet zesty citrus fruit aroma. Thanks to its acidic content, lemon clarifies the scalp and dries out excess oil making it ideal for treating scalp acne and dandruff. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial abilities also fight off infections which may make scalp acne or dandruff worse. When you expect to be in the sun for a long period of time, avoid using this essential oil as it can irritate the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Used for centuries as a perfume in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, patchouli has an earthy, sensual aroma; so, it should be used sparingly. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities make it a reliable treatment for a variety of scalp concerns such as dandruff, dermatitis, and eczema. Treating these concerns as promptly as possible will in turn reduce your chances of hair loss as well.
Along with cleansing and unclogging pores throughout the scalp, peppermint provides a cooling sensation and menthol aroma. Although some individuals may experience skin irritation from this cooling effect (a patch test is recommended), these effects not only revive the hair follicles and boost their growth, but also allow for more adequate sebum distribution thereby alleviating dry scalp. As a bonus, peppermint essential oil will make you feel energized and optimistic overall.
Rosemary boasts a powerful supply of antioxidants that fight the oxidative damage known to cause hair aging. This protective effect prevents the thinning and greying of hair. Rosemary also increases blood circulation for stimulated hair growth. Individuals who experience too much sebum production and develop greasy scalps should try this essential oil, as it relieves itchy scalp and clears its pores. Its added benefit consists of making individuals feel youthful with its woodsy aroma.
One of the more medicinal-smelling essential oils, tea tree leaves a sweet woody finish and refreshing feeling as it evaporates. Tea tree is a staple ingredient in treatment products for dandruff because it relieves scalp irritations, dryness, and itchiness. This essential oil moisturizes the scalp and tunnels into hair follicles to facilitate a better flow of sebum. At the same time, tea tree is an antimicrobial, so it eliminates bacterial and fungal infections.
Since red thyme contains an agent called thymol that can irritate the skin, thyme linalool essential oil is better for the hair and scalp. In addition to softening skin, thyme enhances blood flow throughout the scalp, stimulates hair follicles, and promotes hair growth. A popular ingredient in hair products used to prevent hair loss, thyme is very potent and should be used moderately even when blended with a carrier oil.
Extracted exclusively from the strong root system of the vetiver grass plant native to India and Nepal, vetiver essential oil is thick with a deep, earthy, woody, smoky aroma. It is recommended that you always blend just a small amount of this essential oil with another essential oil and carrier oil. Vetiver slows hair loss and premature greying induced by excessive stress and heat. The oil achieves this by calming and soothing the mind and body to relieve stress. It also works as an antioxidant to protect hair from aging via oxidative damage by free radicals.
Another essential oil with relatives, ylang ylang comes from a tropical tree that produces pink, yellow, or mauve flowers. Among them, the yellow flower produces the best essential oil. Yellow ylang ylang gives off a sharp, sweet, musky odor that lingers. Its effects on the hair linger as well by alleviating dry, itchy scalp, reversing hair thinning and loss, and stimulating sebum flow for better moisturization. This essential oil also makes a great natural alternative for treating head lice.
Essential oils for hair are all-natural, and in many cases provide more benefits than conventional hair care products. You can mix and match these oils to develop a blend that pleases your senses, addresses your hair and scalp concerns, or both. Exploring all the possibilities is simply the beginning of your journey to your ultimate destination of healthy, luxurious hair.
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