Best Essential Oils For Damaged Hair & How To Use Them
Although essential oils are mainly used for aromatic therapies, indulging yourself in a hot oil treatment infused with an essential oil has immense benefits for both your hair and your scalp. Some of these essential oils promote better scalp hygiene, some improve overall hair health, and some do both plus more! (Read more on how important scalp hygiene is to stop hair loss).
But… What Is An Essential Oil?
An Essential Oil is a highly concentrated plant extract derived from a steam distillation process, where the true “essence” (scent & flavor) and medicinal properties of the plant it is extracted from is carefully captured. This is not to be confused with the regular carrier oils we are so familiar with, that are derived from vegetables (or fruit) seeds, nuts and flowers of plants via cold pressing. The most popular carrier oils are olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil- you get the drift?
Essential oils are pretty much “magic” oils because they not only have multiple health benefits but they smell phenomenal too! However, since they are highly potent and volatile oils, they must not be used undiluted. The best way to use them is to dilute them with a suitable carrier oil so that both the essential oil and carrier oil can work effectively to heal the scalp and repair damaged hair.
Use With Caution
Just because something is natural does not mean it is entirely safe for you to use. There are a few risks and potential complications associated with using these magic oils. Children must not use them and women with certain medical conditions like seizures must also avoid usage of essential oils. Pregnant and nursing women must also take caution and consult with their doctor to see if it is safe for them to use.
Using essential oils directly on your skin, including your scalp can lead to skin irritations or even allergic reactions in some women. The table below describes the difference between the two main kinds of risks associated with essential oils.
Discomfort or burning sensation
Redness in affected area
Tongue swelling or narrowing of throat
If you experience any of these symptoms above, discontinue use of the essential oils immediately and consult your doctor.
Perform A Patch Test:Always do a patch test before you begin usage to see if you have any adverse reactions to the essential oil. The way to do this is to test a small amount of mixture and apply it to a small patch of skin. Best area to do this would be on the under-side of your forearm or on the back of your hand. If you develop a rash or any kind of redness in that area after applying the oil, chances are that your scalp will have the same kind of irritation too.
Now that we have established how to check for allergies or skin irritation, let’s move on to the kinds of essential oils that I think are the best to repair damaged hair.
The Best Essential Oils That Help Repair Hair
1. Rosemary Essential Oil: improves hair thickness and hair growth due to its ability to stimulate the scalp and increase blood circulation. It also helps to fight against free radicals that cause hair thinning as well as greying of hair.
How To Use: mix 3 drops with your choice of 1 tbsp carrier oil (olive or coconut) and massage into the scalp. Leave in for 10 minutes before washing it out with mild shampoo. Do this twice a week for best results.
2. Tea Tree Essential Oil: has powerful cleansing and antioxidant properties that help unclog hair follicles and increase hair growth. This is commonly found in anti-dandruff shampoos as well.
How To Use: mix 3 drops of tea tree essential oil with 2 tbsp of carrier oil and apply the mixture for 15 minutes before washing it out. Since this essential oil is very light, it is also effective to add it to your shampoo or conditioner for optimum benefits.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil: has a cooling sensation when applied to the scalp due to the main component, menthol, that increases blood flow to the area it is applied. This leads to promotion of new hair follicles.
How To Use: Mix 2 drops with 1 tbsp of a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil. Massage and leave on your scalp for 5 minutes. Wash off with a mild shampoo and conditioner
4. Lemongrass Essential Oil: is known to effectively reduce dandruff by balancing the oil-producing glands in the scalp, promoting a flake-free scalp.
How To Use: mix a few drops in your choice of carrier oil and massage onto your scalp. Do this every day for best results. You can even add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner for regular use. Rinse off with water after a good scalp massage.
5. Lavender Essential Oil: helps to promote hair growth and the wonderful aromas from this essential oil are well-known to reduce stress. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties it possesses, further improves scalp health.
How To Use: add several drops of lavender oil into 3 tbsp of carrier oil of your choice and apply directly to your scalp. Massage for 10 minutes and wash off within 30 minutes with a mild shampoo and conditioner. Do this several times a week for best results.
6. Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil: stimulates sebum production in the scalp, saving hair from becoming dry and brittle. It improves not only the texture of the hair but prevents further hair breakage. Those with oily scalp should not use this essential oil as it may make their scalp even more oily. Note: this oil has a very heady, strong smell that some people might not be able to tolerate well. In this case, wash off immediately.
How To Use: Add 2 drops of this oil to 1 tbsp of warm carrier oil of your choice. Massage and leave in your scalp for 30 minutes before washing it out. You can wrap your head with a warm towel for best results.
7. Sweet Almond Essential Oil: helps hair to regain its lost luster and thickness by maintaining hair’s lipid balance and nourishing and protecting it from further damage.
How To Use: mix 2-3 drops of sweet almond essential oil with your choice of 1 tbsp carrier oil and massage to your scalp for 10 minutes. Wash the hair within 1 hour with a mild shampoo and conditioner.
Essential Oil Benefits
I can continue this list and find more essential oils that have great benefits for your hair and so can you. There are countless of them out there and each has their own unique properties that help to improve hair’s growth, strength, shine, and or texture. What is best about these oils is that they are at an affordable price point and come with very little side effects. Not to mention, they are quite easy to use.
Always make sure you purchase from a reputable seller and choose a high quality or medical grade essential oil. Essential oils made from chemical processes are not considered true essential oils. This is why it is imperative to know the way these oils are made.