10 Best Essential Oils for Healthy Hair and Scalp - hair buddha
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10 Best Essential Oils for Healthy Hair and Scalp

essential oils for healthy hair and scalp


Essential oils are pretty awesome!

Essential oils are powerful plant extracts with almost magical properties.  They can transform your dull and limp hair into shiny and gorgeous looking.

Hair & Scalp Benefits of Essential oil:

  • Essential oils are absorbed very easily into the scalp and hair, thanks to their small molecule size.
  •  Lavender, rosemary and khus essential oils stimulate hair growth and reduce thinning of hair.
  • Some essential oils, e.g., chamomile, patchouli and clary sage, help to soothe the dry, irritated scalp.
  • While oils like peppermint and petite grain influence the sebaceous glands and reduce oiliness of hair
  • Essential oils also help with skin conditions like dandruff, eczema and dermatitis.
  • They can even work to balance scalp hormones that cause hair loss.
  • And lastly they make your hair smell lovely.

What exactly is an essential oil?

When you peel an orange, you get its orangey smell – which is nothing but essential oils that evaporate into the air.

Also, when you crush a sprig of lavender or rosemary between your fingers, the special scent that you get is its essential oil.

You will find these aromatic oils in the various parts of the plant, including seeds, flowers, root, leaves, wood, and fruit peel. They are obtained through either steam distillation or expression.

For centuries, people have used essential oils for a variety of medicinal, cosmetic and culinary purposes.

If you have ever used any essential oil, you would know they are not like your regular oil (e.g. coconut or olive). They are light to touch and evaporate quickly (of course there are a few exceptions to the rule – such as blue chamomile).

To be precise, essential oils lack the fat content of the oil. Also, they are very concentrated and potent. And that is the reason you always use them diluted in a suitable base – which can be your regular oil, butter, shampoo, aloe vera gel, etc.

Remember, it isn’t a good idea to put essential oils direct on your scalp or skin. (More on how to use and safety instructions, see bottom of the page.)

How to Use Essential Oils for Hair Growth

My favourites for hair growth are lavender, rosemary, peppermint, khus and ylang ylang.  They all have a reputation to prevent hair loss and improve hair growth. Also, these oils play an important role in maintaining a healthy scalp – which is the bedrock for hair follicles.

The scientific minds will love the fact that lavender, rosemary and peppermint oils have research back evidence to support their effectiveness for hair growth.

And the best thing is it’s very simple to use them.

So if you want to use rosemary or lavender oil simply blend it with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or almond oil.

It will also double as a hair conditioner and moisturiser.

Here’s a quick recipe to nourish your hair: Mix 15 drops of rosemary essential oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage it into your scalp and let it soak in for a few hours before washing it out.

10 Best Essential Oils for Healthy Hair and Scalp

Like I said above essential oils have many uses, and each oil is unique in it’s effect. So you can pick the one that best suits your needs. You can also use them in combination for an enhanced effect.

Without further ado, let’s find out what’s in store for us, shall we?

1. Lavender Essential Oil



Lavender oil is very soothing oil and its scent is perhaps familiar to you.

Lavender is one of the few oils that works for all hair types — it moisturises the scalp and balances sebum production.

With its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and analgesic properties, lavender oil provides relief for many skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

A regular massage with lavender oil is said to reduce hair loss and make hair soft, shiny and healthy.

Lavender oil has a mild sedative and antidepressant action which makes it useful to ease down nervous tension and helps you sleep better.

For scalp massage create this nourishing blend:  mix 5 drops of lavender oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Work into your scalp and hair and let it sit for a few hours before washing it out.

Scent: It has a sweet, floral scent and herbaceous-woody undertone. The oil is extracted from the fresh flowers of Lavandula angustifolia shrub.

Blends well with: clary sage, geranium, cedarwood, vetiver or patchouli oil

2. Khus (Vetiver) Essential Oil

Vetiver essential oil for hair growth

Khus oil reminds me of summer months in India – mats made of khus roots are used in evaporative air coolers; they are also hung in a doorway or on the windows to keep the house cool. And it makes the whole house smell amazingly fresh.

Khus oil, derived from the roots of khus grass, is known as the oil of tranquillity because of its ability to calm, cool, and soothe the mind and body. This cooling property makes it highly beneficial in hair loss (as in against hair loss) that occurs due to high body heat (seen as baldness on the top of the head).

Khus is also known for its antiseptic and tonic action and helps treat acne and oily scalp

Scent: It is a dark brown or amber colour oil with an earthy-woody odour and a sweet persistent undertone. The oil is extracted from the roots of a grass of vetiver or Chrysopogon zizanioides.

Blends well with: sandalwood, lavender, ylang ylang, jasmine or patchouli oil

3. Rosemary Essential OilRosemary

Rosemary is not just for cooking; it has so many benefits for your hair.

Rosemary is one of the best essential oil for enhancing hair growth. It stimulates the scalp and increases local blood circulation. Another way rosemary improves growth is because of its powerful antioxidant effects. It helps fight against free radicals – that are responsible for thinning of hair as well as greying.

Plus, rosemary oil acts as a great conditioner. It leaves your hair soft and shiny, and your scalp clean and clear.

Scent: It has a strong, minty-herbaceous scent and a woody undertone. Rosemary oil is extracted from the plant of Rosmarinus officinalis.

Rosemary oil blends well with: lavender, peppermint, basil, thyme, or cinnamon oil

Rosemary fact: this aromatic oil is said to calm the mind and lift your mood. So take a sniff if you are feeling dull and low.

4. Chamomile Essential OilChamomile Flowers

A flower in the daisy family, chamomile is a soothing and healing oil. It can be applied to the scalp to restore dry or sensitive skin or help calm irritation which may occur because of dandruff, eczema or dermatitis.

By keeping the scalp in good health, it promotes faster and healthier hair growth. Chamomile oil also conditions the hair and greatly improves its softness and lustre.

Scent: It has a sweet, fruity-herbaceous scent. The oil is extracted from flowers of Matricaria recutica (German chamomile) or Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile), I prefer the German variety.

You can combine chamomile oil with: jasmine, rose, geranium or lavender oil

5. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

This fragrant oil is my personal favourite. Native to tropical Asia, it has been traditionally used as a scalp stimulant to encourage hair growth. Another way ylang ylang oil promotes hair growth is by relaxing the tight scalp muscles which can lead to hair loss.

Ylang ylang oil helps to treat both dry, dull hair as well as overly oily hair by balancing the scalp oils. Plus, the natural antiseptic and tonic properties of this fragrant oil keeps the scalp clean and healthy.

A massage with ylang ylang oil can ease tension headaches and is also useful in treating anxiety and insomnia.

Scent: Also known as poor man’s jasmine, this oil is highly valued in perfumery. It has intensely sweet, soft, floral, and slightly spicy scent. The oil is extracted from the flowers of cananga odorata tree.

Blends well with: rosewood, jasmine, rose, or vetiver

6. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil gives a cooling, refreshing sensation which we are all familiar with.

Peppermint oil is used in many high-quality hair care products because it can nourish and thicken hair. When applied on the scalp, peppermint oil improves blood flow to the scalp, thereby promoting strong and healthy hair growth.

It’s cooling and calming effects helps to soothe an itchy scalp, while its antiseptic effects can help remove dandruff.

You can create your own hair growth blend by mixing 3 drops of peppermint, 3 drops of lavender oil and 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Massage this into your scalp and hair and let it soak in for a few hours before washing it out.

Scent: The smell is fresh, crispy and minty! The essential oil is made from peppermint leaves.

Blends well with: rosemary, marjoram, cedarwood, lavender, or tea tree oil

7. Cedarwood Essential Oil

This soothing oil has a beautiful woody aroma and obtained from the wood of the Cedrus atlantica tree. This oil is well known as hair tonic and is used to treat thinning hair and various types of alopecia. A blend of cedarwood oil, rosemary oil and coconut oil, when applied  to the scalp, can stimulate hair follicles and promote thick hair growth (I have included the recipe below).

Cedarwood oil is also a good remedy for dandruff, fungal infection and eczema, and it even treats oily greasy scalp.

If you have lax or loose muscles, a massage with cedarwood essential oil may be effective. Because to its astringent and tonic effect, it tightens loose muscles and creates a feeling of firmness and youth.

Scent: warm, woody, camphoraceous aroma with a sweet-balsamic undertone.

Blends well with: bergamot, juniper, rosemary, ylang ylang, myrrh, or neroli

8. Petitgrain Essential Oilpetitgrain essential oil for hair

An essential oil extracted from the bitter orange plant, petitgrain is a great cleansing and uplifting oil.

Its cleansing action opens up clogged pores, and its toning properties reduce over-production of sebum, thus making it ideal for an oily scalp.

Petite grain is a mild but effective antiseptic. So if you have dandruff or scalp acne along with oily hair, petite grain oil can be very beneficial.

Petitgrain is also great for your skin, it heals pimples, tones skin and reduces pore size — leaving your skin smooth and flawless.

Scent:  It has a fresh-floral citrus scent and a woody herbaceous undertone. The oil is extracted from the leaves of Citrus aurantium tree.

Blends beautifully with: rosemary, lavender, palmarosa, geranium, jasmine, or clary sage oil

9. Clary Sage Essential OilClary Sage for Hair GrowthClary Sage for Hair Growth

Clary Sage for Hair GrowthA Close relative of the garden sage, the clary sage is a perennial herb with large hairy leaves of green-purplish colour. Clary sage is particularly useful for female pattern baldness and is said to provide hormone balancing effect. Due to its ability to increase cellular metabolism, it has regenerative effects on hair cells to stimulate hair growth.

It’s moisturising and nourishing qualities makes hair soft, glossy and manageable.

Scent: This oil has sweet, nutty herbaceous scent. The oil is extracted from the flowering tops and leaves of Salvia sclarea.

You can blend clary sage with: lavender, geranium, cedarwood, or frankincense oil

10. Patchouli Essential Oil

With a strong musky smell, patchouli oil is a fantastic addition to your natural hair care.

Because of its ability to balance the scalp oils, patchouli works for all hair types. This oil can be incredibly effective for dry, flaky scalp. Thanks to its moisturising and hydrating benefits.

Patchouli oil can help reverse hair loss and thinning, especially if the cause is underlying scalp issues. Patchouli offers powerful anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties and helps to treat many scalp problems.

If you suffer from dandruff, eczema, or scalp acne, make this blend to heal your scalp:  2 drops of patchouli oil, 3 drops lavender oil and 1 tablespoon almond oil. Mix well and massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for a few hours before washing it out.

Scent: sweet, rich, musky, earthy odour – it improves with age. Its aroma is quite powerful so you only need small amounts when creating blends.

Blends well with: vetiver, lavender, neroli, clary sage, cedarwood or myrrh oil

How To Use Essential Oils for Healthy, Shiny Hair

You won’t use essential oils the same way as your regular oils like coconut or olive oil. As I said earlier, essential oils are highly concentrated and potent extracts of the plant. Therefore they need to be diluted in a suitable base oil.

The simplest way to use them is by mixing any one essential oil with one base oil.

As a general guideline, add about 1% of essential oil in the base oil. You can use the following proportions:

  • 10-15 drops of essential oil in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of base oil
  • 30-40 drops essential oil in 100ml of base oil

Base Oil for fine, thin hair: Use sunflower, coconut, grapeseed, olive, almond, or jojoba oil – these will nourish and add volume to your fine hair.

Base Oil for dry, thick coarse hair: Use rich oils such as: avocado, olive, hemp, rosehip, sesame, almond – these are valuable hydrating treatments.

I have added some essential oil recipes that I like. But you can go ahead and create your own blend depending on your requirement.

Hair Growth Recipe 1

There’s some evidence that applying a combination of cedarwood, lavender, thyme and rosemary essential oil to the scalp improves hair growth in people with alopecia. In this study 44% participants who applied this combination reported hair regrowth. Here’s the recipe…

Hair Growth Recipe 2

Dandruff Recipe

Mix the oils in a bowl. If you like a particular recipe, make a big batch and store in a glass bottle (preferably dark colored); shake well before use.

Massage the lovely homemade oil blend into your scalp and hair, leave it on for an hour, or overnight for more conditioning. Wash with a homemade natural shampoo or your favorite shampoo and let your hair dry naturally.

Add Essential Oil to the Hair Rinse or Shampoo

You can add a few drops of essential oils (10 to 20 drops in a 1 cup) in the hair rinse to improve the condition of your scalp and hair. Hair rinse can be made with rosemary, chamomile, peppermint or any herb of your choice. Make your usual tea, let it cool down and use it as a last rinse.

Or add a few drops of essential oil to your homemade shampoo to enhance its effectiveness.

Note: Essential oils will evaporate fairly quickly if left open, so be sure to replace the lid when you have finished using them.

What are the safety precautions: If you are pregnant, lactating, suffer from epilepsy, high blood pressure, or any other medical condition, seek the advice of your doctor, midwife or qualified aromatherapist prior to using any essential oil. Children have very delicate and sensitive skin, so use essential oils very diluted (half or quarter of the stated amount).

For people with sensitive skin, it’s best to test a small area then wait 30 minutes before applying to scalp or other areas.

Buying Suggestions:

Always buy essential oils that are pure, undiluted and stored in glass bottles, preferably dark (such as this). Also, when you make oil blends using essential oils, use a glass bottle to store them. This is because plastic reacts with essential oils and may cause an unwanted side effect.

Which is your favourite essential oil for hair? Leave your comment below!


Leave a Comment:

joseph valenti says

Can I use Patchouli Oil as a terp in my henna hair color mixture, if so how many drops! Terps are essential oils that darken the henna stains!

    Minaz says

    Joseph I have no idea about this. Sorry!

Jo says

How often should these Hair Growth Recipes 1 or 2 be applied? The time frame it takes to notice results? Once results are obtained, how often should these recipes then be used?

nerti says

Halo Minaz, how often can I use these essential oils? I wash my hair every other day. Thank you 🙂

    Minaz says

    Hi Nerti, you can use them every day, as long as they are diluted as said.

daniela says

Hi Minaz, could you plese tell me, what is the best way to use herbs/flour? I use herbs and flour in “powder” form and I am wondering, what gives me the most benefit ? The “powder” or if I use the “infusion” from it? Thank you very much 🙂 D

Charity says

Hi Minaz
Is it okay to leave essential oils on the hair for a day or two. I usually leave it before wshing. Thanks so much for this advice on the best oils

    Minaz says

    I am so glad to know you found it useful.
    Yes of course you can leave in on for couple of days – as long as it’s used in the quantities I mention (see how to use).

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