There are mixed opinions on whether hair oils can promote hair growth. Some people believe that hair oils do not directly cause hair growth. However, massaging your scalp with hair oil stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, which enhances hair growth and makes hair healthy. On the contrary, various types of research show that some hair oils like rosemary oil, peppermint oil, castor oil, and onion oil do increase hair growth.
Best Oils for Hair Growth
Since ancient times, the following hair oils have been used in India to increase hair growth, reduce scalp itchiness, and get healthy hair.
1. Castor Oil for Hair
An animal study suggests that external application of castor oil on the scalp for 3-4 months stimulates hair follicles, resulting in hair regeneration. Also, the hair on the area in which castor oil is applied becomes stronger. Castor oil also contains fatty acids like oleic acid, linoleic acid and glycerol, which increase the absorption of oil and keep it nourished and healthy. This can indirectly promote hair growth.
2. Rosemary Oil for Hair
Rosemary is one of the most popular hair oils for hair growth. According to research, rosemary is a medicinal plant, and its oil is more effective in treating alopecia (medical name for extreme hair loss) than minoxidil. Rosemary oil is a popular over-the-counter (OTC) product for reducing hair fall and promoting hair growth. Research shows that rosemary oil is rich in antioxidants that reduce scalp inflammation and help treat other conditions. It also improves blood flow towards the scalp, which is beneficial in regenerating hair follicles. Therefore, rosemary oil enhances hair growth.
You can mix a few drops of rosemary essential oil with carrier oils like coconut or almond oil and massage your scalp regularly with it. It is also easy to prepare rosemary oil for hair at home by boiling rosemary leaves in coconut, almond or sesame oil for a few minutes.
3. Bhringraj Oil for Hair
Bhringraj is an ayurvedic herb that enhances hair growth. Bhringraj oil for hair or mahabhringraj oil is extracted from the leaves of the bhringraj plant, commonly known as false daisy. According to an animal study, Eclipta alba Hassk (scientific name for bhringraj) coupled with ether alcohol was more beneficial in increasing hair growth than minoxidil. As per Ayurveda, there are several benefits of applying bhringraj oil on the scalp. It is effective in treating dry and itchy scalp, reducing dandruff because of its high molecular gravity, which allows the scalp to absorb the oil easily. Bhringraj oil also helps treat baldness, increases hair growth, prevents premature greying of hair, and improves hair shine. Bhringraj hair oils available in the market also contain other beneficial herbs for hair like amla, brahmi, and licorice root that increase the effectiveness of bhringraj hair oil.
4. Onion Oil for Hair Growth
People in India have been using onion oil or onion juice for hair growth for ages. It is an effective home remedy for boosting hair growth and slowing down premature greying of hair. However, unlike castor oil, scientific research shows that onion oil increases hair growth and is effective for treating alopecia. As per a studyregular application of crude onion juice for 6-7 months shows significant hair growth and reduces bald patches. Research suggests that onions contain phenolic compounds that boost hair growth.
You can purchase onion hair oil from the market and apply it regularly for a few months to see significant results. You can also make onion oil for hair at home by chopping onions and boiling it in oil for 10-15 minutes till the oil turns brown. Let the oil cool down, strain it and pour it into a bottle for regular application.
5. Neem Oil for Hair
Neem oil for hair may not be directly beneficial for growth, but it is effective in treating hair or scalp conditions that restrict hair growth or cause hair fall like dandruff, fungal or bacterial infection on the scalp and lice. According to research, neem leaves have antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help reduce scalp inflammation and irritation, which helps reduce hair fall. Due to inflammation, irritation, and excessive scratching on the scalp, the hair follicles become weak, due to which we start experiencing hair loss. Neem oil extracted from neem leaves is effective in soothing the scalp. Regular application of neem oil keeps the scalp healthy and facilitates the regeneration of hair follicles.
6. Red Onion Hair Oil
Similar to white onion oil, red onion hair oil is also believed to promote hair growth. Red onions contain amino acids and antioxidant substances like sulphur, phenolic acids, and glycosides that are beneficial in making hair strong and healthy. Amino acids form keratin, a protein that is essential for hair growth. Therefore, red onion hair oil can enhance hair growth.
7. Aloe Vera Oil for Hair
Aloe vera is used to treat several hair and skin conditions in Indian households. People believe that aloe vera is beneficial for hair growth as well. However, there is a lack of scientific research material to confirm the efficacy of aloe vera for hair growth. An old study discussed the potential hair benefits of aloe vera. Several participants were asked to regularly massage their scalp with a lotion that contained aloe vera. In a few weeks, the participants experienced reduced hair fall and increased hair strength. But, since other ingredients were used along with aloe vera, the effectiveness of aloe vera for hair growth could not be confirmed. Aloe vera oil for hair is extracted from aloe vera leaves and has soothing and wound healing properties that help treat scalp conditions and improve blood circulation to the scalp, thus boosting hair growth.
8. Kalonji Hair Oil
Kalonji, or black cumin, is a common kitchen ingredient in India which has several health and cosmetic benefits. Kalonji hair oil is popularly known as black seed hair oil. The oil is rich in antioxidant compounds like glycosides, flavonoids, and tannins. It also contains essential fatty acids and amino acids that are beneficial for hair growth.
According to research, black cumin seeds effectively promote hair growth and reduce hair fall. These seeds slow down aging activity and calm scalp inflammation. Black cumin seeds contain thymoquinone, a chemical compound that has proven effective in increasing hair density and hair thickness. Thus, kalonji hair oil can be used for hair growth.
9. Lavender Oil for Hair
Lavender hair oil has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. According to a 2016 study, regular use of lavender oil for a few weeks increased the number of hair follicles, made the dermal layer thicker, and made the hair follicle length deeper. This shows that lavender hair oil is effective in increasing hair growth. You can mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with coconut or almond oil and gently massage your scalp with it
10. Hibiscus Oil for Hair
In addition to lavender plant leaves, hibiscus plant leaves and flowers are beneficial for hair growth. According to a 2003 animal study, mixed with petroleum, extracts of hibiscus flowers and leaves increased hair length in a month. The study also suggested that hibiscus leaves are more potent for hair growth than hibiscus flowers. You can prepare hibiscus oil for hair at home by boiling hibiscus leaves or flower petals in coconut or sesame oil for 5-10 minutes until the oil turns brown.
11. Peppermint Oil for Hair
Peppermint is another essential hair oil that is believed to have significant hair benefits. According to research, topical application of peppermint oil for 30 days can increase. It facilitates the anagen phase or the hair growth phase. Peppermint leaves also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce scalp irritation and help prevent hair fall. Therefore, you can use peppermint oil for hair growth.
12. Coconut Oil for Hair Growth
Coconut oil is another popular traditional home remedy for hair growth. It contains fatty acids and essential nutrients that deeply nourish the hair and improves overall scalp health. According to research, coconut oil has a low molecular weight, allowing it to penetrate the scalp and provide better nourishment. This helps prevent protein loss from hair. Protein is vital for hair growth and strength. Therefore, coconut oil can be used for hair growth.
13. Olive Oil for Hair Growth
Olive oil also has nourishment compounds that penetrate the hair shafts and strengthen the hair follicles. According to research, topical application of olive oil stimulates anagen or the growth phase of hair follicles. You can mix a few drops of olive oil with coconut oil for hair growth.
Almond Oil Vs Coconut Oil for Hair: Which Is Better?
Both coconut and almond oil have several hair benefits. These oils contain fatty acids that nourish the hair and make the hair follicles stronger.
Almond hair oil is better for people who have oily skin because it is less comedogenic than coconut oil which means it is less likely to clog pores, whereas coconut oil can clog pores, causing more acne.
Almond oil has more fatty acid content that provides deep nourishment in comparison to coconut oil. However, if you have dull, damaged and brittle hair due to protein deficiency, coconut oil will be better than almond oil because it prevents protein loss.
Is Castor Oil Good for Hair Growth?
Castor oil contains several nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidant compounds like phenolic acid, flavonoids and ricinoleic acid that help reduce scalp inflammation and increase blood circulation in the scalp. This indirectly promotes hair growth. However, applying only castor oil to your scalp is not directly beneficial for hair growth. In fact, castor oil has a heavy consistency and does not get entirely removed from the scalp easily. This can cause bacterial growth on the scalp, which might lead to more hair loss. Therefore, it is best to use essential oils like castor oil, peppermint or argan oil with other light carrier oils like coconut or almond oils.
Risks and Potential Complications
There are several benefits of oiling hair, like it improves blood circulation in the scalp, making it healthy. Oils also nourish hair, help reduce frizz, and protect hair from heat damage. However, there can also be some risks and potential complications of using hair oil.
- Increases dandruff- Dandruff is dry flakes on the scalp that get formed when the scalp starts producing extra sebum or oil. Therefore, applying hair oil in case of dandruff will increase the sebum on the scalp and lead to more dandruff.
- Might cause acne on the face- You should also avoid applying hair oil if you have an oily or combination, acne-prone skin. Acne or pimples are also caused when the sebaceous or oil glands of the skin start producing excess oil. Therefore, while applying hair oil to the scalp, some of the oil can reach your face or forehead and might cause acne. Even if you have oily skin and want to apply just oil, it is better to oil your hair for 30-40 minutes before shampoo.
- Aggravate hair fall- Oils with a thick consistency like castor oil, argan oil or coconut oil are difficult to wash properly from the scalp, which leads to the accumulation of dirt or bacteria on the scalp. It can also cause irritation and lead to hair fall. Also, vigorously massaging your hair with oil can make your roots weak and increase hair fall.
Summing Up on Oil for Hair Growth
There is no scientific evidence to show that hair oils can directly impact air hair growth. However, massaging your scalp with hair oil is beneficial for hair growth as it improves blood circulation to the scalp, which leads to hair growth, provides nourishment to hair and makes it soft. Some essential oils like rosemary, peppermint, and onion oil have proven to be beneficial for hair growth. Certain nutrients like vitamin E, antioxidant compounds and fatty acids present in hair oils nourish the scalp, which promotes hair growth.