7 Essential Oils for Hair Care
Hair fall and other issues with hair is common. Most people lose up to a hundred strands of hair a day, and this causes no visible effects. A lot of people refrain from putting anything in their hair because they are worried that adding artificial shampoo and conditioner can cause more harm than good. But there are also a number of natural oils that you can use to nourish your hair regularly, even before you notice any kind of hair fall. Essential oils for hair care are very effective and when used carefully, they have little to no side effects.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are basically concentrated extracts taken from various plants that are commonly used as medicine. The name comes from the fact that it captures the essence of the chosen plant, but is in a much more usable form. The two common methods of extraction are steam distillation and cold pressing, and depending on the method of extraction, essential oils can have different properties and uses. Due to its concentrated nature, essential oils are very aromatic, and contain a lot of active ingredients. Not all plant extracts can be used as essential oils, they need to pass stringent health and safety tests and have proven benefits.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils have a variety of uses. They are widely used in aromatherapy because of their strong aromatic properties. Inhaling essential oils has proven beneficial for people with anxiety and depression. They are a common ingredient in perfumes. As a natural anti-oxidiser, they are also used in cosmetic products such as moisturisers and skin creams. They are also used as hair oils, with different essential oils helping people with different hair problems.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
When used the way they are supposed to be, essential oils are definitely safe. But before you start applying essential oils on your hair or your skin, there are some things that you need to keep in mind.
For starters, never apply essential oils anywhere on your body before diluting them first. As mentioned before, they are extremely concentrated, and direct application can cause skin irritations and small burns. When applying to your hair, it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil. Carrier oils are either unscented or lightly scented, and help carry the essential oil into your skin, scalp or hair without interfering with its therapeutic properties.
Also, in some cases, your skin simply might not agree with some particular oils. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine without trying the oil first. It is a good idea to do a patch test before incorporating any essential oil into your hair or skin care routine. A patch test involves trying out a limited amount of the oil on an inconspicuous part of the body such as the elbows. Be sure to dilute your oil before the patch test as well!
A word of caution, due to their highly concentrated nature, essential oils are not safe to consume and this should be kept in mind at all times.
Essential Oils for Hair Care
When using essential oils for hair care, the first step is to choose a suitable essential oil. Everyone’s hair is different, and usually lack a different set of nutrients. You need to choose your essential oil depending on your hair type and the issues that you face.
Essential oils can also be mixed with each other to give added benefits. Again, it is best to ask around and figure out what combination works best for you. Be sure to dilute them whether or not you make a mixture!
Here are some common essential oils with the type of hair that they are best for.
Lavender oil is very versatile as an essential oil for hair care. For people who have a naturally dry scalp, it can effectively seep into your scalp and moisturize it. It can also help you grow thicker, stronger hair. Lavender oil can also help people who suffer from head lice when tea tree oil is used as the carrying oil. Lavender oil is also one of the best smelling essential oils out there, so it is a good idea to use it with unscented oils to give your hair smelling great, naturally!
Cedarwood has been found to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which makes it an excellent choice to treat a variety of hair issues. Cedarwood oil is used primarily by people who face incessant hair loss. It balances the oil producing glands in the scalp, making it useful for the treatment of dry scalp as well.To round off the reasons why it is an important essential oil for hair care, it can also help people who suffer from itching due to dandruff.
Rosemary oil is another essential oil for hair care, preferred by people who suffer from early balding. In fact, a study conducted in the US compared the effects of Rosemary and minoxidil on people who faced significant hair loss.The study concluded that both were equally effective in treating hair fall, and Rosemary, being a natural oil, has lesser side effects compared to the synthetic minoxidil.
Thyme Oil is effective for people with slow growing hair. It greatly increases the growth rate of your hair and gives you healthier hair overall, protecting you from hair fall. Thyme is a very strong oil even among the other essential oils, and it is recommended that you dilute it more. Or for a better solution, you can mix it with other essential oils such as Rosemary and Peppermint before diluting to get better benefits!
Peppermint Oil has been found to be more effective in promoting hair growth than minoxidil, making it a great essential oil for hair care. It increases the amount of hair follicles and improves scalp thickness, giving you hair that is thicker and stronger from the roots. As an added benefit, Peppermint contains traces of menthol, which when massaged into your scalp can dilate blood vessels and improve blood circulation.
Macadamia Oil is commonly used by people who have naturally frizzy hair. It reduces the condition by seeping into your scalp and preventing the loss of moisture. It also carries antioxidants which make your hair naturally resistant to natural elements such as the sun and pollution. Macadamia gives very light oil, which can be used without dilution. Macadamia Oil can also give your hair a smooth shine. In another area, Macadamia is great for skin care.
Lemongrass Oil is very effective for people who have dandruff ridden hair. A study concluded that a tonic with 10 percent Lemongrass Oil reduced dandruff by 81 percent in two weeks. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well. It is also good for the hair follicles, strengthening your hair significantly.
While essential oils are a great way to treat your hair naturally and get back its natural beauty, do not consider it as an alternative to your hair care routine. Rather, it is best to use both in tandem for the best benefits. If the use of essential oils is causing issues in your hair or skin, do not hesitate to call your doctor. But be sure to use the flexibility you get with essential oils to keep your hair smooth and shiny and keep it smelling great!