Although we might not realize it, many of us pride ourselves on our hair. We cut it and style it. We keep it short or grow it long. We use it as an accessory and pair it with just the right clothes and styles. We color it, highlight it, and bleach it. For some of us, the hair on our head is a very important part of our sense of self.
Quite simply, our hair is often a reflection of our personal style and is, therefore, a very important part of our appearance. So, if you notice more hair in the shower drain than usual, or you see many strands of hair accumulating quickly on your hairbrush or in your comb, it's only natural to want to find a way to combat that.
Hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia, can be a very inconvenient and unwanted condition in both men and women. It can be uncomfortable and, at times, even embarrassing. The next logical step is to find a remedy.
Here, at UpNature, we believe in a holistic approach to wellness. We know that there are millions of naturally occurring plant-based essential oils that, when used on their own or paired with a combination of other oils, can greatly and dramatically affect our overall health and vitality.
Why Do We Lose Our Hair?
There are a number of reasons why some of us may begin to notice hair loss, whether significant or gradual. Some reasons are genetic, some are health related, and others are environmental.
The most common cause that we often see is a condition called male pattern balding, which is simply a condition that occurs when the stem cells in the scalp slowly lose the ability to create follicles. When this occurs, the follicles shrink over time, not allowing hair to grow out of them anymore. It usually begins around the temples and moves around the scalp, leaving unwanted spots and hairless patches all over the head.
Another reason for hair loss is stress. Hair grows in a cycle. It grows, rests, and sheds. When a stressful or traumatic event occurs, it can shock the system, triggering more shedding and prohibiting growth. Often, hair loss is noticed anywhere from two to six months after trauma.
Another potential cause of hair loss is hypothyroidism, which is when the body has an under active thyroid and cannot produce enough of the hormones necessary for the body's cycles. If the metabolism doesn't have enough of what it needs, many things in the body cannot function as they should, resulting in a loss of hair. If you think that you might have this condition, consult your doctor or health practitioner. They will check your thyroid levels and advise next steps.
Pregnant women, or those who recently gave birth, can also see a dramatic hair loss occur during and a few months after pregnancy. This temporary condition, known as tellogen effluvium, is an excessive shedding of hair. During pregnancy, a large number of follicles go into a resting period, which is normally part of hair growth and regeneration. Hormone levels in a woman's body change dramatically, confusing the natural cycle and causing more shedding than usual. About three to four months after delivery, hormone levels usually regulate and the cycle of growth goes back to normal.
There are many more reasons why hair loss can occur. Chemotherapy, anabolic steroids, a protein, iron, or vitamin deficiency, over styling or chemical processing, or just your genetic makeup. All of these can contribute, leaving the scalp compromised and incapable of hair regeneration and growth.
The Benefits of Essential Oils for the Scalp and Hair
The scalp needs to be stimulated on a regular basis in order for it to function properly and maintain its necessary oils. When we ignore and mistreat our scalp, hair becomes brittle and sometimes frizzy and the scalp gets dry and sometimes flaky or itchy.
Essential oils to the rescue! These amazing oils occur naturally and can be found in the essence of many plants and flowers. They are highly concentrated and, when harvested properly, can be powerful remedies for many adverse conditions that occur in our bodies, both externally and internally. In many of these cases, essential oils can be some of the most holistic and beneficial treatments available today, stimulating the scalp and revitalizing the flow and circulation of blood throughout the body.
A number of studies show that certain essential oils can be a viable alternative to many more conventional over the counter and prescription treatments that are filled with synthetic ingredients which, if used for long periods of time, may or may not be detrimental to overall body health.
Which Essential Oils Should I Use?
The good news is that there are a number of incredible essential oils that target scalp health and hair growth. When used every day, these oils can stimulate and improve growth rate, working with your body's natural predilection to heal itself. They can enhance and strengthen, leaving you with positive results in feel and appearance.
Using Carrier Oils
Carrier oils are a key component in the use of essential oils to stimulate hair growth. These carriers contain beneficial fatty acids and nutrients that, when combined with essential oils, create a highly powerful and effective treatment. They also offer an easier method of delivery onto the scalp and ensure proper and even distribution when massaged thoroughly.
Commonly used oils are coconut, jojoba, olive, emu, sesame, grapeseed, tamanu, or moringa oil, among others. Each one of these has its own properties and characteristics, all of which are beneficial in a number of ways.
When mixing essential oils with a carrier oil, a good rule of thumb is about 8 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
The following is a collection of some of the best essential oils for hair loss. Experiment with a number of them until you find one that works well for you. When used daily, the benefits of the essential oils will become clear.
1. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Derived from Salvia sclarea, clary sage oil smells amazing and contains high levels of phytoestrogen, which is well known to stimulate and promote hair growth. When used topically on the scalp, clary sage helps regulate the production of oil and can be used with dry or oily scalp and hair.
How to use:
Mix equal amounts of clary sage essential oil and jojoba oil. When combined, massage into scalp and let sit for about a half hour. Follow with either a mild shampoo wash or rinse with water.
2. Rosemary Essential Oil
Extracted from the leaves of the Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary essential oil is known for its high levels of antioxidants which help improve circulation and blood flow, thereby increasing cellular growth and regenerating hair follicles.
How to use:
Mix equal parts of rosemary essential oil and olive or emu oil. Massage into the scalp for about two to three minutes and then let sit for three to four hours. After, wash your hair as you normally would with a mild shampoo.
3. Cedarwood Essential Oil
The oil of Cedrus atlantica, or Cedar tree, as it is more commonly known, has long been recognized for its successful treatment of alopeica areata, an autoimmune skin disease which cases hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other areas of the body. Studies found that its antiseptic properties help reduce and control bacteria and fungus. It is also an effective treatment for many scalp issues, such as dandruff or excessive oil.
How to use:
Mix equal parts cedarwood essential oil with either jojoba or grapeseed oil. Massage into scalp for about two to three minutes and let sit for about one to two hours. After, wash hair normally with a mild shampoo.
Find cedarwood essential oil at UpNature.
4. Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil is very well known for it high antioxidant levels, as well as being a strong antiseptic. Due to these properties, it will increase circulation and aid in new hair growth. This is a very strong essential oil and should be used sparingly and in properly metered doses.
How to use:
Mix clove essential oil with coconut or tamanu oil in a ratio of 1:4. In other words, mix 2-4 drops of clove oil with about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage completely into scalp and let sit for about an hour. You will notice a tingling sensation, which is normal. Wash with mild shampoo.
Note: Clove essential oil is a very strong oil. This should be applied once or twice weekly, rather than the usual daily application.
5. Carrot Essential Oil
Carrots provide abundant amounts of carotenes and other antioxidants. High in vitamin A, it is known to stimulate and regenerate follicle and skin cells, aiding in hair regeneration and strengthening. In fact, the more traditionally used Retin-A or Rogain contains high levels of tretinoin, which is a type of vitamin A commonly found in carrots! Carrot oil may be one of the most beneficial essential oils for hair loss and regrowth.
How to use:
Carrot essential oil can be used liberally. Mix equal parts carrot essential oil with jojoba or coconut oil, depending up on which you prefer to put in your hair and on your scalp.
Massage into scalp for about two to three minutes and let sit for one to three hours. After, wash hair normally with a mild shampoo.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Extracted from the flowers of Lavandula angustifolia, lavender essential oil is very well known and widely used. It is mild and soothing, and has many effective balancing properties that other flower essences do not. It is also known to have wonderful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties, all of which will aid in hair growth and regeneration.
It is gentle and easy to use and can be used for all types of skin and hair.
How to use:
Mix ten to twelve drops of essential oil with two to three tablespoons of either emu or coconut oil. Massage into scalp evenly and leave in overnight, washing it out with a mild shampoo.
Find lavender essential oil at UpNature.
7. Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress essential oil comes from Cupressus sempervirens, or Cypress, which is an evergreen tree. Cypress oil has been used for hundreds, even thousands, of years by cultures of people all over the world who recognized its amazing ability to improve circulation and blood flow. With good circulation comes much better hair growth, and this essential oil promises to do just that.
How to use:
Mix equal parts cypress essential oil with coconut or jojoba oil. Massage into scalp evenly and leave on for two to three hours. After, wash as usual with a mild shampoo.
8. Sea Buckthorn Essential Oil
Sea Buckthorn, or Hippophae rhamnoides, is a shrub found in Asia and Europe that has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years. It is commonly used as a cleanser and exfoliator when used on the skin. It also contains high levels of antioxidants and carotenes (much like Carrot essential oil), which aid in cellular regeneration and follicle performance.
How to Use:
Mix equal parts sea buckthorn essential oil and coconut or emu oil. Massage into scalp and let sit for one to three hours. After, wash normally with a mild shampoo.
Please note that this essential oil will leave a red color on your skin and scalp and can stain clothing, so take care in the application.
9. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile, specifically German Chamomile, is well known for its gentle yet effective anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and can help with cellular regeneration, allowing more hair follicles to appear and function properly. Because it is such a strong anti-inflammatory agent, chamomile can be very beneficial for both hair and scalp health.
Chamomile is also very soothing and cooling, which can be perfect for overworked and tired hair and scalp.
How to use:
Chamomile is very gentle, so can be used liberally. Mix equal parts chamomile essential oil with jojoba oil. Massage into scalp. Either let sit overnight, washing your hair with mild shampoo in the morning, or leave in and do not wash out.
10. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil comes from the herb Thymus vulgaris and has a strong and pungent smell. It is known to increase blood circulation to the scalp which will help regenerate follicles necessary for proper hair growth. It has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which make it very effective at combatting dry or otherwise improperly functioning scalp.
To maximize its antiseptic properties, many people like to mix thyme and lavender oil together when using it for the hair and scalp.
How to use:
Mix two to three drops of thyme essential oil and four to five drops of lavender oil with two to three tablespoons of jojoba or olive oil. Massage into the scalp evenly and let sit for about an hour. After, wash with mild shampoo.
11. Helichrysum Essential Oil
Helichrysum essential oil, extracted from the leaves and flowers of the plant known as Helichrysum italicum, is touted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to aid in circulation. It is also very well known for its regenerative properties, which is perfect for the scalp, cells, and hair follicles.
How to use:
Mix 16 drops of helichrysum essential oil with 4 tablespoons of jojoba, emu, or coconut oil. Massage into scalp and leave on for one to three hours. After, wash with milld shampoo.
12. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
A natural stress reducer with cooling properties as well, the oil of ylang ylang, otherwise known as Cananga odorata, is extracted from the beautiful and large yellow flowers of the plant. It has antiseptic properties and is well known to help invigorate the scalp and follicles and improve thickness and growth rate of hair.
How to use:
Mix 16 drops of ylang ylang essential oil with 4-5 tablespoons of coconut or jojoba oil. Massage into scalp and let sit for about three hours. When finished, wash out with shampoo.
13. Myrtle Essential Oil
Myrtle essential oil is extracted from almost all parts of this beautiful flowering plant plant. Also known as Myrtus Communis, this plant was first discovered in Greece and was often linked with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
Myrtle is known for its antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and nervine properties, among others. All of this means that, when applied to the scalp regularly, myrtle essential oil can help invigorate the scalp and reduce stress.
How to use:
Mix 12 drops of myrtle essential oil with 4 tablespoons of jojoba, emu, or coconut oil. Massage into scalp and let sit for one to three hours, or overnight if preferred. When finished, wash with mild shampoo.
14. Peppermint Essential Oil
Long known for its antibacterial, antioxidant, peppermint, otherwise known as Mentha piperita, is becoming more and more recognized as a wonderful tonic for hair growth and regeneration.
How to use:
Mix 8 drops of peppermint essential oil to 4 tablespoons of coconut or jojoba oil. Massage into scalp and leave on for at least 30 minutes. When finished, wash with mild shampoo.
Please note that peppermint essential oil is a very intense oil and should be applied carefully.
15. Horsetail Essential Oil
Horsetail is an ancient and highly revered plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. One of the key components in horsetail is silica, which is an amazing micronutrient that helps balance hormone levels in the body. It also helps with cellular regeneration and helps energize and kickstart the immune system.
How to use:
Mix 8 drops of horsetail essential oil with 4 tablespoons of jojoba, coconut, or emu oil. Massage into scalp and leave on for one to three hours. When finished, wash with mild shampoo.
Essential Oil Blends For Hair Growth
There are many essential oils that, when combined, can have very healing effects. Here are a few oil combinations that, when applied regularly can be very beneficial and even medicinal. All of these should be massaged into the scalp and left on for a half hour or more. Overnight is fine as well. When finished, wash hair with mild shampoo as you would normally.
- Using about 4 ounces of jojoba or emu oil as a carrier, mix lavender, thyme, cedarwood, and rosemary. You can use up to 35 drops of each essential oil, depending upon the quantity you wish to make. Just remember to keep the ratio equal.
- Using 1 ounce each of coconut, grapeseed, and sesame oils as a carrier, mix 32 drops of carrot oil, 16 drops of rosemary oil, 9 drops of clove oil, 16 drops of chamomile oil, 24 drops of lavender oil, and 10 drops of cypress oil.
- Using 2 ounces each of jojoba and coconut oils as your carrier, mix 32 drops lavender oil, 32 drops rosemary oil and 8 drops of sage oil.
The Dynamic Power of Plants and Flowers
As you can see, there are a myriad of essential oils that can have very positive effects on your health and overall well being. By harnessing and utilizing the essence of plants and flowers, we are able to redefine our concepts of what it means to be healthy and to guide our bodies and our senses closer and closer to a more holistic and free state of being.
Hair loss can be dramatic, but you can help your body, your mind, and your spirit overcome it, and essential oils are just a few of the many tools that can make it possible.