Bonus: They'll make your hair smell great.
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Woman with a oil dropper next to her healthy hair on a designed background
Credit: Adobe Stock / progressman

It's common to experience hair thinning or hair loss as you get older. Your hair may also start falling out as a result of lifestyle habits, such as having a poor diet or overusing hot styling tools. So you may be wondering how to grow your hair out and make it look healthier, and if essential oils can help with hair growth.

Yoram Harth, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and the medical director of MDhair, says, "Some essential oils can trigger new hair growth and prevent future fallout by improving scalp health, making them an excellent addition to hair-loss treatments and other scalp conditions."

How Do Essential Oils Promote Hair Growth?

"Essential oils address a number of factors that can impact overall scalp health, as well as the quality of your hair," says board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. Some essential oils may help scalp health, while others stimulate blood flow and circulation. But a little goes a long way: essential oils can be quite potent, so you always want to dilute them in some kind of carrier oil or base product to avoid irritation to your skin or scalp.

Harth says that essential oils could be a good alternative for people with sensitive skin. He says, "The advantage of essential oils over other products is that they are plant-based and omit the synthetic preservatives, colors and fragrances added to most hair products."

How to Use Essential Oils for Hair Growth

Before applying essential oils to your scalp, it's important to spot test the oil on your skin first (for example: on the back of your hand) to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction. Once you're in the clear, Engelman says, "For most essential oil hair treatments, I would recommend incorporating your favorite oil into a hair mask, massaging into the scalp and leaving it on for 10 minutes before washing out."

Or you can use Harth's approach. He says, "Using your fingers, apply six to eight drops of the oil into your scalp and to the tips of your hair strands, then massage for three to five minutes." Engelman adds, "Incorporating a scalp massage into your treatment [can help] stimulate blood flow."

Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth

According to Engelman and Harth, there are a few essential oils that are especially beneficial for hair growth. Here are their top four picks.

Lavender Oil

Engelman says, "Lavender is widely known for its soothing benefits and it also has antimicrobial and antibacterial benefits, which can improve overall scalp health."

Harth says that lavender oil is one of the more gentle oils and can be used on sensitive skin with minimal side effects. He adds, "Lavender oil's scent can also be used as a tool to relieve stress, which also helps with stress-related hair loss." (FYI: here are the best essential oils for stress.)

To use lavender oil for hair growth, Engelman suggests adding a few drops to a carrier oil (such as melted coconut oil), massaging it into your scalp and leaving it on your hair for 10 minutes. Engelman likes NOW Essential Lavender Oil, and says, "[It's] high quality, affordable, super accessible and comes in a variety of sizes, so you can get enough of your favorite oil for your beauty treatment and for your diffuser."

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Peppermint Oil

Peppermint essential oil is fresh, stimulating and uplifting and can help promote hair growth. Harth says, "When peppermint is applied to the scalp, it has a cooling effect and can increase local blood circulation and reduce dryness, itching and other unwanted scalp problems. Increased blood flow to the scalp is especially beneficial for hair growth during the anagen phase, as it helps deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to starved hair follicles."

Rather than putting peppermint essential oil in a hair mask, Engelman suggests adding a few drops to your shampoo. "You don't want to leave this one on too long, so you should incorporate it with your shampoo and leave it on for about five minutes before rinsing out."

Now Peppermint Essential Oil
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Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of the most popular essential oils, as it's known for its cleansing, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. "We often see tea tree in anti-acne products or in DIY treatments, as it's very effective, and those same benefits also help improve scalp health," says Engelman.

What's more, tea tree essential oil is widely used to combat infections and help with dandruff. "It can open up clogged hair follicles to improve hair growth, prevent scalp acne and wash away product buildup on the scalp," says Harth. Mix several drops of tea tree oil into your shampoo.

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Rosemary Oil

Harth says, "Rosemary essential oil is believed to be anti-inflammatory, so it blocks the effects of DHT (male androgens) on the hair follicles and improves blood flow in the scalp." This can help boost circulation and promote hair regrowth. "It is also thought to improve cellular generation, which leads to thicker, stronger and healthier hair," he adds.

Plus, using rosemary oil on the hair's shafts may also reduce hair breakage and promote better scalp wellness in general. "Apply six to eight drops of the oil with your fingers and smooth into your scalp, extending to the tips of your hair strands, and then massage for three to five minutes," Harth says.

Now Rosemary Essential Oil
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