Having healthy, thriving hair is important. It’s not just about looking great. When you feel great, you’re more prepared to face the day head-on. Additionally, your hair can suffer from a variety of damage while you’re out and about, and this damage needs to be repaired for your hair to stay strong and thrive.
There are a lot of tips, tricks, and products out there that attempt to promote healthy hair growth, but some of these products may incorporate harsh, artificial chemicals or will simply lack the science to prove that they’re effective. Essential oils made from plants, however, are a natural way to not only help your hair grow long and healthy but also smell fantastic. There’s no risk and only reward if you try essential oils for hair growth.
Understanding Hair GrowthHair growth may seem like one simple process -- your hair gets longer each day, and new hairs grow, replacing any that was lost. The hair grows up from the roots, which means the hair at the top or ends is the oldest hair. These are the basics. The subject of how your hair grows is a bit more complicated than that.
The PhasesHair growth happens in four phases:
- Anagen - The “growing phase” - This phase lasts the longest; it takes anywhere from 3-5 years or more for each strand of hair (at least for the hairs on your scalp). At this stage, the hair is being pushed by the follicles, which means they’ll continue to grow until they either fall or are cut.
- Catagen - The “transition phase” - This phase lasts about 10 days, while the follicles begin to shrink, and your hair’s growth begins to slow.
- Telogen - The “resting phase” - In this phase, your hair isn’t growing, but it isn’t falling out. It’s simply remaining in place for about 3 months.
- Exogen - The “shedding phase” - In this final phase, your hair is shedding, and you may lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day. This happens while new hairs are trying to start the growth phase from the follicles.
Keeping Your Hair Healthy
There are many factors that impact hair growth. It’s important to live a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition, avoiding stressful situations, and generally caring for your hair to keep your hair as healthy as possible.
- Proper Nutrition: Your hair is made up of protein, which means that a diet of healthy proteins will help your hair grow better and stronger. This includes lean meats, fish, beans, legumes, and even low-fat dairy products. There are also various vitamins necessary for good hair growth, which includes vitamin D, vitamin C, and iron.
- Avoiding Stress: When you’re stressed, your hair is more likely to fall out. This may be because your hair loss is multiplied due to your hormones, because you pick at or pull your hair as a nervous tic, or because your immune system is attacking your hair follicles. Staying calm and learning to manage your stress will help your hair be healthier.
- Hair Care: Treating your hair with healthy hair products is essential to keep your hair undamaged and growing. This also means treating your hair gently throughout the washing process.
The Role of Essential Oils
Essential oils aren’t just for aromatherapy, and though their use has been seen as something of a pseudoscience in recent years, they’re very valuable products to use to encourage your hair to grow healthy and undamaged. Different oils have different effects, but most of them can do something to help you take care of your hair.
You may already be using them already, as they’re in various shampoos and conditioners due to their benefits and clean, natural appeal when compared to strong chemicals. If you’re still not convinced, there’s a whole bunch of scientific research to validate the use of essential oils. From the conclusion that using essential oils leads to preferable results to the studies that have researched specific oils to verify their specific use, there’s no shortage of evidence to prove that essential oils are a necessary addition to any hair growth strategy.
In short, these oils can do a lot, and they aren’t to be taken for granted if you’re trying to fend off hair loss.
Lavender Essential OilIn one study, it was discovered that lavender oil could speed up hair growth in mice. The same is true for humans. Additionally, lavender oil has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, which promotes a healthier scalp.
Peppermint Essential OilPeppermint oil has been demonstrated to be capable of growing hair faster than even the commonly accepted hair loss prevention formula while also making your hair thicker, stronger, and more numerous.
Rosemary Essential OilRosemary oil is well known for having hair growth benefits. That’s because rosemary oil can do everything from stimulating blood flow to the scalp to spurring an increased hair count.
Cedarwood Essential OilCedarwood can balance the oils of your scalp, which promotes hair growth. Additionally, it has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which means it can reduce hair loss by fighting against things that may expedite it. It’s particularly effective in combination with rosemary and lavender.
Thyme Essential OilThyme is another oil that can stimulate the scalp and prevent you from losing hair. Thyme oil is also an excellent addition to a mixture of essential oils, as it can help people suffering from alopecia areata, a disease in which the hair follicles are attacked by a person’s immune system.
Clary Sage Essential OilClary sage contains linalyl acetate, the same compound that makes lavender such an effective hair-growth oil. It improves growth, as well as hair strength, so that it doesn’t break or get damaged so easily.
Tea Tree Essential OilFinally, tea tree oil is a popular oil that is used in a variety of places, including shampoo. It fights dandruff and promotes a healthy scalp, which is necessary for general hair health. There’s also evidence that it can restore damaged hair.
Using Essential OilsIf you want to incorporate essential oils into your hair care routine, you’ll get the best results if you:
- Dilute the oil. Mix 2-3 drops into a carrier oil or your shampoo/conditioner.
- Try a “patch test” ahead of time to make sure you aren’t allergic to the oil.
- Cover your head in a towel or shower cap after application.