You Might Have Healthier Hair With These 7 Plant-Based Oils

Essential oils have been studied for a number of purposes by scientists, including alleviating sleeplessness and promoting good oral health. And it’s no secret that people have been applying concentrated plant extracts to their skin since the beginning of time. But can using essential oils promote healthy hair and even hair growth? The answer is yes, according to one of the most recent TikTok trends.

More than 1.6 billion films with the hashtag #hairoil on TikTok have been seen, with some videos receiving millions of views each. In several of the videos, influencers are shown flaunting their stunning, long, and healthy hair while claiming that homemade oil mixtures are to blame for both shine and hair growth. One of the influencers, @madelinewould, on the video-sharing platform called the practice “hair oiling.”

According to dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, hair loss is a prevalent worry, particularly during the height of COVID-19, when reports of hair loss due to physical stress rose. Because of this, many people are concerned about shedding and thinning and are seeking for therapeutic alternatives, according to Dr. Garshick.

Celebrity hairdresser Sally Hershberger, who has offices in New York City and Los Angeles, concurs that hair growth is a popular issue, saying that many of her customers lost hair both before and after receiving COVID-19.

What does, however, help to restore someone’s thick, luscious locks—and what is merely social media chitchat—is less obvious. Here are seven oils to think about including in your beauty regimen, typically rated from most to least in terms of how much scientific evidence supports their usage for healthy hair.

1. Pumpkin Seed Oil 
Hershberger claims that pumpkin seed oil, which is produced by either cold-pressing or hot-pressing pumpkin seeds, is nut-free.

A claim

According to Taylor Rose, an IAT-certified trichologist (@thehealthyhur), the oil from pumpkin seeds is “scientifically proven to stop hair loss,” in a TikTok video. “This oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic and linoleic, as well as vitamin E, all of which have the potential to aid in hair growth by reducing inflammation in the scalp.”

The Reality
Since the study populations have often been tiny, as in a paper published in February 2021, or the oil has been tested on mice, as in a study published at the end of 2019, the majority of the research on pumpkin seed oil for hair loss is constrained.

However, there may be some truth to the rumor that pumpkin seed oil promotes hair growth: 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil given orally every day for 24 weeks resulted in 30% greater hair growth than a placebo, according to a thorough randomized controlled trial involving 76 men with androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.

According to Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York, pumpkin seed oil may stimulate hair growth similarly to finasteride (Propecia). She claims that the oil includes phytosterols, or fatty acids originating from plants that resemble cholesterol in humans, which may reduce the activity of an enzyme called 5alpha reductase, which is linked to hormonal hair loss. One version of testosterone is transformed into a more potent form by the enzyme 5alpha reductase, and it is this more potent form that is most strongly linked to male pattern (hormonal) hair loss. she continues. By lowering scalp irritation, which may lead to hair shedding, pumpkin seed oil’s anti-inflammatory impact may also encourage hair growth.

Another randomized controlled research, this one including 60 women, discovered that 5 percent minoxidil foam and pumpkin seed oil were equally efficient for stimulating hair growth. According to the Mayo Clinic, male and female pattern baldness is treated with the oral and topical medication minoxidil. According to Dr. Murphy-Rose, the hairs miniaturize or thin out in hormonal alopecia. “When that occurs, the variety of the diameters of the hair shafts increases; some are thin and some are normal.” One technique to determine a drug’s efficacy for treating alopecia is to see if it encourages a variety of hair shaft diameters.

In the second experiment, participants who received pumpkin seed oil observed improvements in hair growth (based on their resultant hair shaft diversity) equivalent to those who received minoxidil after three months of therapy. Additionally, they discovered that the quantity of “regular” hairs grew and the quantity of vellus, or baby, hairs dropped, “also suggesting new hair growth and a favorable response to treatment,” according to Murphy-Rose.

2. Rosemary Oil 
According to Hershberger, rosemary oil is typically steam-distilled from the plant’s blossoms, leaves, and twigs.

A claim
Abbey Tameron (@abbets), a hair expert, stated in one of her videos regarding rosemary oil, “It does help promote natural healthy hair growth and hair thickness, it helps promote circulation in your hair, which can again promote natural healthy hair growth.”

The Reality

According to Murphy-Rose, rosemary oil is thought to stimulate blood flow to microscopic blood vessels, which may promote faster hair growth by giving more nutrients.

In a six-month single-blind research experiment with 100 volunteers, 50 of whom received lotion containing rosemary oil and the other 50 received lotion containing minoxidil 2 percent, both groups saw a considerable rise in the number of hairs on their bodies. Itching on the scalp was less common in those who used rosemary oil.

Carnosic acid, which is included in rosemary, may help to maintain the health of the scalp, she claims. Additionally, she adds, rosemary oil contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics that “can help to fight dandruff, a common source of scalp inflammation that can contribute to hair thinning.”

It can moisturize and strengthen your hair, says Hershberger. Sean James, a famous hairstylist who works at the Matthew Preece Salon in Santa Monica, California, cites research in which it was shown that, after six months, rosemary oil was just as effective as 2 percent minoxidil. The study also discovered that participants who used the oil had a lower risk of having itchy scalps.

Jojoba Oil 3.
According to Hershberger, jojoba oil is derived from the seed of the jojoba plant. Jojoba oil is typically cold-pressed like other oils. Because your skin and hair follicles can’t tell the difference because jojoba oil is 50% wax esters and “therefore closely resembles natural human sebum,” Garshick continues, they’re more likely to absorb it and benefit from it.

A claim

According to Hershberger, jojoba oil is believed to strengthen fragile hair, stop split ends, and aid with hair loss. A Maui, Hawaii-based hairdresser by the name of @melaniekms said in a video that jojoba is “rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish hair,” including vitamins C, B, and E, copper, and zinc. She said, “Jojoba can also moisturize your scalp and treat dandruff.”

The Reality
According to a study reported in the June 2021 edition of Polymers, jojoba provides antioxidant advantages in addition to soothing and smoothing the scalp and is also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. These characteristics might “help improve overall scalp health, which can promote a healthy environment for the hair,” according to Garshick.

According to studies, jojoba is rich in omega fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and other nutrients that are considered to be “great for healthy hair and hair growth,” according to Garshick. Another possible benefit? “It can absorb easier into the scalp and hair follicle for maximum results,” she explains. “It would be great for fine to medium hair because it’s a lot lighter than other oils.”

According to the aforementioned study, Michelle Ornstein, an esthetician and the owner of Enessa Skincare in Los Angeles, who utilizes jojoba oil in her Moroccan Argan Silk leave-on hair treatment, adds that it could shield the hair from environmental harm.

Argan Oil, #4
According to Garshick, this essential oil is made from the fruit of the Moroccan-native Argania Spinosa tree.

The Claim According to Garshick, argan oil is traditionally used to treat wounds and improve the look of skin and hair. “Using the oil on your mid-lengths to ends can really aid in preventing breaking and frizz. It can assist with dandruff and, yes, hair development when applied to the scalp, according to a TikToker account called @skalliessentials.

The Reality

Due to its frequent use in well-known hair products, argan oil is most likely an ingredient you are already familiar with.

The idea that argan oil is healthy for your hair is partially true. For starters, it includes linoleic and oleic acid, two fatty acids that have been linked to a number of advantages, including enhancing the skin barrier, hydrating the scalp, and reducing inflammation, according to a study. Squalene, another component of argan oil, may aid in hydrating and protecting hair, says Garshick. The outcome? “Shinier and smoother hair,” she claims.

Using a hair dryer, curling iron, or straightener can all cause damage to your hair that argan oil may help to prevent. Researchers discovered that pretreating hair exposed to heat with argan oil helps decrease protein loss in a lab study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in October 2022. Argan oil seems to enhance hair strength, reducing hair thinning and shedding, just like protein strengthens muscles.

Ornstein continues, “[Argan oil] penetrates more readily into the scalp and hair follicles since it is a smaller molecule.

Additionally, according to Ornstein, oleic and linoleic acids can lessen inflammation and enable other substances to penetrate the hair more effectively. Linoleic acid, on the other hand, has benefits that improve skin barriers and can help hydrate dry hair.

Research backs up what she says: “Also, argan oil contains antioxidants like polyphenols and vitamin E, to help with free radical damage.” According to Ornstein, oxidative stress on the body leads to free radical damage. “Cellular disruption occurs when there is an imbalance of unstable oxygen atoms within the body, which is followed by inflammation, early aging, and illness.”

5. Oil of Lemongrass
According to Garshick, lemongrass oil is made from the plant’s leaves, which also include citral, minerals, and vitamins.

The Claim Lemongrass oil is fantastic for healthy hair, according to Tameron (@abbets). She said in her video that lemongrass can “often go in there and clean it up a little bit when you have a flaky scalp, which helps with your scalp health, which [in turn] helps with naturally healthy hair growth.”

The Reality

According to a study, lemongrass possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal effects. Although it doesn’t really make hair grow, Garshick explains that it can strengthen hairs to lessen the chance of hair loss. Modest research suggests that the oil’s antifungal characteristics may help it dramatically decrease dandruff when applied to the scalp.

6. Coconut Oil 

According to Garshick, coconut oil is a fatty oil that is generated from coconuts and has been used for its moisturizing effects in both skin and hair care products.

The Claim According to TikTokers like dermatologist Jenny Liu, MD, of East Brunswick, New Jersey, coconut oil “nourishes hair,” “helps to reduce breakage,” and “penetrates well into the hair shaft.”

The Reality

Lauric acid, which is included in coconut oil and may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, has been linked to healthy strands, according to studies. According to a 2003 research, coconut oil’s high concentration of fatty acids and low molecular weight enable it to permeate the hair shaft and reduce protein loss when used as a prewash therapy. According to Garshick, “coconut oil can help to nourish the scalp and the hair to improve overall hair health” because of its moisturizing effects. Although it has been demonstrated to strengthen hair and lessen breakage, there is insufficient proof to claim that it supports hair renewal, according to the expert.

7. Seven. Avocado Oil
Cooking and several hair and beauty products include avocado oil, which is made from the fruit’s pulp.

A claim
In a video that has received 1.6 million views on TikTok, user @eliyahmashiach2 claimed that avocado oil boosts hair growth. She also asserts that it soothes dry, flaky skin.

The Reality

According to Garshick, avocado oil is believed to be hydrating because it contains a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids, which may enter the hair follicle. Additionally, it serves to strengthen and nourish hair, supporting overall hair health. Additionally, due to its abundance of antioxidants, it can help shield the hair from UV rays and other environmental irritants. Although there aren’t many studies on avocado oil specifically, a 2015 review discovered that the minerals, especially those monounsaturated fatty acids, in avocado oil are useful for sealing hair cuticle cells and reducing breaking.

How to Use Essential Oils for Hair Growth: 3 Tips

Before you apply any oil to your hair, follow these instructions.

1. Carefully source your oils
Essential oils are not all created equal. Ornstein and Hershberger emphasize the value of obtaining superior, unprocessed oils. According to Hershberger, “I always advise using cold-pressed, non-GMO/organic oils.” When looking at natural options for hair care, research is crucial. Make sure you are aware of their source. According to Ornstein, essential oil loses a lot of its potency throughout the purification process. “Anything you would take out of the oil — if it’s for the purpose of deodorizing it or reducing sediment or color — is only reducing the benefits that the oil provides,” she claims.

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2. Use Along With a Carrier Oil 
Essential oils should be combined with carrier oils, which serve as the essential oils’ vehicle of delivery, according to Ornstein. Essential oils are too intense to apply straight to the skin without the use of carrier oils. You’ll “get the full benefits that plant oils have to offer without the risk of skin irritability that essential oils applied directly would have,” she explains. Olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil are a few examples of carrier oils.

3. Enable Oil Saturation
Hershberger points out that for oils to do their magic, they must be completely saturated. “Stimulate with a comb, leave on for about 30 to 40 minutes, and always shampoo out,” she advises.

When Should You Visit a Doctor if You’re Losing Hair?
While some essential oils may benefit scalp health, James advises persons who are experiencing severe hair loss to first speak with a doctor before attempting at-home treatments. He continues, “As hairdressers, we may propose shampoos, but we cannot offer treatments for medical ailments.

There are several methods for determining how severe your hair loss is. The pull test comes first. “In this test, you run your fingers through your hair while grabbing around 60 hairs between your fingers and pulling them slightly. It is typical to observe between 5 and 8 hairs break out of the 60 total hairs under this strain, he claims. Any more than that, even between 15 and 20, can indicate that you are going through significant hair loss.

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The comb test is another option. “For this test, you will need to bend over a light-colored cloth or sheet and comb your hair for one minute from the front to the back. Count the hairs that have fallen to the cloth after one minute, he instructs. Only around 10 hairs on the sheet should be visible, just like with the pull test.

According to experts and some studies, several essential oils can enhance hair health. However, if you are experiencing extreme hair loss, it may be due to a nutritional deficit or an underlying medical problem. In that scenario, consult your medical staff to identify the underlying issue.

Consider rosemary or pumpkin seed oil if you want to try the hair oiling craze; these two products have the most scientific backing of all the others. Additionally, be careful to source premium, unrefined oils.

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