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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Essential Oils for Hair:
Oils to Stimulate Growth

Essential oils hold the promise for a great many people of stimulating the growth of bountiful healthy hair. Whether one is regrowing hair after hair loss, preventing the loss of hair, or just looking to make their hair more beautiful and lustrous than ever, essential oils and the carrier oils that comprise therapeutic aromatherapy formulas are very much worth investigating.

To use essential oils to stimulate hair growth, try one of the following:

• Use an oil treatment blend:
Blend essential oils with one or more carrier oils and massage this into the scalp 3-7 times per week. We have a scalp stimulating blend already formulated called Healthy Hair on our essential oil blends page.

• Add essential oils to shampoo or conditioner: Many people add a little essential oil to their current hair care products. The upside is that this is very easy to do, the downside is that little of the oil is absorbed by the scalp.

ANY custom blend should contain no more than 5%, preferably 3%, concentration of essential oils!

We'll start with two basic recipes for oil treatments, then describe the reasons why each oil was selected. This will help you if you want to customize a recipe further.

Each of these recipes uses the same therapeutic and nutritive Base oils, to which the essential oils are added.
To make the base formula, mix equal parts of virgin Coconut oil (gently warm to a liquid state if necessary), Rosehip Seed Oil, and Evening Primrose oils. If making 4 ounces of base, just fill your bottle approximately 1/3rd of the way with each of these oils, then add your essential oils as described below. All these formulas can be massaged into the scalp 3-7 times a week. It can be done before bed with these left in (put a towel on your pillow!) or kept under a warm moist towel for up to an hour then washed out - the towel isn't necessary, it just helps with absorption:

Mature Women's Healthy Hair Stimulating Formula
In each 1 ounce of carrier oil base, add:
• 8 Drops of Myrtle
• 8 Drops Lavender
• 8 Drops of Rosemary Verbenone
• 16 Drops Carrot Root

Men's Healthy Hair Stimulating Formula
In each 1 ounce of carrier oil base, add:
• 8 Drops of Helichrysum
• 8 Drops Sage
• 8 Drops of Rosemary Verbenone
• 16 Drops Carrot Root or Sea Buckthorn

To make a formula more specific to your hair and scalp condition, keep reading to find out more about each essential oil and how they may work for you...

While the factors affecting one's personal hair growth are very complex, including such things as nutrition, age, hormone balance and lifestyle factors, a customized aromatherapy formula using authentic pure essential oils and properly made base oils can have a dramatic affect. Here's a look at how you can create and use your own recipe made specifically for your scalp and hair type.

Choosing Between Stimulating, Nutritive, Balancing and Immune Suppportive Oils

The oils used for hair growth are also those used for skin care in general -- the health of the follicles is of course closely related to the health of the scalp and skin. Essential oils for your most effective, custom recipe can be selected from one of four general categories. These are: stimulating (increasing cellular metabolism and/or new cell generation), nutritive (offering vitamins, other co-factors and essential fats necessary for healthy follicle function), balancing (returns over-oily or over-dry skin to a balanced state, balances over- or under-active hormones at a cellular level, and/or reduces excess inflammation from any number or sources), and immune-supportive (heal scalp/skin infections that may inhibit optimal hair growth).

Creating Your Best Personal Formula: Mixing Essential Oils and Base Oils

The essential oils can be thought of as the 'active ingredients' in your formula: simply choose one or more of these to include, and add these in small amounts to your base formulation. The 'base' of any therapeutic aromatherapy formula is made of carrier oils similar to Olive oil. The base oils for hair growth stimulation will be selected from base oils known to have therapeutic effects for the skin and scalp. The essential oils will be added in what seems to be very, very small amounts, but this is one of the great things about therapeutic aromatherapy: it actually works best with the smallest portions of essential oils. The essential oils are very, very potent plant medicine -- and it's easy to use too much of a good thing. The essential oils work in a very different means than most conventional medicines in that they signal cell activity, rather than force it to change. By using them, you're like a conductor conducting an orchestra of biology -- just a flick of your wand is all it takes to make dramatic changes in scalp and follicle activity.

Finding The Right Oils For You Within Each Category

We'll start with the stimulating essential oils. These essential oils are used in skin and hair care to stimulate cellular metabolism (increasing the oxygen and nutrients used by the cell) or stimulate the growth of new cells. Specifically for hair growth, we'd like to stimulate the activity of the hair follicles and grow more hair, thicker and faster. Two essential oils are used most often for this: Rosemary and Sage. Both of these herbs have a long history in hair care, with teas made from their leaves being used as a stimulating hair rinse for hundreds of years. Of all the Rosemary essential oil varieties available, you should find the specialty-oil for skin and hair: Rosemary c.t. verbenone. The verbenone 'chemotype' has unique molecules in it that tells the scalp cells to speed up their activity and even produce new cells. Rosemary verbenone is the safest and most commonly-used of the stimulating oils (though it should be avoided by expectant mothers, children, and those with nervous system conditions -- check with your doctor if you're unsure about the safety of essential oils for yourself just in case).

The essential oil distilled from common Sage (found as Salvia officinalis, or Dalmation Sage) is considered the most regenerative and stimulating of all the oils used in skin and hair care. It also carries the strongest warnings--while the opinions of professional aromatherapists vary, it's generally agreed that this oil should also not be used when pregnant, or those with any other contra-indicated condition (Lavender, while listed as a balancing oil, is also regenerative and is the safest alternative). At the same time, respected therapists consider it safe when used in correct therapeutic concentrations, which are usually between one-quarter and one-half of one percent of your total blend (this is between one-part per 400 and one-part per 200, or 2 to 4 drops per ounce of base oil).

Nutritive Essential Oils


The oils that provide vitamins and growth co-factors combine perfectly with the stimulating oils. It is important if using oils to stimulate cell-metabolism to offer these same cells the nutrients they need for increasing growth (you might also look into what sorts of foods and nutritional supplements may also be effective for hair growth -- minerals like sulfur and silica, and B-vitamins are examples). The nutritive oils also supply antioxidants to hair follicles, important because some scientists believe it is oxidative damage to the follicle mitochondria (the cell's energy producer) that is the root cause of slowed hair growth. The nutritive essential oils are Sea Buckthorn and Carrot Root -- these are technically 'supercritical' extracts (rather than steam distilled essential oils), made by a low-temperature process that preserves the nutritive qualities. These oils are very safe and can be used at concentrations between one-half and two percent of the total formula.

Balancing Essential Oils

Balancing oils should make up a part of everyone's blend. Even if you just add a little bit of Lavender, you're hair will be happy! The balancing oils bring about a balance of the scalp's natural oil production, and/or cool the scalp and reduce inflammation (inflammation at the cellular level is directly implicated in hair loss). Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is the premier balancing oil for skin, scalp and hair care, and has many helpful properties -- it is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and regenerative all at the same time. If needed to balance scalp oils, Green Myrtle is an excellent choice, also with antibacterial and regenerative properties. Myrtle can reduce excessive oil production (which has been implicated in hair loss and slow hair growth) and can help a flaky, itchy scalp. For women, Clary Sage can be especially balancing, particularly where regular hormone production is the source of hair loss or slow hair growth. Proper estrogen metabolism on the cellular level is critical for beautiful hair, and older women in particular may really benefit from one-half of one percent Clary Sage included in their personal recipes.

Oils Specific to Alopecia Areata


For some folks, slow hair growth is due to mild infections of the scalp and follicles. Others, in the case of Alopecia Areata, may even have subtle immune disorders that lead to patchy hair loss. If the scalp is over-oily and irritated, with general thinning or slow hair growth, a gentle antiseptic oil should be included in your formula. This may be as simple as a small amount of Tea Tree, Myrtle or Cedar. Alopecia Areata has been treated specifically with a combination of Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender and Cedar (wood) essential oils in Jojoba and Grapeseed carriers. Each essential oil was effective at approximately one-quarter of one percent concentration.

Choosing Your Carrier Oils

Once the essential oils are selected, they are mixed into a base of carrier oils. The carrier oils are so-called as they help the scalp properly absorb the essential oils. They also provide therapeutic and nutritive properties themselves, so be sure to choose them carefully. Jojoba oil is the all-star of hair care, and has long been used for enhancing luster and softness. Jojoba will work for any skin/scalp type by itself as the base if one is on a limited budget.

For more therapeutic activity, Evening Primrose oil is an excellent choice. It has an exceptionally high percentage of essential fatty acids, which both reduce cellular inflammation and provide nutrients for hair growth. It seems to sooth all kinds of irritated scalp conditions, and is recommended in any formula treating hair loss -- can be used at 25-100% of the base.

Rosehip seed is highly regenerative, shown to help reduce the appearance of aging.
Rosehip should have a profound impact where hair growth is slow or hair is being lost, as similar pharmaceutical preparations have had significant effects -- also highly recommended in cases of hair loss, can be used at up to 50% of the base. Coconut is great to blend with either or both of these oils, as it is cooling, nutritive and light textured. You can use fractionated coconut (easily poured at room temperature) or just warm virgin coconut until it's pourable and mix with other carriers. Sesame is another wonderful choice for those with 'hot heads' -- really where stress may be leading to hair loss or limited growth.

Putting It All Together for Your Best Formula

Blending and using your own home-made recipe to stimulate growing beautiful hair is really very easy
(and yet remarkably therapeutic!)...Start with an empty bottle of between 1 and 8 ounces. Calculate the amount of each essential oil you'd like to use, remembering that the average amount is 1% of each essential oil. This works out to eight drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier, so if you're making a four-ounce bottle, and want to add one-percent Lavender, add 4x8, or 32 drops of Lavender to the bottle. Stimulating oils should be used at 1/2% or less, meaning 4 drops of essential oil per ounce, and nutritive oils can be used at up to 2%.

When done adding the essential oils, fill the bottle the rest of the way with your chosen carrier(s) -- the carrier measurement needn't be as precise. If you're making a 50/50 base of Rosehip and Sesame, for example, filling the bottle close to halfway with each is just fine. Once you've inverted or lightly shaken the mixture, it's ready to use: you can apply about an eye-dropper full to your scalp, and massage-in. You can do this before going to bed (though cover your bedding to prevent stains from the oils) or wrap your head in a moist towel for a while to maximize absorption. A light scalp massage with the oils will also increase circulation and absorption by the hair roots, perhaps increasing the efficacy of your blend even further.

This concludes a basic review of the therapeutic use of the best essential oils for hair growth, and how to prepare and use your own personal formula. It's so easy to make your own blend, and finally gives you control over the particular active ingredients in your hair growth products -- plus you can make them using completely natural, and even all-organic essential oils and carrier oils. With regular and consistent use, a well balanced, personal recipe should help the health and vibrancy of your hair in just a short time -- and you'll smell wonderful while doing it, too!






*The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Essential oils discussed in this articles which may encourage healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss:

Carrot Root
• High in carotenes, can stimulate follicle metabolism and hair growth.
Carrot Seed
• Aids in revitalizing tired skin and scalp on a cellular level. Supports detoxification.
Cedarwood
• Gentle antiseptic cleanser, stimulating to scalp.
Chamomile
• Cooling anti-inflammate, helpful for hair loss where stress and over-worry is a factor.
Clary Sage
• Balancing of cellular estrogen - excellent for women experiencing thinning hair.
Cypress
• Supports micro-circulation to the hair follicles.
Helichrysum
• Highly regenerative - used in aroma-medicine for scar healing. Male pattern baldness has been associated with scar formation in the scalp.
Lavender
• Cooling, stress relieving, antiseptic and regenerative. Useful for all types of hair.
Myrtle
• Balancing of over-oily conditions, antiseptic, gently stimulating and regenerative.
Rosemary Verbenone
• Stimulating to scalp and hair, verbenone chemotype has ketones specific to regeneration of dermis & follicles.
Sage
• Can be very stimulating of hair growth. Highly regarded scalp and hair tonic.
Sea Buckthorn
• Suggested for virtually any blend for the skin, provides a wealth of supportive nutrients for cellular metabolism.
Ylang Ylang
• May help grow darker, thicker hair.

Carrier oils having therapeutic benefits for scalp and hair:

Coconut
• Cooling and nutritive, used in Ayurvedic medicine for hair growth.
Evening Primrose
• Full of important anti-inflammate and nutritive essential fats. Supports healing for a wide variety of scalp conditions.
Grapeseed
• Light-textured, nutritive carrier. Excellent for over-oily conditions.
Hemp
• Provides crucial essential fats rarely found in plant oils. Anti-inflammatory and very nutritive.
Jojoba
• Deeply hydrating for dry hair and scalp. Long history of use for blusterous hair.
Rosehip Seed
• Long studied for skin regeneration, may promote renewed growth and youthful follicle activity.
Sesame
• Cooling and nutritive, used in Ayurvedic medicine for hair growth. Strong antioxidant support.

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