Everyone wants healthy hair and a healthy scalp. Not only does it look attractive, but healthy hair is a tribute to healthy skin and a healthy body. To maintain the hair and scalp requires a proper diet, plenty of water, and the appropriate hair products.
Conventional hair products are still the most popular for consumers. They can be found in drug stores, department stores and on the Internet. However, especially in the 21st century, conventional hair products have been examined more closely with concerns for health. Some of the most popular and most advertised products have been found to actually contain toxic chemicals such as phthalate, paraben, benzophenone, siloxane, fragrance, triclosan, and more. More and more experts are advising consumers to choose phthalate-free, paraben-free and products made from plants, not petroleum. Using products on your hair that do not contain chemicals, such as essential oils, help to keep your scalp and hair free of rashes, infections and more severe conditions such as cancer. Alternatives to conventional hair care products are essential oils and carrier oils.1
What are Essential Oils and Carrier Oils?
The concentrated oils derived from plants and herbs are called essential oils. The oils are pure and not mixed with any other substance and are taken from things like flowers, bark, roots, leaves, and plant stems. The use of essential oils has been in existence for thousands of years and used by hundreds of cultures, including the Egyptians and the Greeks. Thousands of years ago they were used for medicinal purposes as well as for other uses, such as spiritual.
Today, they continue to benefit the mind, body, and soul and are taken advantage of by a variety of means. They can be used aromatically, typically with the use of an essential oil diffuser. A few drops of essential oil can be placed in the bath. However, one common way to benefit from an essential oil is to apply it into the skin, such as through the use of massage.2 When essential oils are used in massage they are mixed with natural oils, called carrier oils, used to dilute the essential oils due to their pureness and strength. Typical carrier oils include almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc.3
What Is Scalp Massage?
One way to benefit the hair and scalp is with an essential oil scalp massage. It is a natural method for hair growth that increases blood circulation to the scalp to stimulate the follicles. A qualified massage therapist is trained to give you a scalp massage. However, you can give yourself one or enlist the help of a friend or family member.
Giving Yourself a Scalp Massage
- Mix a few drops of essential oil, such as peppermint oil, with olive oil or another carrier oil.
- Massage every part of your scalp using your fingertips and move them in a circular motion. Do not use your fingernails. Move from one small section of your scalp to another small part, clockwise to counterclockwise. Spend two to three minutes on each section for a total of approximately 10 minutes. Feel free to leave the mixture on your hair. If you feel your hair is too greasy, you can wash it, but be sure only to use a natural shampoo that does not contain harmful chemicals.4
Tips to keep in mind when giving yourself a scalp massage is to always mix your essential oil with a carrier oil to dilute it and reduce the potency. Although the oils are pure and do not contain chemicals, they can still irritate the scalp if not diluted. Take care in knowing which essential oils should not be exposed to sunlight, oils like grapefruit that when exposed to sunlight can irritate your scalp. Keep essential oils away from the eyes. Their potency can sting and cause irritation. Always choose high-quality essential oils and carrier oils that are authentic and not mixed with other ingredients or chemicals.5
What Are Top Essential Oils for Maintaining Scalp Health?
There are many essential oils to choose from for scalp and hair health. The oils that have healing properties that are especially good for the scalp and hair are the best. What are the top essential oils for maintaining scalp and hair health?
Lavender Essential Oil
One of the most abundant, versatile, and popular essential oils is lavender essential oil distilled from the lavender plant. It has a floral scent that is instantly recognizable and calming. One of the hair conditions that lavender is useful for is alopecia, a condition that results in hair loss. A study showed that a blend of lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood was useful for easing the condition.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint. It contains soothing menthol that feels invigorating for the scalp. It also helps to create volume and increase hair follicles and therefore, is useful for stimulating the scalp. The essential oil is a natural treatment for dandruff as well as lice.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
This is an essential oil that is found from a small Australian tree. It is a highly popular essential oil seen used in spas and appearing in more and more conventional products with a focus on natural ingredients. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties so, like peppermint essential oil, it’s good for treating dandruff and lice. It’s also good for people suffering from an itchy scalp. In addition, it’s good for people suffering from alopecia. Tea tree oil is also popular as an essential oil blend with oils such as grapeseed or jojoba and mixed with carrier oils such as almond oil.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
This essential oil comes from the tall perennial lemongrass. Although not as popular as an essential oil such as lavender or tea tree, lemongrass essential oil has a lot of healing benefits. It has antifungal and antibacterial benefits that are ideal for the scalp and for fighting things like dandruff. When massaged into the scalp, mixed with a carrier oil, it can stimulate the hair follicles and contribute to new growth. Mix the essential oil with rosemary and lavender essential oil, along with a carrier oil, for added benefits for the hair. This is an essential oil that fights oily hair.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil comes from the cedar tree. By applying it to the scalp, mixed with a carrier oil, it can stimulate hair follicles and increase circulation to the scalp, stimulating growth.
Chamomile Essential Oil
This essential oil comes from the chamomile plant. You’ve probably heard of chamomile tea. Well, chamomile essential oil is a good healer for the skin and scalp, especially if your scalp is suffering from any bruising. Because of its healing properties, it’s also suitable for controlling dandruff.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary comes from the perennial rosemary plant. It’s not only nourishing for the hair – it can also reduce hair loss and encourage hair growth when massaged into the scalp with a carrier oil. It is an oil that also blends well with thyme, lavender, and cedarwood. Rosemary can help add moisture to dry hair, and it can help reduce split ends. Rosemary essential oil is also associated with the slowing of graying hair.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil comes from the eucalyptus tree. As with some of the other essential oils, it has soothing and healing properties and contains antifungal and antibacterial properties. When massaged into the scalp with a carrier oil it can stimulate the hair follicles, fight off infection and encourage growth.
Lemon Essential Oil
Sourced from the Citrus limon plant, lemon essential oil has a pleasant smell, but it also has antibacterial and detoxifying properties. Massaging it into the scalp with almond or jojoba carrier oil, for example, it can stimulate the follicles and encourage new growth.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
This is an essential oil that is derived from the sandalwood tree. Its healing properties are especially good for skin lesions on the scalp as well as conditions such as dandruff. Sandalwood essential oil is also good for treating dry hair and the dry ends of hair.6,7
Other Uses for Essential Oil for the Hair and Scalp
In addition to essential oil massage, you can add essential oils to your shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks. When doing so, it’s always advisable to choose only products that are as natural as possible or make your own using essential oils and carrier oils, including fruits or vegetables like avocado and strawberries.
Essential oils for maintaining the health of your hair and scalp are good for not only soothing your head and encouraging growth but also treating conditions such as dandruff or alopecia. Always work with high-quality essential oils that are authentic and pure and always mix them with a carrier oil before applying to the hair and scalp.
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