Oils Explained: Essential Oils and Carrier Oils For Hair
There are several oils that can be used in hair. By now we know that using mineral oil and petroleum oils and their derivatives is not necessarily the best thing for hair as they seal out moisture, thus contributing to hair dryness in the long run. If like me, you were a bit confused as to what the best oils are for hair and when you should use them, this article offers a look at what the major oils are and which ones are especially good for hair.
Essential Oils are also called EOs. Oil is considered “essential” in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant from which the oil is extracted. Essential oils are volatile, and are usually derived from the non-seed parts of the plants. Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation.
Essential oils are very useful in homemade hair care products and many of them are very good to treat scalp conditions such as tea tree oil for dandruff, rosemary to grow hair faster, lavender for dry scalp, and peppermint for itchy scalp and to stimulate hair growth. If you are a ‘do it yourselfer’ you can create some very beneficial hair care products for your hair or you can enhance your store bought products by adding a few drops to them for added benefits. Usually essential oils are used very sparingly because they are so concentrated.
List of Essential Oils and Their Benefits To Hair
Lavender Oil: Not only known for its gorgeous scent, it has proven hair benefits and is good for all hair types. Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of the lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. It is a good treatment for dandruff and itching, helpful in controlling hair breakage and improving hair growth. Most widely known to treat alopecia areata, a condition where you lose excessive hair, especially in patches. Daily massage with lavender oil has proven to help significant re-growth and gives you the results in a few months. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including jojoba, rosemary and tea tree oils.
Chamomile Oil: chamomile is known to soothe the nerves and it does the same for your hair and scalp, in fact it is the most soothing of the essential oils for the hair and scalp. Chamomile helps to retract skin cells that have been inflamed from chemical procedures, and harsh weather conditions and helps with itching scaly scalp and dandruff.
Peppermint Oil: helps to stimulate blood flow to the root of the hair. This is very important for hair as it helps the hair to receive proper nourishment. This in turn will lead to hair growth. That tingly feeling when peppermint oil is felt on the scalp is actually the stimulation of blood flow to hair.
Rosemary Oil – Is another oil which doubles as a fragrant oil and an essential oil. The oil is derived from the rosemary plant and is very useful for dandruff problems and flaky itchy scalp. Rosemary oil stimulates the hair follicles; as a result hair, can grow longer and stronger.
Tea Tree Oil: is a great moisturizer for the hair, it helps to keep the scalp free of bacteria and fungal problems. Tea tree oil unblocks the sebaceous glands and encourage the flow of the scalp’s own moisturizing oils while clearing away dead skin cells. Tea tree oil mixed with other essential oils is especially good as a scalp treatment for relieving dandruff.
Lemon Oil: is especially beneficial for oily hair, it is recommended that persons with dry hair not use lemon oil, it is a good treatment for dry scalp, dandruff, lice, and under-active sebaceous glands
Myrrh Oil: On the other hand myrrh is very good for dry hair. It helps with the treatment for dry scalp, dandruff problems and under-active sebaceous glands. Use instead of lemon oil if your hair is not oily.
There are several other essential oils that can be used for various hair and scalp conditions. The beauty about essential oils is that once you find one that is good for your hair you can stick with it and you will continue getting great results.
Fragrant Oils For Hair
The best fragrances to use are the natural ones (synthetic fragrances can damage hair) and that is why pure essential oils, diluted in carrier oils are great when you want to add a nice scent to your hair. Put a few drops on your comb or in your final hair rinse water or in your favorite carrier oil and your hair will smell great while being conditioned.
Fragrant Essential Oil Suggestions:
Scalp Massage: Put 3-5 drops on your fingertips and lightly massage into scalp.
Another type of oil for hair is called carrier oils. The oils are called carrier oils because they carry the essential oil onto the skin. Carrier oils are also known as base oil or vegetable oil they are usually derived from seeds or nuts. Carrier oils are best used as natural and unadulterated as possible. Cold pressing and maceration are the two main methods of producing carrier oils. Carrier oils are very important in hair care; they are great moisturizers, strengtheners and very nourishing for hair.
List of Carrier Oils and Their Benefits To Hair
Jojoba Oil – The debate is whether jojoba is the king of the carrier oils. Many scalp related problems are caused by a hardened build-up of sebum that clogs the hair follicles and may cause some types of scaling. If this hardened build-up is not removed, it can eventually obstruct the hair follicle’s ability to function properly, jojoba rapidly penetrates down to the scalp and hair shaft, and readily loosens and dissolves this hardened build-up. The scalp and hair follicles are left clean and free to continue their normal function. Jojoba is great for all hair types and has an ability to inhibit excess activity of the sebaceous glands making it the perfect choice for people with oily scalps that still need conditioning. Likewise it can be used for dry hair as it helps to moisturize your hair properly.
Olive Oil – Only olive oil that is labelled “extra virgin” guarantees that the oil has been cold pressed from freshly harvested olives and does not contain chemicals. Extra virgin olive oil that is green in color is of higher quality than golden-yellow oil. Olive oil helps in preventing as well as curing hair loss as it prevents the production of the hormone DTH which causes the hair follicle shaft to decrease. Regular application of olive oil to hair prevents the production of DTH hormones on the scalp, thus getting rid of the problem of hair loss. For relaxed/permed hair ladies excessive chemical use can cause hair damage, olive oil contains antioxidants that promotes a healthy hair and scalp. Olive oil strengthens and smooths hair cuticles.
Coconut Oil- Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats Vitamin-E and Vitamin K and minerals such as Iron. Coconut oil is considered one of the best natural nutrition for hair and is in contention with olive and jojoba oils as the king of the carrier oils. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair and it softens the hair and conditions the scalp.
Castor Oil – is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean. Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. It is rich in ricinoleic acid and can be used to treat skin conditions such as fungal infections. It nourishes hair and prevents the scalp from drying by retaining moisture. Castor oil added to hair care products helps to seal moisture, softens, and visibly thickens hair. Castor oil can also be used by itself on the hair to seal in moisture.
Vitamin E Oil - Proper circulation leads to thriving hair follicles which leads to hair growth. Vitamin E contains valuable antioxidants that help to keep the immune system up and improves circulation to all parts of the body, including the scalp. When added to homemade products, Vitamin E extends their shelf life. This oil rejuvenates and offers protection for the scalp and skin.
Avocado Oil- is extracted from the king of the ‘hair’ fruits avocado. It is full of vitamins that your hair needs like vitamins A, E, D and potassium. If you want a super deep conditioner treatment without having to buy a commercial preparation, you can add avocado oil to the other carrier oils and you will definitely feel and see the difference.
- Worwood, Valerie Ann: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 1991, New World Library
- Jones, Marlene, The Complete Guide to Creating Oils, Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels for Your Body and Mind: 101 Natural Body Care Recipes, 2011, Atlantic Publishing Company.