best essential oils for hair growth

The world seems to have gone mad searching for the best essential oils for hair growth. It is unclear whether they are interested in longer, fuller tresses, helping to heal alopecia or just anti-aging hair loss. In this article, we discuss five essential oils that are proven to promote hair growth. The results might surprise you.

Next, we’ll look at some of the best carrier oils for hair conditioning, and then we’ll do essential oils for hair growth recipes.

How Do Essential Oils Boost Hair Growth?

In truth, this isn’t fully understood; however, traditional medicine has spoken of how certain plants can cool the scalp and encourage circulation to support healthy hair growth. Rodent trials support this theory.

What Essential Oils are Good for Growing Hair

1. Rosemary Essential Oil

There are very few studies that prove essential oils can help your hair grow. In fact, you can count them on the one hand. That said, traditional medicines have been using plant extracts for beauty since the dawn. 

Often, when we say “there is no proof,” people construe that as meaning that something is not valid. What that means is simply what we have said, that something has not been proven. Without being compassionate to people who are distressed about losing their hair, scientists recognize the overall benefits of finding extracts that can cure cancer far outweigh things that are essentially cosmetic. For that reason, there is little funding available for these sorts of studies. 

However, in 1998, a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was performed in a Scottish Dermatology outpatient ward. It contained 86 patients who were confirmed as having alopecia areata. The trial lasted 7 months, and patients were assessed at  3 and 7 months.

The patients were split into two groups. One group was to massage their scalps daily with a blend of grapeseed and jojoba carrier oils. The other had essential oils added to their carriers. These were rosemary, thyme, cedarwood, and lavender

At the end of the trial, both groups showed improvement. However, the group that had used the essential oils was significantly better. 

The results were assessed using photographs. In the control group, using the carriers, 6 people’s hair had started to grow back (that’s 15%). In the essential oil group, 19 people saw dramatic differences. That was 44% of the essential oils group.


Rosemary essential oil can be difficult to use if you have blood pressure issues, epilepsy, or suffer from any issues with psychosis, schizophrenia, or any delusory conditions. We would need to take care using this oil. However, it has been a traditional choice for improving hair for centuries. Many people boil the herb and then use it as a final rinse after washing their hair to give it extra shine. This is particularly beautiful if you have dark hair because it makes it glossy. This will be an excellent alternative if you have any of these conditions, as you would not have prolonged exposure to the botanical.

Also Read: How to Dilute Rosemary Essential Oil for Hair

2. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang ylang is not on the list of the best essential oils for hair growth and thickness because of any particular scientific evidence of its capabilities. Instead, we have included it because of its tremendous effects on stress and hormones and because it has always been used in traditional Madagascan medicine for hair and beauty. Funnily enough, we wrote an older post about ylang ylang and its place as one of the best essential oils for hair growth and beauty so that we won’t labor that point too much here. Instead, we’ll look at some of the reasons why it might be so successful.

Also Read: Ylang Ylang Essential Oil for Hair: Nature’s Conditioner


The Scottish trial, while encouraging, is also frustrating because it missed several opportunities. First, it might have been interesting to know the best-performing essential oil. It would also have been helpful if they had not chosen rapeseed and jojoba, which are already used as hair growth agents as a control. Lastly, it would be interesting to know what massage alone could do. 

In 2016, a team in Japan came to our rescue. Their trial into alopecia assessed nine men over 24 weeks. They massaged their heads for 4 minutes daily with a mechanical massage gadget. No oils, yet the men’s hair was significantly improved simply by stressing the hair follicles. 

So that helps us, but it also hinders it, doesn’t it? Because now we have doubts about the carrier oils, don’t they? And of course, we should not discount the placebo effect either 


When estrogen and progesterone drop, that also means the male hormone androgen drop. This is often a connecting factor in hair loss. Stress is also a factor. When the body experiences stress, the sympathetic nervous system reassigns resources, so as much energy as possible goes into how we fight stress. (It turns it into glycogen to fuel the muscles so we can jump up trees to get away from saber-tooth tigers.) It takes energy away from other places. The skin looks dull and lifeless, and the hair goes into a resting stage, which means it no longer grows and can start to fall out. 

Massaging the scalp with ylang-ylang helps to normalize hormone levels and reduces stress. So if we ask what essential oils are good for hair growth, there is an argument that says any oil that brings your stress levels down will probably be helpful. Some of the other best essential oils for hair loss through stress and hormonal balance would be rose, geranium, and clary sage

3. Cedarwood Essential Oil

If we had to put money on which was the most active ingredient in the Scottish trial, we would say cedarwood. This is a fantastic ingredient for adding to beard oils because it softens the hair and makes it feel a great texture. 

Cedarwoods have always played a big part in traditional treatments for hair growth. You can find out more about that in one of our older posts about cedarwood being one of the best essential oils for hair growth and luscious locks.

Also Read: Cedarwood Essential Oil For Hair

4. Spikenard Essential Oil 

Spikenard is a tiny little pink flower that grows on the edge of the mountains in Nepal. It is an ancient traditional medicine for alopecia, and we would suggest this is one of the best essential oils for black hair growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it may be accurate. However, spikenard is also a vitally important medicine for anxiety, shock, and insomnia, so it is tremendously well sought after and is highly over-harvested. 

Nepal is impoverished; about a quarter of the population collects medicinal plants to supplement their income. To do this, they spend many months away from home, and children are placed in orphanages. Spikenard is most assuredly one of the best essential oils for hair growth but comes with very high ecological and human costs. 

This would be an excellent choice to add to your massage oil if you suffer from stress-induced alopecia. It would not be appropriate to use for everyday hair conditioning.  

5. Saw Palmetto Essential Oil

Now, saw palmetto does have evidence supporting it, but this time the research was done on the botanical but not precisely the essential oil. In 2020 an American team assessed the evidence of all the existing trials that had been done using saw palmetto for alopecia. The results were impressive, but again we must urge caution because the trial does not say whether the fruits were eaten or if it was an extract applied topically. 

However, the results are astonishing, and the saw palmetto certainly warrants a place on the list of the best essential oils for hair growth. 

60% of people who had used it saw an overall improvement in their hair quality. There was a 27% improvement in hair count, and an 83.3% increased density of the hairs. Saw palmetto stabilized the disease progression in 52% of the cases. 

What about Lavender Essential Oil for Hair Growth?

The jury is out on this one. There may be pros and cons. Will it reduce stress and cool the scalp? Yes, it will. Will it nourish the scalp? Nope. The problem with using too much lavender is that it will dry the skin out.

On the one hand, we would say use lavender for itchy skin, but theoretically, it is likely to cause dry, flaky skin at least over time. 

Undoubtedly, massage the scalp on odd occasions with lavender, especially if you have a headache or a migraine, but we would not suggest it as one of the best essential oils for hair growth, no.

Extra Support for The Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth

Of course, one of the significant disadvantages of using these best essential oils for hair growth is the sheer inconvenience of it. We can certainly add them to shampoos and conditioners, but for the most part, that will be useless. It takes 19 minutes for an essential oil to absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. Hair is dead anyway, so you waste time and money if you use a leave-on product. 

Theoretically, oils absorb through the skin and migrate to the needed parts. There could be an argument that implementing the best essential oils for hair growth into other treatments might help, but I think any effects would likely be negligible.

How to Mix Essential Oils for Hair Growth

So, massage seems the best way to apply them. We know the oils can help. We know massage helps, so it makes sense to try to improve on the Scottish results using Grapeseed and Jojoba.

Research suggests they made good choices. Experiments have shown that jojoba penetrates the hair follicle and pools inside it. This would be useful, and grapeseed is also reputed to have sound effects on hair growth.

Also Read: Does Tea Tree Oil Help With Dandruff?

Use Castor and Argan Oils as Carriers for the Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth

Ayurvedic medicine believes hair loss may come from excess heat in the hair follicles, from stress, and that castor oil cools that. It thickens and darkens the hair, and anecdotal evidence from users reports 3-5x the amount of hair growth when they have used it. 

Another great carrier for your best essential oils for hair growth is probably argan oil. Long used by the Berber women of Morocco, who, despite the searing heat, have some of the most beautiful skin and hair in the world.

Also Read: Best Carrier Oils For Hair Loss And Regrowth

DIY Essential Oil Blend For Hair Growth

5 best essential oils for hair growth

Method of Use: Massage into the scalp daily. Draw the oils down the hair shaft to gain beautifully conditioned locks.

Leave on for 30 minutes before shampooing out. This is a lot of oil. You may need to shampoo twice. 

Safety: Not suitable for use during pregnancy (Ylang Ylang).

Precautions and Complications of Essential Oils for Hair Growth

Always dilute your essential oils into some kind of carrier before using them. This might be a conditioner or carrier oil. 

If you happen to get oil in your eyes, do not try to wash it out immediately since oil and water do not mix. All that will happen is you will swish it around the eyes. 

Instead, add more carrier oil, or rinse with milk before rinsing with water. 

We do not recommend ingesting essential oils. 

How to Use Essential Oils Safely in Your Hair

There is one major decision to be made when you use essential oils for hair growth. That is, “How long am I going to leave the oils on for?” Indeed, adding essential oils to conditioners can be helpful, but if we wash them off immediately, we affect their efficiency and safety.

Put more simply, if you wash the oils off quickly, there aren’t many safety issues.

However, essential oils take nineteen minutes to absorb through the skin and bloodstream. So, if we are leaving the oils on longer, we need to think about the many different things they can do. Essential oils do not have side effects, but they do have many main effects. Rosemary, for example, may be problematic for people with epilepsy or high blood pressure or if they suffer from delusory conditions such as psychosis or schizophrenia.

Always check the individual safety notes on each oil.

We would not advise leaving any essential oils on the hair during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Also Read: Best Carrier Oils for Beard


It’s tough to prove the best essential oils for hair growth, but if we trust traditional wisdom, we can have sound effects. Consider adding zinc supplements to your diet, which are necessary for healthy skin and hair. Regularly stimulate your scalp with massage for less stress, potentially lower blood pressure, fewer headaches, and some extraordinarily thick and healthy hair.

Also Read: Is Tea Tree Oil Good For Hair?

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