The use of essential oils covers medieval times up to date. These oils stood widely as fragrances and panaceas due to their healing properties and aromatherapy.
They have been further introduced to human health and other aspects such as; skin and hair care. The oils are the product obtained from plant materials like flowers, seeds, nuts, leaves, and fruits either by mechanical processes in case of commercial production or by maceration and double boiling method for individual use.
Why Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils are cost-effective, durable, and reliable botanical extracts used as natural ingredients in homemade hair care products and treatments renowned for promoting rapid hair growth and as tested alternatives to avoid many dreadful toxins undeniably present in manufactured chemical products.
They are characterized by the fragrance and strong aroma from their source and beneficial properties, some of which are remarkably notable for the care and treatments of hair and scalp.
The beneficial properties of essential oils make your hair lustrous, silky, and more vibrantly healthy. In addition, essential oils do not negatively affect hair or scalp when used in the right proportions and mixed with the right recipes.
To the hair, these oils function as;
- Antimicrobials: Disinfectant against microorganisms.
- Anti Inflammation: Protectant from infections.
- Antioxidants: Boosts hair growth and hair repair.
- Growth Stimulant: Sends signals to the hair follicles for new hair growth.
- Scalp Massage: Due to the aromatherapy property, they have a soothing effect on the scalp.
How to Use Essential Oils for Hair Growth
Due to the high concentration and potency of the properties obtained from their original source;
- It is vital to use essential oils in small quantities. You only need a few drops of essential oil.
- Remember to dilute with carrier oils like grapeseed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, castor oil, argan, avocado oil, and a variety of others.
- Dilute in the ratio of 1 to 5 regardless of the measuring means used, i.e., one measurement of essential oil to 5 of carrier oil.
- You can mix one or more types of essential oil into your shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products.
- They can be used with other herbs beneficial to the hair.
Carrier oils help drive essential oil further into the hair and scalp.
Take note that Carrier oils can also pass for essential oils. This is because they are categorized under carrier oils owing to their minimal nutrient concentration.
Can Essential Oils be Used Directly on the Hair?
An essential oil should not be ingested or applied directly to the hair. If used in excess or its concentrated form, it causes severe damage like hair thinning, scaly scalp, and hair shedding.
It also causes skin irritations like itchy red rash and allergic reactions like difficult breathing when applied directly on the scalp or skin. Therefore, it is important to run a patch test for allergic reactions and measure its concentration by applying a small quantity to a small area of your skin. Once it causes discomfort, it should be diluted before use or discarded If the negative reaction is intense.
Avoid using essential oils near sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, and mouth.
How to Extract Essential Oils
There are a whole lot of essential oils you can dive into; they’re distributed in abundance across the globe. However, the process of making essential oils is easy and more convenient to make at home. They are extracted by mechanical pressing, chemical extraction, and manually by cold pressing, and with simple maceration and double boiling methods.
The cold press method
It is done for fruits, seeds, and nuts with hand-operated machines, and it involves applying enough pressure to force out the oil without additional heat.
Involves the use of carrier oils as solvents for raw materials. Here, the material is left in other essential oils to get additional benefits from the other oils. Oils like almond, grapeseed, avocado, castor, sunflower, coconut, rose oil, and a variety of others can be used. This mixture is placed in a jar and under the sun for at least five days for maximum secretion, the oil is then strained with filter paper or cloth, so also oil residue from solid remains is pressed out and filtered to get a clear oil.
The double boiling (steaming)
This method is the advanced maceration procedure. A few days after the secretion process, the content in the container is placed in a bowl of water and put on low heat to avoid being overcooked, which can lead to the loss of nutrients in the oil. It is heated till it forms bubbles; it is then strained with filter papers or clothes, sieved, and transferred into a clean container with a lid. This method ensures the full secretion of the oils’ properties into the carrier oil.
Here, we’d focus on the oils whose sources are readily found in Nigeria.
Essential Oils for Hair Growth are Available in Nigeria
This oil is obtained from the rosemary leaves. It can be obtained by the double boiling method.
- It works to improve hair thickness and growth, preventing hair loss.
- It helps treat dandruff and itchy scalp.
- Rosemary essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties.
However, direct application of rosemary oil on the scalp is not advisable because it may cause itching and irritation in some people.
How to use
- Mix 3-5 drops with a carrier oil, e.g., coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil. Massage directly into your scalp and leave it in for 10 minutes before rinsing out. You can choose not to rinse out.
- Add a few drops to either store-bought or homemade shampoo, conditioner, creams, and any hair products.
It is known for its characteristic fragrance.
- Cures lice. It has a strong, distinct aroma that makes it impossible for lice to stay on the scalp.
- Eliminates dandruff after a few days with its level of potency.
- It Aids hair growth and prevents hair fall.
- Relieves itching and scalp irritation.
Lemongrass essential oil can be extracted by the double boiling method. The oil should be kept away from children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
How to use
- To cure lice, mix 3-4 drops with neem oil, massage onto the scalp, leave for 30 minutes, then rinse.
- Mix with a carrier oil or shampoo for dandruff and massage well into your scalp.
- To promote hair growth, mix five drops with almond or olive oil and leave in for an hour before rinsing out.
Thyme essential oil
Thyme is a well-known cooking spice. The doubling boiling method can be used to extract the oil.
- It is effective for the treatment of alopecia.
- Thyme oil is infused with anti-inflammatory properties, which soothes dry scalp.
- It promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss.
Thyme oil causes tingling effects on the area applied in some people.
How to use
Massage a small amount diluted with a carrier oil into the scalp daily for about 10 minutes. Leave on for an hour or overnight.
Aloe Vera Oil
Aloe vera oil is one of the most powerful essential oils for hair growth. This oil is obtained by blending aloe vera plants with essential oils like coconut, grapeseed oil, or any other oil available. Then, it is placed on low heat till the aloe vera residue coagulates.
Afterwards, it is filtered when cool and transferred into a bottle.
- Aloe vera is very potent as an antioxidant and antimicrobial agent.
- It induces massive hair growth, repairs bad edges, and strengthens the hair.
- Balances hair’s pH and adds shine to the hair.
- Maintains elasticity and flexibility of the hair.
- Rejuvenates dormant hair follicles and contributes to scalp health.
Unlike the essential oils for hair growth mentioned above, it does not require a carrier oil before usage and can also pass as a carrier oil. If used in large quantities, it has no side effects.
How to use
- It is used as a hot oil treatment or mixed with hair creams and other products for massive hair growth and edge repairs.
- It is advisable to add natural oils or glycerin, especially if you have dry, brittle, or damaged hair, because aloe Vera tends to dry the hair.
Cloves are a kitchen spice that is renowned for their countless beneficial properties for hair.
- Clove oil contains a high level of antioxidants that add to hair growth.
- It also contains anti-inflammatory agents which help hair thicken and add its sweet aroma when applied to hair.
- It treats dandruff and stops hair loss.
- Soothes and cleanses the scalp.
Clove oil can be extracted with the double boiling method. If in dry form, it has to be soaked with water and dried before infusing the oil for extraction.
How to use
- Massage clove oil diluted with coconut oil into your scalp and leave it on.
- You can use it as a hot oil treatment, left in the hair overnight, or rinse it out after some hours.
- It can be mixed into DIY hair masks to promote hair growth.
Oil can be extracted from all the parts of avocado, i.e., the seed, peel, and flesh. There are different methods of extracting oil from avocados. We have, sun-drying the flesh, cold pressing, and hot pressing.
- The oil moisturises the scalp deeply.
- It fights off dandruff and relieves itchy scalp.
- It possesses anti-inflammatory properties that treat scalp inflammation.
- Initiates new hair growth.
- Damaged hair repair.
How to use
- Massage 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil onto the scalp for an hour to moisturise.
- To cure dandruff, mix with 1 to 3 spoons of olive oil, and cover with a shower cap for 1-hour minimum to 2 hours maximum before rinsing out.
- The oil can be added to a DIY hair mask to revive damaged hair.
Can Two Different Oils be Applied to the Hair?
Essential oils usually possess similar properties and can be directed towards similar ailments, i.e., One can substitute for the other. Meanwhile, some essential oils have distinct properties that the one available in your home might not have, and you are left with no choice but to get or make them.
However, more than one essential oil for hair growth with similar or different benefits can be used in hair mixtures, hair products, hair masks, and recipes. They are added in minute quantities.
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Essential Oils Recipes for Hair Growth
You can find alternatives of plants and animals’ origin and manufactured products extracted from these origins, e.g., apple cider vinegar, with similar or more efficient advantages to the hair to combine as nourishing recipes for massive hair growth and optimum healthy hair.
Recipe for Shampoo
Clove and black soap shampoo
African black soap,
Melted shea butter
Direction: Soak cloves in hot water for 5 hours, allow to cool, and sieve out the cloves. There would be a change of color in the water; throw in a handful of black soap and allow it to dissolve, then add in your melted shea butter and proceed to use.
Benefits: Help cure and prevent dandruff from the scalp. It has a mild moisturizing effect that can last a day and soothes the scalp.
Recipe for Conditioner
Hibiscus and Rosemary oil conditioner
Apple Cider Vinegar
Rosemary Oil (10 drops)
Aloe vera oil
Direction: Mix all ingredients together into a container and shake well. Lather
onto your hair, let sit for 5 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.
Benefits: A great, reliable, inexpensive, and readily available conditioner recipe in place of a costly store-bought one as an alternative solution to nourish your hair naturally.
Recipe for Hair Mask
Avocado hair mask
Directions: Blend until the result is smooth and creamy, then sieve with a cloth sieve.
Benefits: This is a remedy for hair damage and loss; it naturally strengthens and retains hair moisture.
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Essential oil is a whole course of study on its own. The ones explained above are a few of the abundant varieties of our notable share in Nigeria.
- Lawal Jesutofunmi Mary is a Skin care expert, hair care consultant and content writer communicating helpful information on hair and skin care through writing. I am a bibliophile who loves to broaden her horizons through reading. Writing reviews of books on personal growth and self development gives me joy.