With essential oils at your disposal, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Certain studies show that essential oils can help you stop hair loss and grow and thicken your hair naturally. In this article, you’ll discover 10 of the most effective essential oils for hair loss and how to use them.
- 1 Hair Loss: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
- 2 What Can You Do About Hair Loss?
- 3 Top Essential Oils for Hair Loss and Hair Thinning
- 4 Simple Hair Loss Recipes with Essential Oils
Hair Loss: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Hair loss is common in men, women, and children. This is considered normal, unless you’re losing large amounts of hair every day. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a person will normally lose around 50 to 100 hairs daily.
Hair loss, or alopecia in medical terminology, happens when your hair stops growing. This leads to thinning of hair on your scalp. Depending on the cause, this condition could be temporary or permanent.
The first sign of hair loss in women is the gradual thinning of hair from the crown of their heads. In men, it starts in the hairline. The hair around their hairline slowly forms a distinctive “M” shape, which is called a receding hairline.
Common causes of hair loss include:
- It’s hereditary.
- Taking certain drugs, such as blood thinners, antibiotics, and birth control pills, could interfere with normal hair growth.
- Your immune system overreacts and attacks your hair follicles, which are found at the base of the hair and are responsible for hair production.
- Certain hairstyles, such as braids and buns, could contribute to hair loss.
- You have certain bad habits, such as pulling your hair.
- Using harsh hair care products containing triethanolamine (TEA) and diethanolamine (DEA), which could irritate the scalp and damage your hair’s keratin. (Keratin provides a protective layer around your hair shaft).
Hair loss is not the same as hair shedding. If you lose an excessive amount of hair every day—more than 150 hairs every day—you may be suffering from hair shedding or telogen effluvium.
Hair shedding could be caused by any of the following:
- Significant weight loss (20 lbs. or more)
- Overwhelming stress (homelessness, coping with divorce, unemployment, etc.)
- Child birth
- High fever or high temperature
- Effect of going off birth control pills
- Recovering from an illness with high fever
What Can You Do About Hair Loss?
The treatment for hair loss will depend on the cause. If you have an underlying illness, you should seek medical care to treat that illness. The sooner you seek the help of a doctor, specifically a dermatologist, the better your chances of stopping hair loss.
Treatments for hair loss include oral and topical medications (finasteride and minoxidil), hair transplant surgery, scalp reduction, and low-level laser therapy. Your doctor may try a combination of approaches to get the most favorable results.
Changing your lifestyle and diet, managing your stress properly, working out, and getting rid of bad hair habits may also help. You can also use essential oils to grow new hair and support hair and scalp health.
A study shows that massaging a mixture of essential oils (rosemary, cedarwood, thyme, and lavender)—which was diluted in jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils—into the scalp every day for several months could help treat hair loss affecting the scalp. 
However, treatments may not always work. There are certain diseases, such as inflammatory or autoimmune diseases, which may result in scarring and destruction of the hair follicles. This could lead to permanent hair loss at the scarred areas. Fortunately, non-scarring hair loss is more common than scarring hair loss. 
Now, let’s talk about the different essential oils that you could use to stop hair loss and promote hair growth.
Top Essential Oils for Hair Loss and Hair Thinning
Lavender Essential Oil
In aromatherapy, lavender essential oil is best known for its ability to promote sleep and relaxation. But, you could also use it to soothe and heal dry skin and hair.
How does lavender essential oil help stop or reverse hair loss?
It’s a stress-buster.
Stress can cause hair loss through various ways: (1) making hair follicles enter a resting phase (telogen effluvium); (2) your natural defenses, a.k.a. your immune system, attack your hair follicles (alopecia areata); and (3) triggering a strong desire to pull out each strand of hair (trichotillomania).
There are many things you can do to manage stress properly, which might help grow your hair back. Whenever you’re under a lot of emotional stress or anxiety, use lavender essential oil to keep it under control.
The effectiveness of lavender essential oil in treating anxiety or depression is almost comparable to mainstream anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax, Prozac, and Valium. 
It gets rid of dandruff.
Lavender essential oil has a strong antifungal activity. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, it’s effective against strains of fungi that are usually responsible for common nail and skin infections, known as dermatophytes.  Dermatophytes cause tinea capitis, which is a scalp infection that cause dandruff and patchy hair loss.
It may help you grow new hair.
According to a recent animal study published in the Toxicological Research, topical application of lavender essential oil resulted in significant increase number of hair follicles in female mice. 
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil has a reputation for promoting hair growth. According to a study, it might even be as effective as minoxidil in terms of treating male and female pattern baldness. The only advantage of rosemary essential oil over minoxidil is it doesn’t make the scalp itchy. 
Rosemary essential oil is rich in antioxidants, such as carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, camphor, ethanolic acid, and 1,8-cineole, which may help with hair maintenance and growth.
When you apply it on your scalp consistently, it can treat inflamed hair follicles and scalp, kill germs (bacteria), increase blood flow, and lower the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone.
There’s still no conclusive studies that prove rosemary essential oil can prevent or reverse hair loss. However, according to a study on mice, researchers hypothesized that rosemary essential oil may treat male pattern baldness by preventing dihydrotesterone from attaching to certain cell receptors, which will enable it to attack your hair follicles. 
Although testosterone is usually blamed for male pattern baldness, experts are now suggesting that dihydrotesterone (DHT) plays a bigger role in the balding process. DHT is a male sex hormone and the more active form of testosterone.
When you have too much DHT—even if you have low levels of testosterone—your hair could become thinner and shorter. That’s because it attacks your hair follicles and shorten the hair growth cycle. Sometimes, the growth cycle is too brief that the hair doesn’t poke out through the skin on the head.
Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil is another great essential oil for hair loss. It becomes even more effective if you use it together with other essential oils for hair loss, such as rosemary, cedarwood, and lavender essential oils. 
This essential oil contains various properties that treat the underlying cause of hair loss and encourage new hair to grow:
It’s an anti-inflammatory.
Carvacrol and thymol are two of thyme essential oil’s major compounds that has anti-inflammatory effects.  Inflammation is often the reason men lose hair.
There are different conditions that may cause inflammation:
- For instance, the dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a product of testosterone metabolism, prevents nutrients from reaching your hair follicles. This shrinks hair follicles and weakens hair shafts, slowly causing thinning, breakage, and slow growth of new hairs.
- Hair and scalp conditions that are associated with inflammation could also cause hair thinning and hair loss. One example is cicatricial alopecia, which is a type of scarring hair loss. Another example is scalp folliculitis (refers to inflamed hair follicles). It’s non-infectious and usually caused by bacteria, yeasts, and mites.
It balances your hormones.
Thyme essential oil supports healthy and balanced progesterone levels, according to a research discussed in the Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine.  Having too much estrogen and too few progesterone could cause hair loss.
It gets rid of bacteria and fungi that cause dandruff and infection.
When used with cinnamon leaf essential oil, thyme essential oil can treat and control dandruff.  Dandruff, also called seborrheic dermatitis, is a harmless but annoying skin condition. The excessive scratching and rubbing eventually lead to hair loss.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil or cedar oil has numerous medicinal compounds that support hair and skin health. It’s known for promoting clear and healthy skin, but it has also been used in hair preparations for different types of hair and scalp problems.
It helps with hair thinning and hair loss through various ways:
It helps you beat stress and anxiety.
Cedarwood essential oil has a warm, balsamic, and woody aroma that relaxes your mind and body. When you inhale this essential oil, it may stimulate the body to convert serotonin into melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone. People who are deprived of sleep become irritable and stress.
Study shows that stress can cause nutritional imbalance by affecting the uptake of amino acids and trace elements that are essential for hair growth. 
In women, stress can increase the production of prolactin, which is a hormone that plays a role in breast milk production, affects testosterone uptake and metabolism. If you’re susceptible to hair loss, you’re in trouble.
It may help treat skin conditions affecting the scalp and head hair.
For instance, cedarwood essential oil has been used for relieving symptoms of seborrheic eczema and other forms of eczema.  Seborrheic eczema is a chronic form of eczema  that causes greasy and scaly patches of inflamed skin with stubborn dandruff.
If untreated, this condition could make it difficult for new hairs to grow because of the inflamed environment. In addition, people tend to scratch and pick on the red, itchy rash on their scalp, which makes hair loss worse.
It improves blood flow to the scalp.
Blood circulation is believed to be important for hair growth and health. When blood flow to the scalp is impaired, your hair follicles don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients. This causes your hair to become brittle, weak, and prone to breakage.
If you massage cedarwood essential oil on your scalp every day, it could help improve the flow of blood to the scalp. The massaging action and beneficial compounds in cedarwood essential oil could also stimulate your hair follicles and the growth of new hair. 
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil doesn’t just freshen bad breath, but it can also support hair and skin health in a variety of ways. A study in mice even suggests that using 3% peppermint essential oil for four weeks could cause significant hair growth effects without toxic effects. 
Here’s how peppermint essential oil may possibly help prevent or treat hair loss:
It gets rid of harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Aside from its cooling effect, peppermint essential oil is also an antiviral, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antifungal.  That’s why it’s a common ingredient in many shampoos for frizzy hair, hair loss, dandruff, and lice.
To use this for hair loss, simply add a few drops to your sodium lauryl sulfate-free shampoo. (Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS is a common emulsifier and foaming agent in personal care products and industrial cleaners.)
A good rule of thumb is to add around 20 drops of peppermint essential oil per 4 ounces of shampoo. Gently shake or stir to mix.
It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Peppermint essential oil is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, such as iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, copper, potassium, folate, and magnesium.  Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and vitamin A are particularly beneficial for the hair and skin.
It has a cooling and soothing effect.
Because it contains menthol, peppermint essential oil can decrease itching. The exact mechanism of action of menthol’s cooling effect is still unknown.
According to Dr. Neal Schultz, when menthol is put on your skin, it sends a “cooling signal” to your brain. This signal arrives faster than the “itch signal,” and since your brain can only read one signal at a time, your skin cools before it becomes itchy.
When your scalp is itchy, your first instinct would be to scratch. Doing this could cause hair thinning, slow hair growth, and breakage-prone hair. So, the next time your scalp feels itchy, apply diluted peppermint essential oil.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil has a refreshing, earthy, citrusy, and strong aroma that’s not painful to the nose. In aromatherapy, people use it to boost one’s mood, relieve stress, sleep better, and stay awake naturally. 
Lemongrass essential oil has various therapeutic properties—it’s an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial. A few of its active compounds include citral, limonene, citronellal, myrcene, terpineol, farnesol, nerol, geraniol, and geranyl acetate 
Myrcene is an effective anti-inflammatory compound, as well as a muscle relaxant and sedative. As an antimicrobial, citral can stop the growth of certain bacteria and fungi. Meanwhile, limonene can eliminate inflammation and bacteria.
You can find lemongrass essential oil in many cosmetic, skin care, and hair care products, such as anti-dandruff shampoos, soaps, lotions, and deodorants. If your hair is oily, thinning, or shedding, this is one of the best essential oils you can use to treat it.
It helps with hair loss by eliminating dandruff.
A 2015 study shows that using lemongrass essential oil in a hair tonic solution (available in 5%, 10%, and 15% concentrations) for 7 days can reduce dandruff by 51%. 
And if you keep using it, it becomes even more effective. According to researchers, the 10% hair tonic with lemongrass essential oil has the most effective anti-dandruff effect.
The combination of dandruff and dryness can make your scalp itch, which makes you scratch your scalp constantly and vigorously to relieve the itching. This action damages and weakens your hair roots, causing your hair to fall out.
To use for hair loss due to dandruff, add 3 to 5 drops of lemongrass essential oil per 2 teaspoons of carrier oil, such as coconut oil or argan oil. After shampooing and rinsing your hair, massage the oil gently on your scalp using your fingertips or a massaging comb.
It prevents or treats scalp infections.
Some types of infections that affect the scalp and hair follicles could lead to hair loss. For instance, scalp folliculitis is a temporary condition that causes a painful and itchy skin that can leave bald patches.
As an antibacterial and antiseptic, lemongrass essential oil can destroy or slow down the growth of infection-causing microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) living on the surface of your scalp and hair.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is native to Europe, but today is cultivated all over the world. The oil extracted from clary sage is widely used for treating various eye problems.
But, it also has an abundance of uses that aren’t that well known, including hair growth and scalp stimulation.
Some of the major active compounds of clary sage essential oil are germacrene-d, caryophyllene, linalyl acetate, linalool, sclareol, geraniol, neryl acetate, and alpha terpineol. 
These are known to have the following therapeutic uses: anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, fights depression and stress, and has a balancing effect on sebum production.
It controls the production of sebum and eases inflammation. 
Almost everyone experiences an oily scalp. However, people who are at risk for pattern baldness are more likely to develop an oily scalp.
This condition can indirectly cause hair loss by blocking hair follicles, which could be caused by excess sebum production on your scalp. This affects the hair growth cycle and stops new hair from poking out through the skin.
The problem becomes worse when sebum (oil) combines with dead skin cells, grime, and chemical residue from hair care products. When these get inside your hair follicles, they could cause infection and inflammation.
Eventually, your hair follicles are damaged, causing more visible hair loss.
It can treat stress-related hair loss.
When you inhale clary sage essential oil, it can ease stress, anxiety, tension, depression, and insomnia. Stress and mood problems can cause hair loss through different ways: (1) the excess cortisol, a.k.a. stress hormones, affect the production of other hormones, such as testosterone, which impact hair loss; (2) the medications a person is taking may cause hair follicles to prematurely enter the resting stage (telogen phase) of the hair growth cycle.
Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang-ylang essential oil has many therapeutic benefits that may help treat various hair and scalp conditions. Since the Victorian Age, people have used this essential oil to promote natural hair growth.
Today, ylang-ylang essential oil is valued for its scent and nourishing properties that are excellent for skin and hair products.
The main compounds of ylang-ylang essential oil that are responsible for its beneficial qualities are caryophyllene, alpha-pinene, eugenol, benzoic acid, cresol, cadinene, linalyl benzoate, linalool, geraniol, and isoeugenol.  These compounds help ylang-ylang essential oil fight hair loss by:
Linalyl acetate and linalool are two of the active compounds of ylang-ylang essential oil that can reduce inflammation, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 
Chronic inflammation can damage your hair follicles, causing them to wither and eventually die.
Unclogging hair follicles and cleansing the scalp.
Ylang-ylang essential oil contains antimicrobial properties that can help your hair and scalp become clean and healthy. In most cases, bacteria and fungi (specifically yeast) can irritate and damage your hair follicles.
One of the most common bacteria that infect hair follicles is Staphylococcus aureus. Ringworm of the scalp is a type of fungal infection that’s known to doctors as tinea capitis.
Neutralizing excess free radicals.
Ylang-ylang essential oil helps fight the negative effects of free radicals on your scalp and hair follicles because it’s an effective antioxidant. In a study, results showed that it has a 79% free radical scavenge activity, which means it can effectively hunt for free radicals from tissues.  This effect of antioxidants can help speed up hair growth and minimize hair loss.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, also called as melaleuca oil, is not just great for treating various skin problems, such as acne. It also supports hair and scalp health.
In the recent years, it has become a popular ingredient for natural hair care products because of its moisturizing, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties.
How does tea tree oil prevent or treat hair loss?
It moisturizes scalp and hair.
The great thing about tea tree oil is it cleans your hair and scalp without causing extreme dryness or damage. To use it to moisturize and cleanse your hair and scalp and promote hair growth, you can add 3 to 5 drops of this essential oil to 2 teaspoons of warm olive oil or coconut oil. Stir to mix then apply the mixture to your scalp and hair once or twice a day for 3 weeks.
It treats scalp conditions that may cause hair loss.
Because of its antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil is a great remedy for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. These skin conditions normally cause dead skin and sebum build-up on your scalp and in your hair follicles, resulting in short-term hair loss.
A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has shown that a shampoo containing 5% tea tree oil may be effective in treating mild to moderate dandruff.  But, the test subjects had to use it for at least 4 weeks to get significant results.
Warning: Tea tree oil can be quite strong. It may cause an allergic response in some people, so make sure to dilute it before applying it to your scalp or hair.
Carrot Seed Essential Oil
Carrot seed essential oil, also called carrot oil, has a dark, brownish yellow color. It has a calming and stress-relieving scent, which aromatherapists describe as earthy, woody, and pungent. There are two popular types of carrot oil: carrot seed oil and carrot root carrier oil.
It’s not as popular as other essential oils, but it has long been used in many parts of the world for treating a wide range of ailments. It contains compounds that are beneficial for your skin, scalp, and hair. That’s why it’s a great option for preventing or stopping hair loss.
Here’s how it helps with hair loss:
It’s rich in natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants in general are known for their ability to protect the skin and hair from UV damage, strengthen hair follicles, and improve blood circulation (which in turn keeps your hair and skin nourished and healthy).
Two of the primary antioxidants found in carrot seed essential oil are vitamin A and carotene. 
It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Pinene (a-pinene and b-pinene), myrcene, limonene, and camphene are some of the major compounds in carrot seed essential oil that have significant anti-inflammatory effects. 
If untreated, chronic or severe inflammation (due to an infection) could cause hair loss and may permanently damage hair follicles.
It’s antibacterial and antifungal.
Studies have shown that carrot seed essential oil has effects against Candida albicans, an opportunistic disease-causing yeast, and other fungi species. 
People suffering from a Candida infestation may suffer from scalp and hair problems, such as oily scalp, dandruff, and itching.
Carrot seed essential oil is not one of the top antibacterial essential oils. But, the result of a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology suggests that carrot seed essential oil (at 2mg/liter concentration) was effective against Staphylococcus aureus, which commonly cause folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles). 
Simple Hair Loss Recipes with Essential Oils
Hair Thickener Essential Oil Shampoo
Use a shampoo that’s mild and free from sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent. When you don’t wash your hair and scalp thoroughly, sodium laureth sulfate could accumulate and irritate your scalp and weaken fragile hair, causing hair loss.
- 50 drops of any essential oil for hair loss
- Mild and SLS-free shampoo
- Amber shampoo bottle (30ml or 60ml)
- Pour 60 ml of shampoo into an amber shampoo bottle. (If you want, you can also pour a thin layer of your favorite hair conditioner and other essential oils over the shampoo.)
- Add 50 drops of essential oil for hair loss, such as tea tree oil and rosemary essential oil.
- Stir using a stainless steel or plastic skewer to mix the shampoo and essential oil.
Reminder: When massaging shampoo into your scalp, avoid using your nails because it could scratch your scalp and cause sores to develop.
Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil Hair Rinse
Use this hair rinse to remove product build-up from your scalp and hair. Use sesame oil, which can moisturize and strengthen the skin and hair, as well as ease swelling and pain.
- 4 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil
- 2 teaspoons of safflower oil (or other vegetable oil you like)
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 7 tablespoons of rosewater
- Mix three parts of rosewater to one part of apple cider vinegar in a glass container.
- Add 2 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil into the mixture.
- Rinse your hair after shampooing and conditioning.
- Pour small drops of the ylang-ylang hair rinse over your wet hair. Then, massage thoroughly. Rinse your hair after.
Contrary to popular claims, there’s no surefire way to stop hair loss and increase hair growth fast. Essential oils are usually helpful, but they may not work on all cases of hair loss.
If you’re losing excessive amounts of hair (more than 100 or 150 strands per day), see your dermatologist to get expert advice.
So, what home remedies for hair loss have worked for you so far? Have you used essential oils to make your hair healthy and thick? I’d love to hear your success stories and tips.