People have long used the properties of plants and herbs to care for the hair. Whether hair is dry, oily, frizzy, prone to dandruff or even falling out (!) there have been remedies promoted to fix the problem.
Essential oils allow you to easily add a range of properties and, indeed, fragrances to your hair care regime. You can use essential oils to create treatment oils and serums or use unscented bases to make your own shampoos and conditioners.
But which essential oils are best for which hair type or condition?
Here are a few of my favourites –
For all hair types -
Rosemary, Ylang ylang, Lavender
For Dry Hair -
Rosemary, Lavender, Patchouli, Clary Sage, Geranium
For Oily Hair -
Chamomile Roman, Lemon, Cedarwood. Ylang Ylang, Cypress
For Dandruff –
Bergamot, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Lavender, Rosemary, Tea tree
For Thinning Hair -
Clary Sage, Lavender, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang
How to Use Essential Oils for Your Hair
I love to make my own shampoo and conditioner – I have my favourite essential oils that I most commonly use but
do sometimes change these if I feel my hair needs a little something extra.
I recommend using a sulphate-free shampoo if possible as these are generally gentler on the hair and
recommended for those who tend to have more sensitive skin.
Put 250 ml (approx. 1 cup) of Unscented Shampoo into a bowl. Add up to 50 drops (2.5ml) of your choice of essential oil or oils. (If using more than one essential oil, remember that the number of drops is the total for all the essential oils together.) Mix thoroughly and pour into a suitable bottle. Label with contents and date of making.
To use, pour a teaspoon of shampoo into your palm and massage through wet hair. Rinse well and repeat if required.
A good conditioner helps to smooth and nousih the hair making it easy to detangle and giving it softness and shine.
Put 250ml (approx. 1 cup) of Unscented Conditioner into a bowl. Add up to 50 drops (2.5ml) of your choice of essential oil or oils. (If using more than one essential oil, remember that that total number of drops is the total for all the essential oils together.) Mix thoroughly and pour into a suitable bottle. Label with contents and the date of making.
To use, massage conditioner through clean hair (1/2 to 1 teaspoon for shorter hair, more for long hair). Comb through and leave for a few minutes before rinsing hair thoroughly.
DIY Hair Treatment Oil
When I was a teenager, I used to use a “Hot Oil” treatment on my hair which was curly and tended to get very frizzy. I haven’t seen that product for years (And do not remember the brand or the ingredients – I doubt they were very natural!) so this is my DIY alternative using more natural ingredients.
Put 2 tablespoons (40ml) jojoba oil into a small bowl or cup and mix with up to 6 drops of your choice of essential oil (or oils). Warm the oil by sitting the container in a shallow bowl of hot water (ensuring the water does not spill over into the oil). When the oil is warm, apply it to the hair and work through from root to tip. Leave for at least one hour or even over night before washing hair as usual. You may like to wrap your head with a warm towel to aid the process (as well as keeping the oil off your pillow if you treat your hair overnight.)
Note – I have been asked why I recommend heating the oil in this way. Although the original product was called a “hot oil” treatment it was in fact only warm. This method of heating the oil ensures that it does not get too hot as the hot water will cool as the oil warms. There is therefore a limit to how hot the oil can get, making this a safer method. Alternative methods of heating such as using a microwave, can result in the oil being too hot which is dangerous and can cause burning. Therefore, I DO NOT recommend heating the oil in any other way than the method given above.
DIY Daily Hair Treatment Oil
This is ideal for daily use between washing, to smooth dry or frizzy hair and add extra shine. It can also make your hair smell delightful! Remember that as this is left on the hair you don’t need to use much – a few drops are all that is needed.
Add up to 15 drops of your chosen essential oil or oils to 50ml of jojoba or other vegetable oil and pour into a 50ml bottle. Label with contents and date of making.
To use, dispense a few drops of oil onto the fingertips and apply to the hair, concentrating on the ends and avoiding applying too much to the scalp.
Caution – for leave on hair products (as opposed to products such as shampoos and conditioners which are washed out) we recommend avoiding essential oils that can cause photosensitivity such as expressed bergamot, lime or other citrus oils. Please refer to cautions and safety information for any essential oils you intend to use for this purpose.
Caution - All recipes are designed for a normal healthy adult. Lower doses will be necessary for children, the elderly, pregnant women and for anyone with allergies, sensitivities, illness or medical condition etc. Please seek the advice of a professional aromatherapist if you are unsure of how to use essential oils for your own circumstances.