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Essential Oils for Hair

Ishani Chatterjee Shukla
A luxuriant mane is always the neighbor's envy and the owner's pride! Hair care has always ranked prominently among mankind's personal grooming activities. Essential oils for hair have been prescribed and used since ages to enhance the health and beauty of this keratinous bio-material.
Hair is that part of the human anatomy which has received great attention from the proud owner, as well as those around,since ages.I would like to emphasize the serious role a head full of hair plays in our lives by quoting -
Shana Alexander:Hair brings one's self-image into focus;it is vanity's proving ground.Hair is terribly personal,a tangle of mysterious prejudices. Hair care has always occupied a significant part of a person's personal care regime, irrespective of gender, age, religion, culture or any other humanly conceivable differentiating factor!
This eternal quest to cultivate, preserve and enhance the keratinous growth on one's head has led to the discovery and invention of numerous natural and chemical hair care elixirs and potions over ages, and essential oils are an ancient and surviving relic in the history of trichological evolution.
Mention of the use of such oils have been traced back to the ancient Oriental, Indian and Egyptian civilizations and many cosmetic and therapeutic formulas, consisting of essential herbal extracts and oils for scalp and hair care have been unearthed during various archaeological expeditions.
An essential oil is a water-insoluble liquid containing volatile aroma compounds of the plant from which it is extracted. In other words, these oils contain some of the true and original essence of the plant in the form of aroma imparting chemicals that are typical to the plant from which they are extracted.
Examples of essential oil are Clove Oil, Jasmine Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Cedar Wood Oil, etc. Essential aroma oils for hair consist of those oils which have been known to enhance hair growth, prevent hair loss and mitigate scalp irritations.
Let us take a look at some of the best essential oils that benefit hair and find out the ways in which they affect our manes (or the lack thereof!)

Essential Oils Good for Hair

Following is a list of volatile oils that can be used, either individually or in infusion with some carrier oil, to pamper your hair and scalp. Check it out and take your pick depending upon the kind of hair-raising result you are looking for!

Lavender Oil

Popular in Aromatherapy for its nerve calming and de-stressing effects, lavender oil is excellent for soothing the scalp and relaxing the hair strands. Its cooling effects also calm anxiety, which acts as a bonus hair benefit, as we all know that anxiety can cause hair fall.
Lavender oil is a very potent parasite repellent and is effective against headlice and nits. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent remedy for dermal conditions of the scalp such as psoriasis, scalp acne, etc.

Arnica Oil

Arnica is considered as one of the best ethereal oils to prevent hair loss and it is a trusted herbal cure for alopecia neurotica. Arnica based preparations are also well-known in-
Homeopathy as a cure for various hair related problems such as diffuse alopecia, graying hair and dandruff. An excellent anti-inflammatory agent, arnica oil is also known for its antioxidant properties that enrich the scalp and protect hair from damage caused by harsh elements and environmental pollution.

Basil Oil

Basil essential oil is well-recognized among prominent essential oils for promoting hair growth.
It works by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp region, which in turn nourishes the hair roots and helps get rid of dead skin on the scalp. Basil, combined with fenugreek and ivy burdock herbs, are used as rinses to promote scalp health. Its refreshing aroma and mild, tingling effect make it a great scalp massage oil for treating headaches.
Camphor mixed with basil oil is one of the best herbal remedies for migraine and anxiety.

Chamomile Oil

It is the most soothing of all essential oils and improves scalp health by retracting inflamed or chemically treated skin cells.
Known for its stress-relieving properties and potency in soothing anxiety and certain other nervous disorders, a chamomile oil scalp massage just before calling it a day is perhaps the perfect recipe for a good night's sleep! Chamomile is especially beneficial for people who suffer from scaly scalp and psoriasis.
Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe the scalp in case of dermal conditions such as scalp acne, psoriasis and allergic break-outs.

Myrrh Oil

The essential oil from this herb is excellent for treating greasy scalp.
Used in very small quantities, Myrrh essential oil is a great way to cleanse and purify the scalp, allowing hair roots to breathe. This essential oil is rich in antiseptic, anti-microbial, fungicidal and astringent agents which keep the scalp environment free of germs and infectious agents besides correcting excessive sebaceous discharge from the pores.
Myrrh oil is extremely effective against sores, ulcers and skin wounds of any kind.

Lemon Oil

Lemon essential oil is excellent for treating scalp dryness by stimulating the sebaceous glands.
It is also very effective against dandruff and hair lice. The refreshingly citrus fragrance and balmy effects of lemon essential oil work well to soothe anxiety, calm the nerves and induce a state of relaxation. Lemon oil is rich in anti-oxidants and antibacterial agents that nourish as well as protect hair and scalp.
Care, however, should be taken to use this essential oil in very small quantities, as too much of it can severely dry out the hair.

Peppermint Oil

We all know peppermint as a great mouth freshener and simply love its tingling fresh effect!
This same tingling effect of Peppermint essential oil accelerates blood circulation of the scalp, enabling hair roots to gather wholesome nourishment, leading to luxuriant hair growth. This effect also stimulates the scalp skin, leading to a well nourished environment that automatically leads to healthy hair growth and reduced hair fall.
Peppermint oil is a potent parasite repellent that prevents fungal growths and lice infestations of the hair and scalp.

Rosemary Oil

A wonderful anti-irritant, Rosemary herb produces one of the most recommended essential oils to cure scalp itch, dandruff and dry hair and scalp problems.
Rosemary essential oil is believed to be extremely effecting in arresting premature graying and alopecia and is considered as a hair growth promoting tonic by many followers and practitioners of aromatherapy and naturopathy.
If you wish to grow your hair long faster, rosemary oil massage is the way to go as it stimulates the hair follicles, accelerating the rate of hair growth.

Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang Ylang joins the leagues of Lemon, Rosemary and Basil, and acts as a great cleanser for oily hair and treat dandruff.
It lymph drainage properties detoxify the scalp and makes its environment germ and pollutant free. This automatically translates into healthy hair growth and prevention of infections and other dermal conditions of the scalp. Ylang-ylang essential oil is known for its aphrodisiac properties in aromatherapy.
Coupled with its relaxing effects, an Ylang-ylang oil massage is, perhaps, the best way to indulge your senses on a leisurely weekend!

Sage Oil

Among the best scalp purifiers, a strong infusion of Sage essential oil used as a rinse is believed to darken gray hair and is among trusted herbal hair loss solutions.
A head massage with sage essential oil is also a surefire way to get rid of mental fatigue and anxiety. Sage oil is loaded with antioxidant, antiseptic and antifungal properties. However, care must be taken while using this oil as large quantities of sage oil can lead to health complications.
It is best to add no more than a few drops of sage oil to coconut or olive oil and this infusion can, then, safely be used for an invigorating scalp massage.

Tea Tree Oil

A powerful scalp purifier, Tea Tree oil is used to treat scalp conditions such as psoriasis and dandruff. It promotes hair growth by improving blood circulation all over the scalp. Tea tree oil encourages sweating which, in turn, leads to detoxification of the skin as pollutants and a lot of infectious agents are flushed out of the body.
However, this is one big reason why you should wash your hair no more than a couple of hours after applying tea tree oil to your scalp as accumulation of too much salts and minerals, brought about by perspiration, will clog up the pores of your scalp.

Cedar Wood Oil

Cedar wood essential oil has powerful antiseptic, anti-seborrheic, astringent and fungicidal properties which makes it an effective cure for fungal infections of the scalp and irritating dandruff conditions.
Its astringent properties help deep cleanse the scalp and hair shaft to allow the roots and follicles to breathe. Its anti-seborrheic properties correct imbalanced functioning of the sebaceous glands by arresting excess sebum production.
This helps in preventing a lot of fungal infections of the scalp. Cedarwood oil is also an excellent nerve relaxant and is good for those who suffer from sleep disorders.

Jojoba Oil

Its composition being very close to our skin's own oil contents.
Jojoba oil is readily absorbed by the scalp and helps in reducing dryness of hair and scalp. This very property of jojoba oil actually fools your skin into gaging that it has produced enough sebum and needs to stop, thereby, correcting excess sebum production. Jojoba oil is an excellent conditioner, both for the skin as well as hair.
A jojoba oil head massage followed by hot towel treatment before shampooing is a great way to ensure that those tresses remain lustrous and tangle-free till the next wash.
Treat your hair to a generous helping of wholesome nourishment with the appropriate combination of aroma oils. Indulge your senses by soaking in the privacy of your very own personal spa. Prepare your bathtub with lukewarm water and spike it with bath salts and a few drops of aromatherapy oils of your choice. Get some aromatherapy candles, anoint your head, play a soothing, soft melody in the background and relax in the tub! Give in to the 'head'onistic pleasures...