9 Nourishing Essential Oils for Hair Health & Strength

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

How to use essential oils for stronger healthier hair naturally
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » 9 Nourishing Essential Oils for Hair Health & Strength

Maybe you ditched conventional haircare products years ago, or maybe you’re exploring more natural options. Whatever the case may be, essential oils for hair can be an integral part of everyone’s natural routine. Over the years I’ve found some favorite essential oils proven to strengthen and improve my hair, and they smell great too!

Best Essential Oils for Hair

I’ve always been careful to use essential oils safely and not ingest them unless suggested by a healthcare provider, but I love using them topically. Using them in my hair is one more way to get the benefits of essential oils safely.

A caution along these lines: Always dilute essential oils in the appropriate ratio in a carrier oil (or a beauty product containing oils) as essential oils do not dilute in water. The resources section in this episode of the Wellness Mama podcast gives several helpful charts as a guide.

Remember, it isn’t good to put straight essential oil directly on the hair or scalp, ever.

That being said, here are a few of my favorite essential oils for hair!

1. Ylang Ylang

This floral essential oil (I like this one) has aphrodisiac properties and a strong, distinct odor. It may be too overwhelming to use on its own, but it combines well with other essential oils for hair, like lavender and even lemon. People have been using ylang ylang to help grow their hair for a long time, as it was a popular hair growth remedy in Victorian England. This essential oil works by stimulating hair growth to treat thinning hair and also stimulates production of our scalp’s natural sebum to nourish dry, damaged hair.

Ylang ylang also offers aromatherapy benefits, as it works to relieve stress in the body. Since stress can sometimes cause hair loss, using ylang ylang is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. And for little ones who are frequently around other children, ylang ylang can also help to repel lice.

2. Tea Tree

Tea tree is one of the most popular essential oils for soothing damaged skin, but it’s also great for scalp health. Since this essential oil is antifungal, it’s been successfully used to treat dandruff. In this study, there was a 41% improvement in the severity of the dandruff as well as in the symptoms of itchiness and greasiness. Tea trea was also shown in this 2013 study to slow hair loss and increase hair growth and appearance, without the itching and inflammation that the control group had. And like ylang ylang, tea tree oil also treats head lice.

3. Lavender

Lavender is another favorite essential oil for skin that doubles for hair care. This study found that lavender increased the number of hair follicles for a thicker head of hair. The hair follicles in the lavender group were also deeper, meaning stronger roots for less hair falling out. Lavender essential oil also showed significant help in hair growth in this study that used a combination of several different essential oils, all with no significant side effects.

4. Cedarwood

Many guys like cedarwood essential oil because of its woody, more masculine scent. So if the man in your life objects to using more feminine-smelling oils like lavender and ylang ylang, then cedarwood may be a good option. It stimulates the hair follicles and increases circulation to the scalp to combat thinning hair. Cedarwood has also been helpful at improving dandruff symptoms.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary works well for dandruff due to its ability to minimize scalp itchiness and flakes. It helps to treat both dry, dull hair as well as overly oily hair and can help prevent split ends. In this study, rosemary essential oil was found to be just as effective against balding as the conventional treatment when it was used for at least six months. It helps to prevent premature baldness and stimulates the hair follicles.

6. Lemon

As a citrus oil, lemon helps simulate circulation in the scalp for increased hair growth. It’s also helpful to reduce overly greasy hair. Since there is some concern for phototoxicity here, don’t slather your head in lemon essential oil and then go sunbathing. Use lemon at night (or at least twelve hours before sun exposure), or don’t use more than a 2% concentration. However, if you’re using a few drops in your shampoo then washing it out of your hair, there’s no concern for phototoxicity. I like this organic one.

7. Juniper

Juniper berry has a fruity scent to it and blends well with both lemon and cedarwood essential oils. It’s helpful for overly oily hair and helps strengthen brittle strands. Juniper berry’s antiseptic properties help fight scalp conditions, and its astringent properties tone hair follicles to prevent hair loss.

8. Peppermint

You’re probably familiar with the fresh, invigorating scent of mint. This study showed a blend with 3% peppermint essential oil in a base of jojoba oil significantly increased hair growth thickness and length and deepened hair follicles for stronger hair. (Peppermint oil can safely promote hair growth, but this essential oil isn’t safe to use on young children.)

9. Lemongrass

Lemongrass has potent antiviral and antifungal properties that make it useful for a variety of scalp issues. In this study, several hair tonics were compared, and the one with a 10% dilution of lemongrass had the best results against inhibiting dandruff caused by yeast.

How to Apply Essential Oils for Hair

  • Add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner and lather as usual.
  • In all of the studies, results were seen after consistent use for at least six months. Most of the treatments were used daily until results were achieved.
  • Add some essential oils diluted in aloe vera to a spray bottle and liberally mist your hair. You don’t need to rinse your hair after this. (However, be sure to avoid using citrus oils and then going out in the sun.)
  • Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil and use as a leave-in deep conditioning treatment. After an hour, or even overnight, the oil can be washed out of the hair. Coconut oil and sweet almond both work well for a leave-in conditioning treatment. (If you’ve heard castor oil helps hair growth, bear in mind that this thick oil is hard to wash out unless diluted with other carrier oils.)

How to Do Scalp Massage with Essential Oils

You can do a scalp massage with essential oils for hair diluted in a carrier oil to help reduce the symptoms of dandruff, psoriasis, or stimulate the scalp for hair growth.

  1. Part the hair and apply the oil treatment to the scalp in sections.
  2. Take your fingers and press them firmly onto the scalp, moving the skin across the skull. Do not however allow your fingers to move across the scalp.
  3. Allow the oil treatment to stay on for at least an hour before rinsing/washing out.

Do you use essential oils in your natural hair care routine? Is it something you can see yourself trying?

Using essential oils for hair is a great way to improve hair over time. Try Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Cedarwood and others for great hair!


Become a VIP member!

Get access to my VIP newsletter with health tips, special deals, my free ebook on Seven Small Easy Habits and so much more!

Easy Habits ebook on ipad

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


79 responses to “9 Nourishing Essential Oils for Hair Health & Strength”

  1. Cynthia Rose Lalonde Avatar
    Cynthia Rose Lalonde

    What would be the ratio of essential oils per say 1 cup of coconut oil? For the conditioner?
    Thanks for this article!

  2. Elise Pennington Avatar
    Elise Pennington

    I need some suggestions for my hair. It’s looking, fine, and thin. I loved switching to diluted baking soda and diluted vinegar for cleansing and conditioning. But it seems my hair needs more strength. I started cleansing every other day with conditioning everyday, but is there something more that won’t weigh down my hair? I’m concerned that an oil in coconut oil would weigh it down since even putting diluted vinegar up passed my ends gives my hair an oily look. Thanks for any ideas or insight.

  3. Sophia Avatar

    Dear Katie,

    My name is Sophia. I am a student at Berea Community Middle School. I read your article on Essential Oils. I will be need some feedback on which essential oils would be best to make shampoo better than the store bought kind.

    I am doing a research project for my science class on your topic. If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate it if you would look at my research proposal and provide any feedback. I will be creating a experimental procedure next week. When I finish it, may I also get feedback on this as well?

    In my class I will be making 2 different kinds of shampoo’s at home. With some essential oils that I will need your help with! I will have 3 people try the shampoos, 2 people with the homemade one and the last one with the store bought one. At the end of my experiment I will see the results every person gave me and see which one was the best used shampoo!

    Thank you very much for your time!


    1. Wellness Mama Avatar


      Thanks for reaching out! I’m very impressed that you’re tackling this subject for your research project. I wrote an article about homemade shampoo using essential oils that you can use for reference here.

      I’d love to see the final project. Feel free to email the details to support (at) wellnessmama (dot) com. Thanks!

  4. Michelle Avatar

    Okay, I spritz my hair after washing it with a spray bottle a few drops of lavender & tea tree oil. I know essential oils are good for the hair. However my sister in law says I should not put them iny hair. I think she is just misinformed & does not know the hair benefits of essential oils. I also know that tea tree oil is good for hair. I use an all natural shampoo with lemongrass &I love it. Please advise who is correct. Thanks.

  5. Lena Avatar

    This information was very helpful! But I would like to know if these oil regimens work in African American hair types as well? I would definitely like to try the lavender eo in a carrier oil for my hair.

    1. Lisa Augustine Avatar
      Lisa Augustine

      I would think it would definitely help… The Lavendar Oil on your scalp will actually help your existing hair folicules, and according to what Wellness Mama said, it’s also said that in studies, it was shown to increase the amount of hair follicules as well. The oil that will help African American hair types would be even coconut oil.. which is an awesome oil. Also Jamaican Black seed oil. But as for the scalp, you could even just use an essential oil lavender spray right on the scalp .

  6. Jocelyn Avatar

    Essential oils are great. I’m so glad I found them. My scalp was inflamed and it’s only thanks to oil blends that it has gotten better and my hair is growing. I’m glad to see other women doing the same 🙂 I needed to try different carrier oils to see how my scalp respond. Coconut oil did not work well for me, and castor oil by itself was too thick. Another ingredient you can add to the sulfur, that will help balance the scalp and improve your scalp health. Try different combinations until you find one that works for what you are after. There’s a great oil blend on amazon from conscious essence. Copy the ingredients and make your own if you can, the oils work great together, and it has steadily improved my scalp and hair.

  7. Amber Avatar

    Kate-Welless Mama….

    Have you ever heard of Jade Bloom essential oils?? If so, Have you used or researched into their quality/authenticity??

    Thanks In Advance!

  8. Jewel Ann Avatar
    Jewel Ann

    I have purchased lavender oil but i am confused if it can be considered as an essential oil or just fragrance oil. On the label it says Fragrance oil. As far as I know fragrance oils are made of synthetic products but as I look for the ingredients on the bottle it only says lavender oil. does this mean it is still pure lavender oil that I can use as essential oil for diy products or it is better to use it as a scent??

  9. Molly Avatar

    Another great informative post!!
    I have very curly and voluminous hair so I use a lot of styling products everyday for frizz and to make my curls bouncier. I was just wondering whether I would still be able to get good results when putting it on my hair after having styling products in it throughout the day as I’m guessing that they would remain in the hair until I wash it. Just wanted to check that the oil wont react with them or anything?

  10. Susan Avatar

    I want to just put a bit in my hair for the fragrance and aromatherapy throughout the day, how would you do this?

  11. Lina Avatar

    Hi Wellness mama. I know this is off topic but may I ask what es oils you put in your magnesium deodorant? Thanks

  12. vik Avatar

    I am hoping you may be able to offer some advice, I am interested in using essential oils for my hair. However I have dreadlocks and do not use shampoo and conditioner, I use bicarb soda nad rinse with apple cider vinegar. How can I incorporate essential oils to better growing hair?

    1. Tracy Avatar

      I haven’t had them either, but it would seem to me that if you work a tiny bit into your scalp with your finger tips anywhere you can, that is better than nothing. The scalp is where it needs to be anyway, not the actual hair.

      1. Theres Avatar

        I use a vinegar rinse that I add essential oils to. I make in 16 oz bottle. Spray bottle.

        1. vik Avatar

          Thanks for all the responses everyone

          May I ask what oils you use and ratio



  13. Ashley Avatar

    Looking for a suggestion… I enjoy making many of my own homemade products (shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, etc.) I typically have oily hair and scalp. I had a baby last May (almost 10 months ago), and I’ve been breastfeeding ever since. Since then, I’ve had dandruff/dry scalp, but with oily hair. Any suggestions for breastfeeding safe oils to add to a dry shampoo? I use cocoa powder and cornstarch for a dry shampoo currently.

  14. Amber Avatar


    I am new to Essential Oils, and have yet to choose one to try. I was looking into Ameo, Eden’s Garden, and Plant Therapy….. I see you currently like the Plant Therapy based on this article…..Have you tried either of the other 2 companies? If so do you recommend them, or even specific oils from certain companies over others?

    I am so excited to get Ylang Ylang! As I fell in LOVE with the scent while over in South Africa!

    Thanks in advance!

      1. Amber Avatar

        Great! I will have to purchase a couple from each to give a try!
        Also, I forgot to mention one other company…. Jade Bloom…. Have you tested or researched them and their quality at all?

  15. Lianna Avatar

    Thanks for this helpful post! I’ve been trying to. I make my own conditioner and have been using ravensara e.o. in it, but I think I am going to try some rosemary for this next batch! (The ravensara has been working nice though and I think it has been softening my hair.)

  16. Maggie Avatar

    I want to make my own shampoo and was trying to decide which essential oils to add. I am 66 yrs old and have fine and thinning hair. Do you have any suggestions?

  17. Theresa Blacksten Avatar
    Theresa Blacksten

    I got involved in essential oils after I first started following you, not sure maybe 5 years ago? It was d?TERRA then. I’m just wondering why the switch? I’ve noticed that in deveral other things that you used!

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’ve used many different brands of essential oils over the years and continue to try and test new ones all the time. Just like any other product, there are new ones popping up all the time, some better than others, so when I find one that works better I recommend it instead 🙂

  18. Teresa Avatar

    Is this like ocm for your scalp? If so, does it work on oily hair, after a bit of transition, without doing outing in, rubbing it in, waiting and rinsing?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *