If you feel that your hair is not growing as fast as you would like, you may be wondering about the best and worst hair growth oils to help speed up this process.
Normally, your strands grow by 0.35 mm per day for about six years before naturally falling out . While this rate can be difficult to accelerate, what some oils, such as black seed oil for hair, can do is regulate your hair growth cycle, preventing your strands from falling out prematurely. Others, such as rosemary oil for hair growth, can prevent hair loss by improving male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness.
However, while the best essential oils for hair growth may have beneficial properties for your strands, others can also have significant unwanted side effects, ranging from scalp irritation, to acute hair matting . That is why it is best to get the recommendation of a trichologist if you are unsure whether a certain hair oil will help or hinder your hair growth.
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Not all essential oils have been proven to promote hair growth. Some of them, such as rosemary oil , pumpkin seed oil  or black seed oil  have been studied in clinical trials and found to do so, either by reducing hair loss induced by conditions such androgenetic alopecia or telogen effluvium or by extending your hair growth phase and delaying your natural hair shedding.
However, in spite of many glowing online reviews, the hair growth properties of other oils, such as mustard oil for hair or marula oil for hair have never been scientifically proven. Since no clinical trials have been conducted on humans to study this effect, their benefits for hair growth are purely anecdotal until further research has been carried out.
There are several ways in which certain essential oils can help reduce your hair loss and/or stimulate your hair growth:
For example, some essential oils are natural DHT blockers. This hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) binds to receptors in the hair follicles of people with androgenetic alopecia, making them shrink and stop producing hair.
Many essential oils contain fatty acids which condition your hair, keeping it moisturised and preventing your strands from rubbing against each other. This can help make your strands stronger, reduce split ends and prevent dry, brittle hair. Most essential oils also contain antioxidants, such as vitamin A for hair, Vitamin E for hair or Vitamin C for hair, which can contribute to some extent to protecting your strands from UV damage (however, this protection is likely not sufficient to allow for extended exposure to the sun).
Some essential oils (e.g. rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil or tea tree oil) may play a role in calming the symptoms of scalp conditions, such as dandruff , seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis . This means they may reduce hair breakage from scratching or localised hair loss. However, more evidence is needed to support this.
Here are the top five hair oils for growth that are backed up by clinical evidence.
Rosemary oil has been proven to be a natural dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blocker, which makes it effective in treating androgenetic alopecia. Studies revealed its results to be comparable to those of topical Minoxidil .
A smaller study has found rosemary oil to help hair regrowth in alopecia areata, when combined with thyme, lavender and cedarwood oils .
Rosemary oil also possesses some antimicrobial properties, but more research is needed to determine their effect on common scalp problems.
Nikura Rosemary Oil For Hair
This formulation is one of the best rosemary oils for hair growth, as it combines the DHT-inhibiting effect of rosemary oil with argan oil which regulates sebum production and almond oil which promotes hair elasticity 
Pumpkin seed oil
A study conducted on 76 male patients with androgenetic alopecia showed a 40% mean hair count increase after 24 weeks of treatment with pumpkin seed oil capsules . However, more research is needed to determine whether a topical application would have the same result.
A different trial, conducted in 2021 on 30 women with female pattern hair loss, showed an increase in upright regrowing hairs and a decrease in hair miniaturisation after 3 months of treatment with topical pumpkin seed oil .
Jeune Naturelle Pumpkin Seed Oil Organic
This formula is 100% organic, with no additional ingredients, obtained from high-quality pumpkin seeds.
Black seed oil
Black seed oil has been found to be effective in stopping telogen effluvium hair loss and improving hair density and thickness .
Further research found this oil to regulate your hair growth cycle, delaying premature hair shedding .
Black seed oil has also been shown to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties in vitro, though further research is needed to determine their effect on the human hair and scalp .
Healths Harmony Black Seed Oil
This formula is combined with vitamin E, which increases its nutritive and antioxidant properties.
While the findings of this study need to be confirmed in humans, peppermint oil for hair has been found to boost hair growth comparably to Minoxidil in animal studies . It also seemed to improve the hair growth rate in mice by 92% after four weeks of consistent use.
Peppermint oil increases blood flow to your hair follicles, due to its menthol component, allowing them to receive more nutrients . Menthol can also soothe an irritated and inflamed scalp.
This oil contains antioxidants as well, which may provide limited UV protection (however, do not rely on this alone, as excessive sunlight is not good for your hair) .
Peppermint Tea Tree Hair Oil
This formula combines the hair growth and scalp-soothing properties of peppermint oil with the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil . It is light and does not cause build-up.
Animal studies showed that after 4 weeks of consistent application, lavender oil has increased the number of hair follicles in mice and increased follicle depth .
Furthermore, this oil has some antimicrobial properties .
It may also reduce skin inflammation when applied topically , which may reduce the symptoms of scalp psoriasis  and diminish hair shedding from scratching or rubbing the inflamed area.
However, further research is needed to test all these properties in humans.
Finally, the smell of lavender oil has been shown to have calming properties which can reduce stress and anxiety that can cause hair loss .
Nature Spell Lavender Oil For Hair & Skin
This formula combines the hair growth property of lavender with the soothing, nourishing qualities of peppermint oil.
When speaking of the worst hair growth oils, it is a matter of weighing their proven hair benefits against their known side effects. There is insufficient scientific evidence at this time that any of the following essential oils can effectively stimulate your hair growth or prevent hair thinning, as no such studies have been conducted in humans.
While they do have some moisturising and conditioning properties (like most hair oils), these oils do not have any other proven hair benefits and can also have detrimental effects on your hair.
Castor oil is heavy and sticky and can cause acute hair felting, making your hair matted, hard and entangled even from the first use .
Furthermore, research found that castor oil is not well absorbed through the skin , so topical application is unlikely to benefit your scalp in other ways than moisturising it.
Mustard oil can cause irritation if left on your scalp for too long.
It can also clog up your pores, especially if you already have an oily scalp.
Finally, it can leave a pungent odour on your hair.
Since olive oil is heavy and greasy, it can clog pores and hair follicles, leading to scalp folliculitis.
It can also worsen symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, such as scaling and inflammation .
While it is purported to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, some researchers believe it can actually worsen their symptoms by feeding the fungus which causes them .
While hair protective properties are sometimes reported, research found that mineral oil cannot penetrate the hair shaft well enough to yield good results in preventing hair damage .
Moreover, while mineral oil is generally safe to use, it can be difficult to wash out and cause buildup on the scalp with frequent use.
Most essential oils need to be mixed with a lighter, carrier oil – such as almond oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil. That is because using them directly on your scalp can cause irritation.
While the proportion of essential to carrier oil differs, you should ideally not exceed a 5% concentration, unless it is recommended otherwise by your trichologist. The more concentrated the essential oil is, the more likely you are to experience unwanted side effects.
After you have diluted the oil, you can pour a few drops in your hand and gently massage it into your scalp or use a wide-toothed comb to spread it on the entire length of your strands. You can leave it on for 30 minutes (some essential oils can even be left on overnight) and then wash your hair.
Alternatively, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner and use them like you normally would.
If essential oils for hair growth are not helping your hair loss or hair shedding, you may want to consider some tried and tested hair growth medications or therapies:
However, keep in mind that in order to achieve good results, these treatments need to be recommended by a trichologist. That is because they are only effective against specific kinds of hair loss and some of them can have unwanted side effects in certain categories of patients.
Many people who are looking for hair growth advice are experiencing hair loss. This is a very common occurrence, which happens to over 85% of men and 55% of women during their lifetime . It happens most often due to male or female pattern baldness or telogen effluvium, but there can be many other reasons your hair is falling out.
It is important to book a consultation with a trichologist from the first signs of hair thinning and balding, to prevent your alopecia from progressing and get the right diagnosis and treatment. Waiting too long to do so can make it difficult to treat your condition with hair growth medication or therapies alone.
However, if that happens, you may still be a good candidate for a hair transplant. Technology in this field has made great advancements, so you can get a natural looking hair transplant regardless of whether you opt for an FUE or FUT type surgery.
Surgeons at the best hair transplant clinics in the UK have a 97-100% success rate, making it a safe and efficient procedure. Our before and after hair transplant gallery speaks for itself.
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