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Peppermint Oil For Hair: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects
Dr Mir Malkani
Medically reviewed by
Dr Mir Malkani
Updated on January 9, 2024

Essential oils are often touted as effective formulas for all sorts of ailments, from stress to flu to male pattern baldness. Peppermint oil for hair growth is a popular remedy — but is it really effective? And how does it compare with other hair loss treatments (both natural and medical)?

In this article, discover everything you need to know about peppermint oil for hair, including how to use it, which clinically proven benefits you can expect, and the side effects to look out for.

Table of Contents

What is peppermint oil and is it good for hair?

Peppermint oil is an essential oil for hair growth extracted from the peppermint leaf. Best known for its antispasmodic properties, peppermint oil capsules can be used to treat stomach cramps, bloating, and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome [1]. 

However, research has also shown that topical application of peppermint oil may promote hair growth [2]. While studies are limited and haven’t (yet) been extended to human research, this may offer promising signs that peppermint oil could help those affected by hair loss.

The benefits of peppermint oil for hair

So what are the established benefits of peppermint oil for hair? Let’s take a look:

  • Improved hair growth — Animal studies suggest 3% peppermint oil may boost hair growth even more than other proven formulas like Minoxidil [2].
  • Faster hair growth — The same study showed peppermint oil increased hair growth by 92% over four weeks (in the same period, Minoxidil increased growth by 55%).
  • Increased follicle blood flow — Menthol, a key component of peppermint oil, dilates the blood vessels to allow more nutrients and oxygen to flow to the scalp [3].
  • Sun protection — Peppermint oil offers some UV protection [4]. Strong sunlight isn’t good for your hair, so these protective properties can keep your scalp and hair safe in the sun.
Hair regrowth chart score over weeks passed
Chart comparing the effectiveness of peppermint oil for hair growth in mice (PEO) against Minoxidil (MXD), jojoba oil (JO) and saline solution (SA).

How peppermint oil stimulates hair growth

Scalp blood vessel dilation is one of the key mechanisms through which peppermint oil can promote hair growth [4]. Widening the blood vessels in your scalp delivers more nutrients to your follicles, giving them the energy and nutrition they need to produce healthy hair. This is also how Minoxidil, scalp massage, and other vasodilators work to enhance hair growth.

In addition, peppermint oil may increase insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) [2]. This growth factor regulates the hair growth cycle, encouraging follicles to stay in the anagen (growth) phase for longer:

hair growth cycle

Researchers have also suggested that peppermint oil can enhance hair thickness and length, making it an effective way to thicken hair naturally [2]. In addition, it may help anchor hairs in the follicles by increasing hair follicle depth within your scalp skin.

Which is better for hair growth: rosemary oil or peppermint oil?

Rosemary oil for hair is another popular natural hair loss remedy. Studies have shown it can reduce the amount of dihydrotesterone (DHT) in your scalp, which is the main hormone responsible for the development of male pattern baldness.

Comparative research is needed to determine whether rosemary oil or peppermint oil is better for hair growth. Currently, there are more studies to back up the use of rosemary oil than peppermint oil [5-6].

However, because these essential oils use different mechanisms to boost hair growth, it may be possible to use them at the same time to achieve even better results. Check out our list of the best rosemary oils for hair growth to find an effective blend for you and learn more about the best and worst hair growth oils.

How to use peppermint oil for hair growth

Planning to use peppermint oil to tackle your hair loss? Peppermint oil shouldn’t be applied directly to the scalp, so make sure to prepare it before use. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mix 3ml of peppermint oil with 97 ml of carrier oil (such as coconut, almond, or jojoba oil). (A 3% solution is the only tested formula, so using a higher concentration may result in skin irritation and other side effects).
  2. Apply the solution to your balding or thinning patches.
  3. Don’t wash your hair for at least an hour.
  4. Repeat daily for at least one month.

What to mix peppermint oil with for hair growth

You can mix peppermint oil with any type of carrier oil before applying it to your hair. However, certain carrier oils can bring more benefits to your hair. Coconut oil, almond oil, and argan oil are all effective moisturisers, so they can keep your existing hair in good condition [7].

They may also offer additional benefits like UV protection, sebum regulation, and increased hair elasticity.

Side effects of peppermint oil for hair

At a 3% concentration, peppermint oil is unlikely to produce many side effects when applied to your hair. Some people feel a slight tingling sensation, but no more than this.

You may experience mild skin irritation, a rash, or (more rarely) an allergic reaction [8]. So test a small amount behind your ear before applying larger quantities.

If you’re allergic to menthol or other mint varieties, it’s best to avoid using peppermint oil for hair loss.

Be careful when using peppermint oil around children or babies. It can cause problems if they inhale fumes from peppermint oil [8].

Alternative hair growth remedies

While peppermint oil has shown promising results as a hair growth remedy, it’s important to remember that studies are limited, especially with human participants. So while more research is carried out, it’s a good idea to consider clinically proven hair loss treatments, such as:

  • Minoxidil — Like peppermint oil, Minoxidil is a vasodilator, so it promotes scalp blood flow for hair growth.
  • FinasterideFinasteride reduces DHT levels in the body, slowing and even reversing the development of male pattern baldness.

These are the only two male hair loss treatments currently approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). While many women can use Minoxidil, premenopausal women are generally advised to avoid Finasteride. Learn more about the best hair loss treatments for women.

Other effective alternatives to peppermint oil for hair growth include:

Not sure which treatments are suitable for you? Seek advice from a trichologist. Our fully trained trichology team will diagnose and treat your hair loss using the most successful solutions. Book a consultation to find out more.

Peppermint Oil For Hair: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects, Wimpole Clinic

Peppermint oil for hair FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about using peppermint oil for hair growth.

Though human studies are needed to confirm this, peppermint oil may promote hair growth and even protect your hair and scalp from the sun. It will also make your hair smell fresh and minty (unlike remedies including apple cider vinegar for hair).

It depends on the concentration of peppermint oil you use. Only a 3% concentration has been tested, and this was in an animal study. So it’s risky to use a high concentration of peppermint oil on your hair.

It’s possible that higher concentrations will lead to scalp itchiness or scalp tenderness in the spot you’ve applied it to. Scratching your scalp may lead to hair loss or hair breakage, so we recommend sticking to the guideline concentration (or even diluting it further if you experience irritation at 3%).

Start by applying peppermint oil to your balding or thinning spots once a day. Repeat for at least a month (although it may take longer than this to see results).

When you stop using peppermint oil, you may find your hair regrowth stalls. Continual application helps maintain regrowth.

Dr Mir Malkani
Medically reviewed by Dr Mir MalkaniUpdated on January 9, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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