The Science Behind Hair Growth Oils: How Do They Work?

The Science Behind Hair Growth Oils: How Do They Work?

Losing hair is a common problem that many people around the world face. There are countless hair growth oils available in the market that promise to help hair grow faster and thicker. But how do these oils work? It might be confusing for many. In this article, we'll talk about the science of hair growth oils in a simple way.

How Hair Grows: The Basics

Before we talk about the effect of hair growth oils, let's quickly understand how hair grows. Our hair grows from tiny pockets in our skin called follicles. There are three stages in the life cycle of a hair: growing (anagen), transitioning (catagen), and resting (telogen).

In the growing phase, our hair is actively growing. This lasts from two to seven years, and our hair grows about half an inch each month. The transitioning phase is a short period of two to three weeks where the hair stops growing. Finally, in the resting phase, the hair is not growing and falls out after about three months.

How Essential Oils Help Hair Grow

Plant-based essential oils are common ingredients in hair growth oils. They are full of nutrients and have special qualities that can help hair grow. Let's see how:

Increasing Blood Flow

One of the main ways these oils help hair grow is by improving blood flow in the scalp. Some oils, like rosemary and peppermint, are known to boost blood circulation. This helps wake up the hair follicles and encourages hair growth.

Feeding the Hair Follicles

There are many oils, such as coconut, argan, and jojoba oil, which are full of vitamins and fatty acids. These nutrients feed the hair follicles, making the hair strong from the roots and preventing it from breaking. They provide all the important stuff that our hair needs to grow healthily.

Fighting Inflammation and Fungal Infections

Some oils have properties that fight inflammation and fungal infections, which helps keep the scalp healthy. For example, tea tree oil is famous for its ability to fight off fungus that could lead to hair loss. Likewise, lavender oil can soothe an irritated scalp and help keep it healthy.

Balancing Hormones

Some oils, like pumpkin seed oil, might help balance hormone levels and reduce hair loss. An imbalance in hormones like dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is one of the main causes of male pattern baldness.

How to Use Hair Growth Oils

While hair growth oils can help improve hair health and stimulate growth, their effectiveness largely depends on how they are used. Below are a few points on how to use hair growth oils for optimal results:

Choose the Right Oil: 

First and foremost, identify what your hair needs. Different oils serve different purposes, so it's essential to choose the one that suits your hair type and addresses your specific hair issues.

Proper Application: 

Apply the oil evenly to your scalp and hair. You can use your fingertips to massage the oil into your scalp gently. This not only ensures that the oil is distributed evenly but also helps stimulate blood flow.

Consistent Use: 

Consistency is key. Most oils do not provide immediate results; they need to be used regularly over an extended period to see noticeable changes.

Proper Washing: 

Make sure to wash your hair thoroughly after oil treatment. If any residue is left, it can clog your pores and negatively affect hair growth.

The Caveats

The positive impact of hair growth oils has been widely acknowledged, but it's crucial to view them as a component of a comprehensive hair care routine rather than a solo magic solution. Here are a few key aspects to keep in mind:

Individual Variations

Each person's hair and scalp are unique. Consequently, the effectiveness of hair growth oils can differ greatly from one individual to another. It's vital to keep this in mind and not to get discouraged if the outcomes aren't immediate or as expected.

Tackling Root Causes

Hair loss can often signify an underlying health issue, such as hormonal imbalance, lack of necessary nutrients, or stress. Although hair growth oils can aid in managing the symptoms, they might not tackle the core issue. If hair loss continues, it may be necessary to seek advice from a health professional or a trichologist.

Potential Allergies and Sensitivities

Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to certain oils or ingredients. It's always a good idea to perform a patch test before fully incorporating any new oil into your hair care routine.

Understanding the Key Ingredients in Hair Growth Oils

The effectiveness of hair growth oils largely depends on their ingredients. Let's delve into some of the most common ingredients found in these oils and their roles in promoting hair growth.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known for its cooling effect, which stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, ultimately encouraging hair growth. A study published in Toxicological Research found that peppermint oil showed more significant hair growth effects than minoxidil, a hair growth treatment used for androgenetic alopecia.

Rosemary Oil

Like peppermint oil, rosemary oil also stimulates blood flow to the scalp. According to a study in the Journal of Dermatology, rosemary oil performed equally well as minoxidil in promoting hair growth but with less scalp itching as a side effect.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is popular for its calming scent and its various health benefits, one of which is promoting hair growth. A study on mice found that lavender oil generated faster hair growth in the test subjects. The oil also has antimicrobial properties that can prevent bacteria and fungi from growing, which aids in maintaining a healthy scalp.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a type of fatty acid found to fight inflammation. When applied to the scalp, it enhances the health of the hair follicles and, in turn, promotes hair growth.

The Connection Between Diet and Hair Health

While topical applications play a significant role in hair health, one should not ignore the systemic aspect of hair growth. Your diet can significantly impact your hair health. Consuming a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals can nourish the hair follicles, supporting hair growth from within.

Some nutrients crucial for hair health include:


Hair is primarily made up of protein, making it essential for hair health.


A lack of biotin, also known as vitamin B7, can lead to hair loss.

Vitamin D: 

Some studies suggest that vitamin D can help create new hair follicles.


Iron is crucial for hair growth, and a deficiency can lead to hair loss.

The Role of Stress in Hair Loss and Growth

Stress can significantly impact hair health. High-stress levels can push hair follicles into the resting phase prematurely, leading to increased hair shedding. Therefore, while using hair growth oils, it's crucial to manage stress levels through techniques such as yoga, meditation, and exercise.

Hair Growth Oils and Hair Types

The effectiveness of hair growth oils can also depend on your hair type. For instance, those with oily hair may find that some oils can weigh their hair down or make it greasier. In contrast, those with dry hair may benefit from the moisturizing properties of these oils. Therefore, it's crucial to identify your hair type and select the appropriate oils accordingly.


The science behind hair growth oils underscores their effectiveness as part of a comprehensive approach to hair health. They work by stimulating blood circulation, nourishing hair follicles, maintaining scalp health, and even balancing hormones. However, their efficacy depends not only on their active ingredients but also on the individual's hair type, proper application, consistent use, and overall health. 

A balanced diet, stress management, and addressing any underlying health conditions are equally important for optimal hair health. Remember, everyone's hair is unique, and what works for one may not work for another, emphasizing the need for personalization in hair care routines.


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