Everyone wants thicker hair. That’s a fact. But did you know that you could use household oils for hair growth? If not, we’ll show you the best oils to use, how to use them, a few things to consider, and more.
Considering Using Oils for Hair Growth?
Thinking about using oils for hair growth but not sure which ones are truly effective? Skip the ones that only moisturize or seal your hair and get straight to the oils that actually help grow your hair faster, longer, and stronger with our guide.
We’re taking a look at the 6 oils that are proven to support the natural hair growth process and pave the way for faster growth.
6 Best Oils for Hair Growth:
- Hemp Oil
- Essential Oils
- Pumpkin Seed Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Horsetail Extract Oil
- Coconut Oil
If you’re taking steps to better care for your mane and want to grow it out healthy and strong, you can enlist the help of natural oils to speed up the process. But you can’t just slap some coconut oil on and call it a day.
You need to look for oils that are proven to be effective for hair growth. But before we get into the best oils for hair growth, we need to talk about the complex relationship between oil and hair.
This will help you understand how some oils are better designed to fuel and improve hair growth, while others are better used for conditioning or sealing moisture into hair.
When a litany of products exist for the purpose of growing hair faster, stronger, and healthier, why would someone turn to a natural oil for hair growth? Let’s take a look.
Why Use Oils for Hair Growth?
Oils are rich, nourishing fats that serve a variety of purposes for hair care. Oils can help lubricate the hair shaft, preventing tangles and minimizing damage from rough brushing or friction.
Oils can add shine and luminosity, eliminate frizz and flyaways, improve curl and wave definition, and help minimize physical and chemical damage to hair when applied as a preventative measure.
Most importantly, a select few oils can help fuel and supercharge your body’s natural hair growth process.
Some oils do this mainly by protecting and preserving the integrity of your hair to prevent breakage that prevents accumulation of growth. Other oils actually target the biological processes involved in hair growth to increase the growth rate.
Some work by scavenging free radicals in the bloodstream that damage hair follicles and slow hair growth or result in hair loss. Whatever the mechanism of action, the key point is that certain oils are scientifically proven to:
- Increase hair growth (even in balding areas)
- Restore thickness and fullness
- Promote healthier, stronger hair growth
Don’t waste your time applying ineffective oils that only moisturize or protect your hair from damage. Get the best of both worlds by opting for one of the best oils for hair growth – which we’ll show you below – that are proven to work.
6 Science-Backed Oils for Hair Growth
When it comes to effective hair care, we’re only interested in science-backed products that are proven to work. Anecdotal evidence is great, but frankly, we’re all a little sick of buying ineffective products just because a coworker’s best friend *swore* by it.
So when we decided to create a list of effective oils for hair growth, we ignored the list of basic carrier oils (spoiler alert: they’re completely ineffective) that other hair websites deem the “best oils for increasing hair growth.”
They’ll have you believing that jojoba oil works as well as Rogaine – but multiple studies have proven otherwise. Instead, we consulted the latest scientific studies to find the most promising oils for hair growth.
And what we found is nothing short of amazing.
Turns out, there ARE oils that work as well as or better than hair loss treatments like Rogaine. You’re about to see the list of oils that are proven to be effective in growing hair faster and increasing thickness, fullness, and overall hair health. Snake oil need not apply.
Hemp oil, also referred to as hemp seed oil, is the most promising oil for hair growth on our list. Legal limitations made it difficult to study for years, but scientists are now able to analyze and understand how hemp oil can be beneficial for hair growth (among other things).
The biggest study to date on hemp oil for hair growth took place in 2021. The participants (men and women) used topical hemp oil once a day for 6 months.
The study tracked the number of hairs in each bald or balding area at the start of the study and again at the end. While men had the best hair growth results, women also experienced “significant” hair regrowth in the treated sections.
Among all participants, the average hair increase was an incredible 93.5% after 6 months. The study authors noted that every single participant experienced some regrowth.
It’s not yet clear how hemp oil works to increase the rate and quality of hair growth, but future studies may bring things into focus. For now, it looks like hemp oil is one of the best options for growing hair and it works for both men and women.
The MLM “huns” may have made essential oils distasteful to some, but science is proving that they do have their place. Essential oils can be an excellent option for increasing hair growth. They also have the added benefit of smelling great!
Essential oils have been studied individually on a limited basis. There’s more data to support the use of blended essential oils, especially the magic combination of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and cedarwood oils.
One study had half the participants massage their scalp with a mixture of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and cedarwood essential oils in a blend of jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils. The other half of participants used only the carrier oils – jojoba and grapeseed – for the daily scalp massage.
In the end, 44% of the experiment group that used a blend of essential oils for their daily scalp massage saw an increase in hair count and scalp coverage.
Only 15% of those in the control group that didn’t use essential oils saw an improvement in hair growth. If you have to choose just one essential oil to try, pick rosemary oil. Rosemary oil has been studied more in terms of hair growth and scalp health.
One study found that rosemary essential oil alone was just as effective as the main ingredient in Rogaine (minoxidil), resulting in significant increase in hair growth.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is pressed from the seeds of pumpkins and is rich in antioxidants. But studies have found that this plant seed oil is actually a promising treatment for alopecia areata (baldness) and gradual hair thinning and loss.
Pumpkin seed oil was shown to increase the number of hairs on the head by 40% in one study, while the placebo oil used in the study was associated with a mere 10% increase in the number of hairs.
Another study found that pumpkin seed oil worked well in conjunction with minoxidil (the main ingredient in Rogaine) to reverse the effects of testosterone in male pattern baldness.
Patients who used pumpkin seed oil also had more hairs in the anagen phase of growth – the growth phase – compared to those using the placebo oil. This could be because pumpkin seed oil contains phytoestrogens – plant estrogens that mimic human estrogen and bind to the same hormonal receptors.
Essentially, pumpkin seed oil reverses the effects of too much testosterone while keeping more hairs in the growth phase for a longer period of time.
Sesame oil has been used in hair care for centuries, but it hasn’t been studied a lot until the last decade. Sesame oil (sometimes called sesame seed oil) has long been considered an effective hair growth tonic.
But scientists didn’t understand how it worked until they did a study on mice in 2014. Sesame oil is rich with antioxidants, including vitamin E, phytosterols, lignans, sesaminol, and sesamol.
These antioxidants hunt down and scavenge free radicals in the body, preventing them from causing oxidative damage to cells in the scalp and follicles (and elsewhere). The result is improved scalp and follicle health along with increased hair growth.
So just how effective is sesame oil for hair growth? Better than some prescription options, it seems. One study found that sesame oil was 1.54 times more effective than finasteride, the main ingredient in the hair loss medication Propecia.
If you’re trying to grow your hair longer and healthier and want the antioxidant benefits that may help prevent chronic disease and illness, give sesame oil a try.
Horsetail Extract Oil
Don’t worry – no horses are harmed in the making of this nutrient-packed extract oil made from the horsetail plant. Horsetail plant extract has been shown to increase the rate and quality of hair growth when taken orally.
This is why horsetail extract is a key ingredient in many of the most effective and popular hair growth supplements like Folexin.
Horsetail extract oil contains a high percentage of silica, which is proven to strengthen hair for less breakage (i.e., faster length accumulation) and help truck in essential minerals and vitamins directly to the scalp and hair follicles.
Horsetail extract oil has not been proven to actually increase the rate of hair growth, but its strengthening properties mean you won’t lose precious inches to breakage. We’d recommend using this oil in conjunction with another proven oil for hair growth to get the best results.
Coconut oil is generally considered a carrier oil – one used to dilute and help spread more potent essential oils across an area of the skin. But it may be helpful for hair growth and improving hair and scalp health, too.
Coconut oil won’t make your hair grow faster, but it may help prevent protein loss that weakens hair and leads to breakage. The less breakage you have, the faster you’ll accumulate length and see visible growth.
One study found that coconut oil reduced normal protein loss more than mineral oil and sunflower oil when used as a pre-wash and post-wash treatment. This could be due to coconut oil’s high percentage of lauric acid, which likes to bond with hair protein (keratin).
It could also be due in part to coconut oil’s uniquely penetrative effects – the small molecule size of coconut oil makes it able to penetrate hair more deeply than almost any other oil.
Coconut oil is highly comedogenic. This means it can cause breakouts on the scalp if it’s applied directly to the scalp skin, so try to keep it to your strands if you use this oil.
Read Next: Is Coconut Oil Good for Hair?
Things to Consider
Oils for hair growth work in different ways – some speed up the growth process, keep more hairs in the anagen growth phase, increase hair strength to limit breakage, or tweak hormonal and biological processes to promote faster, stronger hair growth.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter how it works – you just want to choose an oil that is proven to be effective. That said, there are a few things to consider as you decide which of the 6 oils for hair growth you want to use.
Hemp oil, essential oils (especially rosemary), pumpkin seed oil, sesame oil, horsetail extract oil, and coconut oil are all viable options backed by scientific evidence. Choosing the one that will work best for you is easier when you keep the following things in mind:
- Effectiveness: We did our research to ensure every oil on our list is backed with scientific evidence of effectiveness, but some are more effective than others. Hemp oil seems to be the most promising oil for hair growth with 93.5% of participants seeing increased hair count and growth in one study. However, using an inexpensive sesame oil or rosemary oil could yield similar results when used over a period of a few months.
- Cost: The different hair growth oils are all available at a relatively low price point, but some are more expensive than others. Considering the cost ahead of time will help you choose an oil that fits your budget. Coconut oil is always going to be cheaper than horsetail extract oil, but horsetail extract oil has more evidence backing it up as a hair growth treatment. Weigh your options with the cost to make the best decision for you.
- Sensitive skin: If you have sensitive skin, this is something to seriously consider as you choose the hair growth oil you want to try. For example, if you’ve had a nasty reaction to essential oils on the skin before, you should opt for one of the other options on our list to avoid a repeat. And if coconut oil on your face causes you to break out, using it on your scalp will likely lead to similar issues.
- Seeing results: It’s easy to get impatient when you try a new product to boost hair growth, but remember that hair growth happens very slowly. It will take at least a month to see any type of results from using oils for hair growth, and you won’t see “wow” results until you’re a few months into usage. Be prepared to give the oil time to work and make sure you’re consistent in your application to get the best results.
While others are saturating their hair in argan or almond oil for a little boost in moisture and protection, you can get those same benefits plus the advantage of faster-growing, healthier hair that appears fuller and thicker when you use one of the proven oils for hair growth.
So, What’s the Best Oil for Hair Growth?
Whether you choose hemp, essential, pumpkin seed, sesame, horsetail extract, or coconut oil, we think you’ll be thrilled with the results you’ll start seeing within a month or two of usage.
Be consistent, stay patient, and know that the mane of your dreams is coming to fruition – all thanks to a 100% natural plant oil!