Peppermint is the cooling flavor you know and love from candy canes, chocolate, ice cream, and tea.
You can include the extract in self-care routines of all kinds, from your manicure to a relaxing bath. However, a lesser-known benefit is using peppermint oil for hair health.
“Peppermint is a native plant in Europe and has been used globally as a gastric supplement and stimulant,” says Dr. Anna Chacon, a dermatologist from Miami and medical writer for ZELEN Life. “In studies, it’s been investigated for its possible effects on hair growth and has been compared to other important ingredients such as minoxidil and jojoba oil.” Limited scientific research shows that peppermint has demonstrated hair growth effects such as increased follicle number and depth and dermal thickness, Chacon notes. Additionally, peppermint oil may show cosmetic results, including making the hair appear shinier and healthier.
Keep reading for more information on how peppermint oil may help your hair health, plus how to incorporate it into your hair care routine.
Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Hair Health
Some advocates claim that peppermint oil can stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. We can attribute this to menthol, the compound that gives peppermint that icy-cool sensation. Limited research has demonstrated that menthol boosts blood flow when applied to the skin. The theory goes that increased blood flowing to the scalp could stimulate hair to grow thicker or faster.
In other studies, peppermint also presents antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory activity. All of these factors potentially promote scalp health and help with dryness, itching, and dandruff, but there’s a lack of studies that show what the specific benefits might be or how it works.
The jury’s still out on what peppermint can do for your hair and scalp. But there’s one thing you can always count on: It smells incredible, and the tingly feeling of the menthol can make your scalp feel refreshed and clean. That may be reason enough to try it out on your strands.
Peppermint Oil and Hair Loss
Can peppermint oil be used to combat hair loss? Maybe. But as we said earlier, the science is pretty limited.
Findings from various studies have pointed to peppermint oil’s growth-promoting effects. A study conducted on mice reported that a 3 percent peppermint oil solution did a superior job in advancing hair (or fur) growth than the FDA-approved drug minoxidil. “More research and human studies would be needed to verify a safe and effective way to use peppermint essential oil topically for hair growth,” says Kathy Sadowski, Registered Aromatherapist and founder of essential oil blog Wellness Aromas.
So, this is excellent news if you’re a balding mouse. But for humans dealing with hair loss, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee peppermint oil will give you a long, lustrous mane. However, since this essential oil is typically considered safe when used properly (more on that next), there’s no real downside to trying it out.
How To Use It on Your Hair
When using peppermint essential oil, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s highly concentrated. It’s much too potent to be applied by itself, so you’ll need to mix it with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are more dense and viscous than essential oils and are typically used to dilute essential oils, so they’re safe to use.
Any cold-pressed vegetable oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, sunflower, or jojoba can act as a carrier. Note that if your scalp tends to be on the oilier side, a non-pore clogging oil like jojoba may be the best option.
A safe concentration for applying peppermint oil to your scalp is just 1 or 2 percent. Stephanie Ivonne, a licensed esthetician and advisory board member for Smart Style Today, recommends mixing two drops of peppermint essential oil with a tablespoon of the carrier oil of your choice and gently massaging it into your scalp. After leaving it on for about five minutes, rinse thoroughly with a gentle moisture-rich shampoo and conditioner.
You could also add a few drops of oil straight into your shampoo and conditioner bottles while making sure not to add too much. Approximately five drops per ounce of shampoo or conditioner are satisfactory. Then, use your hair products with the essential oil as you usually would, and enjoy the invigorating benefits.
How Not To Use It
Even though peppermint essential oil comes from a plant, it can still be harmful when misused. Keep these two application safety tips in mind:
- Never apply the essential oil directly to your skin. It can lead to irritation or rashes, so always use a carrier oil.
- Never consume peppermint oil. Small doses appear to be safe, but bigger ones can be toxic. Besides, drinking the stuff will have zero impact on your hair or scalp health.
Everyone’s skin sensitivity is different, and even adequately diluted peppermint oil may cause irritation or a rash. If you’re unsure how this oil may affect your scalp, try doing a patch test first and watching how your skin reacts before applying it to your whole head. If at any point the oil starts to burn on your skin, wash it off immediately.
When purchasing essential oils of any kind, check your labels. Ensure they’re an acceptable grade for skin contact. Avoid using an extract, warming oil, or diffuser oil not made for skin contact.
A Natural Way to Freshen Up Your Hair
While we can’t call peppermint oil a cure-all for hair or scalp problems, we can always enjoy the energizing feeling and cooling sensation on our heads. It’s perfectly safe to use as long as you apply it correctly — and who knows? You might notice some of the benefits mentioned above. But it would be best if you didn’t rely on it as a treatment for scalp disorders or baldness.
If you’re looking for a peppermint essential oil to add to your hair care routine, Public Goods has you covered. Our oil is 100% organic, sourced from a single origin, and selected for its purity and quality. It contains natural menthol for cooling properties that will reinvigorate your scalp with a fresh aroma.
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