Waiting for your hair to grow is like watching paint dry—except worse. Paint will dry in, well, approximately a few hours. Hair, depending on the damage and length, could take months (if not years) to grow to your desired length. Trust me, I've been waiting for my hair to grow back from a less-than-stellar haircut for over a year.
Of course, there are things you can do. Celebrity colorist Matt Rez, who works out of Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills, offers helpful advice like masking with Olaplex's Hair Perfector No. 3 ($28), Shu Uemura's Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Treatment ($68), and using a Tangle Teezer Original Detangling Hairbrush ($15) to gently brush your hair and avoid breakage. And guess what? It works. However, if you're in search of a more natural option (we hear you), you can rely on trusty essential oils to get the job done as well. To find out more, we reached out to Sara Panton, the co-founder of Vitruvi and an essential oil guru whose knowledge and products we trust implicitly. Below find her best hair regrowth advice.
"Rosemary essential oil is the first essential oil that comes to mind when thinking about ways to improve hair growth and strength," Panton says. "It works by helping to improve cellular metabolism when applied topically, which stimulates hair growth by keeping the follicles active. It also tingles a bit when you apply it!"
For a hair-thickening elixir, Panton suggests putting five drops of rosemary oil on your scalp and massaging it in after a shower—or you can add it to your existing shampoo and conditioner. If brow regrowth is your goal, rosemary essential oil works on that front as well. Add one drop of rosemary oil to your freshly washed brows before bed for fuller, healthier hair.
"Lavender essential oil has antimicrobial properties similar to those found in tea tree, but with a more gentle effect on the skin when applied topically," explains Panton. "Beyond keeping hair shafts and follicles clear of bacteria (that could prevent hair growth), another added benefit of using lavender essential oil is its ability to soothe your scalp (and your mind) courtesy of its natural sedative properties. People say your hair thins when you're stressed—so prevent the feeling of stress by adding a few drops to your dry shampoo or conditioner."
"The way that cedarwood essential oil contributes to hair growth is by keeping your scalp healthy and happy. It stimulates the scalp and increases circulation, thus reducing a dry or flaky scalp and brittle hair," notes Panton.
To use it, Panton recommends adding two drops of cedarwood essential oil into a teaspoon of coconut oil to create a hydrating, stimulating hair mask. Apply the mixture and use your fingers to really massage it in. For the best results, let it sit on your scalp for 30 minutes and wash it out.
"Lemongrass oil can strengthen your hair follicles, and it's great for those with dandruff," notes Panton. "Massage a few drops (approximately three to five) into your scalp during your shower. Then let it sit and soak in for two minutes and rinse out with cold water."
"Peppermint oil helps to stimulate your scalp and hair follicles, but it should not be used for those with dry scalp or brittle hair. It works best if you have oily hair and scalp," says Panton. "Peppermint essential oil stimulates blood circulation to the skin, which can help with increasing dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth." But she warns that it's certainly clarifying.
"Peppermint has a pleasant cooling sensation when applied topically, and that sensation can help to reduce skin inflammation," she adds. "The final benefit is, simply that it can help you relax because it is so cooling and calming—which is always a good thing when you're waiting for your hair to grow."