In a world that’s ever more intrigued by crystals and essential oils, folks across the globe are looking for ways to incorporate the two into their beauty routines. Where crystals have been turned into face rollers and gua sha tools, essential oils have made their way into perfumes, skincare, and haircare. Today, we’re here to talk about the latter, specifically in regards to eucalyptus oil.
- Type of ingredient: Antifungal
- Main benefits: Soothes the scalp, helps manage dandruff/seborrheic dermatitis, prevents yeast buildup on the scalp
- Who should use it: In general, eucalyptus oil works especially well for folks with dry, itchy scalps—especially those with dandruff/seborrheic dermatitis. However, since it’s an essential oil, it should be used with caution if you have sensitive skin.
- How often can you use it: It’s safe to use daily as long as you’re not sensitized to it.
- Works well with: Like all essential oils, eucalyptus oil must be combined with a carrier oil, such as grape seed oil, marula oil, argan oil, avocado oil, and the like.
- Don’t use with: Eucalyptus oil shouldn’t be used without a carrier oil. In that sense, do not buy a bottle of 100% pure eucalyptus oil and apply it directly to your scalp. This can cause irritation.
Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil for Hair and Scalp
- Soothes the scalp
- Helps manage and treat dandruff/seborrheic dermatitis
- Prevents yeast buildup on the scalp
- Potentially boosts hair growth
Eucalyptus oil is best known for its antifungal properties, which make it a godsend for folks with dry, itchy scalps—and especially for those with clinical cases of dandruff/seborrheic dermatitis. Eucalyptus oil helps with these conditions because it helps regulate oil production and bacteria associated with an oily scalp. In this way, eucalyptus oil can help balance the scalp’s oil production and lead to less oily roots down the road, too.
“Studies show that eucalyptus oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help soothe inflammation in the scalp,” says Hadley King, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist and adviser for Collective Laboratories. “Some believe that the anti-inflammatory properties may make it helpful for hair growth, but there is no clinical data to support this.”
In addition to helping soothe dry, itchy, flaky scalps, clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants Krupa Koestline says that eucalyptus oil is beneficial for treating head lice as well (again, largely thanks to the ingredient’s antifungal and antibacterial properties). “A recent study also talks about its potential in mitigating photo aging caused by UVB,” she adds.
Hair Type Considerations
Anyone with a dry, itchy, flaky scalp—whether due to dandruff or dermatitis or styling product buildup—can benefit from incorporating eucalyptus oil into their routine. Additionally, folks battling an annoying case of head lice may benefit as well. And, on the other end of the spectrum, people with very oily scalps can benefit, as eucalyptus oil can help ensure that excess bacteria won’t form as a result.
As beneficial as eucalyptus oil can be, though, King doesn’t recommend it for folks with sensitive skin because, as with other essential oils, allergic contact dermatitis to eucalyptus oil is possible.
Just remember: Even if you think you aren’t sensitive to it, you might be.
“Despite all of its benefits, it has a very high potential of causing sensitization and serious dermal reactions when used in large quantities,” Koestline says. “Therefore, it is best to trust a professional with regards to using it topically in formulations for skin and hair. It is also not recommended for use on infants and children under 5 years of age. It can cause spasms of the glottis. Ingestion of the oil is toxic and can affect the central nervous system.”
The caveat to this, of course, is that thanks to eucalyptus oil’s popularity, many store-bought scalp scrubs, treatments, and shampoos now exist to address any scalp symptoms without having to rush to a dermatologist or trichologist. And, because these products have undergone rigorous testing to even make it on the market, they’re often a safe bet for at-home use.
How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Hair
The most important thing to remember when adding eucalyptus oil into your haircare routine is that it absolutely must be accompanied by a carrier oil. “I don’t encourage essential oils to be used by people when they can't measure the way a chemist would for a hair product,” says HairClub hair health expert and trichologist Shab Reslan. As such, Reslan recommends steering clear of eucalyptus oil DIYs and instead putting your faith in professional stylists or highly rated (and tested) at-home products that feature the ingredient but aren’t entirely comprised of it.
This little bottle does a whole lot of good for itchy, inflamed scalps. It's filled with eucalyptus oil, olive oil, and oat kernel to soothe the scalp and provide cooling relief on the spot. Simply massage a few drops in, take a deep breath, and feel refreshed.
Whereas most dry shampoos exacerbate dry scalp conditions, this one, which is formulated with eucalyptus oil, helps to absorb oil while soothing the scalp. Win-win.
This lightweight, anti-itch scalp lotion is made with eucalyptus oil, avocado oil, and aloe vera to soothe, hydrate, and cool the scalp on contact. Simply apply it directly to your scalp and let it sink in to work its magic.
Looking to soothe your scalp while also deeply cleansing and hydrating your hair? This eucalyptus-oil-infused clay wash (which is actually a jar of powder) will help do just that. It's formulated specifically for curly hair and has a delicious coconut mint scent. This product also happens to be as close to a DIY eucalyptus oil product as we recommend. All you have to do is mix 2 Tbsp of the powder with 6 Tbsp of warm water, let it activate, and apply it to your scalp and strands. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes (preferably with a plastic cap overtop), then rinse it off to revel in just how amazing your hair looks.
The Final Takeaway
While you absolutely can book an in-salon scalp treatment at your salon or with your dermatologist or trichologist, you can also head to your local beauty aisle or store to stock up on eucalyptus-oil-infused products for your hair and scalp. In using eucalyptus-oil-infused products, you can expect a noticeable improvement not only in the way your scalp feels but in how it looks too.