While there are a few different essential oils that may help with hair growth, peppermint oil is one that does so even more. After doing some research for our guide to essential oils, and the best essential oils for eczema, migraines, and cystic acne, we decided to take a more in-depth look at the minty, fresh oil. While it's obviously common in toothpaste and floss, it's also especially helpful as part of your haircare routine. Below, find the top three reasons to get into peppermint oil (and why we haven't stopped massaging it into our scalps).
1. Massage it into your scalp to soothe tension headaches
"Hold off on the painkillers when you have a tension headache and use peppermint oil instead," suggests skincare expert Adina Grigore. "Dilute a few drops in any carrier oil and apply it to your temples and massage it into your scalp. Participants in a study reported a significant reduction in the pain of their tension headaches within 15 minutes, and the pain continued to drop for the following hour. Try it and see how you feel. You can carry Aura Cacia Cooling Peppermint Essential Oil ($8) in your bag—they're super tiny and they will come in handy." We're also huge fans of Shu Uemura Essential Drops ($48) for a scalp massage.
Meet the Expert
Adina Grigore is the founder of the sustainable and organic skincare brand S.W. Basics. She is also the author of Just the Essentials: How Essential Oils Can Heal Your Skin, Improve Your Health, and Detox Your Life.
2. DIY a mask to stimulate blood flow (and possible hair growth)
Findings published in Toxicological Research say a peppermint oil solution led to more hair growth than minoxidil, a hair-growth product approved by the FDA. Though, there isn't a ton of conclusive research that proves using peppermint oil will definitely cause an increase in growth.
"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 Sara Panton, the co-founder of Vitruvi. "Peppermint essential oil stimulates blood circulation to the skin, which may help with increasing dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth." But she warns that it's certainly clarifying. In fact, a study in Microvascular Research found a 4% menthol solution "caused blood vessels to widen, which increases blood flow."
Plus, peppermint has a pleasant cooling sensation when applied topically, and that sensation can help to reduce skin inflammation, Panton 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."
3. Use it to nix oily hair
Peppermint oil is incredible if your hair is on the greasier side—it clarifies, cleans, and invigorates the hair without stripping it of its natural (and necessary) oils. In doing so, peppermint oil balances your scalp's production of sebum, leaving your hair nourished and hydrated without weighing it down (while getting rid of any product buildup or residue in the process). For this, one of our absolute favorites is Shu Uemura Essential Drops Aromatherapeutic Scalp Treatment ($48). All you have to do is combine one pipette in with your shampoo, massage, and rinse.
Göbel H, Fresenius J, Heinze A, Dworschak M, Soyka D. [Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type]. Nervenarzt. 1996;67(8):672-81. doi:10.1007/s001150050040
Oh JY, Park MA, Kim YC. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs. Toxicol Res. 2014;30(4):297-304. doi:10.5487/TR.2014.30.4.297
Craighead DH, Alexander LM. Topical menthol increases cutaneous blood flow. Microvasc Res. 2016;107:39-45. doi:10.1016/j.mvr.2016.04.010