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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 a helpful addition to your haircare routine. Below, find out all the reasons we love peppermint oil (and why we haven't stopped massaging it into our scalps).
Type of ingredient: Essential oil
Main benefits: Promotes hair growth, balances oil, can increase hair thickness, calms inflammation
Who should use it: In general, peppermint oil is best for people with oily hair and scalps.
How often can you use it: You can use peppermint oil up to three times a week.
Works well with: Peppermint oil should be mixed/diluted with a carrier oil. It works especially well with rosemary essential oil to promote hair growth.
Don’t use with: Peppermint oil should not be applied directly to the skin.
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.
- Sara Panton is the co-founder of Vitruvi, which specializes in all-natural, 100 percent nontoxic, and pure essential oils.
Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Hair
- May promote 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 hair growth.
- Increases hair thickness: "Peppermint essential oil stimulates blood circulation to the skin, which may help with increasing dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth." But Panton 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."
- Reduces inflammation: Peppermint has a pleasant, cooling sensation when applied topically, and that sensation can help to reduce skin inflammation, Panton says. "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."
Hair Type Considerations
"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 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 favorite peppermint oil products is Shu Uemura Essential Drops Aromatherapeutic Scalp Treatment ($48). All you have to do is combine one pipette with your shampoo, massage, and rinse.
How to Use Peppermint Oil for Hair
- 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 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."
- Make a DIY mask to stimulate blood flow: To make a DIY mask, simply mix a few drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil. Warm until the coconut oil is liquid-y enough to coat your hair. Apply to your hair, let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then shampoo and condition as normal.
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
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