Essential oils are the concentrated extracts of the flowers, bark, peels, roots, seeds, stems and leaves of herbs. The oils are rich in the bioactive compounds that give herbs their unique properties, making them the perfect way to reap the benefits of plants that have been used medicinally and as beauty remedies for thousands of years.
Some of the beneficial compounds found in essential oils include:
- Antioxidants. An antioxidant is a nutrient that fights reactive particles called free radicals. These particles can oxidize body and skin cells, causing damage that has been shown in clinical studies to be the driving force of the aging process.
- Antimicrobials. An antimicrobial is a substance that fights germs. Often, antimicrobials are further classified by the types of germs that they fight, such as antibacterial agents, which fight bacteria, and antiviral agents, which fight viruses.
- Anti-inflammatories. An anti-inflammatory is a substance that lessens inflammation, an immune system response that results in swelling, redness, tenderness and pain.
Each type of essential oil has its own unique benefits based on the active compounds that it contains. The following is a brief guide to some common uses of essential oils for hair care.
– FOR THIN HAIR: Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to your shampoo and then wash as you ordinarily would.
– FOR CLARIFYING AN OILY SCALP: Combine 10 drops each of ylang ylang, lime and rosemary essential oils with 2 ounces of an unscented carrier oil. Massage the oil into your scalp for several minutes and then rinse. Repeat 2 to 3 times per week as needed to control build-up.
– FOR SOOTHING AN ITCHY SCALP: Add a few drops of lavender, cedarwood or essential oils to your shampoo and then wash as you ordinarily would.
– FOR SOFTENING AND STRENGTHENING DAMAGED HAIR: Make your own deep conditioner by combining 15 drops of rosewood, 5 drops of sandalwood and 5 drops of lavender in a carrier oil of your choosing. Put the mixture in a plastic bag and place it in a container of warm water to heat it. Apply the oil to your hair. Wrap your head in a towel and allow the oil to rest for 20 minutes. Shampoo as usual.
– FOR ADDRESSING SCALP FLAKES: Combine 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of rosemary with 3 tablespoons of an unscented carrier oil of your choosing. Massage the mixture into your scalp for 10 minutes. Rinse with water and then shampoo.
– FOR CLEANSING HAIR DAILY: Make a homemade shampoo by combining 20 drops of rosemary oil, 10 drops of peppermint oil, 10 Tablespoons of baking soda, 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and 6 ounces of aloe vera gel in a plastic bottle. Shake well to mix. Use as you would any shampoo. Always shake before use.
– FOR ADDRESSING SCALP ACNE: Create a treatment by combining tea tree oil with raw honey. Massage onto your scalp once per day. Rinse with cold water.
Quality of essential oils matters greatly whether you’re using them for a beauty remedy or as an alternative method of healing. Choosing therapeutic grade oils from a well known, reputable manufacturer can help you to ensure best results.