Last week, I wrote about using essential oils to enhance your exercise routine. This week, I’d like to continue examining the benefits of essential oils to the physical body, specifically the hair, skin, and nails.
The great thing about using essential oils to care for you body is that they are all-natural, chemical free, and incredibly powerful. They can also save you a lot of money in the long run because just a few drops of oil can go a long way toward treating issues with the hair, skin, or nails.
To Stimulate Hair Growth
A number of oils have been shown to improve the scalp, which, in turn, improves the strength, volume, and health of hair.
Bergamot. A 2014 study determined that bergamot essential oil may help in healing scrapes, decreasing inflammation, and re-growing damaged tissue. As such, bergamot could go a long way toward helping an irritated, dry, or damaged scalp heal so that it provides the best environment for healthy hair growth. To use the oil on your scalp, mix a few drops bergamot oil with a tablespoon of jojoba oil (which, on its own has been shown to promote hair growth). Massage the oil mixture into your scalp before bedtime. Wrap your head in a towel and go to sleep. Wash and rinse well in the morning. Alternatively, massage the oils into your scalp, let them sit for 5 to 15 minutes, and then proceed with washing and rinsing.
Peppermint. A separate 2014 study found peppermint oil to be as effective as topical minoxidil (one of only 2 FDA-approved drugs for treating hair loss in the United States) in promoting hair growth. Menthol, the primary ingredient in peppermint oil, causes the vessels just under the scalp to dilate, which creates extra blood flow and may be the cause of the increased hair growth. Adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your conditioner each day and massaging gently into your scalp is the simplest way to incorporate the oil into your hair routine. But you could also combine the oil with jojoba oil and apply to the scalp weekly for a deeper treatment. Simply massage into the scalp, wrap your head in a towel, and let the oils do their magic for 15 minutes—or even overnight. Wash, rinse, and style as normal.
To Treat Dandruff
Rosemary. Few things feel as good in a hot shower as the tingling sensation and scent of rosemary as your wash and condition your hair. The scent is refreshing and crisp, and the oil adds just the right tingle to make your hair feel clean and refreshed. Additionally, however, rosemary oil can also treat dandruff, helping you shed those annoying white flakes produced by a dry, itchy, and irritated scalp. You can use the oil mixed in with your conditioner or apply a weekly treatment made by mixing 5 drops rosemary oil with 5 drops olive oil and massaging it into your scalp. Leave the oil in your hair overnight and wash the next morning. If you want to mix things up, combine rosemary and peppermint or rosemary and lavender for an even more scalp-soothing mixture.
To Increase Hair’s Shine
Chamomile. You don’t have a to spend a fortune on hair serums to get silky, shiny hair. Regularly using chamomile oil can give you the same benefits at a fraction of the cost. There are a handful of ways to use the oil in your hair routine. 1) Add a drop or 2 chamomile oil to your hair brush and then brush your hair as you regularly would. This is a great nightly ritual that will not only help your hair but also promote relaxation and better sleep just before bed. 2) Add a few drops to your conditioner each time you condition your hair. 3) Make a clarifying rinse to use on your hair after shampooing and conditioning a couple times each week. To make a rinse, steep 2 bags peppermint or chamomile tea in 2 cups boiling water. Let water cool completely, mix in 2 to 3 drops chamomile essential oil. Use this mixture as a final rinse at the end of your shower.
For Clearer Skin
Tea Tree. Purifying and helps fight against unwanted bacteria is extremely well suited for treating acne, and studies have shown that it is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne. In fact, you’ve probably noticed a plethora of products on beauty store shelves that now list the oil as an active ingredient. Of course, you can use the oil without spending loads of money on the newest drug-store lotion or cleanser. Simply apply a few drops to a clean cotton ball and apply to acne-prone areas of your face after washing. Add a few drops to your regular facial cleanser or moisturizer for added benefits.
Lavender. Lavender can soothe the skin and reduce stress, which makes it a great tool in the battle against stress-induced acne. Apply a few drops to a cotton ball and apply to irritated or acne-prone areas of the face after washing. Lavender may also be effective in reducing dark spots and scars on skin with regular, direct application.
Juniper Berry. A 2005 study showed juniper berry oil to be an effective treatment for acne. It can be used directly on acne-prone areas or, for sensitive skin, mixed with a few drops of a carrier oil and applied to the entire face. Apply with a clean cotton ball after washing the face.
For Smooth Hands or Feet
Lime or peppermint. Using an invigorating sugar scrub on your hands or feet will smooth, soften, and relax your limbs. You can really use almost any oil for this, but lime or peppermint are favorites because of their crisp scent and tingling feel. To make a sugar scrub, mix 1 cup raw turbinado sugar, 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil (melted in the microwave for 15 seconds if still solid), 1/3 cup jojoba or fractionated coconut oil, and 3 drops lime or peppermint. Store in an airtight, glass jar. To use, massage into hands or feet until sugar dissolves. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
To Repair Damaged Cuticles
Lavender or myrrh. Either oil can be used directly on nails to soften and heal damaged cuticles. Or you can make a soothing cuticle cream by mixing 2 tablespoons shea butter, 1 teaspoon beeswax, and 1 tablespoon jojoba oil in a glass container, such as a small canning jar. Place jar in a saucepan filled with 1 to 1½ inches boiling water. Stir 5 minutes, or until combined. Once mixture is thoroughly melted and combined, carefully remove from water, let rest 3 minutes, and then stir in 7 drops lavender or myrrh. Transfer to an air-tight container, put on the lid, and let mixture harden for 2 to 3 hours. Use morning and evening by rubbing a small amount over cuticles and nail bed until absorbed.
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