Aromatherapy or essential oil therapy is the use of natural oils to treat ailments or illness. Haircare product manufacturers have long incorporated these potent oils in their shampoos, conditioners, serums and masks to help stimulate hair growth and maintain a healthy scalp.
Basically, essential oils are pressed from plants and are known as a volatile aromatic compound. This means that they are made of small organic compounds that evaporate quickly in room temperature, which makes them ideal for aromatherapy. The small molecules are also easily absorbed into the skin without accumulating in the body.
Being the essence of plants and flowers, a drop of oil requires a large quantity of organic material. For example, 45 kilos of lavender flowers can only produce half a kilo of lavender oil. There are a couple of oils popularly used in haircare products such as ylang ylang, which encourages sebum production to keep the hair and scalp moisturized.
Also common is lavender oil that improves blood circulation and balances out active sebaceous glands. If you’ve searched for shampoos for thinning hair, you’ll be familiar with clary sage oil known for its phytoestrogen levels to reverse premature balding.
By now, you’ve probably figured out that different essential oils have their own strengths. You’re wondering, do you have to be careful what oil is in your haircare product? For most people without sensitive skin, it’s safe to use products with any essential oil given that most of them have antibacterial and antifungal benefits.
Not all oils can be categorized as essential oils, though. Jojoba and coconut oil, neutral substances without any of their own healing properties, are called carrier oils. While fragrance oils are not to be confused as essential oils, even if the label states that they are a ‘natural’ fragrance.