Neem oil, extracted from the seeds and branches of the neem tree, has been extensively studied by researchers all around the world for its benefits and side effects.
In this article, we will understand neem oil, the benefits of neem oil for hair, different ways to use neem oil for hair, how to make neem oil for hair growth, and a few potential side effects of neem oil for hair.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil, also called margosa oil, is a byproduct of the neem tree that mainly grows in India. Neem tree is often regarded as the ‘wonder plant’ or ‘village pharmacy’ because of its extensive use in traditional medicine to treat bacterial infections and several metabolic diseases.
Neem oil contains phytochemicals with several medicinal properties. These phytochemicals make neem oil beneficial in treating:
- Inflammation (swelling and pain)
- Fungal infections
- Bacterial infections
- Skin allergies
- Skin cancer
- Hair problems
Neem Oil Benefits for Hair
Neem oil contains more than 300 phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are a rich source of nutrients that nourish your hair and make them stronger and healthier.
According to a study, neem oil obtained from the seeds, fruits, and flowers of neem tree contains nutrients such as:
- Vitamin E
- Limonoids (phytochemicals present in citrus fruits)
- Fatty Acids
All these nutrients make neem oil an excellent natural and herbal hair product with the following benefits for hair:
1. Neem Oil for Dry Hair
Neem oil is rich in fatty acids. It nourishes the scalp and acts as a hair conditioner. Therefore, neem oil is extensively used for dry hair. Mixing coconut oil or a few drops of mustard oil with neem oil revitalizes the hair follicles and prevents hair from drying.
2. Neem Oil For Hair Thinning
Neem oil is loaded with antioxidants that prevent hair thinning due to air pollution, excessive heat and sweat, and excessive stress. Neem oil regenerates the hair follicles and promotes hair strengthening and hair growth.
3. Neem Oil For Hair Fall
Neem oil prevents hair fall by nourishing and strengthening the hair follicles with its rich ingredients like vitamin E. Calcium present in the neem oil prevents loss of hair proteins and thus benefits against hair loss.
4. Neem Oil For Frizzy Hair
Neem oil added to coconut oil is applied to get frizz-free hair. Coconut oil reduces protein loss and protein breakdown from your hair, helping repair damaged hair.
5. Neem Oil for Shiny and Long Hair
Fatty acids present in the neem oil are responsible for the natural lustre and shine of your hair. Vitamin E and calcium make the hair roots strong and thus help achieve longer hair with natural shine.
6. Neem Oil for Split Ends
Split ends occur when the ends of your hair become dry and brittle. Neem oil is a rich source of fatty acids, vitamin E, and calcium. These nutrients help smoothen the hair and prevent split ends.
7. Neem Oil for Greasy Hair
Excessive sebum production from oil glands located beneath the scalp skin results in greasy hair. With its rich phytochemicals, when mixed with curd and applied on the scalp, Neem oil helps balance the oil on the scalp and provide a natural solution to greasy hair.
8. Neem Oil for Itchy Scalp
Environmental exposure and pollution may irritate the scalp and cause itchiness. Antioxidants present in the neem oil help reduce cell damage and scalp irritation.
9. Neem Oil For Hair Damage
Long-term use of chemical hair products and hair styling products may result in cracks in the hair cuticles (outer layer of hair), leading to damaged hair. Neem oil is a rich source of nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that nourish the hair and prevent damage.
10. Neem Oil For Hair Breakage
Overlapping scales of hair strands become weak and break due to the use of hair dryers, chemical-based shampoos, and extreme heat and air pollution. Massage your scalp with neem oil to improve blood circulation to the hair follicles and strengthen hair against breakage.
11. Neem Oil for Dandruff
Dandruff is a common condition that causes the scalp skin to flake. The common causes of dandruff are scalp inflammation and fungal infection. Limonoids and Nimbidin are phytochemicals present in neem oil that have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, making neem oil beneficial against dandruff. Regular topical application of neem oil for hair provides relief from scalp irritation and itchiness resulting from dandruff.
12. Neem Oil for Grey Hair
Premature greying of hair may occur due to multiple factors:
● Genetics and family history
● Hormonal imbalance
● Poor nutrition
● Chemical-based hair products
Neem oil is the ultimate solution for premature greying of hair, providing the scalp with essential nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. Antioxidants in the neem oil nourish the hair and destroy all the free radicals (metabolic byproduct that promotes ageing and hair greying). Regular application of neem oil for hair will keep the scalp healthy and young and prevent premature greying of hair.
13. Neem Oil for Scalp
A healthy scalp is a sign of healthy metabolism and an overall healthy body. A healthy scalp is essential for healthy, strong, and shiny hair. Pitta, one of the three doshas in the human body, is responsible for good digestion when in balance.
An overabundance of pitta in the body creates excessive heat causing acidity and poor scalp health. According to a review study, neem oil is known to cool the scalp and promote the growth of strong and shiny hair.
With its antifungal and antibacterial properties, neem oil fights against scalp infections such as:
- Scalp psoriasis (red and thick scalp)
- Folliculitis (redness around each hair follicles with pain and itchiness)
- Seborrheic dermatitis (dry scalp with flakiness causing dandruff)
14. Neem Oil for Hair Lice
Head lice, sometimes referred to as hair lice, are small insects that suck blood from the human scalp. Hence, head lice irritate the scalp and cause hair problems such as hair thinning and hair fall.
A study analysed different concentrations of neem oil ranging from five percent to 20 percent as an anti-head lice agent. All concentrations of neem oil were effective against hair lice. However, the study concluded that 15 percent neem oil was best for hair lice treatment.
The effectiveness of neem oil as an anti-head lice agent is attributed to azadirachtin, an active substance present in neem oil. According to a study, azadirachtin is 90 percent effective against head lice, killing them by suppressing their hunger.
To use neem oil for hair lice, follow these simple steps:
- Apply neem oil on scalp and hair
- Leave it overnight
- Use a thin comb to comb your hair and remove the hair lice
How to Use Neem Oil for Hair?
Neem oil for hair may be used topically. Direct topical application of neem oil for hair is considered the best way to promote strong and shiny hair growth.
If this is your first time using neem oil for hair, it is advised to do a patch test (apply the oil on the skin of your hand before applying it to the hair and scalp) to avoid any allergic reaction.
Neem oil for hair can be used in multiple ways:
- Way To Use Neem Oil For Hair-1: Apply neem oil on the scalp and hair. Leave it for 30-60 minutes. Wash it with a regular shampoo.
- Way To Use Neem Oil For Hair-2: Take your regular shampoo on your palm. Add a few drops of neem oil to it. Apply and massage your scalp. Wash it with normal water.
- Way To Use Neem Oil For Hair-3: Ready-made neem oil hair products can be used as per the instructions on the label of the product.
- Way To Use Neem Oil For Hair-4: Apply neem oil on scalp and hair. Leave it overnight. Wash it with regular shampoo or water.
How to Make Neem Oil for Hair Growth?
To make neem oil for hair growth at home, you need the following ingredients:
- Coconut oil - 500 ml (Tip: Make sure you use 100 percent virgin coconut oil with no added fragrance)
- Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) - 4-5 tablespoons (Tip: Grind the seeds to powder form)
- Mustard oil - 100 ml (Optional: Only if you have dry hair)
- Fresh neem leaves - one small bowl or two hands full
Steps to make neem oil for hair growth at home:
- Take a pan and add 500 ml coconut oil to it
- Add fenugreek seeds powder to the coconut oil
- Add two handfuls of fresh neem leaves along with their branches (cut, medium-sized)
- Mix all the ingredients properly and allow it to cook on medium heat
- Once the colour of neem leaves changes, the product’s label and breaks down into pieces on touching, turn off the heat
- Keep the mixture aside and allow the oil to cool. It may take 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature
- Store the prepared neem oil in a glass bottle. If you have dry hair, add 100 ml of mustard oil. It may last as long as three months
- Massage your scalp and hair with the prepared neem oil once a week for desired results
Neem Oil for Hair Side Effects
Side effects of neem oil for hair are minimal. It may cause scalp skin irritation if used too much or if applied undiluted. Diluted neem oil for hair is generally considered safe. However, it is advised to perform a patch test to avoid any allergic reaction.
To perform a patch test:
- Apply the neem oil on hand in a specific area (not the entire hand).
- Leave it for a few hours.
- If you do not experience any allergic reactions or symptoms, it is safe to apply to the scalp and hair.
- However, if you experience itching, redness, or any similar discomfort on the skin, do not apply it to the scalp and hair.
Neem Oil and Castor Oil for Hair
The use of neem oil and castor oil for hair has been a part of traditional medicine for ages. Neem oil and castor oil for hair are rich in essential nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that nourish the scalp and hair and protect them from environmental damage.
Benefits of neem oil and castor oil for hair are:
- Hair growth and hair strengthening
- Scalp skin regeneration
- Infection free scalp
Summing Up on Neem Oil for Hair
Neem oil for hair has been in use for centuries. Ayurveda enumerates several benefits of neem oil for hair and scalp health. Neem oil is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin E, calcium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, thus beneficial in treating dandruff, dry hair, grey hair, and hair fall. With minimal or no side effects, neem oil for hair has been extensively studied to rejuvenate scalp skin for healthy, strong, and shiny hair.
Is Neem Oil Good for Hair?
Yes, neem oil is good for hair. Neem oil for hair has been in use for ages and is extensively studied to provide all solutions for your hair problems. Apply neem oil to your hair and scalp for protection against dandruff and head lice. Neem oil is also good for hair growth and shine.
How Do I Wash My Hair With Neem Oil?
You may apply neem oil directly to your hair, leave it for a few hours, and wash it with your regular shampoo. You may also add a few drops of neem oil, mix it with your regular shampoo, and then wash as usual with normal water. You may apply neem oil and leave it overnight. In that case, wash your hair the following day with regular water and shampoo.
Can I Mix Coconut Oil With Neem Oil?
Yes, you can mix coconut oil with neem oil for hair growth. Make sure that the coconut oil is 100 percent natural without any added fragrances. Coconut oil is one of the best natural hair care products. It reduces the loss of hair proteins and helps to get shiny, tangle-free, strong, and healthy hair. When mixed with neem oil, coconut oil’s hair growth and hair strengthening potential is increased.
- M Sarwar Alam, M Athar, May 2004; Nimbidin suppresses functions of macrophages and neutrophils: relevance to its antiinflammatory mechanisms - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15174005/
- Khaled A S Al-Rasheid, Jürgen Schmidt, Margit Semmler, November 2011; Ovicidal effects of a neem seed extract preparation on eggs of body and head lice - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21484346/