neem oil for hair

The Truth about Neem Oil for Hair: Can it Work Wonders?

Seems like every oil for hair promises to be the one. Or the next big thing in hair care. Remember the coconut oil craze? The only thing it couldn’t cure was probably my depression but hey, I don’t blame coconut oil for it. Can one ingredient really tackle several hair issues like dandruff, itchy scalp, and dry hair? Even though it is still not possible to address all hair issues at once. Enter neem oil. 

Neem oil for hair seems to be very close to being the one. It is affordable, it is not over the top and it has a long history. So, let’s dive into the neem oil saga. 

What is neem oil? 

Neem oil is kind of ancient, even though it might be a brand new name to most of us. Originated in India, it is extracted from a neem tree. Its seeds and fruits are primarily used to produce neem oil.

It has been used in India as a healing oil thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. When it comes to hair, it has been used as a natural dandruff cure for centuries. 

Interestingly, it has been referred to as “the wonder plant”, just like our blog title that questions it.

Even though research is limited on neem oil, let’s see what wonders neem oil can do for hair. 

Neem oil benefits for hair

It helps with hair dandruff

Neem oil is antifungal which makes it a perfect ingredient for fighting dandruff. Oftentimes it is caused by fungus and yeast on the scalp. For centuries, it has been used as the most natural way to deal with dandruff which still rings true to this day. When your scalp is dry and suffers from excess dandruff, neem oil can be an instant remedy. 

It promotes hair growth 

Neem oil is rich in fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, palmitic acid, Vitamin E. These work like a charm for hair regeneration and maintaining the overall moisture of the hair.  Moisturized hair means healthy hair and healthy hair means hair that is strong against hair breakage. The antioxidants in neem oil also support the healthy growth of hair follicles, thus contributing to strong and luscious hair. 

It soothes the scalp and tones down the itchiness 

This is where the anti-inflammatory properties of neem oil come into play. It is also backed up by research, as a component called nimbidin serves as antiviral and anti-inflammatory agents.

These components and other antioxidants help soothe the dry, itchy scalp (which is most prone to dandruff as well).

In a way, neem oil provides that extra hair care targeting two hair issues. Still not convinced it is close to being the one? Let’s see. 

It is used for removing hair lice 

Studies have shown that neem seed extract kills the larvae that basically “give birth” to head lice. It basically prevents the lice from laying their eggs, thus protecting the hair scalp. You can get rid of lice with a neem oil-based shampoo after 10 minutes or so. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

It can be effective against hair frizz

Frizzy hair can be a total pain in the neck if not treated. The main reason behind frizzy hair is of course the loss of moisture. The hair has to make up for the lost moisture. The fatty acids in neem oil help the hair achieve it. By locking in the moisture, you get less frizzy hair. 

What hair type should use neem oil for hair?

neem oil for hair
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Using neem oil is ok for every hair type. That said, some hair types will benefit more from using it than others. 

Dry hair types will probably benefit the most from using neem oil for hair. Because they have an undernourished and dehydrated scalp, the fatty acids in neem oil will come to the rescue. They will nourish the scalp and provide moisture for the hair. 

If you have a sensitive scalp, it is highly recommended NOT to apply it directly to the scalp, especially if you have scalp eczema. 

How to use neem oil for hair 

There are some rules to follow when it comes to how to use neem oil for hair topically. 

You have to dilute it with carrier oils like jojoba or olive oil. For every 10 or 12 drops, add 5 or 6 drops of neem oil. Sort of like a 50/50 rule. 

Some skin types (especially sensitive skin) can react differently to oils. So, just to be sure, do a patch test before applying the oil. 

Here are some ways to can incorporate neem oil into your hair care routine:

Use neem oil-based shampoos or add neem oil to your shampoo/conditioner

Take a dollop of your go-to shampoo (preferably sulfate-free) and add 2 or three drops of neem oil. Do the usual thing, massage it gently into your scalp through the ends of your hair. You can also do the same thing with hair conditioners. 

Do a scalp massage with neem oil 

Before putting neem oil directly on your scalp, again, make sure to dilute it with carrier oils like olive oil, jojoba, or almond oil. Organic sesame oil could also be a good option. The ratio should be 12 drops neem oil + 5 or 6 drops of your preferred carrier oil. Let the oil sit on your hair for 20 minutes or so, then rinse it off. And then wash it off with your shampoo. 

Use neem oil in a hair mask

If you are into hair masks you can make the best of neem oil for hair. Just add it to your hair mask for that extra moisture boost. Don’t forget to use the shampoo to wash it afterward and don’t leave neem oil on your scalp for too long as it can irritate the skin.  

Are neem oil supplements good for hair?  

neem oil for hair
Photo by Olga Shenderova from Pexels

There isn’t much evidence to support or reject the benefits of neem oil supplements. 

It is better to consult with your doctor before purchasing any supplements as they are very individual. Never buy supplements from unverified brands. 

Possible side effects of neem oil for hair 

Neem oil isn’t necessarily notorious for having side effects. However, you should be careful, particularly if you are using it for the first time. Oils tend to be irritating, so bear that in mind. 

Do a patch test on your arm. Wait for 24 hours. If you don’t experience any redness, irritation, then you are good to go. 

If you are not sure how to use it, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to your doctor. 

The bottom line 

Neem oil certainly does live to the hype and its nickname as “the wonder plant”.

Its uses aren’t only limited to hair, many use it for skin as well. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, the use of neem oil is truly versatile. 

With many benefits of neem oil for hair, it is certainly a great ingredient for those of you out there who prefer natural remedies for hair. 

Just with any other ingredient out there, you should be cautious before using it to avoid any serious side effects.