Why use tea tree oil for hair? Tea tree oil has many uses in the health and beauty category.
You may think that using tea tree oil for hair will just make it greasy just like any other essential oils. However, tea tree oil isn’t just a fatty liquid. The essential oil from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree has many properties that can help with anything from growing your hair to treating dandruff. The uses and benefits of tea tree oil may be further to more than you can image.
What Causes Hair Loss and Scalp Problems Anyway?
According to WebMD, a variety of issues, including inflammatory conditions and fungal infections, can contribute to hair loss.
Ringworm is one fungal infection that can affect the scalp. On the scalp, ringworm may start as a small, red bump. As the fungus spreads, it enters hair fibers.
This causes them to break, leaving behind bald patches. The patches may be flat, or they may have a puffy red ring around them. The skin in these areas may become scaly and ooze fluid.
Ringworm is the same condition that causes athlete’s foot. It can be caused by several different strains of fungus. Some strains are resistant to common drugs used to treat ringworm.
Folliculitis is another scalp condition that can lead to hair loss. This condition causes the area surrounding the hair follicle to become inflamed. The hair may fall out and eventually, the follicle may become permanently damaged, leading to a bald patch.
Folliculitis can be caused by residue that clogs the hair follicles. It can also be caused by an infection in the follicles.
On the other hand, pseudomonas aeruginosa is one type of bacteria that grows in improperly chlorinated water. It can cause a skin problem that’s referred to as “hot tub folliculitis.”
Piedra is a fungus that affects the hair fiber directly. It looks like tiny stones dotting each strand of hair. Although tea tree oil has not been studied for treating piedra, its antifungal properties may help relieve the condition.
Demodex is a mite that affects the skin on the face and scalp. Although it can cause dandruff, irritation, and itchy scalp, it doesn’t typically cause hair loss.
Rosacea Support Group explains that a solution of 50% tea tree oil can kill the mites in 15 minutes. Pure tea tree oil can kill them in 4 minutes. [source]
Tea Tree Oil May Help Your Hair Grow
If you experience hair loss, breakage, or problems with growth, the culprit is probably your dry scalp.
Even if you don’t know what’s causing your hair or scalp problems, tea tree oil may be able to help. For example, tea tree oil can target folliculitis caused by bacteria or a clogged follicle.
In one study, tea tree oil was as effective as ketoconazole against certain strains of fungus. Ketoconazole is often used to treat piedra. [source]
Hair loss that is caused by an infection can be remedied by using tea tree oil. The oil can work from the outside in or the inside out. The oil’s antimicrobial capabilities can kill the bacteria on your scalp that’s contributing to your hair loss. Use it topically to remove dead skin cells, unclog hair follicles, and combat germs.
Some research shows that tea tree oil also has beneficial effects on your immune system. A healthy immune system will help your body naturally fight microbes that can lead to hair loss. Taking tea tree oil internally is dangerous. However, using it on the outside of your body can help with the immunity inside your system.
Tea Tree Oil Can Get Rid of Dandruff
Dandruff is caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Dry skin
- Bacteria and fungi
- Excess oil
- Lack of scalp stimulation
If you have dry skin, tea tree oil can moisturize your scalp and serve as an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner. You should never use tea tree oil directly on the skin. Dilute it with another essential oil, such as argan oil, aloe vera, castor oil, lavender oil or jojoba oil, for added moisturizing benefits.
If your dandruff stems from germs on your scalp, the tea tree essential oil will help to keep them at bay. Using tea tree oil as scalp treatment can encourage a healthy environment for hair growth.
If you have oily hair, the fats can build up. They combine with dead skin cells and residue to create waxy clumps. Tea tree oil can break up the grease and help exfoliate dandruff that’s caused by excess oil.
If you don’t stimulate your scalp regularly, pieces of dead skin and buildup from hair products won’t be removed from your scalp. This can result in dandruff. Tea tree oil delivers a tingling sensation to your scalp. The process of working the oil into your hair also stimulates the scalp.
This can help you remove existing dandruff and prevent future flakes. Cradle cap in young children is caused by a similar problem. Using a combination of very diluted tea tree oil with gentle scalp stimulation can help free your infant from scaly skin.
8 Ways To Use Tea Tree Oil For Hair
Tea tree oil is available in many commercial hair products. However, other characteristics of those hair products may not be desirable. You may want to use tea tree oil some days but not others. Creating your own tea tree oil hair products can help you customize its use for your specific hair care regimen.
Start by purchasing 100% pure tea tree oil from a reputable seller. According to Whole New Mom, different tea tree oils have different levels of therapeutic ingredients. [source]
A high-quality oil is typically made with plants obtained from small farms in areas where the plant grows natively. No solvents or artificial ingredients should be used to distill or manufacture the oil.
Scroll down to the Important Tips section below to get more information on recommended carrier oils.
Here’s a video that shows you how to make a tea tree oil spray:
#1 – Basic Tea Tree Massage Oil
Diluting tea tree oil with a carrier oil and massaging it on your scalp regularly will help restore your scalp’s health. Whether you have a specific condition that affects the look or growth of your hair, or simply want to optimize your hair’s health, basic tea tree massage oil can be beneficial. The act of massaging stimulates circulation and decreases inflammation.
- Blend 10 drops of tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
- Apply to the scalp using a medicine dropper, squeeze bottle or spoon.
- Optional: warm the oil blend on the stove or in the microwave. Don’t let it get too hot. It should feel just a little warm when you touch it with your fingers.
- Massage with the pads of your fingers using circular motions for up to 5 minutes.
- Make sure that you concentrate on every area of your scalp, including your hairline, behind your ears and the nape of your neck.
- Wrap your head in a warm towel to encourage your pores to open.
- Leave the oil on for up to 10 minutes before washing your hair with your regular shampoo.
#2 – Turn Any Shampoo Into A Tea Tree Oil Treatment
Regularly using a tea tree oil shampoo can help with hair loss, odor, dandruff, dryness, and head lice prevention. Add pure tea tree oil to your regular shampoo to enhance the benefits.
- Add tea tree oil to just the amount of shampoo that you need for each shower. Adding it all at once to the shampoo in the bottle may cause it to oxidize more rapidly.
- Pour the desired amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand. Add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil.
- Wash your hair as usual, focusing on your scalp.
- For a more intense treatment, let the tea tree shampoo sit on your hair for up to 5 minutes before rinsing.
#3 – Make A Leave-In Tea Tree Oil Spray
Making a non-greasy tea tree oil spray or conditioner can help you take advantage of its therapeutic benefits between showers. This spray doesn’t include excess oils and won’t weigh your hair down. It won’t make your hair look greasy.
- Find a glass spray bottle. A dark-colored bottle will prevent light from oxidizing the tea tree oil.
- Fill the spray bottle with alcohol-free witch hazel.
- Add several drops of tea tree oil. The amount will depend on your skin sensitivity and the amount of witch hazel used.
- Start with a solution of 10 drops of tea tree oil per ¼ cup of witch hazel.
- Spray your scalp with the solution, parting your hair as necessary to allow the spray to reach your skin.
- Style hair as usual.
#4 – Make A Rinse-Out Tea Tree Oil Spray
If you need a more moisturizing treatment than the leave-in spray, consider using a rinse-out spray that contains more oil. This spray will make your hair look greasy. It’s a great product to use overnight. If you’re using it during the day and have to go out, you can cover your hair with a scarf, hat, or headband.
- Fill a glass spray bottle with ¼ cup of one of the carrier oils listed in the Important Tips section. You can use any blend of those oils except for coconut oil.
- Add 10 drops of tea tree oil. Shake to blend.
- Spray into your hair, paying attention to the scalp.
- Leave the spray in for as long as you’d like.
- Wash out with your regular shampoo or a customized tea tree oil shampoo.
#5 – Tea Tree Oil Spray And Mask
This nourishing hair mask includes natural ingredients that are good for your hair. It will refresh and replenish your scalp.
This is ideal to use when your head has been exposed to the sun during the summer. You’ll slough off dead skin and moisturize your hair and scalp. For a more intense treatment, leave the mask on while you sleep, and rinse it out in the morning.
- Fill a spray bottle with 1/8 cup raw apple cider vinegar and 1/8 cup distilled water. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil.
- Spray your whole scalp with this mixture, making sure to saturate down to the skin.
- Leave in for up to 15 minutes.
- Shampoo your hair twice with customized tea tree oil shampoo. During the second cleanse, leave the tea tree shampoo on your hair for 5 minutes before rinsing.
- Towel dry your hair when you get out of the shower.
- Mash together one avocado with 2 tablespoons of liquefied organic coconut oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
- Apply this mask to your scalp, massaging as you put it on. You can extend the mask to the ends of your hair.
- Pile your hair on top of your head and leave the mask on for 30 minutes.
- Shampoo gently.
#6 – DIY Styling Oil For Waves
Using a carrier oil in wavy hair will help tame frizz. The tea tree essential oil will prevent microbes and mildew from building up in the damp, tight braids as you sleep.
- Shampoo your hair as usual.
- Towel dry hair.
- Apply tea tree oil leave-in spray throughout your hair.
- Braid your hair into two braids.
- In the morning, remove the braids and shake out the hair.
- Use a small amount of tea tree oil rinse-out spray to control frizz. Use this sparingly.
#7 – Rosemary And Tea Tree Oil Treatment For Scalp Problems
Tea tree and rosemary essential oils both have antibacterial and antioxidant properties, according to drugs.com. Use this oil for scalp every week to eliminate anything that can contribute to hair growth issues. [source]
- Mix together 5 drops of tea tree oil, 5 drops of rosemary oil, and 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil.
- Massage into the scalp for up to 10 minutes.
- Leave on for 1-3 hours.
- Shampoo out or simply rinse thoroughly with warm water.
- Apply tea tree oil leave-in spray to scalp once hair is dry.
#8 – Fungus-Fighting Oil
This Natural Medicine Journal article explains that coconut oil is also effective at fighting fungi, including yeast. This blend can be helpful for combating fungal infections on the scalp. [source]
- Combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of melted extra virgin coconut oil.
- Massage into your scalp for up to 10 minutes.
- Leave on your head for at least 2 hours.
- Wash your hair as usual.
Important Tips For Using Tea Tree Oil For Hair
Tea tree oil may cause irritation or dryness if it’s used directly on the skin. Dilute it with a carrier oil to benefit from its effects without experiencing any side effects. Carrier oils that improve hair health include:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Argan oil
- Avocado oil
- Almond oil – Like this from Now Foods
When it comes to determining how strong to make your solution, you may need to experiment. You can start by following the guidelines that we’ve suggested. If you experience problems, dial back on the tea tree oil. If you aren’t getting results, try adding more tea tree oil to your solution.
Some people are allergic to tea tree oil. Testing it out by using it for a few days on a small patch of skin can help prevent a large-scale reaction.
Experts say that most allergic reactions to tea tree oil are caused by oxidation. This occurs as the oil loses stability over time. Its shelf life is about six months to one year. Keep it tightly capped and away from steam, light, heat, and moisture to prevent it from oxidizing prematurely.
According to Tea Tree Wonders, you should never store tea tree oil in plastic. It will cause the active ingredient to seep out of the oil. This leaves behind more of the compounds that can cause irritation. Tea tree oil stored in plastic will only last about 90 days. [source]
If you don’t like the smell of tea tree oil, add lavender essential oil to any blend that you make. Use equal parts tea tree and lavender oils. The lavender oil smells more appealing and has antimicrobial properties.