Is Neem Oil For Hair As Good As It Seems?!

Bottles of Neem oil for hair loss

If you’ve never heard of neem oil, let alone using neem oil for hair growth, you’d be forgiven. I didn’t know neem oil for hair was a thing, either – not until I visited Bali in 2018 and came across a herbalist that stocked all things neem. Teas, toothpastes, shampoos, supplements and of course, neem oil – she had it all.

I left the store with a bag of neem tea leaves. And while it didn’t make the tastiest brew, it definitely tasted… erm… healthy!

But, as I found out, the bitter leaves of this tea can make a sweet hair care solution for hair health. And that neem oil has a bunch of other health benefits – in traditional Indian medicine, it’s even referred to as “the village pharmacy”.

If you favor natural hair loss treatments over chemical-heavy ones that come with harsh side effects, I think you’ll enjoy reading the following neem oil benefits. But if you’re cold-pressed for time (hee hee!), check out my top neem oil for hair growth below.

Emma's 'I'm not a doctor' disclaimer

Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences . This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here. I also keep the lights on by selling my own headscarves and alopecia merch.
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What is Neem Oil?

The evergreen Neem Tree – known as Azadirachta Indica – hails from India (although some say it’s from Myanmar), where it’s considered to be sacred, a wonder plant; a symbol of good health and protection.

In Hindu texts, it’s called Sarva Rogha Nivarini, which means “one that cures all ailments and ills” or the slightly catchier, “heal-all tree”.

The different parts of the neem tree – the leaves, twigs, bark and fruit – are used for a range of applications.

Top Neem Tree Benefits:

  • Neem leaves form the base of digestive teas or pastes with antifungal properties.
  • The bark and twigs double up as makeshift toothbrushes for dental hygiene.
  • Neem fruits are said to reduce fevers associated with malaria – supposedly.
  • Compounds of the tree are used to form capsules for immune-boosting functions.
  • Neem seed “cake” – a residue left over after neem oil extraction – is used in organic farming, thanks to its soil-enriching properties.

The Neem Tree rocks!

But for the purpose of this post, I won’t be looking at all the many benefits of the neem tree, or the methods of neem seed extract preparation.

Instead, I’ll focus on neem oil benefits: the moisturizing, golden-yellow oil that’s extracted from the tree’s small oval fruits, or “nuts” (which look a lot like olives). 

An oil that ayurvedic healers, beauty stylists and hairdressers alike swear by for hair care, which doesn’t seem to come with any negative side effects.

Specifically, I’ll be talking about how neem oil for scalp health and healthy hair. How you can use neem oil for hair loss… and maybe even encourage some hair growth along the way. Woohoo!

neem leaf
That neem has quite a sheen!

5 Benefits of Neem Oil for Hair Health

Although neem oil’s yellowish liquid has been used in Eastern ayurvedic medicine for centuries, it took quite a while for the West to catch up.

But now neem oil is finding its place among other natural gifts, like aloe vera and coconut oil, as a cosmetic gem and a top oil for hair care – in fact, neem oil was one of the most Googled skincare ingredients of 2018!

So what makes neem oil so great?

  • Anti-inflammatory properties, plus antifungal and antibacterial properties to soothe skin or scalp problems, including head lice, which could be triggering hair fall.
  • Nourishes dry skin, as neem oil contains lovely moisturizing components like Vitamin E and other essential fatty acids.
  • Promotes a healthy scalp to clear scalp infections and encourage and luscious locks. More on the extra benefits of neem oil for hair and scalp health soon.
  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and smoothes out skin – research shows that neem oil boosts levels of a collagen-producing enzyme called procollagen and a protein called elastin. Nice one.
  • Heals wounds and scars (thanks to that rockstar, Vitamin E!) while the antibacterial compounds of neem oil can help to tackle acne woes that could be affecting the hair and scalp. Yay!

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Is Neem Oil Good For Hair Loss?

Now, plenty of oils offer conditioning and moisturising properties (They’re oily, after all. It comes with the territory.)

But you can also use neem oil for hair growth, for scalp problems and to reduce hair thinning – because it brings the following neem oil benefits to your scalp.

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1. Provides Protection

Neem oil temporarily seals your hair follicles, acting as a protective barrier to damaging environmental factors (like pollution and UV rays).

Ordinarily, I’d advocate the use of products that rid the scalp of excess oil and sebum (which can clog the follicles and lead to hair loss). So I’m not fully sure whether I want something to form an excess layer of oil on my scalp for too long.

So just use neem oil for hair for an hour or two – making sure to rinse off your neem oil with a good cleanser afterwards. It’ll still provide a great foundation for following up with your usual hair styling products.

2. Offers Nourishment

Using neem oil for hair health is also thanks to high levels of Vitamin E, fatty acids and calcium. Meaning that even when applied topically, your hair and scalp still benefits from all the nutrients of this great “diet”!

FYI, Vitamin E is also used in hair care products thanks to its antioxidant properties for maintaining healthy skin. Plus, being rich in fatty acids helps skin cells to regenerate quickly, boost blood circulation and stimulate hair follicles: creating a healthier scalp that’s free from dandruff, dryness and itchiness.

This nourished foundation leads to healthy hair growth, so stronger locks can sprout forth. Win-win.

3. Reduces Scalp Inflammation

You can use neem oil for alopecia thanks to its active ingredient, called “nimbidin” – which, studies show, can suppress scalp inflammation. And since alopecia is triggered by an inflammatory autoimmune response, any measures you can take to reduce this angry reaction and hair breakage are a good idea!

Plus, if you’ve got other scalp conditions like psoriasis or dermatitis, or even head lice, you can use neem oil for hair shedding that could be triggered by that irritation, too – without any side effects. 

Oh, and speaking of irritating things… if you’re prone to other scalp issues like dandruff, you’ll be happy to know that neem oil is reported to prevent it. Why? Well, because in addition to anti inflammatory properties, neem oil also has antifungal properties – and dandruff often stems from the yeast-like fungus “malassezia”. Gross.

LA Says: I want to mention here that one study actually reports a patient developing dermatitis after using neem oil. So if you notice any adverse effects, please discontinue use immediately.

Neem oil bar
Pondering the benefits of my neem shampoo bar!

5 Best Neem Oils for Hair Growth

After reading those neem oil hair benefits, are you keen to try neem oil for hair?! Well, the next section will help you choose the best neem for hair loss.

Before that, a quick word of warning: Neem oil is fairly potent stuff. Believe me, it doesn’t smell pretty – with an aroma that’s somewhere between garlic and sulphur. Gross.

But hey… If it works, it works, right?! And you can always use neem oil for hair massages with a carrier oil like jojoba, to avoid scalp problems and to mask the scent. (Pura D’or do amazing carrier oils, FYI). So let’s dive in with the top neem oils for hair!

1. Oleavine Theratree Neem Oil

This Indian organic neem oil contains a blend of neem oil and wild-crafted neem oil. And while the first part is USDA-certified, apparently the second isn’t – they use an independent body called OMRI to verify that it’s free from pesticides or harmful levels of metals. 

Oleavine uses this mixture to get the maximum benefits from both the younger-farmed and longer-lived neem trees. Whether that makes a difference is anyone’s guess.

What the reviews say

Customers are using neem oil for plenty of things – not just for healthy hair, less hair breakage and softer skin. But as a repellent for a pest-free garden and flea-free pets!

(Now, that indicates just how strong neem oil is… so Oleavine recommends using a tablespoon in a gallon of water for garden spraying or diluting it with a carrier oil, plus a few drops of lavender, peppermint oil or rosemary essential oil, if applying to your scalp). 

In general, customers love this neem oil product for all hair types – one even says that they’ve “never had a cosmetic product that was so effective!” The main criticism is about the smell. But forewarned is forearmed, right?!

2. Premium Nature Organic Neem Oil

This 100% natural neem oil can be used for dry skin, fine lines and even uneven skin pigmentation.

But one of its main applications, according to the manufacturer, is to “help hair grow strong and long”. To “alleviate dryness and itchiness while keeping your hair moisturized and healthy year long”.

Big claims, but what do customers think about this neem oil?

What the reviews say

This is one of the most popular neem oil products on the market, which customers say is “a little more refined” than its competitors. 

Now, usually I’d prefer as natural a product as possible but the benefits of this brand’s offering is that the oil is clear rather than yellow, it’s less “gritty” and less pungent, too! It may also be better for color treated hair or for blonde hair as it won’t tint it in any way.

Reviewers using neem oil describe it as having a “strong nutty smell” – much less offensive than the other products on this list! It might just be the best neem oil for hair.

3. Milania Neem Oil

This baby is 100% pure, unrefined, cold-pressed neem oil – no additives, no synthetics, no artificial ingredients. Available in bottles from 4oz to 1 gallon, the pure Indian organic product also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Like the other oils on this list, it’s really good value – especially if you buy a bigger bottle – and it can be used in lots of ways. So a neem oil may be kind to your wallet and hair. Woohoo!

What the reviews say

Customers love using neem oil for growing hair and thickening eyebrows in addition to a dozen other applications – including to treat head lice and repair split ends.

It’s also one of the most popular neem oil treatment on Amazon to specifically target hair growth… at least, that’s what I’m getting from all those positive reviews!

4. Aromine Essentials Neem Oil

Another high-flyer in the neem world, this is a neem oil for hair, skin, scalp health… and home gardening! Rich in Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids to repair split ends and restore natural hair health, it’s another entirely natural oil with no synthetics added to improve its smell. Oh well.

Aromine Neem Oil offers a 30-day money-back guarantee – so besides smelling more than a little “earthy” for a few weeks, you don’t have anything to lose by trying it! This neem oil may be the most versatile option around.

What the reviews say

Most customers use this neem oil for their plants or for a pet shampoo (!!) However, those who use it for face serums or hair masks seem to love it, too. As always, the negative reviews focus on the smell – but that only confirms that it’s the real deal! 

Plus, this particular product is said to smell “like roasted garlic”. Hey, there’s worse things you could smell like, right? So in my mind, it’s a better choice than a diluted neem oil.

5. Artizen Neem Oil For Hair

Usually, I wouldn’t be a big fan of anything with “artisan” in the title. Just a tad pretentious, I think.

But I’ll overlook my reservations because a) the brand spells it differently and b) they make a range of oils that people love!

I’m tempted to try their castor oil, their grapeseed oil and their almond oil for hair growth and improved blood circulation, too. But first, let’s focus on the neem oil – voted “Amazon’s Choice” and available in a 16oz bottle, it’s one of the best-value products on this list.

What the reviews say

There are fairly mixed Amazon reviews for Artizen’s various hair oils. But the ones for its neem oil seem to be pretty good. Customers say it left their hair “feeling silky and smooth”, improved their dry scalp and liked that the bottle lasted for ages. 

The more negative comments revolve around the smell (surprise, surprise!) Although actually, one customer mentions that it’s “a lot milder” than other neem oil products. Yay!

Alternatives: Neem Shampoos, Conditioners & Supplements

Of course, if after reading all those reports about how damn smelly neem oil can be, you might not want to try pure neem oil for hair. In which case, it might be a good idea to start with a diluted neem oil or a neem-based product instead.

iHeart Nature Organic Neem Shampoo Bar is an eco-friendly, natural and great-value option that’s packed with other healthy hair-promoting ingredients. 

TheraNeem Naturals Conditioner gets AMAZING reviews on Amazon – and it has a nice coconut smell, too!

You can buy neem pills, too! There are neem supplements on the market for hair thinning and other hair problems.

The average recommended dose of neem or neem leaf is 1,300 milligrams (mg) per day – usually split between two doses. Popular brands include: Organic India and Nature’s Way.

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How To Use Neem Oil For Hair Growth

Just like any pure essential oil for topical use, I’d recommend using neem oil by diluting it with a carrier oil – like coconut oil, castor oil or almond oil – before apply the oil to your hair. (Psst… that’ll improve the smell, too!)

How to use diluted neem oil:
  • Add 12 drops of pure neem oil for every ounce of carrier, e.g. coconut oil or castor oil.
  • Do a patch test 24 hours beforehand – just in case of an allergic reaction. (Even the natural approach can cause irritation for highly sensitive scalps!)
  • Since water repels oil, an oil-based treatment like neem will be less effective on wet hair. So it’s better to apply neem to dry hair or towel dried hair.
  • Massage your diluted neem oil all over your scalp to stimulate the hair follicles.
  • Leave it to work its magic for 1–2 hours and then rinse it out with your favorite shampoo. Some people leave neem on overnight or even for 24 hours! But this might cause skin irritation, so better to start off with a few hours at a time.


Alternatively, you could also add a few drops of neem oil to your favorite shampoo or conditioner for a more regular application… or try one of the neem-based alternatives that I mention above!

Homemade Neem Oil Hair Masks

Still not sure how to apply neem oil to your hair? Well, here’s a quick diluted neem oil recipe that you can try out once or twice a week to boost hair growth. You’re welcome. 

You’ll need:


What to do:

  • Mix all 3 oils together in a bowl before you add oil to your hair
  • Massage the “neem tonic” into your scalp and hair
  • Leave your diluted neem oil mask in for 2 hours before rinsing with a minty shampoo (to really get rid of the smell!)

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Where to Buy Neem Oil

In terms of where to snap up your neem oil, I’d recommend going directly to the source. So if you have any stores that stock ayurvedic medicine or Indian herbal supplies in your area, ask them if they stock neem oil.

Alternatively, you can order any of the neem oil products I mention above from Amazon. They’re all really good value, too!

LA Says: Note that if you’ve bought a cold-pressed, unrefined and organic neem oil that’s in its natural state (which I’d advise you do), it should be yellowish in color.

And it will most likely become solid at room temperature, just like coconut oil. If this happens, just hold it between your hands or pop the bottle of neem oil into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes until it forms a liquid again.

This bird's branched out into neem.

Common Questions

1. How often should I use neem oil for hair growth?

Like I said, neem oil can be quite potent. So if you’re not used to it, you may experience a little irritation at first as one of the effects of neem oil.

Not to mention that smell I mentioned – you might want to alternate it with hair products that don’t offend the nostrils so much! I’d start with once or twice a week and see how you get on.

2. Is neem oil safe to use on skin?

Yes it’s considered safe to use – just make sure to dilute your neem oil hair product with a carrier oil or to mix a few drops into your skin/haircare product first. I couldn’t find any bad side effects of neem oil. But you could always do a patch test 24 hours before using neem oil, just in case.

3. Can I cook with neem oil?

Unfortunately, no. Unlike many other natural botanical oils – like coconut or almond – neem oil cannot be used for cooking. And you shouldn’t ingest it either – neem oil is for topical use only. But you can use neem oil for a range of other cosmetic purposes by adding it to your favourite hand cream, moisturizer or body cream. Yay!

4. Can I apply neem oil directly on hair?

Of course you can! Just use a smaller amount on dry hair than wet hair, or try diluted neem oil in of the DIY masks above, mixing it with a carrier like coconut oil.

Final Thoughts: Neem For Hair is a Dream!​

I’ve barely scratched the surface of all that neem oil can do. And even if you’re not into ayurvedic or Indian traditional medicine, I’d still highly recommend trying neem oil for your hair.

Many people I came across in Bali and in Sri Lanka raved about it, too – and they had incredible heads of hair, the silken stuff of an alopecian’s dreams!

From my own use of the tea, and my research into neem oil, I can’t really find any bad side effects – other than the smell, of course. Still, unlike many other hair growth treatments, neem oil doesn’t seem to cause bad side effects like headaches, scalp irritation, or increased hair fall. And if it works for hair growth then hey, I’m willing to handle the smell!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about neem oil, if you’ve ever used it. And if you have any favorite neem oil for hair products that I’ve missed, get sharing below!

Love & hugs,

Lady Alopecia Signature

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Lady Alopecia

Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!

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6 Responses

  1. You can order organic neem oil on iherb. I use it for toenail fungus, acne and sometimes scalp to add shine to hair (but it just smells too awful to leave in my hair so I don’t do it often). I got on this page because I have an alopecian friend and wanted to recommend it to her. However, understandably she is quite sensitive about it so don’t want to recommend it without first finding someone else with alopecia who it has worked for. Have you applied neem oil directly to your scalp? Leave it in? Has it worked?

    1. Hi Jeanette,

      Thanks so much for writing in, and for your feedback about using neem. Yes, you can also buy certain brands on iHerb and all the ones I mention in this post on Amazon. For your friend, I’d recommend using Milania as it’s good for sensitive scalps and she can do a test patch first to make sure everything’s ok. I would recommend that she also dilute it as I advise in this post (with a carrier like coconut or almond oil) or get creative with essential oils for more of a hair mask. Add 12 drops of neem oil for every ounce of the carrier, plus a few drops of the essential oil. Leave it in for 1-2 hours then rinse with cool water. Tip: I’ve used neem with peppermint essential oil and it’s brilliant! I’ve also used it with castor, which is a little thicker but it depends on whether your friend can source it and which she prefers. If she wants to trial out other neem products rather than going straight for the oil, she could try a neem shampoo bar. I get mine locally here in Vietnam but this one looks great and also has plenty of other ingredients to nourish the hair and scalp!

      Nothing has really worked for me long-term as I still have alopecia. Nioxin did in the past, but then I stopped using it as I wanted to go for more natural products. Although the castor & peppermint combo did make my eyebrow come back!! Anyway, please feel free to pass on my advice to your friend and to share my website with her, also. I hope she finds it helpful!

      Have a lovely day,

      Emma (Lady Alopecia)

  2. Hi..just found yor site. Ive got andro alopacia. Having treatment but getting scalp reaction. Just wanted to reach out re Neem. Not sure it is available in Australia.

    1. Hi Heather, thanks so much for your comment and I’m really sorry to hear about your AA. What treatment are you on at the moment, may I ask? It sounds like, if you’re having a scalp reaction, a more natural approach would be good. Have you tried to source those brands I mention in my post? It seems like you should defintiely be able to get the Milania one and the Arizen one I recommend through Amazon. If not, I found this brand that are based in Australia – I haven’t used them personally though, so I can’t vouch for how good they are. I’ve been using a need shampoo bar on my hair recently and it’s great – no brand name, just locally made in Vietnam. So if you can’t find any online, maybe check in your local health store or farmer’s market! Hope that helps xx

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