peppermint leaves

Peppermint Oil For Hair Growth: Better Than Minoxidil!

A Fresh Solution For Your Scalp!

I’ve used peppermint essential oil (PEO) for ages, mainly to relieve tension headaches. In fact, along with lavender oil, it’s the first essential oil I ever used – and when I travel, I carry a bottle of each with me! But peppermint oil for hair growth is a relatively new discovery for me. And the more I’ve researched it, the more I’ve used it: to see if I can apply this oil for hair loss, too.

And I wanted to share my exciting findings with you here! Namely, the following…

Peppermint oil has been scientifically proven to help hair grow.

Keep reading to discover a study that shows peppermint oil’s potential as a hair loss treatment. Oh, and a few other ways you can use it to boost overall wellness. Yay!

But first, a quick look at some of the good stuff… 

3 Brands I'd Recommend

YOUNG LIVING

MAJESTIC PURE

CU of me in front of yellow wall
Transparency disclaimer

Hi, I’m Emma. I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences with alopecia. I also participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program – meaning I may earn a small commission from the Amazon products I link to. But I only endorse ones that I’ve tried or trust! This fascinating Disclaimer Page has more info.

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Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Hair

Whether you’re aware of it or not, peppermint or mint leaf extract stars in many a hair loss shampoo, including Nioxin and Keranique. And these brands don’t include it for its pleasant smell – that’s just a bonus. 😉

Here’s what PEO can do for your scalp and hair…

Boosts Blood Circulation

When applied topically, mint oil increases microcirculation – basically, helping blood to reach your hair follicles faster. In fact, a study in Microvascular Research revealed that a 4% menthol solution could widen blood vessels, effectively increasing blood flow.

Boosting blood supply to revitalize the scalp is essential if you’re suffering from thinning hair, alopecia or a receding hairline. 

Maybe you’ve entered the telegon (resting phase) of your hair growth cycle too early. Or you might be stuck in that phase for longer than you should – it normally lasts 3 months. 

In any case, peppermint oil can give your scalp the kick it needs to move back into the anagen (growth phase) and to start producing hair again. Stimulating the anagen growth phase is what topical treatments like 2% and 5% minoxidil seek to do – PEO is just a more natural way of doing it. 🙂

Improves Oxygen Levels

“What does oxygen have to do with healthy hair?” You might ask. But bear with me. 

You see, without enough oxygen, DHT – that pesky hormone which can aid hair loss by reducing follicle growth space – has the perfect environment to grow. 

But with peppermint oil boosting blood flow to deliver fresh, oxygenated blood to the scalp, you can inhibit DHT production in a more natural way than many of the hair growth shampoos on the market. Yay!

Cleans The Scalp

The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of peppermint oil make it one of the most effective essential oils at tackling fungal conditions. (Gross.) PEO also shows strong antioxidant activity and anti-allergenic properties, meaning the chance of negative side effects are much slimmer.

So instead of relying on harsh chemicals, peppermint oil gently cleanses the scalp to remove unwanted bacteria, excess oils and DHT, which can inhibit hair production. Think of it as a carwash, for your head. Mmm, minty… 

Peppermint plants
Now that's a minty fresh plant.

Promotes Growth

Can peppermint essential oil regrow hair? Well, unfortunately there is no miracle cure for alopecia. A range of factors contribute to hair loss, just like a range of lifestyle and dietary changes might be needed to help it grow back. Topical products are only part of the treatment plan.

But the exciting thing is, peppermint oil IS a very effective topical treatment. And it’s completely natural – so you aren’t at any risk of more hair loss or other bad side effects by including peppermint oil in your haircare routine!

Reduces Inflammation

According to this study, PEO also has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It’s used to treat joint pain and digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for that very reason. 

Inflammation, as you may know, is what usually triggers the autoimmune response. With alopecia, the autoimmune response is what causes the immune system to attack healthy hair follicles – so the more you can do to lower inflammation and prevent this ongoing assault, the better!

Smells Minty Fresh!

Like I said, a bonus benefit. Peppermint – known as Mentha Piperita by plant enthusiasts – is a blend of spearmint and watermint. The aromatic result makes for delicious teas, refreshing gum, yummy ice-cream… and a fresh solution for toothpastes, shower gels and shampoos alike. 

LA Says: The essential oil can be a little overpowering for some – and it’s not recommended for use near the eyes. That’s why peppermint is usually mixed with a carrier oil. But more on that in a sec. 😉

peppermint bottles
Get creative with your peppermint mixes!

How can Peppermint Oil Help Hair Loss?

Traditional plant remedies, for instance castor oil and neem oil, have been used to treat hair loss for centuries – but only a few have been scientifically evaluated. Peppermint belongs to the same family as another aromatic herb – rosemary – whose oil has also been used to treat hair loss. In fact, in human trials, rosemary oil proved just as effective as 2% minoxidil, with less scalp itching after 6 months.

And PEO knows how to do its family proud… it can fight hair loss, too! 

How it works

  • Excess sebum or debris can clog pores and your hair follicles. This can result in fungal conditions like dandruff (on the lower scale) and on the more serious end, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and hair loss.
  • Since the health of your scalp is essential for encouraging hair to grow – and to retaining what you’ve got – it makes sense to use products that focus on scalp health first.
  • Peppermint oil is as kind to your scalp as you can get. Not only does it give it the blood supply that it craves, it cleans it up and keeps it moisturized – all while making sure you don’t get hot-headed (literally!) by too much inflammation.

 

That’s the theory, anyway. Now, onto some practicalities…

Peppermint Pots! Isn't that Iron Man's girlfriend?!

Peppermint vs Minoxidil = More Hair Growth!

Topical minoxidil (Rogaine®) is one of the most popular topical treatments for hair loss around. In fact, along with oral finasteride (Proscar®), it’s the only FDA-sanctioned hair loss treatment in the US.

And for many people, it’s really effective. However, I personally don’t advocate its use – especially if you’ve got extensive bald patches. 

My Issue With Minoxidil

Ok, so this treatment that your dermatologist will probably recommend can be effective on small patches, at least initially. But what happens when those bald spots spread? 

Minoxidil is a very strong hair treatment, which I found had pretty bad side effects (headaches, a dry scalp and dizziness, in my case). Even Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, who first made minoxidil as a hypertension medication, warn against these effects, plus others like rapid weight gain, increased heart rate and difficulty breathing. Yikes.

When I started using minoxidil, I realized that I didn’t like applying large doses of something that made me feel so unwell. So I moved to the natural approach instead.

A Recent Discovery

Since then, I’ve used a range of natural hair products on and off. And some seemed to work… those fuzzy white vellus hairs would pop up to say hello. 🙂

But because I’ve never isolated a single treatment – or stuck to one for long enough – I’ve never known which one was actually doing me good. I needed evidence as to what was causing this hair regrowth.

That’s why I was so excited when I recently came across this 2014 study by Korean researchers, which tested a couple of different natural remedies against minoxidil and their effects on hair growth in mice. These included:

  • Saline (SA)
  • Pure Jojoba Oil (JO)
  • 3% Peppermint Essential Oil (PEO) – diluted in jojoba oil
  • 3% Minoxidil (MXD)

 

These 4 topical treatments were applied 6 days a week for 4 weeks to mice that had been shaved on their dorsal area – to standardize the telogen phase for all. 

The results? PEO showed the most prominent hair growth effects: more follicles that grew longer, and thicker. It rapidly moved that particular group into the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle; whereas the other group’s transition was both slower and less effective.

  • From Week 2, peppermint had grown hair quicker than saline or jojoba.
  • At Week 3, it had dramatically surpassed saline, jojoba and even minoxidil
  • Finally, at Week 4, PEO showed hair growth in the anagen stage at 92%. MXD was way behind, at 55%. 

LA Says: Check out what these results looked like below but be warned: mice are involved. Turn away if you’re squeamish!!

mice test
Thanks to NCBI for the truly creepy image.

Peppermint oil blew the other two treatments out of the water, too. The study concluded that PEO was the most effective treatment of the four for regrowing hair, without any toxic or adverse effects. Yay, peppermint!

LA Says: This study was carried out on shaved mice, not humans with alopecia. And it was back in 2014 – so it would be great to read about recent human trials. To see if peppermint oil can be used for alopecia, as an alternative to things like finasteride or minoxidil.

My Top Peppermint Essential Oils for Growth

I don’t personally think the brand makes a massive difference. Just make sure whatever you buy is 100% pure essential oil. The study I mentioned above used a French oil called Sanoflore®, that had been diluted in Desert Whale jojoba oil.

Young Living

I use this one by Young Living. Well, that was before I read all the stories behind the brand and got creeped out. Now I’m using up my bottles before I move my custom elsewhere! 

In any case, the oil is really good for topical use – and a couple of drops added to hot cacao is delicious, too! 😉

Majestic Pure

I’d also recommend this one by Majestic Pure. I really like this brand – which is why I include it in my review of the best coconut oils for hair growth – and it looks like I’m not alone. Customers love it for a range of household purposes as well as skin care uses, to ease headaches and to boost energy levels. 

Most of the reviews comment on the size of the bottle, too – in terms of essential oils, it’s pretty much the best-value ones around!

Artizen

Last but certainly not least, Artizen is a customer favorite on Amazon. With nearly 20K reviews – and most of them really positive – I’d be inclined to try plenty of their other oils, too. But their 100% pure peppermint essential oil would be first on my list. 😉

What Else Can I Use Peppermint Oil For?

Really, this versatile oil has so many applications – whether you want to make your own house cleaning products, boost your energy levels or, like I said, add a few drops to a hot cup of chocolatey goodness. Psst… If it’s the latter, make sure the brand you’ve bought isn’t for external use only.

I use peppermint oil for headaches – whenever I feel tension gathering behind my eyes or by my sinuses, I dab peppermint oil on my temples and voilà! Instant soothing. Again, use with caution – it shouldn’t get too close to your eyes otherwise stream city!

Other proven uses of peppermint oil

How to Apply The Oil

The most important thing to remember is this: DO NOT apply large amounts of PEO directly onto your skin. I tend to use a couple of drops directly on my temples (for those headaches) but haven’t had any bad effects.

Still, it’s powerful stuff – and a little goes a long way. So if you’re using it for hair growth, you should always dilute it with a carrier oil first. Coconut oil, jojoba, almond or sesame oil will all make a perfect partner! 

Recommended dosage: As a general rule, add 10 drops of essential oil to each fl. oz (30mls) of your carrier oil. Usually though, I’m working with smaller amounts – because I don’t exactly have much hair to apply the treatment to! So I mix 1 tablespoon of coconut or jojoba oil with 2 drops of peppermint essential oil.

Scalp massage time… 

All you need to do now is to massage this DIY mixture into your scalp and enjoy the cooling sensation. I do this every night and leave it in for maximum effect, before rinsing the next morning. If the tingling you feel is too intense, you probably need more carrier oil.

Top tip: You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil to your favourite shampoo or conditioner whenever you’re washing your hair. Whoop!

Side Effects of Peppermint Oil

Well, this will be a short section – because there aren’t any! Bad side effects, that is. There are good ones, like less nausea, headaches or stomach cramps, renewed energy and maybe even more hair!

The FDA puts PEO in their “generally recognized as safe” – or GRAS – category for topical application, while the International Journal of Toxicology says it’s “minimally toxic” for oral use. Hey, if it’s good enough for the toxicological research guys, it’s good enough for me. 😉

Just remember to avoid the area around the eyes, don’t apply it to your kids’ faces or chests (the menthol in it might cause breathing problems) and make sure to mix it with a carrier oil rather than applying directly on the skin.

Peppermint cordial poster
J.J. Burke, now there's a man who knew about peppermint.

Conclusion: Experiment With Peppermint!

I’ve always liked using peppermint oil. But now that I’ve read up on even more studies – with actual scientific research highlighting its potential as a hair growth product – I’m going to be far more consistent in the way I use it.

Peppermint oil promotes hair growth. At least, that’s what I’m getting from all of this.

Now, I’m not expecting miracles overnight. But I’m excited that a natural remedy could be as effective – if not even more effective – than a toxic thing like minoxidil. Try it out, try it daily (unless you want to alternate it with some other treatments), and let me know how you get on!

Happy experimenting!

Emma face small

Lady Alopecia xxx

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Like the natural approach to treat your alopecia? Then check out these posts, too!

1. All Hail Aloe! – Could aloe vera work for hair loss?
2. Meditation and Alopecia – What’s the connection?
3. Alopecia Diet Tips – How a healthy lifestyle fosters healthy hair.
4. Neem Oil – The “village pharmacy” that could be great for your hair!

2 Responses

  1. You inspire me to keep trying. I am 63 and have thinning hair, I have tried all the remedies all the shampoos everything except minoxidil!! I am inspired by your expertise and humor! Keep it going!!

    1. Hi Tess, thank you so much for your lovely comment – I really appreciate the feedback! And I would agree with your decision to avoid minoxidil, it gave me terrible headaches and didn’t work in the long-term anyway. Enjoy the rest of my posts and take care! 🙂

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