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8 min read / 28 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

Peppermint Oil for Hair: The Benefits and How to Use It

Discover the powerful benefits of peppermint oil for hair health, including growth stimulation, scalp protection, and how to incorporate it into your hair care routine.


Peppermint often brings to mind thoughts of freshness, energy and renewal.

And whilst much is already known about how it can rejuvenate the skin and mind, scientific studies continue to establish beneficial and effective ways to use peppermint oil for hair.

From hair growth and hair loss to blood circulation and scalp protection, there are lots of ways peppermint oil could be used to improve hair health.

We take a deeper dive into the benefits of peppermint oil for hair, how to use it and much more.

What is peppermint essential oil?

Peppermint essential oil is part of the mint family of botanicals and is extracted via steam distillation from two common types of peppermint plants: Piperita and Arvensis.

Peppermint Piperita has a more distinct, minty aroma, which is why it is often used in cosmetics, aromatherapy and other types of home products.

Comparatively, peppermint Arvensis is slightly different and has a lighter, sweeter scent.

Despite their differences, both varieties offer a broad range of benefits for the skin, body and mind, and could also be effective at improving hair health.

 Small clear vial of peppermint oil next to some peppermint sprigs, all sat on a wicker mat

What are the benefits of peppermint oil for hair?

Using peppermint oil for hair and scalp treatments could provide benefits such as:

1. Boosting blood circulation

Though more research is needed to solidify the connection, according to a small 2016 study, it is believed that the menthol properties of peppermint could have a positive effect on skin. 

Researchers found that using peppermint oil for hair may lead to increased blood flow, working to stimulate different areas of the body and improve overall health.

This could prove useful when it comes to supporting the growth of new hair, as improved blood circulation can help keep hair follicles recharged and healthy, setting the stage for the development of thicker and longer hair over time.

2. Supporting scalp health

Peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to reduce redness and irritation on certain areas of the body.

It can also be applied as an antiseptic and antimicrobial agent, which could help to combat skin infections.

The combination of all these factors make peppermint an ideal remedy for soothing and cleansing itchy and irritated scalps.

Researchers also found that diluted peppermint can relieve the initial sensation that encourages people to scratch their skin.

In relation to hair, this could mean the application of diluted peppermint oil to the scalp could help to ease itching, allowing you to achieve healthier hair.

3. Preventing hair loss

Whilst there is not enough data available from human studies, some animal tests have suggested that peppermint oil could be effective at combating hair loss.

For example, a 2014 mice study concluded that in future it could be used as a preventive or therapeutic alternative medicine for hair loss in humans.

Researchers found that compared to minoxidil (commonly sold as Regaine), using a diluted peppermint oil solution on hair led to better results for hair growth.

4. Settling the scalp’s PH

Research has found that the ideal pH for your scalp is 5.5, whilst the ideal pH for your hair is 3.67.

Maintaining a good PH balance plays an essential role in supporting scalp health, keeping alkaline levels in line with skin on the rest of the body.

When the pH is unbalanced, it can cause the scalp to become extremely dry, or encourage the scalp to produce too much oil to compensate for the lack of moisture.

This can often lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and microorganisms that lead to scalp conditions such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.

Peppermint oil has a pH measurement of 8, which makes it an alkaline substance, so applying a diluted mixture can help to keep the scalp at a base alkaline level, instead of becoming too acidic.

5. Balancing the scalp microbiome

The scalp microbiome is similar to the skin microbiome, in that it provides a protective barrier against harmful bacteria and pathogens, shielding the scalp and hair follicles against irritation, hair damage, toxins and more.

Peppermint oil contains properties such as limonene, methyl acetate and menthone, which all have cleansing capabilities.

This means that using peppermint oil for hair it could help to balance natural microbiome levels, preventing it from becoming too oily or dry.

woman shampooing her hair

How to use peppermint oil for hair

You can use peppermint oil for hair in a few different ways, although most people see the best results when it is included as part of their regular hair care routine.

Some ideas you could try include:

1. Creating your own hair treatment

Like all essential oils, peppermint oil is highly concentrated and should always be diluted before application to minimise the risk of irritation.

Carrier oils like jojoba or argan tend to work well with peppermint oil, as they can also provide a host of benefits for hair. And if you suffer from acne or an oily scalp, jojoba oil may be the better choice as it absorbs easily without clogging pores.

Combine a couple of drops of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of your chosen carrier oil and massage into the scalp and across the midsection to your hair ends.

You may feel a slight tingle on your skin, but this is a normal reaction caused by the menthol.

Let it settle in for a few minutes before washing it out, as leaving it for any longer could cause irritation or discomfort.

2. Adding peppermint oil to your shampoo or conditioner

Perhaps an even simpler method of using peppermint oil for hair is to mix it in with your shampoo and/or conditioner.

Simply add 5 drops into the product bottle and shake well before using as normal.

This may work better for anyone who doesn’t want to make any drastic changes to their routine, although this method may take a little longer to produce the desired results.

Many shampoos and conditioners use peppermint as an ingredient, mostly because it can soothe the hair and scalp and create a refreshing scent.

However, these products likely won't contain any actual essential oil in them, so the benefits to your hair would be limited in comparison.

3. Massaging into the scalp

Using a diluted peppermint oil mixture as part of a scalp massage can help to boost hair follicles and improve the overall health of your scalp.

If you frequently suffer from tension headaches, massaging a peppermint oil into the head and neck could offer relief, as clinical trial results showed that it was able to produce a greater reduction in pain compared to a placebo.

Woman massaging her scalp with damp hair

What are the risks of using peppermint oil?

The natural properties of peppermint oil can be hugely beneficial for your hair and other parts of your body, although it can also pose some risks to your health if used incorrectly.

This is why it is vitally important that it is properly diluted before application to the scalp or hair, as it could potentially cause irritation or even an allergic reaction.

The most popular and efficient way to do this is with a carrier oil, and you can check out our dilution guide for more tips on how to properly mix the two together.

Peppermint oil should also never be ingested, as consumption could be extremely harmful to your internal organs and could lead to more serious health complications.

It is recommended that first-time users of peppermint oil perform a patch test on a small area of skin before including it as part of your hair or skin care routine.

What are good essential oils for hair?

Many people who use peppermint oil for hair find that it can produce the results they are looking for, although like any treatment, it may not be for everyone.

Alternative essential oils you could try include:

  • Rosemary oil: This is perhaps one of the most well-known essential oils for hair. Rosemary oil can boost hair growth, thickness and shine. 
  • Lavender oil: Lavender essential oil can provide antiseptic and antibacterial properties, offering more protection for your scalp against bacteria. 
  • Cedarwood oil: It is believed that cedarwood oil can reduce hair loss and boost hair growth, especially when mixed with lavender, rosemary and thyme.

Carrier oils such as coconut oil and grapeseed oil have also been shown to have some benefits for hair, so it may be worth checking these out if you want a more well-rounded wellness experience.

black and white illustration of peppermint

Frequently Asked Questions about Peppermint Oil for Hair

Can peppermint oil help with dandruff?

The soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil can be very effective at combating dandruff symptoms, with its anti-fungal capabilities also helping to create a healthy scalp environment.

To see if using peppermint oil for dandruff can work for you, simply add a few drops to your existing shampoo and use it as normal.

Can peppermint oil cause irritation on the scalp?

If too much oil is used at one time, peppermint oil can cause some irritation on the scalp.

This is due the potency of the oil’s natural properties, which is why dilution guidelines should always be followed before application.

Can peppermint oil damage your hair?

When peppermint oil is used correctly and at the proper dilution levels, then it should not cause any damage to your hair.

Always ensure that you use a carrier oil before topical application and do not leave it in your hair for long.

Can I mix peppermint oil with water for hair?

All oils do not mix well with water, as they are hydrophobic, which means they are repelled by water molecules.

This means mixing peppermint oil with water would effectively be the same as applying an undiluted solution to your hair, so it is not a recommended method of application.

Does peppermint oil help with an itchy scalp?

The cooling, anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil can help to reduce dandruff and alleviate the unpleasant itchiness that comes with it.

In addition, the antifungal and anti-bacterial properties contained in peppermint can also further increase this relief.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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