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9 min read / 31 December 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Tea Tree Oil for Hair: The Benefits and How to Use it

This multi-purpose essential oil can do so much more than just protect your health.

There's no denying that tea tree oil is the superstar of the aromatherapy world.

While it may not be as popular as stress-busting classics like its rich depth in the world of holistic healthcare has earned it the nickname of "medicine cabinet in a bottle" for several decades.

For those that have ever had a stubborn pimple (or two, or three...), it's likely you've come across a whole sea of skincare products using tea tree oil in the past. But what about haircare?

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, tea tree oil is great for that, too.

Though research may still be ongoing into how powerful tea tree oil for hair truly is, we'll be taking a deep dive into some of the sure-fire facts that will have you flaunting luscious locks in no time.

Tea tree illustration

What is Tea Tree Essential Oil?

Distinguishable by its botanical name, Melaleuca Alternifolia, tea tree essential oil is extracted via steam distillation from small leaves of the Australian tea tree.

With its native location being the northeast coast of New South Wales, tea tree was used for centuries prior to its commercial notability by indigenous Australians for common ailments such as coughs, cold, and minor skin conditions.

Since then, its strong and herbaceous scent has become instantly recognisable, and maintains prominent use in medicines, shampoos, and skincare products among other cosmetic forms.


Tea tree oil benefits for hair

Tea tree oil has many benefits to ensure your hair is at maximum health. Let’s take a look at just some key benefits:

1. Reduces oil buildup

One of these is the overproduction of oils in the hair.

Tea tree oil can rectify the build-up of these oils by treating the causes at their source, resulting in better-looking locks that won't become overly greasy or unpleasant to deal with.

2. Can combat head lice

It has also been suggested that tea tree may be an effective remedy against head lice.

A 2012 study discovered that application over a short period of time resulted in the killing of one hundred percent of lice as well as fifty perfect of their eggs.

3. Longer and thicker hair

If you're aiming to grow your hair longer, consider adding tea tree oil to your hair care routine.

This oil is great for unclogging hair follicles and nourishing the roots, which is essential for healthy hair growth.

Its ability to keep the scalp clean and free from buildup promotes better hair health and can aid in faster hair growth.

4. Can prevent hair loss

Its ability to strengthen hair from the roots can help in reducing hair fall.

Regular use of tea tree oil can fortify hair strands, making them less prone to breakage and thinning.

Over time, this can lead to a noticeable reduction in hair fall and an overall improvement in hair health and thickness.

Why is tea tree oil good for hair?

Many tea tree oil benefits for hair actually derive from the oil's protective properties for the scalp.

Since the scalp is home to our many, many hair follicles, the key to unlocking healthier hair is to always keep this part well protected first. An unhappy scalp equals an unhappy mane.

Using tea tree oil for scalp health can not only improve the overall appearance of your hair, but also contribute to its growth and thickness as well.

Tea tree is naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory - three characteristics that thrive in the complex environment that is the scalp.

These properties come about as a result of one of tea tree's main powerful components, terpinene-4-ol, which is known for tackling stubborn microbes on the skin.

Adding it to your routine can therefore help to soothe any irritation that may be causing breakages and hair loss, while also enriching your hair with powerful antioxidants that can alleviate redness and pain. And when used alongside rosemary oil for hair it could significantly improve hair growth and health.

All of these steps in turn produce a squeaky-clean environment for hair health.

Woman's hair rested on a blue blanket with an oil bottle beside.

Can I use tea tree oil for dandruff?

Dandruff can be terribly unpleasant and, in some cases, mildly embarrassing for those that have to put up with it often.

Thankfully, the scalp-polishing benefits of tea tree oil can also help send away these flaky foes to practical extinction.

In fact, it is because of the oil's powerful attributes against dandruff that it has become a key ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos.

Dandruff is usually caused by a common yeast infection which impacts the scalp and causes it to dry. Tea tree's ability to reduce and treat various types of fungus allow it to actively fight against these infections and eliminate the problem overall.

A conducted on a series of sufferers proved these effects, with participants showing a forty one percent improvement in their dandruff symptoms after daily use for a total of four weeks.

Those taking part in the study also found a reduction in the itchiness associated with dandruff - likely as a result of the oil's natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Tea tree's ability to combat dryness may lend itself well to sufferers of psoriasis too, particularly when it comes to tacking slightly larger flare ups occurring on the scalp area.

Bottle of oil resting on a leaf.

How do I apply tea tree oil for hair?

The most important rule when applying any essential oil to your skin or scalp is to always dilute it with a carrier oil first.

Essential oils are naturally potent products, and failure to appropriately dilute them could result in rashes and irritation that would not do your hair any favours.

It is also important to always perform a patch test at least twenty four hours before using on your hair - especially if you've never used it before - in order to avoid any allergic reactions.

Tea tree oil should be suitable for all hair types and textures, as its effect is largely felt on the scalp as opposed to the hair itself.

Here are a few of our favourite methods on how to apply tea tree oil to hair.

1. Create a hair mask

    Any time you want to use an essential oil in your hair, this is the go-to choice.

    Made using nothing more than a few drops of tea tree and a hair-nourishing carrier oil (be sure to refer to our dilution guide for the appropriate measurements), a homemade, leave-in hair mask can not only effectively tackle any scalp related issues, but also leave your hair feeling silky and shiny right from the word go.

    All you have to do is spread the mixture evenly across your hair and scalp, and proceed to leave in for at least ten minutes. Then, rinse off accordingly in the sink or shower.

    Unlike some other hair-boosting essential oils such as rosemary essential oil, it is not recommended to leave tea tree oil in your hair overnight, as overexposure could lead to irritation.

    If you want to give your scalp an extra layer of stimulation, you could try performing a restorative scalp massage using the oil mixture on damp, post-shower hair. This will increase blood flow to the scalp which, in turn, will boost hair growth overall.

    You could also try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to an existing hair mask as a way of combatting dandruff and dryness at the same time.

    Other natural additions such as ripe bananas, honey, or oats could also be included in your mask if you're looking for an extra layer of nourishment.

    We recommend adding one ripe banana, one teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of oats for every ten drops of tea tree oil.

    2. Add to your shampoo or conditioner

      Since tea tree oil can be a little harsher on the skin than some other hair-related essential oils, many people opt for this choice as it is less likely to cause irritation. It is also a little easier to keep up with than some of the other alternatives.

      Add two or three drops of tea tree oil to a regular-sized dollop of shampoo or conditioner and apply as normal.

      Avoid simply dumping the oil inside your shampoo bottle, as you might have to cease use altogether should you discover a negative response on your skin.

      3. Double up on the benefits by applying to your skin

        It's no secret that tea tree oil is great for the skin, especially if you find yourself suffering from a stubborn case of acne.

        Unlike most commercial products, natural remedies can be used for a number of things at once - so if you find yourself with a little bit of diluted tea tree to spare, add it to your spots!

        The same great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects that make tea tree oil a sound remedy for the scalp can also lend themselves incredibly well to pimples, so feel free to adopt it as a natural alternative to harsher treatments like benzoyl peroxide.

        Tea tree oil can also be used to help soothe sunburn, insect bites, and other related sores.

        Precautions With Tea Tree Oil

        • Dilute Before Use: Tea tree oil is very strong, so it's important to dilute it with a carrier oil (like coconut, olive, or almond oil) before applying it to your skin or scalp to avoid irritation.
        • Patch Test: Always do a patch test on a small area of your skin before using. This helps to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction.
        • Avoid Eye Contact: Be careful to avoid getting tea tree oil in your eyes, as it can be irritating and cause redness and discomfort.
        • Not for Ingestion: Tea tree oil is only for external use. Ingesting it can be toxic and lead to serious health problems.


        Shower Icon

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Can tea tree oil cause irritation on the scalp?

        Because essential oils are so naturally potent, applying too much tea tree onto your scalp - even when diluted - can cause unwanted irritation that may make matters worse.

        To ensure proper use at all times, refer to a suitable dilution guide to help get your measurements just right. It's also important to always patch test your oils if you've never applied them topically before.

        Does tea tree oil help with dandruff?

        The antifungal properties of tea tree oil have become infamous for reducing dandruff, as well as fighting the yeast P-ovale, which causes it in the first place.

        In fact, tea tree is so powerful for this purpose that it is often used as an ingredient for commercial anti-dandruff shampoos.

        Does tea tree oil have any other benefits for the scalp or hair?

        Tea tree oil is said to be an effective remedy for killing head lice and reducing subsequent itchiness.

        It is also able to halt the overproduction of oils in the hair by removing built-up bacteria on the scalp. This can help eliminate unwelcome greasiness.

        Gem Head Icon

        Implementing tea tree into your haircare routine is a great way to bolster scalp health, banish dandruff, and boost hair growth.

        While the tea tree oil benefits for hair seem endless with safe and proper use, it is important to always monitor how much you're applying at any one time - a little goes a long, long way.

        It is also crucial to always dilute your tea tree oil with a carrier oil and to keep an eye on how your skin reacts to it, no matter how many times you may have used it in the past.

        Overall, tea tree essential oil is a fantastic natural solution to many common ailments surrounding the health of the skin and scalp, and will no doubt become a staple in your wellness routine for all kinds of reasons as a result.

        Sources Used: - Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo - Activity of tea tree oil and nerolidol alone or in combination against Pediculus capitis (head lice) and its eggs


        Product Name

        100% Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil
        Botanical Name Melaleuca Alternifolia
        Scent Type Fresh
        Benefits & Uses Decongestant, Skin, Antibacterial
        Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this tea tree essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
        Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this tea tree essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
        Extraction Method Steam Distillation
        Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant

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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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