Tea Tree Oil for Hair: Benefits, Usage & more

Tea Tree Essential Oil

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Oil for Skin Benefits, Uses and more

Tea tree oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves of a plant called Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to New South Wales, Australia. And no, it isn’t even remotely related to tea (sigh!). The oil is usually pale yellow or transparent in colour and has a camphor-like odour.

Tea tree oil is harmful upon ingestion, with results ranging from stomach aches to hallucinations. It, however, has been traditionally used externally due to its antiseptic properties for many skin-related issues like acne, skin fungus, cuts, insect bites, scalp infections and dandruff.

Coming back to the ‘tea’ part, folklore says that it is probably because Captain James Cook had once described a certain shrub he used to make tea, which looked similar to this leaf (although, with much emphasis, leaves of tea tree oil are not edible).

How does Tea Tree Oil Work for Hair?

Tea tree oil doesn’t support hair growth directly but facilitates it by keeping the scalp healthy. One of the biggest ways in which this oil helps is by unclogging pores and fighting dandruff. It flushes out dirt and dead skin cells from the hair follicles, while also removing excess oil (sebum). Tea tree oil also provides necessary moisture to the scalp (remember, excess oil is not the same as moisture) which makes it less prone to dryness and itchiness.

It is advisable to use this oil twice or thrice a week before head washes. Mix this oil with a carrier oil (almond, coconut, olive) because it is strong and vicious, and difficult to apply directly. Then, apply on your scalp and hair and wrap your hair with a cloth (preferably a clean cotton T-shirt), giving it time to seep into the scalp. Wash away normally. Regular use is known to relieve chronic dandruff.

The oil has antibacterial properties which help fight various infections on the scalp. Many a time, these infections (or their progressive forms like eczema and scalp folliculitis) cause extreme itchiness, and excessive scratching causes the hair to fall out.

Tea tree oil improves the blood circulation on the scalp, stimulating dormant hair follicles and promoting hair growth.

Amazing Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Hair

1. Use as a Cleanser

Woman getting her hair washed at a spa

Enhance your everyday shampoo’s therapeutic properties by adding a few drops of tea tree oil. Gently massage the mixture on the scalp and wash thoroughly.

2. Prevent Itchy Scalp

Girl with itchy scalp

Itchiness mostly results from dryness of the scalp, and tea tree oil is just the perfect cure for an itchy scalp. It moisturizes the scalp and also clears any product build-up on the scalp. Use a few drops of tea tree oil with jojoba oil (the carrier oil in this case) and apply generously on the scalp by massaging. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then wash off with your usual shampoo. You need to repeat this on a regular basis to see desired results.

3. Treat Dandruff

Magnified Dandruff in hair

Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties. Sometimes, dandruff is caused by fungal infections. Most of the other times it is merely because the scalp lacks moisture. Tea tree oil fights all causes of flakiness and dandruff. As stated before, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo and massage on your scalp. Leave it on for 3-5 minutes for best results. Wash off thoroughly.

4. Help for Hair Growth

Woman with a long hair

Tea tree oil helps clear hair follicles. This helps other oils and treatments to penetrate deep into the scalp. Just mix in tea tree oil with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut and apply. Wash off thoroughly. For a toxin-resistant layer on your scalp, heat some olive oil and mix a few drops of tea tree oil and apply daily for at least 21 days to see great results.

5. Hair Mask

Woman with a hair mask

This mask is an almighty and helps you fight dandruff, itchy and dry scalp. The first step is to choose a thick base, for which yogurt is an ideal choice. Add to this two tablespoons of honey and ten drops of argan oil, which help moisturising the scalp. Finally, add some tea tree oil and stir into a smooth paste. Apply this paste on your hair with your fingertips and massage gently. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash thoroughly.

6. Fight with Hair Lice

Hair Lice on strands of hair

Some researches have found this oil 100% effective against lice. The patient is advised to put in a few drops of the oil with olive or lavender oil and leave overnight. The next day, dead lice can be removed by combing. Follow this up with anti-lice shampoo. The procedure is not an instant wonder; it has to be used at least twice or thrice a week depending on the level of infestation.

Eight Simple DIY Tea Tree Oil Recipes

With the benefits Tea Tree oil provides, it is no wonder that there is a range of natural hair care products for hair growth, to prevent dandruff, for dry hair and many more that contain Tea Tree Oil. However, using tea tree oil in a much more natural form is highly beneficial as well. Here are some DIY recipes for you to get a taste of amazing results tea tree oil can offer for your hair.

1. Tea Tree Oil and Olive Oil – For Hair Growth

Lavender Essential Oil

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons (tbs) olive oil
  • 2 drops lavender oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it overnight.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

2-3 times weekly.

2. Tea Tree Oil and Castor Oil – For Dandruff

Castor oil for skin blemishes

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbs castor oil oil
  • 2 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it overnight.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

2-3 times weekly.

Discover about castor oil for hair.

3. Tea Tree Oil and Coconut Oil – For Hair Fall

Coconut oil for long and shiny hair

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 drops rosemary oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Warm the coconut oil and then mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it overnight.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

2-3 times weekly.

4. Tea Tree Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar – For Split Ends

Apple Cider Vinegar for long and shiny hair

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (~60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 7 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • Seven drops of tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients of tea tree oil, Cedarwood oil, and apple cider vinegar thoroughly for hair growth and store it in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the mix on the hair and gently massage the scalp for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Let your hair air-dry.

Frequency of usage

3-4 times weekly.

5. Tea Tree Oil and Argan Oil – For Hair Regrowth

Close up shot of argan oil kept along with Argan

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp argan oil
  • Two drops clary sage oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil
  • 1/2 tbs vitamin E oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it overnight.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

2-3 times weekly.

6. Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera Gel – For Hair Repair

Aloe Vera for Shiny and Long hair

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbs aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbs vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it overnight.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

2-3 times weekly.

Find out Benefits of Aloe Vera on hair.

7. Tea Tree Oil and Olive oil – For Itchy Scalp

A glass of olive oil along with Olives

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbs olive oil
  • Two tbs aloe vera gel
  • 5 drops tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it overnight.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

2-3 times weekly.

8. Tea Tree Oil and Egg Whites – For Hair Loss

Egg Whites and Multani Mitti Homemade face pack

Ingredients

  • One tbs argan oil
  • Three egg whites
  • 5 drops tea tree oil

How to use

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly as egg yolk is rich in protiens it will nourish your hair.
  2. Apply the mix by gently massaging the scalp and leave it on for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Wash away the next morning with your shampoo.

Frequency of usage

Twice weekly.

Tips for Using Tea Tree Oil for Hair

  1. It is a universal oil; can be used for all hair types.
  2. Always use a carrier oil with it as it is strong and thick. Usually, where you would use two tablespoons of say coconut oil, you will only be required to use a few drops of tea tree oil.
  3. Always do a patch test before applying the oil to the whole scalp. Most of us never use this oil unless when specially ordered. It’s not common, so you might not know how your hair will react to it.
  4. If you’re using special tea tree oil enriched commercial products, try as many as you can and find the ones which suit you. These products contain oil in diluted amounts, so there are little to no chances of allergies or adverse reactions.
  5. If you wish to mix some tea tree oil for your existing shampoo and conditioner, you need to be precise in its quantity. Recommended (and restricted to) usage is ten drops in every 240 ml (8 oz).
  6. Steaming your hair after applying oil is a very helpful practice, as it opens up the follicles more and lets the oil seep in and clear the pores out. Also, ensure washing away the oil thoroughly while shampooing.
  7. No matter the goodness, this oil has to be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Cats and dogs show fatal reactions even to external contact, and children’s skin is very sensitive to the strength of this oil. It is STRICTLY NOT TO BE INGESTED, as it can be fatal.

Find out other benefits of tea tree oil.

FAQs

Can I use tea tree oil for oily hair?

Yes, you definitely can. It helps unclog pores and prevent excess oil production on the scalp.

Can I use tea tree oil on hair overnight?

When mixed with a carrier oil, you can. Mix a few drops with jojoba or coconut oil and cover your head with a towel or shower cap if you wish to leave it overnight. But undiluted tea tree oil is very strong and rather counterproductive when left overnight. It can aggregate the hair follicles when kept on for long periods. Pure tea tree oil should not be kept on the head for more than an hour at any cost.

Also read: Benefits and Uses of Jojoba Oil for Hair and Skin.

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