Feature Photo cred goes to Allef Vinicius from Unsplash.
By now, most of us have accepted hair loss as a normal part of life. Whether it’s due to ageing, stress, illness, or excessive use of hair colourants, thinning hair is something that most of us expect to deal with at some point during our time here.
This still hasn’t stopped us from trying to combat it, though – just go to any supermarket or health & beauty store and you’ll find a plethora of hair products lining the shelves, all promising to be the miracle fix you need for thicker, luscious locks.
But what if the secret isn’t sitting on a supermarket shelf, or even being sold for a premium price at your hairdresser’s salon? In fact, it rarely is. Even worse; the chemical-stuffed shampoos, conditioners and hair salves available today could be the reason behind your impending baldness.
Natural methods of promoting hair growth have been around a lot longer, and the best bit? They’re chemical free. So, when you apply them correctly, you can be sure your hair won’t suffer.
We’ve taken a peek at one of the most popular natural hair growth methods on the market – garlic oil! Does it really work for promoting hair growth? Let’s find out!
What Causes Hair Loss?
First off, if you are experiencing hair loss or if your hair simply isn’t growing as quickly as it used to, it’s vital that you get to the root of the problem (no pun intended!). Understanding why your hair growth has slowed down is important; this will help you choose the right course of action to rectify it.
There are numerous reasons why your hair might be suffering. Stress is a very common factor; just like your skin, the physical signs of stress can quickly show up on your head. If you’re under severe stress at work or home, it’s not impossible for it to cause sudden hair loss; even overnight! Thankfully, in most cases of stress-related hair loss, the hair will regrow naturally.
Stress isn’t the only factor, though – if you use a lot of hair dye products or regularly apply heat for styling, your locks will turn brittle, putting them at a higher risk of thinning or falling out.
Ok, so you don’t dye your hair– what about your diet? The food we put into our bodies is just as important as the products we use on the outside, if not more. Are you getting enough protein in your food to allow for healthy hair growth? Adding more protein-rich foods such as lean meat, nuts, eggs and fish to your meals will make a difference.
Alternatively, your hair loss could be down to an underlying health problem; severe alopecia will need to be treated by your doctor. Lastly, losing your hair could simply be down to unlucky genes.
More About Garlic:
Garlic is a vegetable in the allium class, which includes a selection of your favourite veggies such as leeks and onions.
When you think of garlic, you probably imagine crushing a clove into the pan when making your favourite spaghetti bolognese recipe, or greedily tucking into a cheesy garlic bread after a night out. What you probably don’t think about is slathering your hair in it!
Although you don’t need to be told that garlic is mostly used as a food, this little vegetable possesses a huge amount of power when it comes to medicinal uses. For centuries, it’s been traditionally used to deal with an assortment of health complaints including the common cold, high blood pressure, heart disease, and yes, you guessed it: hair loss.
How Does Garlic Work for Health?
Good question! Before you cover your head in it, or use it for any other health purpose, it’s good to know exactly how garlic works for your body.
Thanks to science, we now know that the main health benefits of garlic are caused by allicin, the sulphuric compound formed when a garlic clove is chewed, chopped up, or crushed. The very same compound is also responsible for the vegetable’s strong, distinctive smell.
When you consume garlic or it is absorbed through your skin, the allicin enters your body and is turned into a range of fat- and water-soluble sulphuric compounds. Then, these compounds tap into your body’s hydrogen sulphide signalling system; this relaxes the blood vessels, leading to a variety of health benefits.
In fact, eating 10g or more garlic daily will significantly reduce your risk of certain cancers, reduce cholesterol, and aid with fat loss as well as improving your hair growth.
Enough About Eating Garlic – What Can It Do for My Hair?
The sulphur contained in garlic is a crucial building block for keratin, the main protein that causes hair growth and promotes healthy, strong locks. So, applying garlic oil to your hair facilitates improved keratin production, leading to stronger, softer, more flexible hair.
Another hair problem that garlic can help with is dandruff. Thanks to its antifungal properties, using garlic oil on your hair can help to repair any damage caused by dandruff or similar fungal infections on the scalp. In fact, allicin in garlic is effective against not one, but six different types of fungi! Source: PubMed.
We’ve already talked about hair breakage as a common reason for hair loss. Usually, this is caused by using products that dry your hair out such as hair colourants, sprays, and heated styling tools. After a while, these will leave your hair full of split ends. Since garlic contains high levels of Vitamin C, it can help to repair breakage by boosting collagen levels in the hair. Collagen is essential to healthy hair growth; it’s the main protein building block responsible.
That’s not all – garlic is also widely known as a rubefacient, meaning it stimulates blood circulation. Since your blood carries oxygen and other essential nutrients to everywhere in your body including your scalp and roots, this can only be a good thing! With more blood flowing to your scalp, your hair will enjoy better nourishment.
In fact, a study even showed that when used alongside prescribed topical corticosteroid creams, garlic oil can enhance alopecia recovery.
Which Type of Garlic Oil is Best to Use?
So, you’ve decided that there’s nothing to lose by trying out garlic oil for your hair – great! But, it’s important that you use the right type of garlic oil to ensure the best results.
Firstly, don’t confuse garlic oil with garlic essential oil; the two are completely different. Garlic essential oil has several uses that you might want to check out, though; it’s known to help with acne, for one, and can be great if you’re suffering with cold or flu.
But, for your hair, you’ll need to prepare the oil using fresh garlic to reap the full benefits. Read on to find out how!
How to Make Garlic Oil for Your Hair:
- Five cloves of garlic
- Five tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin works best!)
- Ten drops of tea tree essential oil
- One tablespoon castor oil
- One tablespoon jojoba oil
- Half a teaspoon rosemary oil
For preparation and application, you will need:
- A large, very clean cooking pan
- A glass bottle or cup
Firstly, heat up the olive oil in your pan. You are aiming for a warm temperature, but cool enough to be able to comfortably put your finger in. Then, prepare the garlic cloves by thoroughly peeling, cleaning and crushing them.
Now, place your crushed garlic into the glass bottle and pour the warmed olive oil inside. Then, add your selection of essential oils and mix well until everything is combined.
Once this is done, it’s time to leave it – cover and stand for at least four days before using the oil on your hair. After four days have passed, you can apply it once you’ve strained out all the minced garlic pieces. But be careful; this oil is extremely powerful and overuse will irritate your scalp. Because of this, you should always test the oil before using. An easy way to do this: Dab a small drop behind your ear and leave it for a couple of hours to see how your skin reacts.
Applying the Garlic Oil:
Now for the fun part – finally getting the garlic oil onto your head where it can work its magic with your hair. Using just a tablespoon of oil, gently massage it into your scalp for around 15-20 minutes. Then, leave it to soak into your hair for around half an hour, or more if needed.
Once your hair has soaked up all the lovely ingredients, it’s time to wash the garlic oil out using a natural shampoo. Since the oil will leave your hair feeling soft and silky, there’s no need to use a conditioner (unless you really want to!).
Masking the Smell:
Now you know how to make garlic oil for your hair – maybe you’ve already given it a go! One of the first things that you’ll probably notice when you prepare your garlic oil is the smell. But, whilst the smell of garlic in your cooking can quickly make your mouth water, it’s not really the type of aroma you want your lover to be breathing in when they lean in for a kiss, is it?
As a traditional folk remedy, garlic would be used to promote hair health and growth by simply opening a clove and rubbing it all over the scalp, followed by an all-over olive oil massage for your head an hour later. Then you would finally finish up by washing your hair the next day. Thankfully, modern methods of applying garlic oil to hair are much easier and don’t involve stinking of garlic quite as badly.
If the smell of garlic in your hair really annoys you, then you can add a host of aromatic ingredients to the mix to mask it and leave your hair smelling just as fresh as it looks. Although we’ve suggested the best essential oils to pick in the recipe above, don’t think you must stick to these – peppermint, lavender and even lemon essential oils are all associated with healthy hair. If it’s just the smell that bothers you, then go wild! There are hundreds of gorgeous-smelling essential oils that you can choose from to mask the pungent odour.
The best thing about garlic oil for your hair is that you can seriously customise it. Garlic oil can be made with a variety of additional ingredients, all well-known for improving the condition of your hair. For example, a popular ingredient to add to garlic oil is natural honey, which has a range of awesome health benefits and can act as a hair conditioner!
Chances are, you’ve heard at least something about the benefits of coconut oil for your hair; it’s been a huge health and beauty trend now for some time. With amazing moisturising powers for both your hair and skin, you can swap your olive oil for coconut oil for even further hair benefits. Remember that this oil will leave your hair greasier; you may need to wash your hair twice to get it all out.
Can I Skip the Essential Oils?
Of course you can! If you’re not bothered by the smell or simply don’t have any essential oils to hand, then garlic oil without the added smelly stuff is the way forward. Plus, it’s easy to make straight away – even if you don’t have any nice-smelling oils to add, you’re likely to find all the ingredients that you need for garlic oil right in your kitchen.
Washing Your Hair with Garlic Oil:
If you don’t have the time to sit around waiting for the oil to work and then washing it all out of your hair, you can try adding a few drops of garlic oil to your shampoo or conditioner.
However, be aware that you probably won’t get all the benefits of a full garlic oil hair salve. And, if you’re prone to greasy hair, this could make it worse.
Alternatively, you can crush some garlic cloves and apply the juices directly to your hair and scalp. Leave for a few minutes before washing and conditioning as normal.
Is Pure Garlic Oil Better?
You might be wondering if pure garlic oil, i.e., made with no carrier oil, is better for your hair. But, whilst it contains all the awesome ingredients to promote healthy hair growth, 100% pure garlic oil is both rare to find and best avoided.
When garlic oil is not diluted, it’s extremely potent; not only does it contain a whole bunch of anti-inflammatory and healing compounds for your hair and scalp, it also contains a variety of compounds that are dangerous for your skin, leading to irritation and burning.
On top of that, as you can probably imagine, pure garlic oil smells very strong. Even if you love the smell of garlic you might not be able to handle it! It’s so strong, you can expect it to irritate your eyes and nose as well – everything that you don’t want from a hair treatment.
So, stick to garlic oil made with a suitable carrier oil – the benefits are just as good, and both coconut and olive oils are superior natural products for conditioning hair. Only use pure garlic oil if you’ve been given the go-ahead from your doctor, and follow their advice closely.
Are There Any Other Methods of Using Garlic for Hair Growth?
Yes! It’s not just applying garlic oil to your hair that helps it grow; upping the amount of garlic that you consume in a day will help to promote healthy hair growth from the inside, resulting in even thicker, stronger luscious locks.
One of the best ways to do this is by drinking garlic water or garlic tea daily. Although garlic water doesn’t have the nicest taste, it’s more than worth holding your nose and gulping it down to reap the amazing health and beauty benefits. You could even use a garlic water rinse on your hair before or after washing it! On the other hand, this recipe for garlic tea tastes much nicer without compromising on the medicinal properties.
To make garlic tea, you will need:
- One garlic clove
- A 200ml glass of water
- One tablespoon lemon juice
- One tablespoon honey
- 3g grated ginger
To prepare, begin by boiling the water in a pan. Whilst you’re waiting for it to heat up, you can get on with peeling the garlic before chopping or mincing it. Once the water starts to boil, add the garlic along with the grated ginger and let it cook for around 15-20 minutes.
Once it’s ready, the next step is to strain out the pieces of minced garlic and ginger from the liquid. Now add the honey and lemon juice to enjoy! There’s no need to worry about smelly garlic odour or a strong taste; the lovely warm flavour of the ginger combined with the crispness of the lemon will deal with this.
So, did garlic oil work for your hair? Let us know in the comments!