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Tea Tree Oil For Your Hair: Myth Vs. Fact

06 April 2018
photo of stylist applying tea tree oil on women's scalp
Jelani Addams Rosa

Jelani Addams Rosa

Junior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L'Oréal, Jelani brings her knowledge and passion for hair care to Hair.com. Before joining the Hair.com team, she spent time at Celebuzz, Seventeen, and Cosmo for Latinas.

Oil and hair have gone hand in hand for as long as anyone can remember. From coconut to jojoba, people love to slather oil on their manes and stock their medicine cabinets with products formulated with it. However, coconut isn’t the only oil having a moment. These days, it seems as though the beauty industry is saturated with products formulated with tea tree oil. Before you buy, ask yourself one question: Do you really know if tea tree oil is good for your hair?

There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, but we’re committed to telling you the truth. If what you’ve heard about tea tree oil sounds too good to be true, chances are good it probably is. We’re unveiling the truth about the six most common myths surrounding tea tree oil.

Myth: Tea tree oil kills bacteria.

Fact:

True! Tea tree oil is naturally antimicrobial, meaning it can significantly reduce the presence of bacteria.

Myth: Tea tree oil makes your hair grow.

Fact:

False. Some sources claim that because of tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties, it can unclog the pores on your scalp and allow thicker, healthier hair to grow. However, there is no scientific data to support that claim.

The unfortunate truth is that there’s is no real way to make your hair grow faster. Your hair grows in a series of phases: The anagen or growth phase, the catagen or resting stage, and the telogen or shedding stage. The only way to make your hair grow faster would be to lengthen your growing phase somehow—and science just isn’t there yet. However, we firmly believe that having a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your hair leads to healthier-looking hair.

If you’re taking great care of your mind and body, and you feel like your hair still isn’t reaching its full potential, you may be dealing with major breakage without realizing it. There are several things you can do to try and minimize hair breakage. Some of the most common methods include weekly deep conditioning treatments, taking a break from color services and heat styling, and seeking the help of a professional.

Myth: Tea tree oil cures dandruff.

Fact:

False. While some studies have shown promise that tea tree oil can have some benefits, it cannot cure dandruff.

Though tea tree oil cannot treat dandruff, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified a number of OTC drugs that can. The FDA advises using over-the-counter hair products with the following ingredients to help treat dandruff: 1 to 5 percent coal tar, 0.1 to 2 percent pyrithione zinc, 1.8 to 3 percent salicylic acid, 2 to 5 percent sulfur, 1 percent selenium sulfide, and 0.6 percent micronized selenium sulfide.

Myth: Tea tree oil soothes itchy scalp associated with dryness.

Fact:

True! Incorporating tea tree oil into your hair care routine can help soothe an itchy scalp. The best part about adding the oil to your routine is that it will feel like a mini spa day when you massage the oil onto your problem areas. Tea tree oil smells very similar to eucalyptus oil, which is often used in aromatherapy treatments for its calming effect.

Myth: Tea tree oil can make hair less oily.

Fact:

False. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that tea tree oil will make your hair look and feel less oily.

If you’re dealing with oily strands, we suggest picking up a shampoo like Redken Clean Maniac Micellar Shampoo. The silicone and sulfate-free formula —with a chelator, antioxidant, and a UV filter—gently washes away pollution, daily grit, styling buildup, and excess sebum for a clean feeling with respect for the hair.

Myth: Tea tree oil cleans your hair and unclogs the pores on your scalp.

Fact:

False. Tea tree oil does not have any cleansing properties and cannot clean your hair. The only product that can clean your hair is shampoo. There is also no scientific evidence to support the claim that it unclogs pores.

If you’re looking to give your scalp a little extra TLC, pick up Mizani’s Scalp Care Exfoliating Pre-Treatment. Formulated with salicylic acid, aloe, avocado oil, and eucalyptus oil, the treatment helps lift and remove excess buildup from the scalp. To help your hair look and feel squeaky clean, follow the scalp treatment with a clarifying shampoo. We suggest giving Redken’s Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo a try. The formula clarifies and helps remove mineral deposits and styling product buildup on all hair types.

How To Use Tea Tree Oil

There are several ways to incorporate tea tree oil into your hair care routine. If you’re new to the oil, we recommend starting by picking up a shampoo and conditioner formulated with tea tree oil. Be sure the products contain the actual oil—not just the scent—to reap some of the benefits.

If you’re not looking for new hair products but want to experience tea tree oil for yourself, mix a few drops into a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba and massage the mix into your scalp before shampooing your strands.

Whether you swap out your regular shampoo for a formula with tea tree oil, apply it directly to your scalp, or skip it altogether, now you understand the hype—and the truth—about tea tree oil for hair.

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