I bought a bottle of neem oil a year ago to use as a body moisturizer but one whiff of its flagrant scent made me stash it in the cabinet under my sink. That was until I noticed a variety of hair products meant to nourish hair and scalp were infused with neem oil. That coupled with a surge in the oil’s popularity piqued my interest so I started researching neem oil. Curious? Here’s what I found.
Neem oil is an extraction from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, a huge evergreen tree that’s played an important role in traditional Indian medicine. According to Hair Buddha, the name neem comes from the Sanskrit* word ‘nimba’ meaning sprinkler of nectar.
Infused with a high level of antioxidants, neem oil acts as a protective barrier on the scalp against free radicals. It also stimulates cell regeneration and follicle growth, similar benefits to that of aloe vera, which everyone is raving about.
Neem oil, also high in fatty acids, makes for a deep hair treatment that hydrates brittle, dry hair. Its fatty acids keep hair nourished and reduce irritation or redness caused by eczema. Thanks to nimbidin, an anti-inflammatory substance in the neem that acts similar to the non-steroidal drug, phenylbutazone, neem oil alleviates common symptoms of eczema.
If you’re planning on adding neem oil to your DIY hair masks, make sure to dilute the oil. Or follow this neem oil hair mask recipe we found on Hair Buddha: Take 1 tsp of neem oil, 3 tbs of avocado oil, and 4 to 5 drop of lavender oil. Mix all the ingredients well. Apply to scalp and hair then massage gently. Leave on for an hour then follow with shampoo and conditioner.
Sold on neem oil? Click through the gallery ahead for a roundup of neem oil products to incorporate into your hair routine.