Neem is one of the most commonly used herbs in natural hair care. It is one of the herbs that I encountered when I started my research on the benefits of herbs on natural hair. As you will see from this article, neem is among the 35 herbs that we recommend for hair care. The name neem is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘nimba’, meaning sprinkler of nectar. The botanical name of neem is Azadirachta indica. Naturally grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions, the fruits and seeds of the tree are the sources of neem oil. Traditionally, neem has been used to treat various skin and scalp conditions, reduce swelling and inflammation, get rid of parasites, and help with many other illnesses.
Is neem good for natural hair? Neem has been used for centuries as a natural cure for the scalp and hair problems. Neem has antioxidant properties that protect the hair and skin from harmful UV rays, pollution, and other environmental factors. The herb contains vitamins and fatty acids that improve and maintain healthy hair growth. Neem contains an abundance of biologically active ingredients and has many medicinal properties. It’s not just the leaves that are useful, but the tree’s seeds, roots, and bark also contain important compounds that have many medicinal and beauty properties.
In this article, we will go over the benefits of neem on natural hair and how to use neem in your hair care routine. As always, the information we share is based on the author’s experiences and research that has been done. Always do a patch test before going full-blown on any home remedy.
Benefits of Neem Oil for Hair and Scalp
1- Promotes Hair Growth
Neem has amazingly high levels of antioxidants, even more than those found in blueberries or spinach. Neem oil protects the scalp from damage that is caused by the free radicals both internally and externally. Neem also has regenerative properties that support healthy division of cells and stimulate hair follicle growth and function. Regular use of neem oil will promote thicker and stronger hair growth.
2- Conditions hair.
Neem oil has several fatty acids like linoleic, oleic and stearic acids. These fatty acids nourish and condition the scalp and hair. This herb has a moisturizing effect that gives life to your hair and restores dry, under-nourished or rough hair to a smooth, silky texture. To use neem as a conditioner, massage neem oil through the scalp and hair with fingertips. Cover your hair with a hot towel and allow the oil to penetrate the hair for about half an hour then wash as usual. Your hair will become shiny, healthy and manageable.
3- Helps with dandruff and itching
Neem works effectively against many fungi like candida, which is one of the major cause of dandruff. Moreover, when you have dandruff there is some underlying inflammation that goes on to make the scalp red and irritated. Neem has anti-fungal properties, it also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects that help with redness and scalp irritation. Use neem oil to get rid of dandruff or even as a preventive measure, in case you are prone to dandruff.
4- Keeps your scalp healthy
Neem is a scalp savior because of its immense healing properties, as it has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties that help to keep the scalp skin in good health. To add to that neem has a cooling, soothing and astringent effect. Using neem oil regularly on your scalp will regulate the secretion of sebum which is your scalp’s natural oil and also work to normalize oily or dry scalp conditions. Due to its high medicinal value and soothing qualities, neem oil is often used in scalp care products.
5- Get rids of dead lice
Neem oil is a preeminent home remedy in treating head lice and mites. Research shows that neem contains an insecticidal ingredient called azadirachtin, which disrupts the growth and reproduction of lice, and so it will ultimately kill them. Moreover, the other ingredients in neem inhibit the swallowing system of lice, thus reducing their need to feed to the point of starvation. Also, the strong odor of neem oil is disliked by lice, thus keeps them away from crawling into your head. You can also use this oil as a preventive treatment as it works very effectively.
6- Relieves eczema symptoms
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that makes the skin to itch, flake, become dry and red. In those suffering from Eczema, it is common to have a dry and itchy scalp. Neem contains an anti-inflammatory substance called Nimbidin which acts similar to non-steroidal drug and helps reduce the redness and irritation caused by Eczema. In addition, neem oil is rich in fatty acids and glycerides that penetrate easily the outer layers of the skin and restores the protective barrier, thus preventing loss of moisture. Neem is also a strong analgesic or pain-killer, therefore, bringing relief from the excruciating discomfort caused by dry itchy eczema skin. Its strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties will help to keep bacteria and secondary skin infections at bay. Neem offers great relief when used regularly to soothe the itchiness and also reduce the intensity of rashes. Boil the bark of Neem in water then rind the bark in this boiled water to form a paste. Apply this paste to your scalp to give you relief from eczema. Shampoo and condition, as usual, Try this thrice a week to ensure healthy hair.
7- Helps prevent hair loss
As I was researching neem, I noted that many people have reported that neem has helped in preventing hair loss. Neem makes the hair stronger and might prevent hair loss. Regular use of neem as a hair mask and neem water as a rinse stimulates hair growth. Neem also causes the normal functioning of the scalp to ensure regrowth of hair. If you are experiencing abnormal hair loss, always consult a doctor to determine the root cause before you decide to use neem as a remedy.
8- Improves hair texture
To improve the texture of your hair, you need to use the neem oil regularly. Neem oil is very good for hair and improves scalp and hair quality. Neem oil helps to untangle rough hair making it smooth, hence you can easily work through your hair. Massage neem oil on the scalp regularly to get better results.
9- Prevents split ends
One of the most common hair problems is split ends. When you see your hair with split ends, it is time to start the neem oil ritual other than using so much money on other expensive products to try and control the damage. Split ends can seriously damage your hair by stunting its growth and making it fizzy and unimaginable. Neem seed oil moisturizes the hair from root to tip and also helps in the gentle repair of hair cuticles. A basic trimming and regular application can help to repair frizzy hair. It deep nourishes frizzy hair, retaining the shine and strength of the locks. You can also add a few drops of neem oil to one’s shampoo before every wash, so one can get a hydrated, smooth and happy hair.
How to use neem for hair growth
1- Neem as a natural conditioner:
Neem acts as a natural moisturizer for dry, frizzy hair and makes your tresses more manageable. You can prepare your neem conditioner at home by making a paste out of crushed neem leaves and honey.Apply the paste evenly on your hair and let it stay for about ten minutes. Wash off with a mild shampoo. If your hair is currently falling and you have certain bald patches on your scalp, you must try this along with your regular medications.
2- Neem as a hair mask
You can quickly make a neem hair mask by mixing equal quantities of neem powder, alma powder, and reetha (optional) powder. To this add, honey and lemon juice to help with the smell. Apply this paste to your scalp and along your hair strands. Let the hair mask, stay on your hair for half an hour. Thereafter, shampoo and condition your hair. This hair mask deep conditions, nourishes your hair strands and reduces scalp itchiness and dandruff too. For faster hair growth, you should try this hair mask as it is sure to stimulate your hair follicles for new hair growth.
You can also mix yogurt with crushed neem leaves and apply this paste on your hair. Because of its high fatty acid content, neem hydrates your hair strands and make them appear healthier and shinier.
3- Neem as a hair rinse.
Neem leaves boiled in water benefits your hair in various ways. To make the rinse add a cup of fresh neem leaves to boiling water, and use this water to rinse your hair after shampooing your hair. Rinsing your hair with neem water helps clean the scalp. It also clears the clogged pores enhancing hair growth. The anti-bacterial property of neem helps to treat dry scalp, dandruff, and any other hair fall issues.
4- Neem as Shampoo
Making your shampoo from scratch can be quiet tasking but you can make your neem shampoo by just adding pure, organic neem oil to your favorite shampoo.
5- Neem hair oil.
Neem oil is extracted from two different parts of the plant, from the kernels and sometimes, they use the leaves and stems and everything that’s the body of the plant. Seed kernels go through a process called cold pressing and this oil is considered to be the most effective. But this is done in the factories, so it is easier to make your oil using the leaves at home. The essences received from leaves do not smell as much less than kernel extracts. This is another reason why neem oil from leaves can be more preferable than the kernel extracts.
The ingredients needed are neem leaves and some base oil. It’s recommended to add fresh basil leaves, too, as their effect on hair and scalp is amazing. This remedy works for hair strengthening, to repel lice and kill their larvae, to remove scalp inflammations, and to make hair shine. Grind washed neem and basil leaves and add them to the boiling base oil you are using. Boil the mixture for fifteen minutes and then remove from the heat and allow it to cool for two hours. Stain it and you can now use it on your hair as hair oil.
A reminder that before you embark on any natural hair remedy, ensure you do a patch test before going all out. If you notice any reactions on the application, please stop. Most importantly, always consult a doctor if you have underlying issues you need to work on first. Otherwise, based on my experience with neem, I would highly recommend you give it a try.