Cedarwood Oil is an intensely aromatic plant-based essential oil - famous for its sweet and woody fragrance, and boasting a long list of health and wellness benefits. Native Americans have used cedarwood oil for centuries in purifying ceremonies, and it has long been recognized as a tonic that can soothe the body and calm the mind. It’s a common ingredient to find in plant based perfumes, but its benefits can be extended to skin and even hair, too!
Extracting Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood oil is extracted through distillation, a process whereby plant material (the bark and cedar wood) are treated with pressure and heat, extracting the precious amber oil. Processed properly (without too much heat), cedarwood oil has an immensely complex chemical profile. It contains a large component of sesquiterpenes, a compound that improves oxygen delivery to cells and is ultra anti-inflammatory. It’s also a natural antiseptic, meaning that it can ward off infection and reduce bacteria when applied topically.
How to Use Cedarwood Oil for Hair
Cedarwood oil is an excellent hair tonic, with properties that range from shine enhancement to dandruff reduction and improved scalp health. Perhaps its most potent (and remarkable) perk is its ability to ward off hair loss. Because of the presence of sesquiterpenes, a compound which improves oxygen delivery, applying cedarwood oil to the scalp can improve circulation and blood flow to hair follicles. This effectively treats thinning hair, stimulating new growth and encouraging thicker new hair to grow in. Overall scalp health can be vastly improved by applying cedarwood oil, thanks to the presence of widdrol: the antifungal compound in the oil. Fungal infection on the scalp can trigger inflammatory processes that can result in follicular damage and hair loss, so the presence of widdrol is a serious bonus in the battle for thicker hair.
The scent of Cedarwood oil is proven to generate relaxation and calm the nervous system - so smelling cedarwood in your locks all day may actually make you calmer, over-all. For your hair, this could also be seriously beneficial, as research shows that neurotransmitters in the body interact with hair follicles when you are experiencing high levels of stress. This is why during especially stressful periods of time, individuals sometimes experience significant hair loss.
Adding Cedarwood to Your Hair Care Routine
Cedarwood oil can be incorporated into DIY hair care treatments in a number of ways. For a hair enhancing mask, try mixing a few drops of cedarwood oil with warmed coconut oil and argan oil (which is known to soothe an itchy scalp). Mix the oils together and apply generously to your hair. Cover your hair with a warm towel and let the mixture sink in for up to half an hour before rinsing it (you’ll need a good plant-based clarifying shampoo to fully work the mixture out of your hair). Pro tip: combine the application of cedarwood oil with a self-administered head massage, which can further improve circulation, increase calmness, and remove dead skin build up on the scalp.
For an everyday boost of hair-loss reversal, try adding a few drops of cedarwood oil to your daily shampoo and conditioner, or to your leave-in spray.You can easily make a DIY leave in spray at home: add a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to an empty spray-top bottle, along with water, sea-salt, and a drop of argan oil–this formula will boost shine, give your locks light sea-tousled texture, and allow your scalp to reap the medicinal benefits of cedarwood.
For more information on cedarwood oil as a skin tonic (it’s not just for hair!), take a look at out deep dive on cedarwood oil benefits for skin and body.