When it comes to caring for your locs or dreadlocks, choosing the right oil can make all the difference. From promoting hair growth to preventing breakage, the right oil can keep your hair and scalp healthy. In this guide, we’ll explore the top 10 best oils for locs, including essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and rosemary, along with natural options like coconut, jojoba, and olive oil.
Whether you’re looking to strengthen your hair strands, protect your locs, or simply add shine to your locks, these oils provide the best results for your unique hair type. Discover how to use essential oils and carrier oils effectively, stimulate hair growth, prevent hair loss, and achieve the best hair health for your locs. Your journey to healthy, vibrant locs begins here.
Essential Oils for Locs | Do They Actually Work?
Essential oils for dreads and locs have garnered immense popularity in the world of hair and scalp care, and for a good reason (1). Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts possess unique properties that can benefit both your scalp and hair. But do they really work for locs and dreadlocks?
1. Promoting Hair Growth
One of the primary reasons people turn to essential oils for their locs is their ability to promote hair growth. Oils like peppermint, lavender and rosemary essential oils, have been studied for their potential to stimulate hair follicles and encourage new hair growth.
When diluted essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba or argan oil, these essential oils can be massaged onto your scalp and hair, improving circulation and providing nourishment to hair follicles.
2. Preventing Hair Loss
Essential oils also have the potential to prevent hair loss. Cedarwood, for instance, is known for its ability to balance oil-producing glands on the scalp, which can help reduce hair breakage and loss. Similarly, tea tree essential oil is recognized for its antibacterial properties, helping maintain a healthy scalp environment.
3. Strengthening Hair
Many essential oils are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can strengthen your hair strands. For example, frankincense essential oil is often used to protect the hair and scalp from damage.
10 Best Oil for Locs | Best Oils for Dreadlocks
Essential Oil is a powerful way to add moisture to your locs, keeps your locs soft and healthy, and keep away hair and scalp from infections. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781119829614.ch41 Natural oils like the ones mentioned below are essential to moisturize and nourish the hair as they contain essential fatty acids and vitamins. Many of these are oils that penetrate the scalp and add nourishment to the locs from the inside.
Here is a list of 10 essential oils for your hair:
1. Jojoba Oil for Locs
Jojoba oil, a liquid wax, closely mimics the natural sebum produced by your scalp. This makes it an ideal choice for locs, providing deep moisturization without weighing down your hair.
It also aids in maintaining a healthy scalp. Jojoba oil helps in preventing dryness, itchiness, and flakiness commonly associated with locs, while also promoting hair strength and elasticity.
Its lightweight nature allows it to penetrate the hair shaft easily, providing nourishment and adding a beautiful sheen to the locs. Published research authored by G.K Sandha and V.K Swami shows that jojoba oil is effective in curbing the overproduction of sebum. 
2. Coconut Oil for Locs
Renowned for its nourishing properties, coconut oil penetrates deeply into locs, thanks to its abundance of essential fatty acids. Use this essential oil to strengthen hair, prevent breakage, and impart a natural shine.
Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties that can help keep the scalp healthy and combat issues like dandruff or fungal infections.
The Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society published a report on November 2014 that highlights the significance of lauric acid in coconut oil. 
3. Argan Oil for Locs
Often referred to as “liquid gold,” argan oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It works wonders for locs, skin and hair by deeply nourishing and protecting them, leaving your hair soft, lustrous, and more manageable. Argan oil is excellent for promoting scalp health. It can help soothe dryness, reduce itching, and alleviate scalp irritation. It also minimizes hair breakage and supports hair strength, which are common concerns for loc wearers.
Also known as one of the best carrier oil for hair, argan oil’s nourishing fatty acids and antioxidants strengthen hair, boost shine, reduce breakage, and repair split ends when used regularly.
4. Olive Oil for Locs
Packed with essential fatty acids, coconut or olive oil is a trusted choice for moisturizing and conditioning locs. It enhances shine, fortifies hair strands, and supports overall hair health.
Olive oil has been a longstanding staple in hair care due to its versatile benefits. Olive oil for locs helps to moisturize and soften the hair, making it more manageable.
5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Locs
Eucalyptus oil boasts antimicrobial properties that promote a healthy scalp. It prevents infections, soothes irritation, and adds a refreshing fragrance to your locs.
The stimulating properties of eucalyptus oil may also promote blood circulation when massaged onto the scalp, which may encourage hair growth and contribute to overall scalp health.
The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology published research in 2021 that looks into the positive effects of essential oils on scalp health. 
6. Lavender Essential Oil for Locs
Lavender oil not only fosters hair growth but also offers a calming aroma. It’s excellent for soothing scalp discomfort and promoting relaxation. Lavender essential oil is a wonderful addition to a loc care routine due to its versatile benefits.
When diluted properly and massaged to the scalp, lavender oil can help create a conducive environment for healthier hair. It does so by reducing dandruff, itchiness, or scalp irritation. Published research also points out its anti-hair fall properties . Hence this oil is used in several cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries.
7. Rosemary Essential Oil for Locs
Rosemary hair oil can be used for its ability of stimulating the hair follicles, resulting in thicker and healthier locs. It also invigorates the scalp. When applied to the scalp, rosemary oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may help address issues like dandruff, itchiness, or scalp irritation.
And when properly massaged it may stimulate blood circulation, which can promote hair growth and overall scalp health. A 2011 study in the Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology journal investigated the antimicrobial properties of rosemary oil and made it public. 
8. Tea Tree Essential Oil for Locs
Tea tree natural oil is one of the best oils to strengthen the hair and make your hair an antimicrobial powerhouse, effectively combating fungi and bacteria. It keeps your scalp free from infections and dandruff, making it ideal for hair care.
Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can soothe a sensitive or irritated scalp. This property comforts the scalp and avoids other issues including hair fall. It’s also known to help regulate oil production, which may aid those with oily scalps.
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study in 2002 that investigated the quantity of tea tree oil needed to treat dandruff, hence proving the efficacy of the oil in dealing with hair issues. 
9. Cedarwood Essential Oil for Locs
Cedarwood oil helps balance the scalp’s oil production, reducing hair breakage and loss. It also contributes to an earthy, woody aroma. As with other essential oils, proper dilution with a carrier oil is essential to avoid skin irritation. Do a patch test first while using essential oil of cedarwood on scalp.
Thanks to its balancing, antimicrobial effects, cedarwood oil is regarded as one of the top essential oils for dandruff – it can reduce scalp irritation, flaking, and inflammation that causes dandruff.
10. Peppermint Essential Oil for Locs
Peppermint oil can help provide a refreshing and invigorating experience for your locs. It has antimicrobial properties that maintain a healthy scalp, preventing infections and discomfort. When diluted and applied to the scalp, peppermint oil’s natural cooling effect can provide relief from scratching.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and cooling properties, peppermint oil is also considered one of the best essential oil for eczema to soothe skin and relieve discomfort.
How To Use Essential Oils for Your Locs
Using essential oils for your locs is a fantastic way to promote hair health and maintain those luscious, well-kept locks. Here’s how to effectively use essential oils for your locs:
- Choose the Right Oils: Select essential oils that align with your hair goals. The 10 best oils for locs, including lemongrass essential oil, avocado oil, and peppermint essential oil, offer various benefits for scalp and hair follicles. Consider your unique hair type and needs.
- Dilute with Carrier Oils: Essential oils are potent and should be diluted with best carrier oils like jojoba, coconut, or argan oil. For every few drops of the essential oil, add a generous amount of carrier oil to create an essential oil blend.
- Mix Your Blend: Create your customized blend by combining essential oils and carrier oils. The choice of essential oils depends on your specific hair care goals. For example, if you aim to stimulate hair growth, combine drops of essential rosemary oil with your chosen carrier oil.
- Massage into Your Scalp: Gently massage it into your scalp. The massaging action improves circulation and ensures even distribution of the oils. Focus on the roots of your locs, as this is where the healthy hair growth begins.
- Moisturize Your Locs: Apply the oil blend to your locs, coating them from roots to tips. This step helps lock in moisture and nourishment, preventing dryness and breakage.
- Protect and Maintain: Essential oils provide a protective shield for your hair and scalp, guarding against infections and irritation. They also maintain the softness and health of your locs.
- Consistency is Key: To achieve the best results, make using essential oils for your locs a regular part of your hair care routine. Aim for weekly applications to keep your locs moisturized and healthy.
- Experiment and Enjoy: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different essential oil combinations to find the perfect blend for your locs. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils while caring for your hair.
By following these steps, you can harness the power of essential oils to promote hair growth, maintain a healthy scalp, and ensure that your locs remain soft, strong, and vibrant.
Essential Oils Blends Recipes for Healthy Shine to Your Locs
Recipe 1: Invigorating Shine Blend of Essential Oils
- 5 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 2 tablespoons of Jojoba Oil (Carrier Oil)
- In a small glass bowl, combine the essential oils.
- Add the jojoba oil to the essential oil blend and mix thoroughly.
- Massage a small amount of the blend onto your scalp and locs, starting at the roots and working your way down.
- Cover your locs with a shower cap or towel and leave the blend on for at least 30 minutes (or overnight for deeper conditioning).
- Shampoo and rinse your locs thoroughly to remove the oil. You’ll notice a natural shine and increased manageability.
Recipe 2: Citrus Burst Shine Blend of Natural Oils
- 6 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
- 4 drops of Orange Essential Oil
- 4 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil (Carrier Oil)
- Combine the citrus essential oils in a glass container.
- Mix in the coconut oil until you have a well-blended shine blend.
- Apply a small amount of the blend to your locs, focusing on the tips for extra shine.
- Gently massage it onto your scalp and your loc.
- Allow the blend to sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Wash and rinse your locs thoroughly to reveal their natural shine and a refreshing citrus scent.
Recipe 3: Strengthening Tea Tree and Cedarwood Blend
- 5 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 2 tablespoons of any carrier oils for deadlocks of your choice.
- Mix tea tree and cedarwood essential oils in a glass container.
- Add argan oil to create a blend.
- Apply a small amount of the blend to your locs and scalp.
- Mix with carrier oil and gently massage and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Shampoo and rinse thoroughly to reveal strong, shiny locs.
Safety Precautions To Take
When using essential oils for your locs, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:
- Dilution: Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation if applied directly. Always dilute them with a suitable carrier oil before applying to your scalp or locs.
- Patch Test: Perform a patch test before using any essential oil blend on your scalp or locs. Apply a small amount to a discreet area of your skin and wait 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions, such as redness, itching, or irritation.
- Proper Storage: Store your essential oils in dark glass bottles in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This helps maintain their potency and prevents them from degrading.
- Quality Matters: Choose high-quality, pure essential oils from reputable brands. Avoid synthetic or adulterated oils, as they may not have the same benefits and can potentially be harmful.
- Pregnancy and Medical Conditions: If you are pregnant, nursing, or have any underlying medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils. Some oils may not be suitable for certain individuals.
- Keep Out of Reach: Store essential oils out of reach of children and pets. Ingesting or applying undiluted oils can be harmful.
- Eye Contact: Avoid getting essential oils in your eyes. If accidental contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with a carrier oil, not water, and seek medical attention if irritation persists.
- Photosensitivity: Some essential oils, especially citrus oils like lemon and bergamot, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Avoid direct sun exposure after applying these oils to your skin.
- Essential Oils in Shampoos: Be cautious when using essential oil-infused shampoos or hair products. These can still be potent, and you should follow the instructions on the product label.
- Quantity Matters: Remember that a little goes a long way with essential oils. Use only the recommended amount in your blends to avoid overwhelming scents or potential skin irritations.
- Storage of Blends: If you create larger batches of essential oil blends, store them in dark glass containers and keep them tightly sealed to maintain their potency.
- Allergies: If you have known allergies to certain plants or botanicals, exercise caution when using essential oils derived from those sources.
By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils for your locs while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions or other safety concerns. Always prioritize your well-being and make informed choices when using essential oils in your hair care routine.
Incorporating essential oils into your loc care routine can be a transformative experience, enhancing the health, shine, and overall vitality of your locs. However, it’s crucial to approach their usage with care and safety in mind.
Dilution, quality, and proper storage are key considerations. Essential oils offer a world of aromatic benefits, but their potency requires respect.
By following safety precautions and experimenting with various blends, you can harness the power of nature to maintain healthy, lustrous locs, all while enjoying the soothing and invigorating scents that come with them. Embrace the journey to vibrant, nourished hair with essential oils as your trusted allies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do locs need oil?
Yes, locs benefit from oil to maintain moisture, prevent dryness, and promote overall scalp and hair health. Essential oils and carrier oils are useful for lustrous and rich looking hair.
What is the best oil to use on dreadlocks?
The best oil to use on dreadlocks depends on personal preference and hair type, but popular choices include jojoba oil, coconut oil, and argan oil, and lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil for locs.
What oils to mix together for locs?
A mix of essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and tea tree with carrier oils such as coconut or jojoba works well for locs. Check out our blogs to know more about recipes and how to mix oils together for locs.
What oil makes your locs grow faster?
Faster hair growth depends on a lot of factors however, some of the oils including rosemary, peppermint, and castor are believed by some to promote healthy hair growth. It I imperative to understand that individual results can vary.
What is the best oil to comb out dreadlocks?
Use lightweight oils like coconut or olive oil to help ease the process of combing out dreadlocks. These oils provide lubrication and reduce friction.
Can I oil my dreads every day?
Oiling locs every day might lead to buildup, so it is best to oil your lovely and precious dreads few days or weekly.
Is rosemary oil good for dreads?
Yes, rosemary oil can be beneficial for dreadlocks. The oil and its compounds promote scalp health, by aiding in dandruff control. Massaging the scalp with rosemary may stimulate circulation, which can contribute to healthier, stronger locs over time.
- Sandha, G.K. and Swami, V.K., 2009. Jojoba oil as an organic, shelf stable standard oil-phase base for cosmetic industry. Rasayan J Chem, 2(2), pp.300-306.
- Dayrit, F.M., 2015. The properties of lauric acid and their significance in coconut oilfa. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 92, pp.1-15.
- Abelan, U.S., de Oliveira, A.C., Cacoci, É.S.P., Martins, T.E.A., Giacon, V.M., Velasco, M.V.R. and Lima, C.R.R.D.C., 2022. Potential use of essential oils in cosmetic and dermatological hair products: A review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 21(4), pp.1407-1418.
- Saeed, F., Afzaal, M., Raza, M.A., Rasheed, A., Hussain, M., Nayik, G.A. and Ansari, M.J., 2023. Lavender essential oil: Nutritional, compositional, and therapeutic insights. In Essential Oils (pp. 85-101). Academic Press.
- Jiang, Y., Wu, N., Fu, Y.J., Wang, W., Luo, M., Zhao, C.J., Zu, Y.G. and Liu, X.L., 2011. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Rosemary. Environmental toxicology and pharmacology, 32(1), pp.63-68.
- Satchell, A.C., Saurajen, A., Bell, C. and Barnetson, R.S., 2002. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47(6), pp.852-855.