Neem oil is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from the neem tree’s seeds and fruits. Neem tree is a native tree in India and other parts of Asia, with neem considered as a multipurpose herb because of its medicinal properties and is also sometimes referred to as the “plant with a promise”.
Neem oil can be yellowish brown, golden yellow, reddish brown, greenish brown, dark brown, or dark red, depending on the method that was used in the extraction and processing of the oil. It has triglycerides and triterpenoid compounds, which contribute to its bitter taste. Raw neem oil has a strong and pungent odor, often described as garlicky or similar to the smell of sulfur.
The highest quality neem oil can be obtained through cold pressing, as this process can retain all the beneficial properties and leave them unharmed. After cold pressing, the oil cake that was left behind can be subjected to solvent extraction to get a lower grade oil. This lower in quality oil is mainly used in industrial products like soaps, fungicides, pesticides, and more. However, for cosmetics and medicinal use, high quality cold pressed neem oil should be used.
Active Compounds and Properties of Neem Oil
The neem tree has several active compounds and some of the most common ones are the following:
- Azadirachtin, which provides anti-hormonal. repellant, as well as anti-feedant properties
- Nimbin, which provides anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antihistamine properties
- Nimbidin, which provides anti-ulcer, antibacterial, analgesic, antifungal and anti-arrhythmic properties
- Nimbidol, which provides anti-protozoan, anti-tubercular and antipyretic properties
- Salannin, which provides repellant properties
- Sodium nimbinate, which provides diuretic, spermicidal and anti-arthritic properties
- Gedunin, which provides vasodilator, anti-malaria and antifungal properties
- Quercetin, which provides antioxidant, anti-protozoal, antibacterial and , anti-inflammatory properties
Major concentrations of these active compounds are also present in neem oil. It also contains many fatty acids such as oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, and others.
Neem oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, which gives a soothing sensation, especially when rubbed into the scalp. It allows hair to grow by keeping the scalp clean and in its best possible state. A clean scalp also reduces the risk of having skin and hair disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.
Neem Oil and Hair Growth
Neem oil has many wonderful benefits for the hair and scalp and below are some of the reasons why using neem oil in our hair is an excellent idea.
- Neem oil can help develop healthier hair strands.
By using neem oil at least once a day, you can see and feel a significant improvement on your hair strands. That is because the oil contains fatty acids and antioxidants which will nourish and moisturize the hair and turn dry strands into shiny and healthy hair strands.
- Neem oil can provide healthier scalp.
Using neem oil on your scalp will help remove dirt and excess oil, and help unclog all the pores that are essential for hair follicles to grow new hair strands. Aside from helping hair grow at a quicker rate, neem oil can also stimulate the blood on the scalp for an improved circulation.
- Neem oil promotes hair growth.
Neem oil removes dirt and oil in our scalp to unclog the pores, but aside from that, it also contains antioxidants which can help protect the scalp from free radicals which can cause blockage in the hair follicles. Neem oil’s antioxidants also have the ability to stop hair thinning that is caused by stress and other hair loss factors.
Other Benefits of Neem Oil for the Hair
- Neem oil is a natural cure for dandruff and dry scalp. One of the major causes of dandruff is the fungus candida and neem oil effectively fights against it. That is also the reason why many dandruff shampoos contain neem oil because using the oil regularly can prevent dandruff from forming.
- Neem oil is a good conditioner to help smoothen rough and frizzy hair. It can help make the hair shinier and can also help rehydrate dry strands. Just add a few drops of the oil to your shampoo and leave it on for three to five minutes when you use it. You will notice shinier and healthier hair even after a few uses.
- Neem oil also has the ability to moisturize the hair and help repair damaged cuticles. You can mix a few drops of neem oil with other essential oils and then apply the mixture to your hair. Leave it on for a few hours, then rinse.
- Neem oil can also reduce premature graying of the hair. Using the oil regularly and consistently can reduce the overall graying of the hair, if it is due to hormonal imbalance or other hair problems. However, if graying of the hair is due to aging, neem oil will not be able to reverse or delay the process.
Side Effects of Neem Oil
Neem oil is not meant to be ingested as it can be potentially harmful and toxic. An active component of neem oil, called the Azadirachtin, can irritate the skin and stomach lining and can cause mild to serious problems.
While neem oil has a lot of benefits for the skin and hair, unfortunately, there have been rare cases of negative reactions to topical applications of neem oil. For instance, if neem oil is applied on the scalp to help combat alopecia or hair loss, the oil can lead to itchy rashes on the face and on the scalp. That is why, it is recommended to always do a patch test before use and do not use undiluted neem oil without supervision from a medical professional.
Different Uses of Neem Oil
- As a shampoo
For every 100 ml of shampoo, you can add 1 to 5 ml of neem oil directly to the shampoo bottle. Make sure that you lather well with each use, to spread out the nutrients all over your hair and scalp.
- As a hair conditioner
You can use neem oil as to condition your hair by applying the oil directly onto your damp hair and massaging it from the scalp to the tips. Make sure that all your hair strands are coated in oil. Cover your head with a warm towel or a shower cap and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing.
- As a dandruff remover
Try mixing neem oil with ground lemon peel and massage the mixture onto your hair for 10 to 15 minutes. Lather it on your scalp and make sure that everything in the scalp area is covered with the mixture. Leave it on for another 30 minutes and rinse off using a mild shampoo.
- As an oil pre-shampoo treatment
Mix one drop of neem oil with virgin coconut oil and apply it to your hair from roots to tips. Using this as a pre-shampoo treatment will make your hair prepared for the whole bath time.
- As a styling hair gel
Neem oil is a good alternative to any chemically produced hair product. Just apply it directly on your hair and style it the way you want. However, take note that neem oil is not recommended to be used on stiff hairstyles as it will definitely not hold.
Top 5 Neem Oil Products
- Neem Oil Organic & Wild Crafted Pure Cold Pressed Unrefined Cosmetic Grade 12 oz for Skincare, Hair Care, and Natural Bug Repellent by Oleavine
Oleavine’s All Natural Neem Oil is a cosmetic grade oil, which has a lot of purposes and multiple benefits such as protecting, nourishing, and moisturizing dry and sensitive skin. It is cold pressed and carefully processed to retain the essential fatty acids and active ingredients.
It can also be used in caring for the hair by mixing it with shampoos and other essential oils or using it on its own as a hair treatment. It can add shine, tame and condition dry and frizzy hair, and support scalp health.
This neem oil is for topical use only. It can be directly applied to the skin or mixed with bath and body are products. It should also be noted that it has a strong earthy smell which is typical of neem oils. It can also solidify when cool or even at room temperature. When this happens, just immerse the container in warm water and it is already good to be used.
- Organic Neem Oil, 100% Pure, Cold Pressed, USDA Certified Organic by RejuveNaturals, 4oz | For Hair, Skin & Nails | All Natural Anti Aging Moisturizer, Antiseptic, Insecticide & Fungicide
RejuveNatural’s Certified Organic Neem Oil is also 100% cold pressed, so its beneficial contents are retained and unharmed. Since it is certified organic, you can be assured that it does not contain any fillers or additives.
This neem oil helps make the skin look and feel better by helping restore moisture and promoting soft and supple skin. It also helps make fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable.
Aside from its skin benefits, it can also be used to provide deep conditioning treatment for dry hair and relieve itchy scalp. It helps seal split ends and reduce the appearance of frizzy hair. It also fosters overall hair growth with regular and consistent use.
RejuveNaturals’ neem oil may be the ultimate multitasker as it can promote health and beauty from head to toe. However, it is only designed for topical use and should not be ingested for safety reasons.
- Foxbrim 100% Pure USDA Organic Neem Oil, Cold Pressed – Nutrient Rich Oil For Hair, Skin & Nails – Treat Acne, Fade Fine Lines, Heal Stretch Marks, Moisturize Hair & Scalp
Foxbrim’s Organic Neem Oil is also cold pressed like the first two, which also makes it pure and unrefined, with the essential ingredients untouched. It works wonders for the hair and skin, with multiple benefits that can be maximized daily. A few drops of this organic neem oil can be used to address skin and hair problems, including the face and scalp.
For the hair, it can help in promoting hair growth, repairing split ends, conditioning dry and damaged hair, and keeping scalp healthy and clean. It contains essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, and amino acids.
One of the recommended usage is to apply a sufficient amount over wet hair, focusing on the ends especially when addressing split ends. Leave it on for five to ten minutes, then use a mild shampoo to rinse hair. You can also use a small amount and apply to damp hair to smoothen out any visible frizz.
- Naked Neem Organic Unrefined Neem Oil
Naked Neem’s Neem Oil is pure, certified organic, professional grade, and made with premium quality which are most of the things that you would want in a beauty oil. It is also cold pressed so you can be assured that all nutrients and beneficial ingredients are retained in the oil and not removed in the process.
Neem oil is commonly used to address and treat skin irritations as it can help protect, nourish, and moisturize dry and sensitive skin. It also provides several benefits to the hair by adding shine, supporting dry scalp health and aiding in hair growth. It does not contain any additives and fillers so its efficiency is guaranteed.
- UpNature The Best Neem Oil 4 OZ Extract – Cold Pressed – Unrefined Premium Quality – For Hair & Skin & Plants – With Dropper Made of Glass – Use to Make Soap, Shampoo & Lotion – Acts as Insecticide
UpNature’s Neem Oil is guaranteed to be 100% pure and also cold pressed, which means that the oil was extracted without using any heat and chemicals, so all essential nutrients are retained in the oil.
It is also therapeutic grade and GMO free, making it an excellent treatment for hair and skin. It can restore and repair damaged hair by conditioning and nourishing the hair from roots to tips. It can also help with other hair problems such as hair loss and premature graying caused by hormonal imbalance. Using this neem oil consistently can definitely give you shinier, longer, and stronger hair.
The Bottom Line
Neem oil is an all natural cure and is a fantastic and effective treatment for many hair and scalp problems. Just make sure that you know how to use it properly so that you, or anyone who gets hold of the oil, will not experience any of its unwanted side effects. It is meant to be used topically, so drinking it or using it for cooking is not advisable. Make use of its benefits well, so that you can achieve the best skin and hair that you want.