Anyone who has ever used menthol shampoos remembers the unmistakable cooling sensation. It's a fantastic way to give your body the get-up-and-go needed to start your day.
But the benefits of menthol don’t end here. What if we told you menthol might be essential for nourishing your scalp and promoting hair growth?
Essential oils like peppermint oil containing menthol can be a safe and simple alternative to a market saturated with chemical compounds, which can pose a number of negative side effects.
Today we're going to explore how menthol could be your missing ingredient for giving your scalp and hair the care they need.
What is Menthol?
Menthol is a soothing compound occurring naturally in peppermint and other mint plants. It's known for a wide variety of applications because it is a natural vasodilator.
What does it mean to be a “natural vasodilator”, though? Well, that rush you feel when you inhale the powerful menthol scent is caused by vasodilation, which is a widening of your blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow.
Circulation to the scalp is generally poor, which is why baldness and hair thinning are such common issues. This is also why male-pattern baldness often occurs in the center of the scalp, as it is the spot furthest from where nutrition is delivered.
Why Is Menthol Important to Hair Growth?
Blood flow is how our body transports oxygen and essential nutrients around our body, so by increasing blood circulation, we fast-track our body's ability to administer those chemicals.
Healthy hair growth, like healthy conditions throughout your whole body, depends on your blood flow, delivering nutrients and oxygen to your scalp. This keeps your hair in the anagen phase, the stage where it grows.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be caused by a number of conditions, including:
- Androgenetic alopecia – Commonly known as pattern hair loss, this condition affects the front and top of the scalp in men and the entire scalp in women.
- Telogen effluvium – This is generally a temporary condition where hair production is stuck in the shedding phase. Stress, thyroid problems, rapid weight loss and childbirth can cause this condition.
- Alopecia areata – An autoimmune condition that attacks hair follicles, causing sudden hair loss. It can also affect eyebrow and eyelash hair.
- Nutrition deficiency – Poor diets can lead to deficiencies in compounds such as iron or protein, which can cause over-shedding.
- Certain medications – Blood-thinning pharmaceuticals, antidepressants, or drugs used to lower cholesterol commonly list hair loss as a side effect.
- Aging – Skin becomes thinner as we age, leading to lower absorption of oxygen and vitamins.
Which Hair Care Products Contain Menthol?
The soothing effect of menthol has led to it being used in a variety of products. Menthol is one of the ingredients included in Divi's comprehensive formulas for our Scalp Serum, Shampoo & Conditioner due to its ability to increase blood flow.
That’s right! Menthol is in Divi’s entire lineup of scalp and hair care products. That’s how much we trust this powerful compound.
Hair care products often contain menthol as the stimulating effect is well absorbed through the thin skin of the scalp. The scent is easily inhaled, too, magnifying the vasodilatory benefits.
Why Do We Use Menthol in Divi’s Products?
As we discussed earlier, vasodilators like menthol have a number of beneficial effects, but how can increased blood flow stimulate hair growth? The answer is in your hair follicles.
The vasodilatory effects of menthol in Divi’s products can rejuvenate blood-starved hair follicles by increasing blood flow. This boost in blood flow can combat baldness as it relaxes the blood vessels. Freeing up the movement of these essential elements around the body can restore the natural balance of oxygen and nutrients in your scalp.
Using Divi’s lineup of Scalp Serum, Shampoo & Conditioner could tackle a nutrient-deprived scalp and the embarrassing look and feel of hair loss by restoring the delivery of nutrition to your scalp.
Further proven benefits of menthol include its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which can prevent conditions such as staph infections (which can lead to folliculitis).
What Are the Side Effects of Menthol?
Topical application of menthol holds minimal risk as the menthol component is often diluted by a carrier oil, generally meaning any irritation caused by menthol will be minimal. However, skin irritation can occur with over-application. That's why we carefully created a dermatologically tested formula with just the right concentration to significantly reduce the likelihood of any negative effects in our products.
Menthol can cause eye irritation, so be careful not to let your favorite Divi products run down your face as you apply or rinse them out!
Menthol for Hair: What Does Science Say?
A 2014 South Korean study tested the effectiveness of various compounds claiming to benefit hair growth in mice. Among them were saline, jojoba oil, minoxidil (Rogaine, the only FDA-approved hair loss product), and a 3% concentration of peppermint oil, which is made up of 40% menthol.
After four weeks, peppermint oil proved to be the most effective not only in increasing follicle number and depth but also dermal thickness.
By the end of the 4-week trial, the group tested with peppermint oil showed a 92% hair recovery, compared to minoxidil which ranked second with only 55% restoration. The growth in the number of hair follicles from testing with peppermint oil was also comparable to the group tested with minoxidil and showed a radical increase in skin stimulation, increasing both follicle depth and volume to a slightly higher number than minoxidil.
A more recent 2020 South Korean study in mice found that menthol upregulated 29 genes responsible for hair growth. After five weeks, the group of mice tested with menthol showed the same rate of hair growth exhibited by the group tested with minoxidil after four weeks.
How to Use Menthol for Hair Growth
The topical application of menthol to the scalp with Divi’s products is the best way to receive optimal hair growth results.
The blend of menthol essential oil in all of Divi's dermatologist-tested products has been optimized to ensure optimal results to save you the trouble of figuring out the best concentration.
Our Shampoo is super easy to use. Simply massage it into your hair and scalp, rinse thoroughly, then apply its tag team partner, Divi’s Conditioner. Apply our Conditioner into the ends of your hair and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing out.
To enjoy the benefits of menthol with our Scalp Serum, simply apply 3/4 dropper of the product directly to your scalp and enjoy the tingling, cooling effect of the menthol.
Who Should Use Menthol for Hair Growth?
Studies show menthol can stimulate blood flow and encourage hair into its healthy anagen phase by creating more hair follicles and deepening existing ones. When applied topically, the menthol in peppermint oil has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of scalp irritation, making it a good choice for people with flaky scalp or sensitive skin.
Because of this, people suffering from male- or female-pattern baldness or telogen effluvium may benefit from menthol oil's ability to stimulate circulation and bring it out of the shedding (telegen) phase.
Multiple factors can cause hair loss, and before resorting to remedial products, addressing lifestyle choices such as diet and sun exposure are always the best place to start. Eating food high in protein and fatty acids leads to the healthy production of branched-chain amino acids. Also, the Vitamin D from sunlight, even on cloudy days, leads to higher keratin levels, which is necessary for stronger hair.
If you're suffering from chronic hair loss, Divi's products can help improve symptoms, but they can't treat the root cause. We recommend consulting your doctor to get to the bottom of the problem and using Divi’s lineup along with their expert recommendations.
What to Consider Before Using Menthol for Hair Growth?
Allergic reactions to menthol are uncommon, but if you've had little to no exposure to this oil before, it's important to be sparing when first trying it.
Make sure you use a 1% solution as allergic reactions can lead to headaches, contact dermatitis, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. If you're on any medication and want to be safe, you may want to consult your physician to avoid any unexpected side effects.
Our clean ingredients, including menthol, can help prevent hair loss by encouraging healthy blood circulation, making Divi a fantastic alternative.
Our carefully-balanced formulas carry very little risk, so why not try them out today? Menthol is a key ingredient in Divi’s entire scalp-nourishing lineup: our Scalp Serum, Shampoo & Conditioner. Look at this page with all of our product options to build your new scalp and hair care regimen with Divi in your corner.