A cosmetic scientist and scalp expert break down the benefits.
Just when you thought you had a handle on all the trending beauty oils, a new contender emerges to challenge that. Enter bhringraj oil, the star ingredient in numerous highly-rated hair care products praised for stimulating hair growth—alongside a host of other benefits.
So, what is bhringraj oil exactly, and what makes it such a valuable ingredient in hair care? According to Jennifer Davis Alexander, Ph.D., a cosmetic scientist, holistic wellness expert, and founder of Dr. Jen Knows Skin, it's derived from an herb known scientifically as Eclipta alba or Eclipta prostrata, which has been used in traditional medicine for what she terms "millennia."
These herbs grow wild in tropical and subtropical climates, including West Africa, Brazil, India, and Thailand, says Dr. Alexander. She notes it's so powerful because it's "rich in phytonutrients and minerals, such as flavonoids, potassium, magnesium, and iron, all of which play an integral role in hair and scalp health.
Ahead, we break down everything you need to know about bhringraj oil for hair, including potential benefits, who should use it, and how to apply it.
Bhringraj Oil Benefits
Numerous studies emphasize the potential of bhringraj oil for hair growth. In a 2008 study on rats, the herb demonstrated accelerated growth and indicated its potential to compete with minoxidil (commonly known as Rogaine) in stimulating hair growth. It's worth taking these results with a grain of salt, given that it was tested on animals, yet it certainly hints at bhringraj oil's captivating potential as a hair growth contender.
Free Radical Protection
Another benefit of bhringraj oil is antioxidant protection. According to Dr. Alexander, bhringraj oil is a significant source of vitamin E, making it great for shielding your scalp and strands from damaging free radicals. Notably, these free radicals stem from environmental factors such as UV rays and pollution, which can cause premature graying and slowed hair growth.
Dr. Alexander also cites bhringraj oil's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties as a standout benefit. She elaborates that these attributes could effectively combat dandruff and enhance overall scalp health.
Who Should Use Bhringraj Oil
"Hair is simple, but hair biology is complicated, with various common aspects worse in some people than others, such as inflammation and irritation caused by microbial or ectoparasitic overgrowth," says Sanjay Batra, MD, PRP, exosomes, hair loss, regenerative expert, and co-founder of WeThrivv. "For this reason, those who experience scalp irritation, exaggerated dandruff, or reddening of the scalp may benefit from bhringraj oil by incorporating it into their regimen."
How to Use Bhringraj Oil on Scalp
"The application method depends on how the oil has been prepared," says Dr. Batra, adding that the choice of carrier oil for extracting the leaf powder is pivotal in determining the oil's quality. For instance, the expert compares sunflower oil with olive and coconut oil. He considers sunflower oil "lower quality," while he sees olive and coconut oil as "higher quality." The reasoning is that olive oil has more antioxidants than sunflower oil, particularly vitamins K, E, and oleuropein. On the other hand, he points out that coconut oil has more saturated fatty acids, making it better for carrying ingredients. While he acknowledges that other carrier oils can work, he firmly suggests that olive or coconut oil is superior.
His method for using it applies to potent bhringraj oil and may not work well for lower forms made with ingredients like sunflower oil. Dr. Batra recommends applying the oil after washing your hair. He recommends pouring half a teaspoon into your hands, running it through your strands, and finishing by massaging it into the scalp.
Potential Side Effects of Bhringraj Oil
With any skin or hair care product comes potential risks and side effects. In the case of bhringraj oil, Dr. Batra says they stem from quality concerns and too-frequent application. "If the product is of low potency and manufactured with a low-quality oil, then there is a risk that scalp microbes will get worse, and dandruff may increase.” To prevent this, Dr. Batra highlights the importance of using high-quality bhringraj oil that has the right potency. He points out that the base oil itself can encourage the growth of microbes because of the nourishing environment it provides. However, a potent oil can effectively stop these microbes from growing too much in this oily environment.
Some people might also have an allergic sensitivity to bhringraj, leading to sensations of burning, sneezing, nasal irritation, or heightened skin sensitivity, along with increased skin irritation, itching, redness, or rashes, he elaborates. Although most adverse effects manifest in individuals who ingest the powder or consume bhringraj-infused tea, similar reactions can occur when it comes into contact with the skin, he adds. Given this, Dr. Batra strongly advocates conducting a patch test to preempt any potential reactions.
Best Products with Bhringraj Oil
When choosing bhringraj oil for your hair, Dr. Batra recommends buying from a trusted manufacturer. That might sound easier said than done, but a few ways to determine this are by positive reviews and brand reputation, third-party testing, and ingredient transparency.
Not choosing a reliable manufacturer could lead to unfavorable outcomes. As Dr. Batra explains, they may “cut the bhringraj with an adulterant, by adding more oil and diluting it to cut costs,” he explains. Below, we’ve listed a few highly rated options with a dedicated following.
1. SVA Bhringraj Oil
2. Brahmi Bhringraj Hair Oil
3. Vadik Herbs Bhringraj Hair Oil
For more Real Simple news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Real Simple.