A popular treatment said to nourish and grow hair

Carrot oil is a popular hair treatment that comes in several forms and can be applied in multiple ways. It’s said to be nourishing for hair, though this claim is anecdotal. Users report that it makes hair softer, accelerates growth, protects the hair from damage, and more. Carrot oil comes in various forms:

  • essential oil derived from carrot seeds
  • oil derived from the roots of the carrot
  • numerous store-bought products and treatments

Carrot oil contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, and beta carotene, which are essential nutrients for hair health.

Based on anecdotal evidence, carrot oil can help hair to grow faster and thicker. People who are looking to keep their hair long and avoid split ends may find that carrot oil helps. Conditioning the hair with carrot oil is also said to improve its texture, making it shinier, smoother, and softer to the touch.

Others who use carrot oil say it helps to prevent hair loss by making the roots stronger at the scalp. Its vitamins could have a protective effect from outdoor damage, shielding it from the harshest UV rays and environmental pollution. By boosting blood circulation to the scalp, carrot oil could also serve to keep your hair healthier from root to tip.

Proponents of carrot oil say it is gentle and healing. Because of its mildly sweet fragrance, it can also be combined with other essential oils of your choice for a customized rinse or treatment.

One recent study shows that carrot oil has antibacterial properties against a variety of bacteria and fungus. People experiencing dandruff and dry scalp may find relief from their symptoms when they treat their hair periodically with carrot oil. Using naturally occurring oils on your scalp, particularly if it’s dry, can stimulate the production of your own body’s oil, or sebum.

There aren’t many studies on the risks and benefits of carrot oil. Because of the anecdotal nature of reported risks, it’s best to consult your doctor before you begin using carrot oil.

As with any topical product or supplement, carrot oil carries the risk of allergic reaction. Before applying carrot oil to your hair, do a patch test on a small amount of skin, such as an area on the inside of your arm or the back of your neck. Always dilute carrot oil with a carrier oil like grapeseed or coconut oil before applying it to your skin. Leave it on for at least 24 hours to observe whether you react to it. If there’s no reaction, you should be fine to proceed with applying a hair treatment. If you do experience an allergic reaction, stop use immediately and contact your doctor.

While carrot oil doesn’t appear to turn dark-pigmented hair orange, overuse could cause the skin of the scalp to turn orange. Using carrot oil too often on blonde or other light-colored hair may carry the same risk. Some people use carrot juice as a natural hair dye.

In folk medicine, carrot oil has traditionally been used both externally and internally. The biggest health risk carrot oil poses is the possibility of psychoactive effects due to a small amount of a component called myristicin. Any psychoactive effects would only be experienced if you consumed carrot oil internally in high amounts.

Researchers who studied the effects of myristicin in nutmeg found the ingredient to be low in toxicity to humans. They cited that high amounts of the toxin — 6 or 7 milligrams — could intoxicate a human. But because of the small amounts present in carrot oil, you’d have to consume a very large amount in order to become intoxicated. Still, the topic warrants further research.

The carotol component of carrot oil has been shown in one study to be moderately toxic to cells in the body, depending on its source. While specific risks aren’t outlined, people in search of gentle, safe, nontoxic treatments may want to consider alternative options for their hair care needs.

Using too much carrot oil internally can cause nausea and vomiting. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should never take carrot oil internally. Additionally, people experiencing asthma or epilepsy should avoid taking it.

You can treat your hair with carrot oil at least twice per week. You can purchase a premade hair treatment, or you can create your own mix and apply at home.

You can make your own hair mask, rinse, or deep conditioner with carrot essential oil. For a simple oil application, dilute 3–4 drops of carrot essential oil in 2–4 tablespoons of coconut oil (or other carrier oil like grapeseed). Work it through your hair with your fingers, massaging it into your scalp. Then, comb it through, cover it with a plastic cap, and leave it in for an hour or two before shampooing it out.

You can also create a rinse using 3–4 drops of carrot oil in a mix of 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. After you shampoo your hair, shake this mixture and rinse your hair once more with the carrot oil rinse. Leave in for 5 minutes before rinsing it again.

Many store-bought carrot oil applications are designed to be left in between washes; they come in oil, serum, and cream forms. It’s the carrot essential oil that needs to be diluted. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for prepared products with carrot oil.

According to anecdotal results, carrot oil:

  • restores moisture to hair and scalp
  • tames frizz
  • softens and smooths texture
  • helps hair grow more quickly
  • protects hair from damage

Some users with fine or thin hair say it adds body. For many users, results appear to be immediate — or begin to appear after the first application or two.

Based on anecdotal evidence and the available studies, carrot oil may be beneficial for periodic to frequent use on the hair and scalp.