When you think of the geranium plant, you probably think of flowers perched on your dinner table or the balcony. You may not think of using geranium oil for hair growth or to satisfy other skin or hair care needs.
However, many ladies say that these fantastic floral beauties can be used to add a fragrant touch to your hair and even promote hair growth as well.
So what’s the truth? Can you use geranium oil for hair growth? Also, are there other skin and hair-related benefits beyond potentially promoting hair growth?
Let’s take a closer look.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s the History of Geranium Essential Oil?
- 2 What Are the Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil?
- 3 The Benefits of Geranium Oil for Hair and Scalp Care
- 4 How to Use Geranium Essential Oil for Hair Care
What’s the History of Geranium Essential Oil?
The word “geranium” is a Latin word from the 1540s that has been absorbed into English. It comes from the Greek word “geranion,” which is a diminutive of the word “Geranos,” which means “crane.”
These plants have long been seen as having a resemblance in their long stalks to storks and cranes. For that reason, they were also sometimes referred to as “cranesbills.”
The geranium plant is native to South Africa. There are more than 280 species in the wild. They were not introduced en masse into Europe until the 17th century.
That said, several European countries, most notably Switzerland, have adopted them as an integral part of their floral and gardening culture.
That’s probably due in part to the fact that geraniums are highly decorous, with their brightly-colored beauty commonly adorning everything from balconies and terraces to living and dining rooms.
While you shouldn’t go around chowing down on your interior décor, geranium leaves and flowers are edible. They are occasionally included in meals to give them an extra dash of floral aroma, including sorbets, teas, puddings, jams, and cakes.
Indigenous people of South Africa have used geraniums to treat respiratory distress, depression, and stress in their medicinal traditions.
The leaves have also been used as insect repellent. Ironically enough, while the scent of geraniums may be pleasant for us, it can be a repellent for mosquitoes, wasps, and other bothersome bugs.
Henri Matisse painted geraniums several times, including “Still Life with Geraniums,” housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, “Still Life with Cranebills,” housed at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, and “Pot of Geraniums,” found at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
The National Gallery of Art is also home to “Rubens Peale with a Geranium,” painted by the subject’s older brother, Rembrandt Peale.
Pierre Auguste Renoir took a turn painting them with his “Geraniums,” housed at the Portland Art Museum, as did Vincent van Gogh, whose “Geranium in a Flowerpot” now resides in a private collection.
What Are the Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil?
Research into geranium essential oil has been uneven, with some areas having much more scientific evidence to support some of the healing claims of geranium advocates than others.
One area with some solid research to its credit is its efficacy as an anti-acne agent. A 2017 study conducted in Evidence-Based Contemporary Alternative Medicine found that geranium oil can help alleviate acne when applied topically.
In addition to its status as an anti-acne agent, geranium oil has also been pitched as an antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, all-around skincare agent (i.e., beauty product).
The evidence here is limited, but many beauty-related benefits are all common claims for essential oils, and one study from 2013, published in the Libyan Journal of Medicine, found that it showed promise as an anti-inflammatory oil.
A unique claim is that geranium oil can help treat edemas, swelling caused by fluid trapped in the body’s tissues.
While there aren’t as many studies as might be preferable, there is anecdotal testimony in its favor, along with evidence from that same 2013 study. However, this was conducted on animals rather than human subjects.
In terms of its ability to help fight off infections, a study published in the Iranian Journal of Microbiology in 2012 found that geranium oil had a similar degree of efficacy in fighting bacterial strains as amoxicillin.
However, while it effectively combated Staphylococcus aureus strains, it was less effective at tackling other strains such as Listeria monocytogenes.
A 2010 study in the Journal of Functional Foods studied the effects of geranium oil on microglial cells, which are a specialized form of macrophages in the central nervous system that works to get rid of damaged neurons and infections, which is important for helping keep your CNS healthy.
The study found that high concentrations of geranium oil helped reduce inflammation and cellular death for cells in the brain, with the researchers noting that they might have benefits for patients suffering from neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Another study, published in 2017 in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, found that geranium oil may have positive effects on salivary estrogen concentration on menopausal and perimenopausal women.
Important as that may be for those women, however, what’s important for everyone is that these results were achieved via aromatherapy, helping to establish further the soothing powers of geraniums’ scent and their beneficial effects.
A 2015 study in the Journal of Caring Sciences examined women in labor and found that aromatherapy (including geranium aromas) helped relieve stress, and an animal study from 2018 confirmed this conclusion.
While the effects of these treatments were temporary, they nevertheless give people another tool to help alleviate stress.
Finally, some anecdotal evidence has claimed that geranium oil can heal wounds due to its antimicrobial nature, but this has not been independently scientifically verified.
The Benefits of Geranium Oil for Hair and Scalp Care
1. Reduces Wrinkles
The first step in maintaining a healthy head of hair is ensuring that your scalp is in good shape. There are several ways your scalp can go wrong, and an over-wrinkly scalp is one of them.
Besides the fact that you don’t want your scalp to age too fast for obvious hair care reasons, a wrinkled scalp can also indicate that it is not being cared for properly. Thankfully, geranium oil can help smooth wrinkles.
2. Insect Repellent
If you don’t think the ability to ward off bugs can have an impact on your skin and hair care regimen, think again.
Anyone who has ever gone camping knows that bugs are abundant, and while you might enjoy cozying up for the night on the forest floor, you don’t want insects setting up camp on your scalp and leaving their eggs behind.
If you’re a parent or work for schools, there’s a fair chance you’re familiar with the kind of lice inspections school systems sometimes conduct to ensure that children aren’t passing these common insect-hair infestations to one another.
Thankfully, with the insect-repelling powers of geraniums, you can rub a bit of geranium oil into your hair and be confident that it won’t become a home for some six- or eight-legged creepy-crawly.
3. Anti-Acne Agent
For as embarrassing as acne can be, it can also be a sign of a bigger problem. Acne often arises when the skin is overly oily. You obviously don’t want your scalp or hair to be oily.
Simultaneously, you need to have some oil on your scalp to protect it from drying out. As for the acne itself, the less acne you have on your head, the fewer impediments your hair follicles may have as they grow.
4. Fabulous Fragrance
This is really a no-brainer. In addition to taking care of any health-related concerns, we also want our hair to be as nice and appealing as possible. That means making sure your hair smells nice, and it’s hard to beat the natural fragrant beauty of geranium hair products.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Few things pose a bigger danger to your hair’s health than an inflamed scalp. Just as you can’t grow geraniums in dry soil that’s devoid of any moisture or nutrients, you won’t be able to grow and maintain a healthy head of hair.
One of the biggest problems a dry scalp can pose is dandruff. As your scalp starts to dry out, your skin and hair follicles can start to become looser, which in turn is what can cause all those dry flakes that can flutter down and give you a hard time.
The anti-inflammatory properties of geranium essential oil can be effective in combating dry skin.
6. Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties
Just as important for eliminating dandruff as combating dry scalp is ridding yourself of any bacterial infections, as these can also cause dandruff, in addition to numerous scalp and hair issues.
Once again, geranium essential oil, as mentioned above, has properties that can make it an effective antibacterial and antimicrobial agent.
7. Stress Relief
As mentioned, aromatherapy can help some people relieve their stress, and as we all know, stress can lead to hair loss. Since most women expired some amount of hair loss within their lives, it’s important to mitigate hair loss when possible.
Thankfully, as mentioned above, geranium essential oil when used in aromatherapy can help you calm down.
That being said, you may not need aromatherapy to reap these benefits – geranium essential oil can be highly fragrant, and if its scent improves your mood, adding some to your hair can help you carry that lovely aroma and feeling with you all day long.
8. Hair Growth
While hair growth is often the first thing that comes to mind when you consider using hair oils, a 2017 study in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the oil has some potential as a hair growth product.
One of the reasons the oil effectively promotes hair growth is due to the oil’s sebum regulation combined with its ability to maintain secretions around your hair follicles.
In addition to geranium, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil are some of our favorite essential oils for promoting hair thickness and growth. It’s often easy to find products that include these oils; if not, you can easily drop a small amount of the oils into your favorite shampoo or conditioner.
How to Use Geranium Essential Oil for Hair Care
First and foremost, even though the geranium plant itself can sometimes be edible, you should never swallow geranium essential oil. Instead, it would be best to either use it as an aromatherapy treatment or else apply it topically.
Be aware that some essential oils can cause allergic reactions, like lavender oil. Geranium essential oil can also cause allergic reactions, so you’ll want to test it first with a tiny patch on an innocuous part of your skin to ensure that it’s fine before applying it all over your scalp or rubbing it into your hair.
That said, you should apply geranium essential oil sparingly – too much of a good thing can backfire, and that’s certainly true of essential oils. Add too much, and it can burn you, potentially leading to hair loss. That’s also true if you don’t dilute it.
Instead, you’ll want to dilute the oil, and a popular way to do that is to add a carrier oil. Choose whichever carrier oil you wish to use with germanium oil and mix 15 drops of the oil for every 6 drops of the carrier oil (you should have a ratio of 2.5% dilution).
If you use it for aromatherapy yourself, dab some geranium oil on some paper towels or some cloth that you don’t care about staining, and make sure that you place it in a proper diffuser. Make sure that the room is properly ventilated.
Geranium essential oil is an interesting option in hair and skin care because it is not a traditional choice, especially among those who use pure essential oils or products that include essential oils.
Many essential oils are used far more frequently and have had more written about their efficacy than geranium essential oil. We’ve written articles on coconut oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil, rosemary essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and many other essential oils for hair care.
That said, geranium represents something new yet familiar for advocates of using essential oil products within their beauty regimen.
It offers many of the benefits that we have come to expect from essential oils, along with a couple of unique ones, including its extraordinary fragrance, anti-acne properties, and its ability to repel insects.
The biggest question facing anyone wanting to use geranium essential oil is whether they want to use it via aromatherapy or mix it in with a carrier oil and apply it directly to their hair or scalp.
Whichever option you choose, germanium oil can certainly grow on you and seems to have a rich blossoming future within the essential oil community.