Onion or garlic: What is the best home remedy for hair growth?

Onion and garlic are both beneficial for hair. But is onion better than garlic for hair growth? Read on to find out the best home remedy for hair growth.

Hair loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. It can be a normal part of ageing or due to your genes, hormonal changes during pregnancy or medical issues such as thyroid problems. Whether you are young or old, seeing chunks of your hair on the floor can be heartbreaking. While eating healthy and maintaining a proper hair care routine are essential for healthy hair, you can also look for natural ways for hair growth. Onion and garlic are popular home remedies for hair growth. But is onion better than garlic for hair?

Onion for hair growth

According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Dermatology, participants who washed their hair with onion juice experienced more hair growth than those who used just tap water. Sulfur present in onions helps in the production of collagen, which in turn helps in the production of healthy hair cells. This can stimulate hair growth and strengthen hair follicles, says cosmetologist and skin expert Dr Jatin Mittal. Sulfur also improves blood circulation to the hair follicles, which can prevent hair loss.

Opinion pieces for hair growth
Onion juice promotes hair growth. Image courtesy: Freepik

Other benefits of onion for hair:

  • Onions have natural antibacterial properties that can help fight scalp infections. They may contribute to hair loss or come in the way of hair growth.
  • Onion juice acts as a natural conditioner, making hair soft as well as shiny. It can also help in detangling hair, reducing breakage, says the expert.
  • Onion juice may be the natural way to treat dandruff, thanks to its antifungal properties. It can help in getting rid of dandruff-causing fungi from the scalp.

Garlic for hair growth

As per a 2023 research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, topical garlic was considered one way to help treat alopecia areata or patchy hair loss.

  • Garlic also has sulfur, which helps in the production of collagen essential for the growth of healthy hair, says Dr Mittal. Improved collagen production can in turn help with hair growth.
  • Garlic also contains minerals such as zinc and selenium, which are crucial for maintaining strong and healthy hair. These minerals help prevent breakage and strengthen hair strands from the root.
  • Garlic contains allicin, a compound known for its ability to improve blood circulation. Better blood circulation to the scalp ensures that hair follicles receive an adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen, reducing hair fall.
  • Garlic has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties that can help in combating scalp infections, such as dandruff and itching. A healthy scalp is very important for promoting hair growth.

Here are more benefits of garlic for hair:

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  • Regular application of garlic juice or oil can add shine to hair and improve its overall appearance.
  • Garlic oil can penetrate the hair shaft and nourish it from within, reducing the chances of getting split ends and promoting healthier hair growth.

Should you use onion or garlic for hair growth?

Both onion and garlic offer similar benefits for hair growth due to their high sulfur content and other nourishing properties. However, there are some differences between the two:

1. Additional nutrients

Garlic contains zinc and selenium, which are minerals important for maintaining healthy hair and preventing hair loss. These minerals may provide additional benefits for hair growth compared to onions, says the expert.

2. Antimicrobial properties

Garlic has stronger antimicrobial properties compared to onions, which can be particularly beneficial for people dealing with scalp infections such as dandruff. You need a healthy scalp environment if you are working on hair growth.

How to use onion and garlic in hair care routine?

Here are some methods for using onion and garlic for hair:

1. Onion or garlic juice

  • Extract the juice from onions or garlic by blending or grating them and then straining the mixture through a cheesecloth.
  • Apply the juice directly to your scalp using a cotton ball or your fingertips. Be gentle while massaging the scalp for a few minutes.
  • Leave the juice on for at least 30 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair thoroughly with a mild shampoo to remove the smell.

You can do this 1 or 2 times a week, suggests the expert.

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A woman with long hair
You can use onion juice or garlic oil for hair growth. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Onion or garlic oil

  • You can make onion or garlic-infused oil by steeping chopped onions or garlic cloves in a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil for several days.
  • After the infusion period, strain the oil and apply it to your scalp and hair.
  • Massage the oil into your scalp and leave it on overnight for maximum benefits. Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo the next morning.

You can use onion or garlic oil 2 to 3 times a week.

3. Commercial products

You can look for commercial hair care products containing onion or garlic extract. These products are formulated to provide the benefits of onion or garlic without the strong smell, making them more convenient for regular use.

There are also onion hair masks that you can use.

What are the side effects of onion or garlic for hair?

Onion and garlic are generally safe for topical use on the scalp, but some may experience side effects or allergic reactions like skin irritation, says Dr Mittal. Also, the pungent odour of onion and garlic may linger on the scalp and hair even after washing, which can be unpleasant for some people. In some cases, overuse of onion or garlic treatments may lead to dryness or brittleness of the hair. It is important to balance the use of these treatments with moisturising and conditioning practices to maintain hair health.

Children, people with sensitive skin, people having scalp conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should completely avoid these home remedies for hair growth.

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