Most of us will be affected by hair loss to some extent during our lives. Losing 50-100 hairs throughout the day is normal but thin, patchy hair can have a negative effect on our confidence levels.
I went through a period of hair loss myself after years of colouring my hair. I was shocked to notice clumps of my hair everywhere. Not just on my hairbrush but my pillow, the sofa and even sometimes the meals I cooked! I needed a solution immediately so I started searching for natural remedies. One of the most interesting treatments I found was onion juice. Does onion juice help hair growth? Read on to find out.
Reasons for Hair Loss
There are numerous reasons why your hair can thin and fall out. Much like your skin, any upset or stress will show on your hair. Severe stress can cause hair to fall out overnight.
Some other factors are hormonal changes, genetics, poor nutrition, alopecia and receding hairline with age. Excessive use of chemicals such as hair dyes, commercial shampoos and conditioners can dry your hair making it brittle weak – leading to hair loss.
How Does Onion Juice Help Hair Growth?
Onion contains high levels of sulfur. Sulfur is a vital building block for keratin which gives our hair and nails strength and helps them grow. Applying onion to your scalp or adding it to your diet results in strong, flexible hair. (source)
Your blood carries nutrients and oxygen to every part of your body, including your roots and scalp. Onion can help improve circulation by thinning the blood, meaning more nourishment for your locks. Much like watering a plant, blood flowing to your scalp leads to healthy hair growth. (source)
Onion juice has antibacterial and antifungal properties. One of the most common fungal infections which affects our scalp is dandruff. If your hair is in poor shape as a result of dandruff or another scalp infection, onion juice might offer a cure. (source)
Most of the methods of applying onion juice to the scalp involve massage. Massage alone causes increased blood flow to the scalp which stimulates hair growth. If you’re not a fan of onion, even massaging with water will have some effect.
The science backs up onion’s hair growth effects. The Journal of Dermatology used onion juice to treat hair loss from a type of alopecia. Applying the juice twice daily for two months gave “significantly higher results with regard to hair re-growth than did tap water”. Men had better results than women. (source)
Another study looked at the antioxidant quercetin which is found in onions. It has anti-inflammatory properties and gave good results for treating alopecia in mice. (source)
How to Make Onion Juice
You can buy onion juice online but it’s best made fresh. There are a few different ways to go about this. If you have a juicer, this is the quickest and most effective method, however if you’re making a fruit juice afterwards, you’ll want to wash it really well!
Alternatively, you can use a food processor to mince the onion into a paste and then strain it through a sieve or cheesecloth to extract the juice. Finally, if you don’t have a juicer or food processor you can simply grate the onion. Peel it first and grate over a dish. Strain to separate the juice. (source)
Onion Juice Mixtures for Hair Growth
Now that you’ve got your onion juice, how do you use it? Again, you have a few different options depending on your preference. You’ll need to use these treatments several times a week to see results. Persevere – it takes 6-8 weeks to achieve noticeable growth.
Neat Onion Juice
Massage the juice directly onto your scalp and leave for 15 minutes. Wash out with shampoo.If you find this too strong, you can dilute the juice with water. (source)
Onion and Honey Mix
Onion Juice and Rum
Chop an onion and leave to soak in a glass of rum overnight. The next day, strain to remove the onion pieces and massage the rum into your scalp. Wash it out as normal with shampoo. (source)
Add More Onion to Your Diet
If applying onion to your scalp just doesn’t appeal, you’re in luck – you can get similar effects by eating it. Raw onion is best, my favourite way to eat it is to thinly slice red onion with lettuce, tomato, black olives and a little feta to make a Greek salad.
Always do a patch test before apply the above solutions to your skin. Undiluted onion is very strong and can cause redness and itching in sensitive people. Never apply to broken skin and make sure not to get any onion juice in your eyes as it can be very painful. (source)
If the smell of onion bothers you try adding lemon juice or rose water to the mix. Essential oils are also an option – rosemary, lavender and peppermint oils are purported to be good for hair growth whereas eucalyptus and tea tree are recommended for clearing dandruff. (source)
If you have sudden, unexplained hair loss, please discuss it with your doctor as it could be a sign of illness somewhere in your system. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Despite the strong scientific evidence saying “yes” to the question “does onion juice help hair growth?”, I was reluctant to try it. My eyes start watering when I’m chopping it in the kitchen so applying it so close to my face and leaving it for 15 minutes was off-putting. However, I was desperate so gave it a go.
I found the honey mixture helped mask the effect of onion on my eyes, it seemed to seal in the smell and I added quite a few drops of essential oil too. Adding a tablespoon to my usual conditioner was tolerable too. I managed to follow the treatment twice a week until my hair quality improved and I highly recommend it. It’s cheap and safe so you’ve got nothing to lose.