Sunflower Oil For Hair: Benefits & How To Use It Effectively 2024

Sevginur Akdas

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Jennifer Olejarz, Nutritionist & Health Coach

sunflower oil for hair
Sunflower oil is widely used for skin and hair care.

Sunflower oil is a widely used oil that may have benefits for hair health and growth. The fatty acid profile of sunflower seed oil is the reason for its effects on hair health since it works to moisturize and strengthen hair, as well as promote hair growth

Let’s dive into the effects of sunflower oil for hair health and why you should add it to your skincare routine.

Is Sunflower Oil Good For Hair?

Sunflower oil is good for hair health and may promote hair growth. 

Sunflower oil includes essential fatty acids such as omega-6, which include linoleic and arachidonic acids. These ingredients prevent hair loss and can improve overall skin health.

You can use sunflower oil as a hair mask, but it should be applied in limited amounts to avoid greasy hair and skin irritation.

What Is Sunflower Oil? 

Sunflower oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from sunflower seeds. It’s a pale yellow, mild-tasting oil commonly used in cooking and baking. 

It’s also rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant components, making it a great skin and hair care product.

One of the key components of sunflower oil is omega-6 fatty acids.[1] These essential fatty acids can’t be produced by the body, meaning you have to get them through your diet. These fatty acids are mainly linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. They can also be converted to other functional fatty acids and are involved in several functions as a hair product

Linoleic acid is important for the maintenance of healthy skin[2] and hair.[3] It provides moisture and hydration to your hair roots, nourishing your hair follicles and promoting hair growth. Furthermore, linoleic acid is a building block for the intercellular lipid complex. Oils with a higher linoleic acid to oleic acid ratio showed better skin barrier repair potential.

Arachidonic acid[4] is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that is produced from linolenic acid. It regulates inflammation in the body and has been found to play a role in hair growth. Studies have shown that arachidonic acid is required to grow hair follicles and that a deficiency in this fatty acid can lead to hair loss. It is also known that vegetable and seed oils[5] may contribute to collagen synthesis. 

Benefits Of Sunflower Oil For Hair

There are several benefits of sunflower seed oil for hair, which include its ability to:

Moisturize And Condition Hair

Sunflower oil is an excellent natural emollient that helps moisturize and condition hair. It can improve moisture, leaving your hair soft and silky. The oil also penetrates the hair shaft to hydrate and nourish the strands from the inside out.

Strengthen Hair

Vegetable and seed oils include antioxidants that work to protect hair from damage[6] caused by free radicals and treat scalp dysfunctions. Its essential fatty acids also help to promote healthy hair growth and reduce hair breakage by moisturizing and nourishing the scalp and hair shaft.

Prevent Hair Loss

Sunflower oil contains essential fatty acids, such as omega-6, crucial for healthy hair growth. These fatty acids are essential to regulate inflammation; they can help prevent hair loss and promote new hair growth.

How To Use Sunflower Oil For Hair Effectively

You can use sunflower oil by regularly applying it to your hair to see its effects over time. These are some of the best ways to use it effectively: 

Scalp Massage

sunflower oil for hair
Hair massages are an effective way to promote hair growth.

Scalp massages are a technique that has been used for centuries to promote hair health. 

One of the main benefits of a scalp massage is that it improves blood circulation.[7] When you massage your scalp, you apply pressure to the blood vessels, which can help to increase blood flow to the hair follicles. This increased blood flow can work to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles, improving hair growth and health.

When you use sunflower oil with a scalp massage, you can increase the effects of this technique. The oil can add nourishment and antioxidants to your scalp, increasing your chances of hair growth and strength. 

Conditioning Treatment

sunflower oil for hair
Hair conditioning is a beneficial treatment to avoid hair loss.

You can use sunflower oil alone or together with conditioner and apply it to your hair. Try covering your hair with a plastic cap and leaving it on for a couple of minutes before rinsing it out. This deep conditioning treatment can nourish and moisturize hair, leaving it soft and silky.

Hair Mask

sunflower oil for hair
Hair masks may contain many different ingredients, including seed oils.

You can mix sunflower oil with honey, olive oil, coconut oil, and other hair-friendly products. Cover your hair with a shower cap after applying your mask and leave it on for 15-30 minutes before rinsing it out. 

Precautions & Side Effects

Just as with all treatments in healthcare, moderation is the key. You need to be cautious of unwanted effects: 

Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to sunflower oil. If you experience any itching, swelling, or rash after using sunflower oil, stop using it immediately and seek medical attention. In particular, avoid cold-pressed oils and go for the more highly processed ones where the offending allergenic protein is often removed if you want to try to sidestep your allergy.

Skin irritation: Applying too much sunflower oil to your scalp can cause skin irritation. It is recommended to gently massage a small amount of oil and massage it into your scalp gently.

Greasy hair: Using too much sunflower oil can make your hair look greasy and heavy. While having greasy hair is generally not harmful to hair health, it can have some negative effects, such as dandruff.[8] It is recommended to use a small amount of oil and focus on the ends of your hair, especially if you have fine hair.

Staining: Sunflower oil can stain clothes and bedding, so be sure to protect your clothing and bedding before applying it to your hair.

Final Thoughts

Sunflower oil is an excellent natural ingredient that promotes healthy hair growth and prevents hair loss. It is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids, specifically linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, which are essential for maintaining hair and scalp health. By incorporating sunflower oil into your hair care routine, you can nourish and moisturize your hair, leaving it soft, shiny, and healthy.


+ 8 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Roshina Rabail, Muhammad Zubair Shabbir, Sahar, A., Miecznikowski, A., Marek Kieliszek and Rana Muhammad Aadil (2021). An Intricate Review on Nutritional and Analytical Profiling of Coconut, Flaxseed, Olive, and Sunflower Oil Blends. [online] 26(23), pp.7187–7187. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26237187.
  2. Vaughn, A.R., Clark, A.K., Sivamani, R.K. and Shi, V.Y. (2018). Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science. [online] 19(1), pp.103–117. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-017-0301-1.
  3. Hwa Jung Ryu, Jeong, J.-Y., Chun Geun Lee, Lee, K.-S., Jung Pyo Lee, Sung Sup Park and Lee, Y.-M. (2021). Activation of Hair Cell Growth Factors by Linoleic Acid in Malva verticillata Seed. [online] 26(8), pp.2117–2117. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082117.
  4. Martin, S.A., Brash, A.R. and Murphy, R.C. (2016). The discovery and early structural studies of arachidonic acid. [online] 57(7), pp.1126–1132. doi:https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.r068072.
  5. Poljšak, N., Kreft, S. and Nina Kočevar Glavač (2020). Vegetable butters and oils in skin wound healing: Scientific evidence for new opportunities in dermatology. [online] 34(2), pp.254–269. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6524.
  6. Ursulandrea Sanches Abelan, Bezerra, F., Pinto, S., Azevedo, E., Virginia Mansanares Giacon, Valéria, M. and Ribeiro, R. (2022). Potential use of essential oils in cosmetic and dermatological hair products: A review. [online] 21(4), pp.1407–1418. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.14286.
  7. Koyama (2016). Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue. Eplasty, [online] 16. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26904154/
  8. Yoon, J.-S., Shim, J., Jun Hyung Lim and Park, S.-H. (2021). Biophysical characteristics of dandruff‐affected scalp categorized on the basis of sebum levels. [online] 20(3), pp.1002–1008. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.13626.
Sevginur Akdas

Written by:

Sevginur Akdas, RD

Medically reviewed by:

Jennifer Olejarz

Sevginur Akdas is a researcher, medical writer, and clinical dietitian, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in metabolism, chronic diseases, and clinical nutrition fields. She has many scientific articles, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and book chapters on nutrition, chronic diseases, dietary supplements, maternal and child nutrition, molecular nutrition & functional foods topics as a part of a research team currently. Besides her academic background, she is also a professional health&medical writer since 2017.

Medically reviewed by:

Jennifer Olejarz

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