How To Use Cayenne Pepper for Faster Hair Growth
If you are looking into natural ways to make your hair grow faster, one method you may have seen is to use cayenne pepper. Sometimes it is recommended that you place the cayenne pepper topically on your scalp (usually by mixing it in with olive oil). Other times it is recommended that you take it orally.
Does it have any foundation? Does it work? Will it burn your scalp? These are all good questions and I am going to do what I can to answer them.
For starters, let’s talk about what cayenne pepper is, why it is believed it can increase hair growth, and whether there is any science behind it. Then I will talk about different cayenne recipes for hair that you can try.
What is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a spicy seasoning used to give a kick to various dishes. There’s a good chance you already have some in your kitchen right now. It’s also known by a number of other names, including hot pepper, Louisiana long pepper, red chili, and African chili.
Cayenne contains a substance called “capsaicin.” This is what makes it spicy. Capsaicin can also soothe pain when applied to the skin. It sends messages to the nerves that effectively block out the messages from the pain, resulting in relief. For this reason, it is sometimes prescribed for conditions like arthritis or nerve damage.
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What Does Science Tell Us About Cayenne Pepper and Hair?
Well, obviously you don’t need to relieve pain in order to grow your hair. It is most likely that cayenne pepper has become popular as a hair growth treatment because it is believed that the pepper can boost circulation throughout the body, including in the scalp. This seems intuitive given that it’s a hot spice.
In theory, if you can boost circulation in your scalp, it becomes easier for your body to ferry nutrients into your hair follicles. These nutrients are the building blocks your follicles need to produce (the part of the hair that you see).
So the question of course is whether cayenne pepper really boosts circulation or not. As of right now, if you hunt for studies, you won’t find much. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, capsaicin is currently being investigated as a treatment for circulatory health conditions.
The University of Utah Health Care library does report that cayenne pepper is a rubefacient—that is, a substance which boosts surface blood flow when applied topically to the skin. This does provide a strong indication that cayenne really can help increase blood flow to the scalp. In doing so, maybe it really can make your hair grow faster! In order to see good results, you would need to do it on a regular basis.
Will Cayenne Pepper Burn Your Scalp?
Whether cayenne burns your scalp or not depends on who you ask and how they feel about the sensation. There are some people who report that cayenne didn’t burn their scalps at all. Others do describe a burning sensation, while still others characterize it more as a “tingling.” Remember that cayenne is prescribed as a topical treatment for pain, so odds are you will not find the sensation unpleasant. Your mileage may vary, however, so you may want to use a low concentration the first time around and see what you think.
At that rate, it is a smart idea to conduct a patch test first, as you would with hair dye. Just make sure that you are not going to experience excessive irritation before you go rubbing this stuff all over your entire scalp. If you have really sensitive skin, it is possible that it won’t work out for you. Most people do seem to handle it just fine though.
Does It Work?
This is of course the big question, and as you might expect with any natural hair treatment, there are mixed reports. There are women who swear by cayenne pepper and say that it totally sped up their hair growth and made a huge difference. Some have even said that it helps fill in thinning hair. Others report little or no difference to their hair growth. Then again, those who make those reports often say that their hair is growing at a rate of roughly half an inch per month. That is actually a very healthy rate of hair growth.
In short, you should try this with realistic expectations. Don’t go into this expecting an instant miracle—and don’t expect to sudden start growing two inches of hair per month. You should actually be quite happy with half an inch, and if you are getting anything more than that, you are doing better than average. Again, I recommend that you try these cayenne treatments on a regular basis in order to get the best effect.
10 Cayenne Pepper Recipes to Try
If you’ve decided to try using cayenne pepper for hair growth, there are a ton of recipes which you can use. Here are a few easy ones!
1. Cayenne Pepper and Olive Oil
This is the most basic cayenne pepper for hair recipe you are going to find, so it is probably the first one you will want to try. All you need to do is get 16 ounces of olive oil and add in a tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper.
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Shake it up and then let it stand for a couple of weeks. You will then be able to rub it into your scalp. Leave it in for a while so it has time to do its work, and then scrub it out.
Just how long is “a while?” There seem to be multiple schools of thought. Some people believe you need to leave the mixture in your hair for a couple of hours. Others think you should just leave it in all day. Still others feel that 10-15 minutes is plenty of time for the cayenne pepper to boost your scalp circulation.
Is there a “right” answer? Probably not. Everyone is different. We all have different skin types and hair types. You may find that your skin is too sensitive to leave in the cayenne pepper for more than a few minutes. If so, rub it in and wash it out right away. If the cayenne feels fine or even soothing on your scalp, you might want to try leaving it in for a few hours.
What about leaving it and just shampooing it out on your next wash day? That might be worth considering if your scalp tolerates the cayenne pepper well. But if you plan to do this, you can only use a very small amount of oil, or your hair will end up getting greasy.
I think this would be very hard to do from my own experiences! So I would just plan to wash it out on the same day, even if you keep it in for a few hours.
2. Cayenne Pepper, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil
This is another very popular recipe. For this one you will want to mix half a cup of olive oil with half a cup of coconut oil and two tablespoons of cayenne pepper. It is a stronger mix; if you don’t like that, then you can reduce the amount of cayenne you put in. You let it sit for a week or two, and then you mix in another cup of olive oil. You apply it to your hair the same way you do the mixture above. Wash it out when you are ready.
Like olive oil, coconut oil is very good for your hair. The combination of these three ingredients will soothe and stimulate your scalp while hydrating your hair.
3. Cayenne Pepper and Water
If you don’t want to use oil in your hair for whatever reason (maybe your hair is already oily to begin with, or you have an oily scalp), another simple alternative is simply to mix cayenne pepper in with water and a very minimal amount of oil.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a cup of water and stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Mix it really well, and then apply it to your hair. You won’t really be able to work it into your scalp as well since it is so watered down, but it is definitely less oily.
What type of water should you use? Some people use mineral water, but you can also just use plain water out of the tap. I recommend however that you filter your water first to get rid of all the nasty stuff you don’t want in your hair (you would not believe what comes out of your tap).
At any rate, watch out with the water that you use to make sure that you are not going with water which is really hard—this will deposit gunk in your hair.
That gunk forms tangles that are nearly impossible to get out—and in the process, tends to result in a lot of breakage. There are few faster ways to end up pulling a lot of your hair out.
4. Castor Oil and Cayenne Pepper
Castor oil is a substance that elicits and immediate “yuck” reaction from a lot of people, but a ton of people also swear by it for boosting circulation. For this scalp treatment you mix a couple of tablespoons of cayenne pepper into a cup of castor oil.
Stir them together and let them sit for a week or two. You can then work the mixture into your scalp. Obviously this is one you will want to rinse out of your hair quick. Try to leave it in for about half an hour.
5. Peppermint, Olive Oil, and Cayenne Pepper “Tea”
With this treatment, you mix a cup of olive oil with two tablespoons of cayenne pepper. You are then going to add a quarter cup of peppermint leaves to the mix and put them in a saucepan on the stove.
Raise the oil to a boil so that the “tea” can steep. Wait for the mixture to cool, then strain out the leaves. At this point, you will want to wait a week or two, and then you can start using the treatment. Apply it to your hair and then rinse it out.
Peppermint is really good for your scalp, and has been scientifically shown to increase hair growth! Just check out this totally awesome study on peppermint oil and hair growth.
In the study, scientists sorted participants into four different groups. Each group was given a topical application they could apply to their hair. One of the groups was given saline, another was given jojoba oil, the third was given Minoxidil (which is the same thing as Rogaine), and the fourth one received peppermint oil in a diluted solution.
The researchers found out that Rogaine produced 55% hair growth. Guess how much peppermint oil produced—92%
So you can see why cayenne pepper and peppermint leaf “tea” concocted in olive oil is a fabulous treatment for hair growth.
6. Peppermint Oil, Olive Oil, and Cayenne
Just as you can use peppermint leaves to create a “tea” for your scalp, you can also skip the leaves and just the oil itself! I have seen this recipe with nothing but a quarter cup of peppermint oil and half a tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper, but I recommend that you dilute the mixture in a base oil like olive oil.
Undiluted essential oils can irritate your skin and may even be dangerous for your health. Plus, in the study above, the peppermint oil was used at a 3% dilution—that gives you a guideline for how to dilute your own.
As with the other treatments here, just rub the mixture into your hair and wash it out. Another option which would work really well is to buy a bottle of peppermint scented Dr. Bronner’s Soap and add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper to the bottle and mix it up.
This soap works well as a shampoo, and it already has the peppermint oil in it! It’s totally natural and safe and healthy for your hair. The cayenne would just give it a boost. You could leave it in your hair in the shower for a few minutes and then rinse it out.
7. Cayenne Pepper, Hot Tea Tree Oil, and Olive Oil
Tea tree oil is another very popular hair care treatment. It works great as a dandruff treatment. Just have a look at this scientific research trial. Scientists assigned male and female participants into two groups which were randomly assigned to receive either a tea tree oil shampoo or a placebo.
They used it every day for four weeks, and then their dandruff was scored using a self-assessment.
It was found that the tea tree oil led to a 41% improvement in dandruff. That was compared to a mere 11% improvement reported by the placebo group when the trial ended. So if you are trying to treat dandruff and boost hair growth, this mixture will help you to tackle both of your hair problems simultaneously!
For this mixture, you would combine half a cup of olive oil with just a few drops of tea tree oil and a tablespoon or so of ground cayenne pepper. Tea tree oil is very potent stuff, and you only want to use a small amount like this, because large amounts can irritate your scalp (like peppermint oil, it is an essential oil).
Heat it up and apply it directly to your hair. Cover your scalp for 15-30 minutes and then unwrap your head and rinse in the shower.
8. Vodka and Cayenne
For this recipe, you will need to stir a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper into 50 ml of vodka. Add everything to a bottle, cap it, and shake it up really well. Then store it in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks. When you are ready, pull it out and dilute it with water so that you are using two parts water to every part vodka.
Pour it over your hair in the shower and wait a few minutes for it to work its magic. Then shampoo your hair and wash it out.
Some people also enjoy cayenne pepper in vodka as a beverage. If you drink it, you may still get benefits, because the cayenne may boost your overall circulation. Just make sure you are not doing this too often—you don’t want too much of a good thing!
9. Cayenne and Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is an excellent moisturizer for your scalp and has antimicrobial qualities. This makes it a very popular hair-care treatment, and in fact there are many different aloe vera recipes you can try for your hair.
Why use just one awesome treatment when you can combine two together for even better results? Mix a teaspoon of cayenne pepper into half a cup of aloe vera juice. Shake up the mixture in a bottle and store it in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks. Then pour it over your hair in the shower before shampooing. As always, wait for a few minutes so that the topical application can increase the circulation in your scalp. Aloe vera also needs time to lock in moisture, fight bacterial infection, and increase collagen production. Once a few minutes have passed, you can rinse it out.
10. Cayenne Hot Chocolate
There are a lot of recipes for Mexican hot chocolate which include cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and other spices to jazz up the flavor. If you are looking for a cayenne treatment you can drink instead of apply directly to your hair (and you’re not a fan of the vodka idea mentioned earlier), you can try drinking hot chocolate with cayenne stirred in!
Add around a quarter of a teaspoon to a cup of cocoa. Some people enjoy a good deal more than that, but it’s best to start slow. You don’t want to burn off the roof of your mouth. You might end up using a couple of teaspoons if you really like it.
Pair It Up With a Multivitamin For Hair For the Best Results.
The whole point of using the cayenne pepper is to boost circulation in your scalp—but what good will that do if you are not feeding your body the nutrients it needs to produce healthy hair? You can increase circulation all you want and achieve very little if all that blood flow is bringing nothing of value to your hair follicles.
This is why I strongly suggest that you take a multivitamin for hair while you are doing these cayenne treatments! Your multivitamin should include a mixture of vitamins, herbs, and minerals specifically formulated to increase hair growth and improve the strength, shine, and softness of your tresses.
A lot of people take a multivitamin for hair without doing anything else, and achieve great results. But just think how much better your results could be if you are also doing the cayenne treatments! These are two treatments which were just made to work together! Each allows you to make the most of the other and maximize your benefits.
If you decide to try either of these approaches or combine them (which you absolutely should), then remember to be consistent with it and stick with it over an extended period of time. I suggest that you do this for at least a few months.
This will give your scalp the time it needs to use all that nutrition to grow healthy new hair. I think once you start seeing the results, you will want to keep up with your new routines.
Right now there is still not a huge body of research backing up the efficacy of cayenne pepper for hair growth, but the topical application definitely has scientific support. Cayenne pepper makes intuitive sense, and it has been used as a natural hair growth treatment for a long time.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence backing it up, and the next cayenne pepper success story could very well be yours!