In this day and age, there is no greater beauty buzzword than CBD. You’ve likely seen the popular ingredient formulated into every kind of product, from skin and makeup to hair—and all of them promise a plethora of beauty-boosting benefits. One such claim is that CBD-infused shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in formulas promote hair growth. But does this ingredient of the moment truly deliver?
Before we dive into CBD’s impact on hair loss and regrowth, it’s first important to understand what this agent really is. “CBD stands for cannabidiol,” says Dr Jeannette Graf, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “It is an oil that is derived from hemp plants and is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.” Studies, including this one published in Essays of Biochemistry, show that our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids to maintain healthy homeostasis in the body—so, products that contain CBD are supposed to help keep that bodily balance, which includes clear skin and strong, healthy hair, in check.
To get a definitive answer on whether CBD actually promotes hair growth, we turned to the experts. Keep reading to learn what Dr Graf and Dr Neera Nathan, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the expert consultant for Vegamour, Neera Nathan, MD, have to say on the matter.
Does CBD stimulate hair growth?
Lots of research points to the fact that CBD can, in fact, stimulate hair growth. According to Dr Nathan, our skin and hair contain receptors that respond to external cannabinoid use, like CBD. When this oil is applied topically, those receptors then help promote new strands. Dr Graf agrees, adding that properties in CBD hair products can strengthen hair and ultimately prevent hair loss. Think of it this way: Hair growth slows or stops due to a number of reasons, including hormonal and environmental changes, shrinking hair follicles, and stress. The antioxidants in CBD help promote a healthy scalp, which then encourages stagnant or slow hair follicles to grow, Dr Graf says.
What are the other benefits of using CBD in your hair care routine?
Dr Graf explains that CBD-infused hair products have many benefits. “They can reduce the inflammation of your scalp, moisturise the hair follicles, improve blood circulation, and result in overall healthier hair,” she says. Reducing inflammation, adds Dr Nathan, is one of the most important ways that CBD actually impacts the hair growth process. “Excess inflammation or irritation in the scalp can hinder normal hair growth,” she says, “so this can be an important benefit for the scalp and hair.”
How can you best apply CBD to your hair?
Just about anyone can use CBD in their hair, regardless of their hair type, texture, or level of colour treatment, but it’s particularly helpful for those who regularly experience breakage. “CBD strengthens the proteins in your hair, which improves its overall appearance—and protects strands from breakage in the future,” notes Dr Graf. And since CBD is a natural ingredient, it will not affect dyed or processed hair, she explains. According to Dr Nathan, who agrees that the agent is safe for virtually everyone, consistency is key—working the ingredient into your routine for several months will deliver the best results. She does caution those with a history of sensitive skin or allergies to perform a test patch before fully committing; try applying the new product to your wrist and monitor the area for a reaction.
What are a few CBD-infused hair care products to try now?
Incorporating CBD into your hair routine is also fairly easy, since several brands have formulated it right into their offerings. Dr. Nathan suggests products that can be applied directly to the scalp—like a CBD oil or hair mask—and have other nourishing ingredients that support hair growth for added benefits. Be sure to gently massage these formulas into the scalp for at least a few minutes, since the massage alone should stimulate hair growth. Dr Graf also recommends CBD-infused shampoos and conditioners which contain oils that lock in moisture and promote growth.
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