This Thanksgiving-Approved Food Is Actually A+ For Hair Growth
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
In the natural hair growth space, many experts are quick to sing the praises of rosemary oil—after all, a randomized comparative trial found that the essential oil was just as effective as minoxidil (the active ingredient in many commercial hair-growth products).
So, safe to say, we're fans of rosemary around here—it has a laundry list of benefits for scalp and hair health—but triple board-certified dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., points to another effective (and autumn-inspired, because Thanksgiving) hair growth topical: pumpkin seed oil. In a recent TikTok video, she explains how this substance feeds your mane with growth-supporting nutrients.
Benefits of pumpkin seed oil for hair growth.
Just like rosemary, pumpkin seed oil was compared to 5% minoxidil for its effects on female-pattern hair loss. "What [researchers] saw was that both the pumpkin seed oil and the minoxidil increased hair regrowth and hair thickness, but the minoxidil 5% did outperform the pumpkin seed oil," notes Turegano. "Regardless, pumpkin seed oil has a ton of nutrients."
Specifically, pumpkin seed oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic and linoleic acid, as well as vitamin E—all of which have the potential to aid in hair growth. What's more, pumpkin seed oil also has the ability to block androgens like dihydrotestosterone (or DHT), which is what ultimately causes female- or male-pattern hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia). Board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., agrees: "Pumpkin seed oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation, and it also has anti-androgenic effects," she once told us about treating breakouts (yep, pumpkin seed oil may work for blemishes, too).
How to use it.
OK, so you have your vial of pumpkin seed oil at the ready (or here's an organic, cold-pressed option you can buy on Amazon). Now, there are a couple of ways you can use it as a hair-growth remedy.
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First, Turegano says you can apply it as an overnight scalp treatment: "Apply to the scalp and leave on. You can wash it off the next day," she comments. While you're at it, give your scalp a lovely massage to really stimulate those follicles—the simple pleasure can encourage blood flow to the area, delivering oxygen and hair-healthy nutrients.
Or, she says, you can use her easy shower-time hack: Add three to five drops of pumpkin seed oil to your shampoo before massaging it into your scalp, leave it on for five minutes, then rinse out thoroughly before conditioning. "I find that way is easier and not as messy," she explains. It's the same hack she swears by for rosemary oil—same trick, different hair-healthy solution.
But let's say, days ago, you've already added rosemary oil to your go-to bottle of shampoo—what then? Not to fret: Turegano says pumpkin seed oil and rosemary play well together. Simply add some pumpkin seed to the mix and proceed.
Pumpkin seed oil may not be as beloved in the hair care space as the mighty olive or argan, but it has science-backed benefits for full, lush strands. Plus, it pairs well with rosemary oil (another natural hair care wonder), so you may get the most bang for your buck.