Explore the Potential Benefits of Using Vicks for Hair Growth

Learn how to use Vicks for hair growth. Find out if this popular product that’s used for relieving congestion also offers benefits to your precious locks.

Updated on Oct 18, 2023  |  07:42 PM IST |  218.4K
Vicks for Hair Growth
Vicks for Hair Growth

You may have heard of people suggesting Vick as an ointment that has to be applied topically for respiratory relief. But did you ever hear of applying Vicks for hair growth? Although this idea may sound confusing and absurd, this is what the latest social media hair growth hack claims. However, since it is not specifically crafted for hair care, one must be very careful before blindly following an internet trend. Therefore, we are here to investigate this claim further by conducting thorough research so that you don’t have to. 

Vicks has many potent skin-cooling and soothing ingredients that also have a certain amount of antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. These ingredients may, therefore, show a certain positive impact on hair health. So, if you are someone who loves to experiment and is always curious about the newest hair care hacks in the beauty industry, then do not worry as we are here with some expert advice on how to incorporate this versatile product into your haircare routine while practicing caution at the same time.   

What is Vicks VapoRub?

Vicks Vapor Rub is an over-the-counter topical ointment commonly used to relieve symptoms of coughs, congestion, sore throats, and minor muscle aches. It is often applied to the chest and throat area, and its active ingredients include camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil. These ingredients are known for their soothing properties and are intended to provide temporary relief from symptoms associated with respiratory issues.



While Vicks VapoRub is designed for respiratory relief, there are anecdotal claims and alternative uses, such as applying it to the feet and hair, or relieving muscle pain, or using it for purposes not indicated on the product label. However, it's important to note that these alternative uses are not supported by strong scientific evidence, and caution should be exercised when using the product in ways not recommended by the manufacturer.

Can Vicks VapoRub Regrow Hair?

Vicks is a mentholated ointment that is topically used mainly for decongestion or soothing muscle aches – it is manufactured to be somewhat skin-friendly as you are directed to apply it on the chest, neck, nose, and temples. However, as per numerous vloggers, this gel-like component can sometimes be used for promoting healthy hair growth and maintaining scalp health. This is because certain notable ingredients in Vicks such as eucalyptus oil, camphor, menthol, and other essential oils help in increased blood flow, contain antimicrobial effects, and soothe inflammations. These actions have beneficial effects on existing hair and treating your hair with Vapor rub might potentially make it look thicker and address concerns such as dandruff, though there is a lack of scientific evidence supporting its ability to stimulate hair follicles that lead to the growth of new hair. 

How Can Vicks Vaporub Help With Hair Growth? 

Let us now analyze if it is useful to apply Vicks for hair growth as per the numerous claims on social media platforms. Although there is no direct research done on the product itself, there are certain pieces of research work done on its ingredients that show hair-beneficial effects. Let us explore some of these natural ingredients and their properties before making any further claims. The active ingredients list mainly consists of the following:

  1. Camphor: Vicks contain camphor mainly because of its soothing and cooling properties that help in relieving congestion. However, on investigating its use in cosmetics, it was seen that it contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help in reducing dandruff, itchiness, bacterial infections, and hair fall. Researchers also claim that camphor oil can help enhance the hair's appearance by making the hair shaft soft as it boosts blood circulation on the scalp. Moreover, the strong fragrance of camphor helps to induce death in lice acting as a disinfectant for your hair. Therefore, it may help in boosting overall hair health but may not directly improve hair growth (1).
  2. Menthol: Menthol, which is a cyclic alcohol is a very common therapeutic ingredient. It is mainly used for its cooling effect which it induces by Increasing the sensitivity of our skin’s cold receptors. Other than that, it is also known to show anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties along with strong antioxidant activity. It is noteworthy that a major constituent of peppermint is menthol. A research study done on the effects of peppermint oil on a population of rats showed that it may be effective in inducing vasodilatation and increasing blood circulation, especially to one of the groups of follicular cells. This in turn may induce an early anagen stage - elongation of hair follicles, thus facilitating faster hair growth (2). Therefore, application of menthol may have positive effects on hair growth
  3. Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus oil, in its purest form, is another primary ingredient in Vicks which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergic properties (3). These properties altogether may be responsible for keeping the hair and scalp healthy by fighting fungal infections, dandruff, itchy scalp, etc. Furthermore, it is also for its ceramide content which adds a beautiful shine to the hair (4). Therefore, it may not directly induce hair regrowth but enhance its appearance and health.  

Other ingredients, also known as inactive ingredients that may impact the hair are:

  1. Cedarleaf Oil: It is known for its antiseptic properties that may help treat dandruff and scalp eczema. There is research evidence stating that cedarwood oil along with other essential oils may have a positive impact on hair growth in patients suffering from alopecia areata (5).
  2. Nutmeg Oil: Nutmeg oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties and has demonstrated the potential to relieve chronic inflammatory pain (6).
  3. Petrolatum: Petrolatum is an occlusive agent, which when applied to the hair can lock in moisture and prevent water loss, dryness, and breakage. It can further contribute to making the hair feel softer and more manageable(7).
  4. Thymol: It possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Thymol's antimicrobial properties might be useful in addressing conditions such as dandruff. Studies have also shown that it may help in wound healing and unclogging hair follicles (8).

While Vicks contains ingredients such as menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oil that may have soothing properties and promote blood circulation, there is no conclusive evidence demonstrating their effectiveness in stimulating hair growth.

Vicks for Hair Growth

How Do You Use Vicks VapoRub for Hair Growth?

Although there is no scientific evidence claiming Vicks promotes hair growth, if you choose to explore this unconventional use, you may consider adopting certain precautionary measures. Here are the simple steps to follow while using Vicks as a hair growth product:

Patch Test: 

This is the foremost step that should not be skipped before applying Vicks to your entire scalp. Perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for any adverse reactions or irritation as it may not suit certain skin and hair types, and only then consider moving forward. Do not use it on damaged and broken skin surfaces so as to avoid certain negative side effects such as burning sensation, inflammation, etc. 


  1. If the patch test is successful, you can apply a small amount of Vicks VapoRub to your scalp. Some suggest focusing on areas where you desire hair growth.
  2. You may also use it in three different ways, such as: 
    1. Procedure 1: Apply Vicks directly to your hair roots, massage, let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with shampoo.
    2. Procedure 2: Combine Vicks with black seed oil, massage onto the scalp, let it stay for 15 minutes, and then wash your hair and scalp.
    3. Procedure 3: Blend Vicks with a conditioner, put it on your scalp, leave for 10-15 minutes, and wash your hair with shampoo.
  3. Gently massage the Vicks into your scalp using circular motions. Some believe that this massage, combined with the menthol in Vicks, could stimulate blood circulation.
  4. Some individuals prefer to cover their hair with a shower cap or towel after applying Vicks. This is done to keep the product in place and prevent it from transferring onto pillows or bedding.
  5. Wash your hair thoroughly to remove the Vicks from your scalp. Use a gentle shampoo to ensure all residues are removed.

It is essential to remember that if you experience skin or eye irritations, wash it off immediately. If your symptoms aggravate, consult a healthcare professional without any delay to prevent any serious health issues. 


Vicks for Hair Growth

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Vicks on Your Scalp?

While Vicks VapoRub is generally considered safe when used as intended for its intended purposes, applying it to the scalp may lead to certain side effects and is not recommended. Some potential side effects and considerations include:

  1. Skin Irritation: The menthol, camphor, and other ingredients in Vicks may cause irritation, redness, or a burning sensation when applied to sensitive or irritated skin areas, including the scalp.
  2. Hair and Scalp Health: The ingredients in Vicks are not designed for hair care, and using it on the scalp may interfere with the natural balance of the scalp and hair, potentially leading to dryness or other issues.
  3. Allergic Reactions: Individuals may be sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients in Vicks, leading to an allergic reaction. It's essential to do a patch test on a small skin area before applying it more extensively.
  4. Difficult to Wash Out: Vicks VapoRub is a thick ointment that may be challenging to wash out of the hair which is undesirable as it will lead to oily scalps. Moreover, this can leave residues and block the scalp pores preventing effective air circulation in the follicles, hampering rapid new cell development and hair growth. 
  5. Unproven Hair Growth Claims: There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that Vicks VapoRub promotes hair growth. Using it on the scalp for this purpose is not substantiated by research. 


From the above information, it is evident that using Vicks for hair growth is not a scientifically proven method, and its efficacy for this purpose is largely anecdotal. Therefore, it's crucial to approach these claims with skepticism and be aware that the use of Vicks was solely meant for respiratory relief. Although it contains ingredients that may enhance hair health by boosting blood circulation, reducing dandruff, and relieving headaches, these may not be suitable for stimulating new hair growth or used as a treatment for hair loss. However, due to the powerful ingredients, it is advisable to not use it on compromised or dry skin, as it may trigger irritant skin reactions. Before trying unconventional uses of Vicks or any other product, it's advisable to conduct a patch test or consult with healthcare professionals, hair experts, or dermatologists to ensure safety and efficacy.


ALSO READ: High Frequency Hair Treatment: A Modern Solution for Hair Growth

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About The Author

Neha Tiwari, a certified Haircare coach, an experienced writer, educator, translator, and editor, has been catering to the content



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