Should You Really Be Using Retinol On Your Hair? We Asked The Experts

We love it on the skin, but the scalp?
Loading the player...

We’ve all heard about the benefits of retinol (a derivative of Vitamin A) for our skin. It helps to promote skin cell turnover, reduces the appearance of fine lines and creates a radiance that is second to none. So, why are people suddenly trying to use it on the scalp to promote hair growth?

Those who have accidentally gone in too hard with a strong retinol will know that you can have too much of a good thing. Dryness and peeling are common while the skin gets used to retinol, so it is something you should be careful with.

We spoke to the Global Innovation & Product Development Director at Coco & Eve, Nassim Belhaq, all about the interesting new use cases for this cult active.

Why Should We Use Retinol On The Hair?

Experts say retinol may be essential for hair growth. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Retinol helps to regulate the sebum production in your hair allowing for a healthy scalp environment to stimulate hair growth. Sebum is a natural oil constantly produced by your sebaceous glands,” Belhaq explains.

“It’s the sebum produced by the glands on your scalp that can make hair look greasy in between washes. Retinol helps almost as a “reset button” for the scalp to decongest hair follicles, as well improving the absorption of other ingredients aimed at boosting hair growth.”

Does Retinol Help With Hair Growth?

As Belhaq explains, the retinol itself does not actually make your hair grow. However, the addition of retinol alongside other ingredients designed to induce hair growth is believed to be the perfect combination, with the retinol helping the other actives to absorb and do their job more effectively.

How To Use Potent Retinol For Hair?

(Credit: Image: Getty)

No, you shouldn’t just slap your skincare retinols and retinoids straight on the scalp. They’re extremely strong and could be irritating to the scalp.

Belhaq suggests we look for a retinol that has been specifically formulated for use on the scalp and hair to make sure we don’t suffer the downsides of this ingredient.

For example, in the Coco & Eve formulation, a more gentle retinoid is used to reduce skin irritation, formulated in a way that “would not be harmful to your scalp or skin.”

Is Retinol Good For The Scalp Or For The Skin?

(Credit: Image: Getty)

Retinol is designed to target the skin on your head, known as the scalp. By helping with the condition of your scalp, you can also improve the condition of your hair.

“A healthy scalp, with controlled sebum production and less debris will create the perfect environment for healthy hair,” explains Belhaq.

Can We Use Our Skincare Retinol For Scalp Health?

It’s not recommended to put straight retinol on the scalp because of it’s strength.

“It is recommended to combine it with other nourishing and balancing ingredients in order not to dry out and irritate the scalp and hair,” says Belhaq.

The Best Retinol Products For Scalp Growth

(Credit: Image: Sephora)

Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner, $42, Sephora

(Credit: Image: Coco And Eve)

Pro Youth Shampoo & Conditioner Set, $74, Coco & Eve

(Credit: Image: Monpure)

Monpure Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum, $113, Monpure

Related stories