Frankincense Essential Oil Benefits for Hair, Skin & Health


Ever had a cinnamon latte and thought it smelled like Christmas in a cup? The olfactory sense is an incredibly powerful thing. One sniff of cinnamon, nutmeg or zesty orange and we’re transported back to childhood, ready to dive under the Christmas tree to start opening presents. Likewise, there’s something magical about frankincense essential oil. It’s often overshadowed by the popularity of peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender oil, but it has some amazing healing powers.

When diluted with carrier oil and applied topically, frankincense oil—also known as olibanum oil—moisturises the skin and reduces the appearance of scars. Besides promoting a healthy complexion, it can also boost the immune system. 

Frankincense essential oil in an amber bottle on a stand

It’s also a great pick for nourishing hair, promoting growth, and maintaining a healthy scalp.

I’ve used this oil a lot in the last couple of years, and I can attest to its transformative effects. It’s definitely been one of my go-to remedies, especially for combating Rosacea and scalp inflammation. 

If you’re planning to purchase a bottle, stick around. This article offers hours of condensed research on frankincense essential oil benefits for hair, skin and health. We’ll also look at tips on how to properly apply it. 

King of oils: what exactly is frankincense essential oil?

Frankincense oil is often associated with the Middle East, and for good reason. It’s derived from the gum-like material that comes from the trunk of Boswellia trees. These trees are native to the region and thrive in arid climates. Countries like Oman, Somalia, and Yemen have been historically known for their production of high-quality frankincense oil.

Lots of colourful spices including frankincense in blue bowls in a bazaar

This oil is a concentrated extract renowned for its aromatic scent, medicinal properties, and health benefits. It has a woodsy, earthy, piney scent, with sweet and citrusy undertones. 

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and antibacterial properties, frankincense essential oil is commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine—one of the oldest holistic healing systems in the world. 

Frankincense essential oil can also boast potential antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. It contains compounds that can effectively destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. This makes it an excellent ally in the battle against infections.

Beyond its medicinal applications, frankincense can improve skin tone, hair texture, improve oral health (say goodbye to bad breath), and enhance spiritual and mental well-being. All in one tiny little bottle.

Origins of frankincense oil

Frankincense oil was first used in remote regions of India, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. The ancient Egyptians also used it for incense in religious ceremonies and embalming. In fact, the first recorded reference we have of the use of frankincense was over 3500 years ago. Queen Hatshepsut ground charred frankincense to make kohl eyeliner.  

And of course,  we couldn’t talk about frankincense essential oil without mentioning the Nativity. The wise men, also known as the Magi- a Persian word – journeyed from the Middle East to present gifts to the newborn King. Among the treasures they carried was frankincense. This precious offering symbolized the divinity of the baby Jesus. 

Silhouette of 3 camels traveling across a desert

Back then, frankincense extract was worth its weight in gold, making it one of the most valuable extracts of that period.

Although not as pricey as in ancient times, frankincense extract is still considered costly compared to regular essential oils.

Extracting frankincense resin from Boswellia trees is a time-consuming endeavour, contributing to its expense.  

That’s the history. Now let’s get into some of the uses and benefits of frankincense oil for hair, skin and health.

5 Frankincense essential oil benefits for hair 

Here are some of the biggest benefits of frankincense essential oil for hair: 

Promotes healthy hair growth

As a natural astringent, frankincense oil is excellent for regulating sebum production. It can also help stimulate blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles which promotes hair growth. Also, it’s a really great excuse to give your head a salon-worthy massage.

Promotes healthy scalp

While we’re on the subject of sebum (oily, waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands- sorry if you’re eating), it plays an important role in moisturising and protecting the scalp.

Sebum creates a natural barrier against external factors like pollution, weather, or harsh chemicals in shampoos. We don’t want to get rid of it entirely. But, too much can lead to various scalp issues, such as clogged hair follicles and excessive oiliness, contributing to dandruff and hair loss.

Frankincense oil is a great natural remedy for addressing both dryness and excess oiliness, which in turn promotes overall scalp health. 

May help fight dandruff

Some sources suggest that frankincense oil is one of the best oils for reducing dandruff. Now, while there’s not a lot of evidence to support its antifungal properties, it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Frankincense oil can ease scalp inflammation and itchiness caused by the overgrowth of yeast having a party on your head. 

Conditions hair 

Frankincense oil, especially when paired with coconut oil or jojoba oil, is brimming with antioxidants and hydrating elements. 

Massaging diluted frankincense oil into the scalp promotes increased blood circulation. This in turn nourishes and strengthens hair follicles, reduces frizz, and spreads the natural oils of the hair. 

Adds shine 

Frankincense oil is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that contribute to healthier, shinier locks. One of the biggest benefits of Frankincense essential oil is that it can also penetrate the hair shaft rather than just sit on the surface. This means you get optimum hydration. it assists your hair’s ability to retain moisture and resist breakage caused by heat styling. 

Back of a blonde woman's head, with hand in hair

How to use frankincense essential oil on the scalp 

Applying frankincense oil to your scalp can be a beneficial addition to your hair care routine. Here’s how to do it safely and effectively. 

Step 1: Dilute the oil 

Before applying to the scalp, dilute frankincense essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. 

Essential oils are highly concentrated. So it’s not a good idea to apply them directly. In fact, they can trigger an immune system (more on that below) response which can lead to sensitisation. 

Use a ratio of two to five drops of frankincense oil per tablespoon of carrier oil. 

Step 2: Patch test 

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin irritation, it’s wise to do a patch test before applying frankincense oil to your scalp.  

To do a patch test, apply a small amount of diluted mixture to a small area of the skin, like the inside of your wrist. Wait 24 hours to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions to the oil. After that, you’re good to go. 

Step 3: Massage into the scalp 

Apply several drops of frankincense essential oil to your palm, rub your hands together, and gently massage your scalp. 

Use circular motions to ensure even distribution and stimulate blood circulation to the hair follicles. 

Work the oil into the sides of your scalp, the middle of your scalp, and the back of your hair. 

Step 4: Leave it in 

Leave the oil mixture on your scalp for at least 30 to 45 minutes. You can also leave it overnight for a more intensive treatment but make sure to cover your hair with a shower cap to prevent staining your bedding. 

Step 5: Shampoo and rinse 

Wash your hair with mild, sulphate-free shampoo to remove the oil. You may have to do this twice to ensure 100% of the oil is removed. 

Repeat the application once or twice a week.

King of essential oils: Frankincense benefits for skin

Woman's hand applying oil to skin using a dropper with a white lid.

Frankincense essential oil also promotes cell regeneration and rejuvenation. Its unique properties make it an excellent addition to your skincare routine as well. 

Skin tone

By encouraging the growth of new skin cells, frankincense essential oil can help reduce skin imperfections and improve its overall appearance. This versatile essential oil can help to fade dark spots, scars, and blemishes, giving you a more even complexion. Like Tea Tree oil, It also has natural astringent properties (meaning it contracts skin cells) so it’s great for tightening your skin and minimising the appearance of large pores.

To add frankincense oil into your skincare routine, dilute a few drops with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, and gently massage it into your face and neck. This simple step can gradually transform your skin, giving you back your natural glow.

Fine lines

Frankincense is also great for helping to minimise fine lines and the appearance of wrinkles. Frankincense oil has been used for centuries for its anti-aging properties and you’ll find it in lots of current skin care products. It promotes the production of collagen by combating free radicals in the skin. By boosting collagen synthesis, it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet, and even deeper wrinkles, giving you a more youthful complexion.

You can create your own anti-ageing serum by combining frankincense oil with other beneficial oils like rosehip seed oil, argan or castor oil. Gently massaging this serum into your skin daily is a natural and effective way to improve your skin tone and reduce the visibility of fine lines over time.

You’ll get sick of me saying this at some point but do make sure to do a patch test before applying frankincense oil to your face and always use a carrier oil to dilute it properly.

Frankincense oil benefits your immune system

Frankincense has a long history. It’s been used for thousands of years for its medicinal and spiritual properties. This oil is not only good for your hair and skin, it can also boost your immune system

Boswellic acids

One of the key components that make this oil so valuable is the presence of Boswellic acids. These are a group of naturally occurring active compounds found in the resin of Boswellia trees, particularly the Boswellia serrata. 

These acids have all sorts of powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory properties. They’re generally responsible for many of the therapeutic effects that frankincense oil offers, including its immune-boosting capabilities.

Frankincense tumbling out of a grey bowl

Strengthening immunity with Boswellic acids

Inflammation is a natural response by our body to protect itself from harmful stimuli. However, chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to various diseases. Boswellic acids help reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules, such as leukotrienes. 

Not only that but the powerful antioxidant properties of Boswellic acids help to neutralize free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and support overall immune health.

Helps improve gut health

2017 study even found that frankincense derived from Boswellia Carterii Mixed with other herbals effectively eliminated mild to moderate IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, depression and anxiety. It was a small study with more men than women, but those men who took herbal medicine did report improved quality of life. 

Final thoughts 

Frankincense essential oil, derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree, is a versatile natural remedy with a myriad of applications. 

While mostly known for its profound impact on skin care, pain relief, and stress management, frankincense essential oil also offers a range of benefits for your hair and immune system.

The oil’s moisturising properties help combat dryness and split ends, promoting hair hydration and shine. It also contributes to a balanced and healthier scalp due to its ability to regulate sebum production, preventing or at least minimising issues like dandruff and hair loss.

By adding frankincense oil to your daily routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing various infections, such as respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and skin infections. It’s also a gift fit for a King. What more could you want? 

Why not try this little gift set of frankincense and Myrrh oil? You could also pair it with this Colloidal Gold liquid from Active Silver, a fantastic family-run company. I’ve tried their silver products in the past and they work brilliantly. Perfect Christmas gift!

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