Hair Care

Limonene & Your Hair: Ingredients and Advice

We’re always striving to better ourselves in every aspect of life. We reach for books or turn to educational Netflix documentaries to broaden our knowledge, hit the outdoors or the gyms to gain more strength and become fitter, and engage in self-reflection to work on our short-comings.

The same is true for our physical appearance, be it our choice of fashion, skin or haircare: we’re always looking to bring out the best in ourselves – or at least we should.

A healthy skin and hair care routine can make us feel our true worth on the outside, which might motivate us to reach the same level of self-satisfaction and confidence on the inside by ways of all the activities mentioned above.

While our hair and skin type usually remains the same throughout most of our lives – bar hormonal episodes such as puberty or pregnancy, for example – it doesn’t mean that it will always react the same to the products we use.

This could be down to simple environmental factors such as the changing seasons which might see our hair and skin in need of more moisturizing and hydration in high temperatures; or bodily stress factors such as illness, fatigue and, well – stress.

A woman behind a jar with a lemon in it

And sometimes, it is our own adventurousness and eagerness to experiment that pushes us to try something new, just for kicks. If you’re looking for a new product to add to your go-tos and give your hair and ego a little boost, why not give limonene-based haircare a try?

Bathe Your Hair in the Tutti-Frutti, Citrusy Scent of Summer

One of the things we tend to love most about our favourite haircare and skin products is their scent.

Whether you’re into that mild vanilla scent or strong perfumes, gentle floral notes or all things tropical, all nostrils are bound to find their perfect, aromatic match in the world of shampoos, conditioners, styling products, creams, shower gels, etc.

A timeless classic as far as smells are concerned, is, of course, that tutti-frutti citrusy scent of summer you can enjoy all year round with the right choice of shampoo or conditioner.

There’s something incredibly uplifting about those citrusy aromas, so it’s only natural we would want them as close to us as possible to keep us refreshed and recharged all day long.

Some schools of thought say that the effect of fruits and vegetables on our overall wellbeing don’t just depend on their vitamin and fibre contents, but their colours too. And, apparently, all things in bright colours of yellow and orange, are the ultimate feel-good fruits.

No wonder then that, lathering our hair in citrusy scents has us coming out of the shower with a smile on our face and a spring in our step!

What is Limonene?

Read the name out loud and you’ll already be left with an important clue: the LIMON (i.e. lemon) in limonene.

Yes, you got it – the name is actually derived from “lemon”, which makes perfect sense as limonene is used to describe a natural chemical found in all types of citrus fruits including, but not limited to, orange, grapefruit, mandarin lime.

By Fred the OysteriThe source code of this SVG is valid.This vector image was created with Adobe Illustrator., CC BY-SA 4.0,

It is most commonly derived from the peels of these citrus fruits, which is where most of the fruit’s oil is drawn from. It is classed as a natural terpene, a substance produced by plants to keep predators at bay and shield plants from pesky pests.

Fortunately for us, limonene is used in all types of hair and skin care products, giving them that wonderful citrus scent we all love so much. It is an extremely popular, scent-enhancing additive as it pairs extremely well with all types of ingredients.

Limonene’s Fabulous Health Benefits for Your Hair

As we already discussed above, that beautifully sharp and joyous scent of citrus is a real mood-booster.

This is why brands like the world-famous Kneipp range of spa-products even has a shower-gel called Lebensfreude – aka, joy de vivre, joy of life – made of, mainly, you guessed it – lemon and other citrusy essential oils.

This isn’t the only way limonene can benefit your hair and skin’s health, however. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both on an internal and external level.

Studies have shown that nitric oxide production – one of the main culprits when it comes to inflammation – is significantly reduced with the use of limonene. This means that those who are prone to dandruff – in itself a form of scalp inflammation – could benefit from limonene.

This is why, upon studying the wide selection of hair care products specifically designed to treat dandruff, psoriasis and stress-related inflammation of the scalp, you will quickly notice a common ingredient present across various brands: limonene.

When to Practise Caution

As is often the case with naturally derived essential oils and fragrance components, limonene can be a blessing or a curse depending on your hair or skin type.

While its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics work wonders for some scalp ailments, the wrong dosage or mixture of ingredients could further irritate already sensitive skin.

If you are considering trying a haircare or styling product containing limonene, it’s always wise to check the ingredients and do your research to ensure it is compatible with your hair and/or skin type.

Those with highly sensitive skin, for example, should make sure that their product of choice doesn’t contain any other skin sensitizers such as denatured alcohol, as they are prone to penetrate the skin faster and more profoundly.

A Special Word of Advice for Curly Girls and Parents

If you are a curly girl looking to add a new hair care product to your repertoire, or would simply like a little more information on how limonene might affect your curls, be sure to read on for some vital advice.

The same goes for parents of young babies currently looking into safe shampoos and conditioners to use for their little cuties, without damaging their sensitive skin.

Due to the nature of curly hair – namely, dry and fragile, with a scalp that is quickly prone to irritability – limonene, especially in the d-limonene form, should probably be avoided to ensure optimal health for your hair.

Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean to say you’ll have to stay clear from citrus-scented products altogether. You can always opt for other citric acids and oils that will give your hair what it needs, without the risk of damage.

The same is true for your baby’s hair. A baby’s skin and hair are extremely sensitive, particularly in the first few months of life when it is still building resistance and getting used to the harsh conditions outside of the womb.

The last thing we would want to do then is to cause a setback in our child’s skin and hair growth and development by exposing it to substances and ingredients it is still too fragile to reap the full benefits from.

In fact, it is strongly advised that new-borns are treated only with water and mild, baby-friendly soaps and pure, natural oils such as coconut oil. Introducing a baby’s vulnerable skin and scalp to products containing limonene is bound to lead to irritation and a lot of tears.

Successful Experimentation Depends on Research

As is true for any new beauty, hair or skin care product you are looking to try out, the best way to go about experimentation is by researching the ingredients thoroughly. Limonene is a great natural substance, but you should always ensure it is fitting for your hair or skin type.

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Hi I'm Hati and my hair is naturally very curly, obviously! I have started this blog to share curly hair stories and what I use to manage my own hair. Hopefully you will find it useful! My other main passions are food, art and animlas. I have a little cat who I love very much.

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