I love essential oils, and I’ve been known to use them for everything. Green cleaning? Skincare products? Staying healthy? Check, check, and check.
But I especially love them for taking care of everyday aches and pains like sore joints, insomnia, and bug bites. And don’t even get me started on using them for headaches! An essential oil roll-on remedy is a great option for headache relief!
DIY Essential Oil Headache Roll-On
These days, instead of popping a pill when I feel a headache coming on, I reach for some of my fave oils to help relieve tension and ease the pain. It’s easy to simply combine them in a little roll-on bottle, dilute with the carrier oil as directed in the recipe, and apply directly to my forehead.
You just let the oils sink in and do their thing for a few minutes and then kiss your headaches goodbye.
The magic ingredients in this headache concoction are lavender, peppermint, and chamomile oils. While they’re each helpful at relieving headaches alone, when combined, they create a migraine-busting blend that can stop most headaches in their tracks.
Lavender essential oil has been shown to effectively treat migraine headaches by reducing both the severity of symptoms [source] and how frequently the headaches occur [source]. Lavender is thought to be effective because of its sedative effects on the central nervous system [source].
It causes an increase in serotonin levels [source] and reduces painful inflammation [source]. It will also help your body relax and has been shown to relieve nervous tension [source], which may help to alleviate tension headaches.
According to one study, peppermint oil is significantly more effective than placebo at treating tension headaches [source]. In a study where it was applied to the patient’s temples, it worked just as well as a medication pain reliever for tension headaches—and even better when the two were used simultaneously [source].
Traditionally used as a tea in many cultures [source], chamomile is an anti-inflammatory herb with a long list of potential health applications [source]. Studies have shown its usefulness when chamomile essential oil is applied topically to treat the pain of migraine headaches [source] as well as the associated nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound [source].
More Essential Oils for Headaches
4. Sweet marjoram
Marjoram is a warming and relaxing oil with pain-relieving properties [source]. It helps dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow, so it’s a good oil to massage into your temples. Marjoram can be a very sedative oil, so try combining it with lavender in a bath or massage before bed.
The scent of eucalyptus never fails to wake me up and open my sinuses. Its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects [source] on the respiratory system help alleviate the congestion and sinus pressure that lead to a headache. It’s a strong oil, so follow safety guidelines for use with children.
Basil oil has been used as a natural medicinal treatment for depression in Indonesia [source]. A study using topical basil essential oil for migraines showed improvements in the pain intensity and frequency of headaches [source].
Rosemary has long been used to treat headaches because it stimulates blood flow, reduces inflammation [source], and brings pain relief [source] to an aching head. Its stimulating scent also helps clear out mental anxiety and stress [source].
I look for rosemary ct. camphor, like this Spanish rosemary for headache relief. The camphor is helpful for opening up breathing and relieving sinus pressure.
How to Use Essential Oils for Headaches
This headache relief roll-on works by applying a small amount of the essential oil mixture (essential oils that have been diluted in a carrier oil) to the temples, forehead, jawline, and neck—pretty much anywhere you might feel tension in the face and head areas.
The oils serve two purposes: to relieve tension by way of aromatherapy and to confuse pain receptors in the skin.
1. Next time you feel a headache coming on, roll a small amount of the diluted essential oil mixture directly onto the temples and forehead. Using your fingers, massage the oil mixture into the skin. It helps if you also try to relax your body at the same time.
2. Apply the oil anywhere else you notice tension, such as along the jawline or at the base of your head where it meets your neck.
3. Lastly, apply it to your wrists (your pulse points) and breathe deeply, inhaling the fragrance directly into your lungs.
4. Re-apply the diluted essential oil mixture every 1–2 hours as needed until your headache is gone.
As a bonus, this essential oil headache roll-on also works for other aches and pains like joint pain, toothaches, and general soreness. Just apply directly to the problem area and massage into the skin.
Headache Essential Oil FAQs
Is this essential oil blend good for sinus headaches?
Yes, the eucalyptus and peppermint oil compounds in this blend have been shown to have a relaxing effect when combined [source]. The cineole in eucalyptus is an excellent anti-inflammatory in the respiratory tract [source], and it also reduces some of the mucus production [source]. So this blend should work well for alleviating sinus headaches.
Can I use this blend in a diffuser?
Yes, you certainly can. But keep in mind that these essential oils contain menthols from peppermint and cineole from eucalyptus, and it may be best to avoid diffusing those around very young children or pets. For some other excellent diffuser oil blends, try these calming lavender blends or a stress blend.
What other combinations of essential oils can I use for headaches?
You can make an essential oil blend specifically for headaches and use it in a variety of different ways. This is a great all-purpose headache blend:
- 33 drops lavender
- 10 drops peppermint
- 14 drops marjoram
- 24 drops rosemary
- 19 drops eucalyptus
Add essential oils to a 5 mL bottle. Replace the cap and shake to blend. Here are a few ways to use the blend:
Roll on: Add 10–12 drops of the essential oil blend to a 10 mL roll-on bottle and fill with carrier oil. Apply the roller ball to the temples and behind the ears and gently massage.
Inhale: Hold the bottle of the essential oil blend under your nose and inhale. Or make an inhaler.
Massage: Add 12 drops of the essential oil blend to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil and massage it into your head, neck, and shoulders.
Diffuser: Add 5–6 drops of the essential oil blend to a diffuser (or follow your diffuser’s instructions), and run for 20 minutes.
Cold compress: Add 6 drops of the essential oil blend to a bowl along with 2 cups cold water and stir. Soak a soft cloth in the water and then remove, wringing out excess water. Apply the compress to your forehead and relax.
Bath: Add 12 drops of the essential oil blend to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil. Run a warm bath, then add the oil and soak for 20 minutes.
Do I have to use all the essential oils called for in this recipe?
Nope! Feel free to save a little money and leave out oils that you don’t have or can’t afford.
Where is a good place to get high-quality oils on a budget?
I usually buy Plant Therapy or NOW Foods essential oils. I have also heard great things about Revive essential oils.
Can I adjust the recipe for larger roller bottles?
Yes, it’s okay to scale the recipe up or down, depending on the size of your bottles. Our recipe calls for a 10 mL roller bottle, but if you’re using a 20 mL bottle, simply double the amount of essential oils used. Then fill the rest of the roller bottle with carrier oil to keep the same dilution, so it will be safe to use on the skin.
Need some more natural headache remedies for when tension hits? Here are some more of our favorites.
Essential Oil Headache Roll-On
- 10 ml roll-on bottle
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops rosemary essential oil
- 1 drop eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 drop chamomile essential oil
- Carrier oil to fill
- Combine the essential oils in a 10 mL roll-on bottle and mix. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with a carrier oil (we like jojoba, almond, or grapeseed oil).
- Whenever you feel a headache coming on, apply the oil directly to the temples and massage into skin.
- Next time you feel a headache coming on, roll a small amount of the diluted essential oil mixture directly onto your temples and forehead. Using your fingers, massage the oils into the skin—it helps if you try to relax your body at the same time.
- Apply oil anywhere else you notice tension, such as along the jawline or at the base of your head where it meets your neck.
- Lastly, apply the oil to your wrists (your pulse points) and breathe deeply, inhaling the fragrance directly into your lungs.
- Reapply the oil every 1–2 hours as needed until your headache is gone.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Holly Smith, a board-certified physician in nephrology and internal medicine with a background in nutrition. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.252
peter smith says
This is really exciting stuff! I get about 3/4 migraines a month. Right down to the widening aura, which precedes the “trigger headache”! Of course, I know of people that get migraines multiple times a month even, but they’re so painful that for me, as soon the aura begins blocking my vision, I begin feeling sick just knowing the pain that’ll hit me a few minutes later. I’m hoping this research can hold its momentum. There are probably more urgent emergencies in the world, but obtaining new knowledge on something so poorly understood like migraines would be amazing! Best of luck! To everyone!
I also find a helpful article https://primehealthblog.com/top-6-six-methods-for-migraine-relief/
i think the best way to relieve headache pain is to apply the oils to the lower back side of the neck and a drop in your palm to inhale.