Inversion method for hair growth: myth or miracle?

The inversion method as a tool for hair growth gained prominence in 2013 from a blog on Hairlista (since then renamed to Hairlicious) and although then some dismissed it as laughable, hair growing community has been continually reporting significant results since. As much as 1 inch (or more!) of hair growth per week.

Being focused on nature-based and holistic hair growth, we couldn’t help but look into it: debunking the myth OR reasoning this hair growth method with science. Do bear in mind that no studies have been done that either prove or disprove the inversion method’s ability to boost hair growth.

(Article originally written in 2019, updated in August 2022)

What is the inversion method for hair growth?

Inversion method focuses on one main aspect: blood flow being a paramount factor to a fast hair growth. There is a number of clinical research studies – some examples of which we provided at the end of this article, supporting the key role blood flow plays in instilling faster hair growth. Let’s examine if and if so, how – inversion method works in improving hair growth.

The inversion method for hair growth is massaging warm natural oil into your scalp and then hanging with your head upside down for 4 minutes every day throughout one week a month.

inversion method for hair growth

Components of the hair growth inversion method

Inversion method consists of 3 main components: (1) oiling (2) scalp massage and (3) direction of the blood flow.

1. Oiling

Natural organic oils can benefit the health of youru scalp. We would struggle to find the oil that isn’t good for something, so you can’t really go wrong with that one. Mono-saturated natural oils are filled with micro-nutrients, vitamins and omega oils that all contribute to your hair health differently.

Some oils, like castor oil, also increase the cutaneous blood flow – so apart from the nutrients it delivers, the ricinoleic acid in castor oil further improves blood flow and therefore speeding up your hair growth.

You may find that you need to use oil on some days – while on other days – you skip it. The reasoning behind it is that you don’t want to have to end up washing your hair everyday. So while this step is beneficial, it is not essential.

(To help you navigate a complex landscape of hair oils, we created a 6 question quiz, which you can access HERE >>)

2. Massaging

Massaging affects youors scalp and blood flow in two ways. While massaging your scalp, you exfoliate it – which removes dead skin cells that may be clogging up hair follicles that would otherwise hinder your hair growth.

And secondly, massaging stimulates and increases subcutaneous blood flow in your scalp. This promotes faster hair growth and hair thickness as outlined in the 2016 study by Koyama, as well as facilitating the delivery of nutrients from natural oils into your scalp and hair follicles. It’s important to gradually relax the tension of your scalp starting from the most relaxed areas (at the back of your skull or occipital) to the area above your ears (temporal) and to the most tense area on your vertex and crown.

Results from the 2016 study on the effect of massage on hair growth

If you massage your scalp regularly it might nudge the hair that’s already on their way out (telogen) sooner from the follicles, giving the space to the new hair in growth (anagen) stage. So some initial increased hair shedding in regular massaging is normal and expected. The pressure needs to be hard enough for your fingers not to glide over your scalp and hair roots, but rather move the skin of your scalp – similar to the pressure in deep tissue massage.

3. Direction of blood flow

If you’ve ever been or seen a kid hanging upside down on a playground climber or did a headstand in your yoga class, you know the resulting red face and dizziness that follows. More blood flow into your head causes that. Some inversion method instructions actually tell you do a full head or handstand and hold it for 4 minutes. Some, more lenient ones, just tell you to hang upside down from the side of your bed, which is the less effortful and a safer option. Regardless which one you choose, the act of inversion itself is the key ingredient of instilling better blood flow which impacts your hair growth.

Your hair follicles or receive their nutrition from the surrounding blood vessels originating from the dermis. These blood vessels supply nutrition to your hair follicles, remove waste and enhance hair growth.

How to do inversion method for hair growth?

We looked at the science and individual components of the inversion method, and if you are convinced, you may want to give it a go.

scalp massage for hair growth improves blood flow to scalp
  • Select a natural oil of choice – about 2-4 tablespoons, depending on your hair density
  • Warm oil in a water bath, making sure it’s not too hot so you you don’t accidentally burn yourself
  • Massage warm oil into the roots of your hair and scalp – start from the back of your head, where the scalp tension is at its lowest and then work your way around to the area above your ears and temples, ending up at the crown of your head.
  • Put your head upside down in whichever position you find comfortable. Hanging off the side of the bed, sitting in a chair with your hair between your legs, or practicing your Uttanasana (forward folding position in yoga) – just make sure you can maintain your head in this position for the next 4 minutes. Having said that, headstand position in yoga (Sirsasana) while does also deliver blood flow to scalp, it applies pressure on the crown of your scalp – which is better to be avoided
  • After the elapsed 4 minutes, take your time returning to normal position, as you may experience dizziness
  • This step is optional but is recommended: if time allows, leave the oil in your hair for 2-3 hours, or sleep with it left-in overnight as the increased blood flow helps absorbency of nutrients from the natural oils you used
  • Rinse off the oil with your usual shampoo + conditioner routine
  • Repeat this procedure once or twice daily over the period of 7 days
yoga pose for hair growth uttanasana
Uttanasana – a yoga pose that divert blood flow to your scalp for hair growth

Does the inversion method work without oil?

The key thing about the inversion method is the direction of blood flow to scalp coupled with the scalp stimulation by the massage. Adding oil to the routine can enhance the benefits from it – the improved blood flow absorbs nutrients from the oil – but it isn’t required. Especially if using oil every day of the week on your scalp will mean that you’ll need to wash your hair everyday.

Daily hair washing damages your strands – so if you’re doing the inversion method for 1 week – you can skip oil on the days you’re not intending to wash your hair afterwards.

How often can I do inversion method for hair?

The inversion method is unlikely to work if you increase the frequency more than one week a month. Simply put, your body gets used to the blood flow and it will not increase as dramatically as in the first week. Consider other, supplemental alternatives that also promote healthy blood flow in scalp. An example, The Hair Fuel scalp treatment, that works directly with your blood flow and delivers key nutrients, including DHT blockers into your scalp on a weekly basis. However you can also consider derma rollers and regular scalp massages.

Contraindications for using inversion method to grow hair

If you’re subject to any of the conditions listed below, inversion method to grow your hair should be avoided:

  • Pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Vertigo
  • Ear infection or pain
  • Detached retina
  • Back or spinal pain

There are also other factors, such as stress, which if managed correctly, can help you on your hair growing journey.

Happy inverting!

Who we are:

The Hair Fuel is an all-natural hair growth mask created by Laura Sagen, who embarked on her journey of hair regrowth as she lost a third of her hair after a horrific visit to a hairdresser as well as suffering from a life-long condition of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) associated with androgenic hair thinning. Started off as tinkering in the kitchen, she developed the formulation rooted in science of scalp blood flow which she has used for years, before a light bulb moment to offer it to other people. This is what has become The Hair Fuel growth mask. 

We work closely with our lab and manufacturers to ensure the highest quality product. But we know that a product alone is never enough – so we hold your hand throughout your own, unique hair growth journey. Our flagship product – The Hair Fuel mask – coupled with our advice, digital tools and on-going web / chat support are there to help you grow the best hair you can. It’s a big claim – but we’re unafraid to make it. Check out our starter bundles >>

Sources:

Distribution of Blood Flow within the Skin of the Rabbit with Particular Reference to Hair Growth, (1)

Minoxidil Stimulates Cutaneous Blood Flow in Human Balding Scalps: Pharmacodynamics Measured by Laser Doppler Velocimetry and Photopulse Plethysmography, (2)

Minoxidil: mechanisms of action on hair growth,  (3)

Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue, (4)

FAQ

  • 1. What is the inversion method for hair growth?

    Inversion method focuses on one main aspect: blood flow being a key factor to a fast hair growth.

  • 2. How does The Hair Fuel treatment work?

    The Hair Fuel works by improving blood flow to your scalp and hair follicles. The blood vessels attached to the derma papillae – or the hair root – carry nutrients and oxygen to the hair, supporting its growth and health. The Hair Fuel works in 2 ways: (1) stimulating the blood flow and (2) delivering the nutrients from the mask as well as your own body.

  • 2. Can I combine inversion method with The Hair Fuel?

    You can, but we suggest skipping the mask if you do the inversion method that same week.

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2 thoughts on “Inversion method for hair growth: myth or miracle?”

    • You should consult your GP. Malassezia is type of fungi present in scalp, so looking into topical or oral antifungal agents, such as ketoconazole shampoo and oral fluconazole can be worth it.

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