Onion is no longer only the king of the kitchen. It has found its roots in skin and hair care. Why is the beauty and grooming industry going gaga over onions?

After contracting Covid, one of the worst side effects that I witnessed was major hair loss. I had almost accepted the fact that I might just go bald. Then, someone said to apply onion juice. As much as I am a fan of DIYs, the idea of applying onion juice was a big no. But, well, I had to succumb, and thanks to brands that have forayed into making onion-based products that offer you a plethora of benefits, it was cakewalk.

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Ghazal Alagh, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Mamaearth, says, “Onions have been a household recipe for hair fall control for ages, and at Mamaearth, we are focused on creating contemporary solutions to traditional DIY recipes.” The brand has an Onion Hair Oil, which is their top-selling product. To do away with “extremely cumbersome and time consuming” DIYs, Alagh worked on onion-based products, which she says, “will continue to be a go-to ingredient for hair care for ages to come as well.”

Manish Chowdhary, co-founder of WOW Skin Science, explains the nutritional value. “Onion is full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B9 (also known as folate), vitamin B6, sulfur, and potassium, and is also rich in antioxidants. These are responsible for swift hair growth, and the overall health of your tresses.” Their onion hair oil and onion shampoo are their bestseller products as “onion is a perfect natural ingredient with numerous benefits for good hair and skin.”

WOW onion shampoo WOW onion conditioner

Earth Rhythm also offers a range of onion-based products, including an Onion, Curry Leaf and Tamanu Oil Hair Serum and Reparative Hair Butter with Cocoa Butter, Fenugreek Onion Seed Oil. Harini Sivakumar, Founder, CEO & Cosmetic Chemist at Earth Rhythm, says, “We strongly believe that plant-based ingredients are very powerful and have the ability to treat as well as heal skin and hair concerns. Onions are the only plant-based products that have abundant sulphur, which stimulates collagen production, and in turn, increases healthy cell production in your scalp.”

arth Rhythm - Repairative Hair Butter with Cocoa, Fenugreek AND Onion Earth Rhythm - Onion, Curryleaf and Tamanu Oil Hair Serum

Dhruv Bhasin and Dhruv Madhok, co-founders, Arata, offer products like Super Shampoo, which is their top onionbased product. “Allium cepa or onion oil is a legitimately healing and beneficial ingredient. We formulated onion oil into our Super Shampoo because of this very reason.” Bhasin and Madhok further inform that research proves that onion juice has been effective in the treatment of patchy alopecia.

Arata Super Shampoo in INR 899

But is onion a legitimately needed ingredient, or more about the buzz? Dr Sushant Shetty, MD (Skin), head of medical operations, Kaya Limited, explains that onion has vitamins that protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, imparting glow to the skin, and the phytochemicals present in onion help in delaying signs of ageing. The antioxidants in it prevent premature greying of hair. The sulphur content in onions reduces breakage and thinning of hair. He adds, “If you can put aside its aroma, onions, when used correctly, have many benefits.”

And are there side effects? “The duration of contact and being aware that any burning sensation means you need to wash off immediately is important. If not rinsed properly, sulphur in onion juice might cause itchiness, which can progress to more severe inflammation,” warns Dr Shetty.