The complex optical susceptibility is the most fundamental parameter characterizing light-matter interactions and determining optical applications in any material. In one-dimensional (1D) materials, all conventional techniques to measure the complex susceptibility become invalid. Here we report a methodology to measure the complex optical susceptibility of individual 1D materials by an elliptical-polarization-based optical homodyne detection. This method is based on the accurate manipulation of interference between incident left- (right-) handed elliptically polarized light and the scattering light, which results in the opposite (same) contribution of the real and imaginary susceptibility in two sets of spectra. We successfully demonstrate its application in determining complex susceptibility of individual chirality-defined carbon nanotubes in a broad optical spectral range (1.6–2.7 eV) and under different environments (suspended and in device). This full characterization of the complex optical responses should accelerate applications of various 1D nanomaterials in future photonic, optoelectronic, photovoltaic, and bio-imaging devices.