How Rosemary Oil Can Help Your Hair Grow
Studies show that the herby oil can lead to longer, healthier hair
The key to growing longer and healthier hair may come down to seasoning.
Using rosemary oil for hair growth exploded as a TikTok trend over the past year. Nearly a billion people on the social media app have watched hair-flipping testimonials on the benefits of the extract.
So, are those TikTokers onto something or should the savory herb be left as a dinner seasoning? Let’s comb through what’s fact or fiction with dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD.
Can rosemary oil help regrow hair?
The answer appears to be yes — and there’s scientific proof behind it.
Researchers found rosemary oil to be as effective at encouraging hair regrowth as minoxidil, a medication better known as Rogaine®, says Dr. Khetarpal. The 2015 study focused on people with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness).
Using rosemary oil instead of minoxidil also led to fewer issues with itchy scalp at the three-month and six-month check-ins.
“The bottom line is, yes, it does seem to work,” says Dr. Khetarpal. “The study really prompted people to look at rosemary oil for hair growth. It became much more common in over-the-counter products after that, too.”
The 2015 study built on findings from 2013 and 2010 that hinted at rosemary’s potential to combat hair loss.
What makes rosemary oil effective for hair growth?
So, why does rosemary oil act like Miracle-Gro® when rubbed onto your scalp as a highly concentrated extract? Much of the credit goes to carnosic acid, a phenolic chemical compound in the plant.
Carnosic acid carries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help rejuvenate damaged nerves and tissue in your body. Applying it to your scalp creates an environment where your hair can thrive.
“If you increase blood flow to the scalp, you give your hair the nutrients it needs to shed less, grow more and just be a bit healthier,” explains Dr. Khetarpal.
Other benefits of rosemary oil
Aside from promoting a hair growth spurt, rosemary oil has been linked to hair benefits such as:
- Dandruff control. Rosemary oil’s ability to limit skin inflammation and irritation also helps reduce dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis). “It helps calm things down on your scalp, which certainly assists with dandruff,” says Dr. Khetarpal.
- Limiting premature graying. There’s some evidence that rosemary can help reduce stress, which has been shown to turn hair gray. “It’s a potential benefit, but more studies need to be done to determine its effect,” she adds.
How to use rosemary oil in your hair care routine
If you want to give rosemary oil a try to grow a thicker head of hair, Dr. Khetarpal offers these six tips and recommendations:
- Focus on your scalp. Putting a coat of rosemary oil on your hair isn’t going to do anything aside from giving you a greasy look. “You want to apply it to the scalp as a treatment,” instructs Dr. Khetarpal. “Really focus on working it in.”
- Give rosemary oil time to work. Let the rosemary oil sit and do its thing for at least a few hours. Dr. Khetarpal suggests using rosemary oil at night and then washing your hair in the morning.
- Avoid fragranced products. Products with added fragrance may diminish the effectiveness of the rosemary oil or cause skin irritation. “Try to find something that’s 100% rosemary oil,” she says.
- Start slow. Try rosemary oil on a small area of your scalp before coating your whole head with it. “That’s a good way to test to see if it causes a reaction on your skin.”
- A little goes a long way. A few drops of rosemary oil may be all it takes for an application. It can be added to your shampoo or conditioner, too.
- Be patient. One use of rosemary oil isn’t going to give you a bushy head of hair. “You’re going to need to use it two or three times a week for six months to see meaningful improvement,” notes Dr. Khetarpal. “Stay consistent and give it time.”
Does your hair type make a difference?
Coarse hair may be better able to handle an application of rosemary oil. But people with finer hair might find that using the product makes their locks look greasy or weighed down.
“Everyone can use rosemary oil, but you might need to modify how often you use it depending on your hair type,” suggests Dr. Khetarpal. “Some people might be able to use it daily. Others may see that one or twice a week works best.”
Are there side effects to using rosemary oil?
Although considered relatively safe to use, rosemary oil isn’t recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding (chestfeeding). Warning labels on some 100% rosemary products warn that use could affect the fetus or lead to a miscarriage.
Rosemary oil may be able to help if you’re dealing with hair loss. But Dr. Khetarpal cautions against expecting dramatic results.
“You want to be realistic,” she says. “If you’ve had hair loss for over 20 years, don’t expect it to work wonders. It might help a bit, particularly if your hair loss is just starting, but the extent of the improvement is variable. There are no guarantees.” source
Topically applied rosemary oil may help support hair growth and prevent hair loss. But applying too much can cause side effects.
Rosemary is a culinary and healing herb. This woody perennial is native to the Mediterranean region, where it’s been used as food and medicine for centuries.
Much like oregano, peppermint, and cinnamon, rosemary is frequently found in essential oil form. Essential oils are highly concentrated and distilled extracts of volatile plant compounds. These are used for cooking, cleaning, beauty, health, and other purposes.
In recent years, there have been claims that the oil may be great for hair growth. Some say it could even prevent hair loss, pointing to Mediterranean cultures’ use of rosemary in hair rinses to promote hair growth for hundreds of years as supporting evidence.
The idea that rosemary oil encourages hair growth may come from the rosemary’s basic health benefits. The plant in essential oil form is said to:
- have anti-inflammatory properties
- promote nerve growth
- improve circulation
Like peppermint essential oil (also used to promote hair growth), rosemary essential oil strengthens circulation. As a result, it could prevent hair follicles from being starved of blood supply, dying off, and leading to hair loss.
According to some scientific evidence, rosemary may benefit nerve tissue.
Carnosic acid, an active ingredient in the plant, healed tissue and nerve damage in one study. This ability to heal nerve endings may rejuvenate nerves in the scalp too, in turn possibly restoring hair growth.
More revealing recent studies show that rosemary directly helps protect against hair loss. One 2015 trialTrusted Source pitted the essential oil against minoxidil, commercially known as Rogaine. Both were used on human subjects with androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness).
Results showed that rosemary essential oil was just as effective a minoxidil. During the process, it helped the side effect of itchy scalp more successfully than minoxidil.
Another studyTrusted Source of rosemary leaf extract (different from the essential oil) showed it stimulated hair growth. This occurred when hair loss was triggered by testosterone (as in pattern baldness). This study was performed on mice, however.
Two separate clinical reviews — one from 2010Trusted Source and one from 2011 — also acknowledge rosemary’s hair growth potential. The former cites a study with successful hair regrowth in people with alopecia who used essential oils. One of these essential oils was rosemary.
In the latter review, rosemary essential oil was described as a hair loss restorative. This was due to its circulation-improving effects.
Here are a few ways to try using rosemary essential oil as a hair restorative and thickener. Try any of these treatments one to two times per week to start out. Use them more often when desired or you’ve become comfortable using them.
1. Massage it directly into your scalp
After mixing about 5 drops of rosemary essential oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil (like jojoba oil or coconut oil), massage evenly into your scalp after bath or shower. Rinsing out the oil afterward is optional — though if you do rinse, let the oil sit on your scalp for at least 5 to 10 minutes beforehand.
2. Mix it into your shampoo
This can also apply to conditioners, lotions, or creams. Play it safe and don’t add too much. Keep to about five drops per ounce of product. Afterward, use the product like usual. You can also add 2 to 3 drops directly to any hair product when you apply a dollop of it on your palm before use.
3. Add it to your own homemade shampoo
There are many recipes online for a shampoo base. You can also add essential oils for your preferred health and beauty benefits. These may incorporate a mixture of baking soda, coconut oil, essential oil, and possibly other oils. Try this one at Tiny Apothecary.
Avoid getting essential oil in your eyes. If contact occurs, quickly rinse your eyes with cold water.
Likewise, be careful not to apply too much to your scalp. Rosemary essential oil has been known to irritate the skin. It may cause discomfort, but no health dangers. To avoid skin irritation, dilute the oil with a carrier oil or other product before applying it.
Not enough is known about the safety of using rosemary essential oils while pregnant or breastfeeding. Though using the essential oil for hair loss is only done topically, be cautious — its effects in this regard are still unknown.
Rosemary has been used by many to promote hair growth successfully. Using rosemary essential oil could very well do the same for you.
Science and personal experience together both strongly suggest the essential oil does protect against hair loss, particularly that related to male or female pattern baldness. It may even be effective for alopecia.
Rosemary essential oil is a simple remedy that you can use at home, and it may even be competitive with commercial products. What’s more, it’s quite safe when used correctly and yields very few side effects. source
What to Know About Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth, According to Experts
While seasoning a winter soup with a sprinkle of dried rosemary, you probably don’t think of the herb as a hair-transforming ingredient. But, in oil form, rosemary is on the rise as a staple for hair growth, strength, and shine. Curious to learn how it works? Ahead, dermatologists and hair stylists explain the benefits of rosemary oil for hair, how to use it, potential side effects, and more.
Rosemary oil for hair benefits
Rosemary oil is most touted as an encourager of hair growth. “It has been clinically shown to increase hair growth similar to minoxidil, the main active ingredient in Rogaine,” says Ramya Garlapati, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles. “It stimulates hair growth by blocking the effects of DHT, a type of testosterone that is normally responsible for shrinking hair follicles that can lead to hair loss.”
Dr. Garlapati adds that rosemary oil also stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, “which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, promoting hair growth,” and it has naturally anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it ideal for helping irritation caused by flaking and dandruff.
As an oil, it also inherently provides a bit of moisture and shine, which can help prevent breakage, adds Sabrina Rowe Holdsworth, celebrity hairstylist and founder of NTRL by Sabs.
What are the side effects of rosemary oil on hair?
Because it’s a pretty potent ingredient, for some, excess use of rosemary oil may lead to some itching and burning, says Holdsworth. “It can cause mild irritation of the scalp and should be discontinued if this is experienced,” adds Garlapati.
With that being said, Dr. Garlapati says the oil is safe for all hair types, including color-treated hair.
How to dilute rosemary oil for hair
To DIY your own diluted rosemary oil hair treatment, Dr. Doyle recommends mixing two tablespoons of your carrier oil of choice (she recommends jojoba) with two to three drops of rosemary oil. Apply the mixture to the scalp and “leave on for an hour before washing,” Doyle adds.
How often should I put rosemary oil in my hair?
Holdsworth says rosemary oils and infused shampoos may be used a few times a week, unless you have an adverse reaction. “I suggest starting with two to three times a week and if well tolerated, working up to daily,” adds Schmidt. “Consistent use always yields the best results.”
Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial
Rosmarinus officinalis L. is a medicinal plant with diverse activities including enhancement microcapillary perfusion. The present study aimed to investigate the clinical efficacy of rosemary oil in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and compare its effects with minoxidil 2%. Patients with AGA were randomly assigned to rosemary oil (n = 50) or minoxidil 2% (n = 50) for a period of 6 months. After a baseline visit, patients returned to the clinic for efficacy and safety evaluations every 3 months. A standardized professional microphotographic assessment of each volunteer was taken at the initial interview and after 3 and 6 months of the trial. No significant change was observed in the mean hair count at the 3-month endpoint, neither in the rosemary nor in the minoxidil group (P > .05). In contrast, both groups experienced a significant increase in hair count at the 6-month endpoint compared with the baseline and 3-month endpoint (P < .05). No significant difference was found between the study groups regarding hair count either at month 3 or month 6 (> .05). The frequencies of dry hair, greasy hair, and dandruff were not found to be significantly different from baseline at either month 3 or month 6 trial in the groups (P > .05). The frequency of scalp itching at the 3- and 6-month trial points was significantly higher compared with baseline in both groups (P < .05). Scalp itching, however, was more frequent in the minoxidil group at both assessed endpoints (P < .05). The findings of the present trial provided evidence with respect to the efficacy of rosemary oil in the treatment of AGA.
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