Recently, rosemary oil for hair growth has emerged as an unlikely remedy. On TikTok you’ll find a rosemary oil fan club proclaiming its powers: regrowing edges, thickening hair, and lengthening locks is the refrain of countless rave reviews. Spawning long hair might seem a significant ask of a supermarket herb, but the people swear by it–and they’ve got video proof.
Does rosemary oil actually work?
With testimonials touting its efficacy for alopecia and postpartum hair loss, skeptics might wonder whether there are hard facts to support what seems like another fad. As it turns out, there’s actually scientific evidence to suggest that rosemary oil can be as effective as the hair growth drug minoxidil–a research study from back in 2015 showed it increased the hair count of alopecia sufferers after six months of use. And according to Dr. Zayn Majeed, hair surgeon at Harley Street Hair Clinic, studies have shown it to be effective at healing nerve endings and promoting hair restoration.
“Rosemary oil can strengthen circulation and improve blood supply to hair follicles, preventing them from being deprived of essential blood supply,” he explains. “If hair follicles don’t get a sufficient blood supply, this may shorten the growth phase of the hair growth cycle, and lead to hair loss over time.” Not only does it help you achieve longer hair, but it’s also beneficial for hair health overall. “Rosemary oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce scalp irritation, dandruff, and itching, providing a more optimal environment for healthy hair growth,” Dr. Majeed adds. Alongside its circulation-boosting and antimicrobial properties, it’s a great ingredient for supercharged hair care.
But temper your expectations: while the cult oil can work miracles to increase hair growth, it’s not a cure for stopping hair loss completely. “There’s currently no clinical cure for hair loss, though it can be slowed with medications and treatments like hair transplants,” says Dr. Majeed.
Best rosemary oil products at a glance:
- Best rosemary oil for hair growth: Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Oil, $10
- Best rosemary oil for dandruff: Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo, $20
- Best rosemary oil you can leave-in: Aromatica Rosemary Root Enhancer Spray, $18
- Best rosemary essential oil: Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Rosemary Essential Oil, $24
- Best rosemary oil for growth without grease: Weleda Revitalising Rosemary Hair Tonic, $27
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil
Neal’s Yard Remedies
Rosemary Organic Essential Oil
Rosemary Root Enhancer
Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo
Rosemary Revitalising Hair Tonic
How do I use rosemary oil for hair growth?
You’ll find all kinds of rosemary remedies online, from homegrown herb/oil infusions to spiking haircare with essential oil drops. But the best way to incorporate it into your routine? Apply diluted rosemary oil directly to the roots or bald patches and massage it into the scalp. Massage increases the oxygenation of hair follicles through increased blood flow, and according to Claire Martin (brand educator at bestselling brand Mielle Organics) a large supply of oxygen is crucial for hair to grow at its full potential.
GRO Scalp Massager
Majeed tells us that massage application also enhances the absorption of rosemary’s active ingredients into the skin and hair follicles. “Allowing rosemary oil to remain on the scalp for at least 30 minutes enables it to better penetrate,” he says, “and keeping it on for a longer duration, especially when wrapped with a warm towel, can enhance absorption.” As for how often you should massage it onto the scalp, he advises “ideally, rosemary oil should be applied a couple of times a week for consistent exposure to its potential benefits.” So for the best results, apply, massage and let it sit as long as possible before washing it off with a mild shampoo to reduce excess grease.
What to consider when buying rosemary oil for hair growth:
According to Martin, a good rosemary oil formula will have rosemary (botanical name Rosmarinus
Officinalis leaf oil) high up on the list–the lower down it is on the list indicates a lower
amount of the ingredient inside.
If you’re buying an essential oil version, the key thing to know is it must be diluted before applying. “Rosemary essential oil is highly concentrated, and applying it directly to the scalp can lead to skin irritation or sensitivity. To avoid this, it’s essential to dilute the rosemary essential oil with a carrier oil–a mild, neutral oil like coconut oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil.” says Majeed. Alternatively, you can add a few drops into your existing haircare, or save the faff altogether by buying pre-mixed oils or leave-in treatments.