Brush Up on Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

While the rosemary herb can certainly punch up a roasted potato, rosemary essential oil has been used to treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth.

Here’s how rosemary oil may help your mane.

Rosemary essential oil for hair

ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Rosemary essential oil comes from the aromatic evergreen-like plant, Rosmarinus officinalis, that’s packed with good-for-you antioxidants. (And to be clear, it’s not actually “oily” like olive oil.)

Rosemary essential oils biggest health benefits thought to help hair include:

  • Nerve and tissue restoration. Carnosic acid, one of the plant’s key ingredients, has been shown to heal nerve damage and restore tissue in the scalp.
  • Boosted circulation. This could help hair follicles thrive if they’re being cut off from their blood supply.
  • Reduced inflammation and improved cell health. Studies have shown rosemary has an anti-inflammatory effect and is thought to improve cellular generation. This could help aid hair growth and thickness.

Does using rosemary oil for hair growth actually work?

Studies on the effectiveness of rosemary essential oil for hair loss are still limited, but rosemary essential oil may give your father’s Rogaine a run for its money.

It actually might be a comparable treatment to Rogaine

A 2015 study compared rosemary oil and minoxidil (commercially known as Rogaine) in the treatment of humans with alopecia (aka hair loss). Results showed that both rosemary oil and minoxidil resulted in a significant hair growth at the 6- month usage mark.

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While there were no differences when it came to dry hair, greasy hair, and dandruff, Minoxidil did have more reports of scalp itching compared to rosemary oil.

It could help fungi and bacteria-related hair loss

A 2017 study found that rosemary essential oil was a worthy opponent for fungi and bacteria. Hair loss can be hereditary, but it can also be caused by an infection or unhealthy scalp from fungi and bacteria camping out.

How to use rosemary oil in your hair

Rosemary oil is most effective for hair restoration when used consistently for at least 6 months. You can also use treatments a minimum of 1 to 2 times per week.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

1. Massage, rinse, repeat
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No.312 - Prevent Acne

After taking a bath or shower, mix 5 drops of rosemary oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. Apply this directly to the scalp and massage it in. Let it sink into the scalp for at least 5 to 10 minutes. You can rinse or leave it in.

2. Remix your rosemary

You can also mix rosemary oil with your shampoo, conditioner, or other hair treatments.

Add 20 to 30 drops for every ounce (6 teaspoons) of product. Use the shampoo or conditioner as you usually would. You can also apply 2 to 3 drops directly to a dollop of post-shower hair care products in your hand.

3. DIY your shampoo

Much like sourdough bread, you can make your own shampoo right at home. There’s a number of recipes and ingredient combinations, but here’s out take.

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To make your own gentle, restorative shampoo, mix the following ingredients:

  • 10 to 15 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 1/2 cup of castile soap
  • 1/2 cup of peppermint or chamomile tea

Take heed of this herb

Rosemary, like most essential oils, can irritate the skin when in direct contact. Dilute rosemary EO with a carrier oil like its Mediterranean sister, olive oil. Or, try another carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil.

The biggest precaution to take when using rosemary oil is to avoid contact with your peepers. If you get it in your eyes, rinse your eyes with cold water and seek medical attention if the effects worsen or do not improve.

The takeaway

Rosemary isn’t just an ingredient to make your quiche sound even fancier, it has natural healing capabilities, too. If you want to grow your hair with minimal scalp itching, rosemary essential oil may boot Rogaine right out of your routine. Plus it’s a more natural alternative for hair growth.

ishonest No.341 - Redness

No.341 - Redness

Try making your own shampoo at home with rosemary oil or apply it (diluted with a carrier oil) to your scalp 1 to 2 times per week for at least 6 weeks to maximize results.

Avoid direct contact with your skin and dilute with carrier oil to limit irritation (and avoid getting it into your eyes at all costs).

Want to know how to shop for the best quality essential oils? We got you covered. Add some rosemary oil into your routine and you may become a regular ‘ol Rapunzel ditching your clip-in extensions for good.

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