Thyme (pun intended) has revealed that there’s more to rosemary oil than its aromatherapeutic perks.
The rosemary plant extract originates from the Mediterranean region, typically used as a food, skincare, and perfume ingredient. But the healing herb is also beloved for its hair benefits — it can restore dry and damaged hair, stimulate hair growth, and control dandruff.
We spoke with two haircare experts, Dr. Michael May, a London-based MD who specializes in hair transplant surgeries, and Ksenia Sobchak, a London-based cosmetologist and dermatologist, to learn about rosemary’s other benefits, side effects, and recommended products containing the oil. Read on for everything you need to know about using rosemary oil as a haircare solution.
The benefits of rosemary oil for your hair
Rosemary oil is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and its rich fatty acids. This combination can help eradicate hair bacteria and fungi to relieve the scalp of dandruff. This is what makes the oil so appealing to those most prone to dryness and dandruff — typically those with curlier hair types.
Promotes scalp health
Rosemary oil is known as both a stress reliever and a scalp stimulator. “Massaging essential oils, like rosemary oil, into your scalp can stimulate blood flow,” Dr. May said. It can also provide pain relief and mental clarity, according to research.
Stimulates hair growth
Rosemary oil blended with other oils, such as thyme, lavender, and cedarwood, may lead to hair growth.
“There’s a study comparing rosemary oil to minoxidil, a drug used to treat androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness,” May said. “The study proved rosemary oil to be comparable with a regular application of 2% minoxidil.” Research further suggests that rosemary oil is less irritating than minoxidil, a perk for those with sensitive scalps.
Rosemary oil’s side effects
Rosemary oil is generally safe for use as a haircare treatment — as long as it’s blended with other oils. “Always mix essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba oil, as essential oils alone shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin,” May said. “They can cause adverse side effects such as scalp irritation.”
Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils, making them more palatable for the skin. May recommended doing a patch test before using hair products with rosemary oil. Do this by applying a small portion of the product to the scalp and assessing the area for allergic reactions like irritation, itchiness, or redness. For professional testing and guidance on whether you should proceed with use, visit a dermatologist.
How to use rosemary oil for hair growth
According to Sobchak, hair wash days are the best days to do a rosemary oil treatment. The application is pretty simple. “Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before washing it out with shampoo,” Sobchak said. “I also recommend you add a few drops of rosemary oil to your shampoo or conditioner.” As an alternative, you could purchase shampoo products with rosemary oil already included in the formula.
Best rosemary oil for hair growth
Every brand has its special rosemary oil formula that differs from the rest. Again, just make sure that your oil of choice is diluted with a carrier oil, as this minimizes the chances of scalp irritation.
Mielle Organic’s Rosemary Mint Scalp & Strengthening Oil is a best-seller that’s loved by many hair influencers. With thousands of positive reviews, the formula is advertised claims to nourish hair follicles and promote length growth. The feedback is pretty promising, but you’d have to try the product for yourself to see if it works for you.
Sobchak also recommended the following cruelty-free products — both of which are free of sulfates and parabens and 100% natural:
The hair growth oil that “rose” to the occasion
Rosemary oil’s range of benefits includes dandruff control, moisture retention, and increased hair growth. All of that combined explains why the natural hair remedy is a social media obsession. Just open up TikTok, and you’ll see millions tagging #RosemaryOil and singing its praises.
While it’s safe for regular use, you’ll want to be extra careful if you have sensitive skin. Certain rosemary oil products may cause scalp irritation depending on how well it’s diluted with other oils. As long as you do a patch test upon initial use, you’ll be able to determine if the oil is a good fit for you. As always, speak with a dermatologist before incorporating new products into your skincare routine.