Does Rosemary Oil Actually Help Your Hair Grow?

Touted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, rosemary oil is derived from the leaves of rosemary — an herb native to regions of the Mediterranean (via Elle). As a member of the mint family, rosemary gives off a pinewood-like fragrance. Experts at Intrepid Mental Health state that the use of rosemary oil may be beneficial in relieving gastrointestinal discomfort, respiratory congestion, anxiety, and even bad breath.

In addition, some people believe rosemary oil may also hold the key to stimulating hair growth. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum offers a possible explanation, stating via Elle, "[Rosemary oil] encourages nerve growth and improves blood circulation. The reason blood circulation is so important to hair growth is that without a proper blood supply, the follicles do not get the nutrients they need to grow the hair and they can die off."

While research is limited, science shows that rosemary oil could become the latest and greatest in hair care products. Hairstylist Matt Newman revealed to Elle how rosemary oil can potentially be used by anyone, stating, "Rosemary essential oil can be used on any hair type because the benefits target the hair follicle, not the hair strand. It is safe to use on color-treated hair, especially because its main use should be directly on the scalp."

How to implement rosemary oil into your hair care routine

In a 2015 study, researchers examined subjects with male or female pattern baldness who were given either rosemary oil or Rogaine to help treat their condition (via Healthline). In order to determine which product was more effective at boosting hair growth, researchers calculated participant hair count at three- and six-month intervals. Both products proved to be equally effective in promoting hair growth after six months, although scalp itching was found to be less frequent in subjects using rosemary oil. Additionally, a 2010 clinical review published in The British Medical Journal found that the daily use of rosemary oil — among other essential oils such as lavender, thyme, and cedarwood — proved effective in stimulating hair growth in those diagnosed with alopecia. 

However, because rosemary oil can cause skin irritation, it's important that it's used properly and only intermittently (via Elle). Mix the product with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply five drops directly onto the scalp no more than twice a week. After five to 10 minutes of massaging the mixture into your skin, be sure to rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, Healthline suggests mixing the essential oil in with your regular shampoo or conditioner. Just remember to maintain a ratio of five drops for every ounce of product.