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Does Rosemary Oil Stimulate Hair Growth? Untangling This Popular Myth

Here's what this essential oil can do for you.

There’s no shortage of hair products that promise to thicken, strengthen, and lengthen your locks. From shampoos and conditioners to masques and leave-in treatments, options abound. And there are even more at-home hair hacks like using coconut oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and jojoba oil. 

One of the most popular natural products is rosemary oil. Those who swear by it say that adding a little rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) oil to their hair care routine has exponentially improved their hair’s thickness, texture, and overall health. Some studies suggest it helps to reduce hair loss, boost hair growth, maintain healthy hair follicles, and more. But is it true? Or merely magical thinking?

Read on to explore the science behind rosemary oil, and learn if its mythological hair care benefits live up to the hype. 

Rosemary Oil at a Glance

People with different hair types require different products to care for and maintain their hair. What works for one is not likely to work for all. But with a little guidance and a good bit of research, you can decide whether products like rosemary oil are right for you. Here’s a closer look at rosemary oil and how to use it in your hair.

What is rosemary oil?

Rosemary essential oil is the extracted oil from the rosemary plant, a type of herb native to the Mediterranean. Rosemary is used in several foods and fragrances, and it has benefits for the hair, the skin, and even your mood.

Who should use rosemary oil on their hair?

Unlike other types of hair products, rosemary oil actually works on nearly every hair type. This is because the oil penetrates deeper than the strand to target the follicle below. Regardless of hair texture or type, you can probably benefit from adding rosemary oil to your hair care routine. (Rosemary oil can even be used on color-treated hair.) As with all haircare and skincare products, it’s a good idea to start with a patch test. (Doing this will confirm that you aren’t allergic to and won’t have an adverse reaction to rosemary oil.) Once you’re certain you’ll experience no side effects, you can begin to add rosemary oil to your routine.

How can I use rosemary oil?

The best way to use rosemary oil is to mix it with what is known as a carrier oil. Mix a few drops of rosemary oil products with coconut or jojoba oil, then massage into your scalp while your hair is wet. If you have a dry hair type, leave the oils in your hair to hydrate and improve shine. If your hair is oily, allow the rosemary oil out to sit five to ten minutes on the scalp then rinse thoroughly. To integrate rosemary oil into your hair care routine in other ways, add a small amount to your shampoo. (You can even add rosemary leaves!) Not only will your hair look great, but it will smell amazing, too. 

How can rosemary oil stimulate hair growth?

One of the biggest benefits of adding rosemary oil to your hair care routine is that it can stimulate hair growth.  

1. It improves circulation.

How can you use rosemary oil for hair growth? Let’s start with the science. Rosemary oil actually supports improved blood circulation, which is a key factor in sparking hair regrowth. Increased circulation from dilated blood vessels allows more blood to flow to the scalp, which improves the health and strength of the hair follicles. Follicles that receive sufficient blood flow become stronger and healthier. That means thicker hair and reduced hair loss with every wash and brush.

2. It boosts cell turnover.

One of the reasons that rosemary oil is so helpful for hair growth is that it encourages the turnover of cells. Cell turnover is the process of shedding dead skin cell buildup and replacing them with healthy, young cells. On the face, it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scars and leave your skin looking smoother and healthier. For your hair, it helps to prevent alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, and other types of hair loss.

3. It has antioxidants.

Rosemary oil is rich in many vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. Antioxidants are a key element in diet and skincare products, and they’re vital to maintaining healthy hair. They help to protect your body against an overabundance of free radicals. In your hair, they protect and maintain collagen production and ensure that connective hair follicle tissue remains intact, thereby reducing hair loss.

4. It reduces the occurrence of flakes and itchiness.

Rosemary oil is known to have antimicrobial properties. That means it helps to protect the scalp against irritation and itchiness and reduces the development of flakes and dandruff. This is especially true if you experience dandruff as the result of infection or bacteria, which can affect the health of your scalp and hair, as well. A healthy scalp can contribute to healthier hair and can reduce hair loss. It also means less itching and irritation, so you don’t have to worry about tugging or pulling on the hair for relief. Rosemary oil also has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to an ingredient known as carnosic acid. 

5. It reduces hair loss.

By strengthening cells at the scalp, boosting scalp health, and contributing to increased blood supply, rosemary oil fortifies the scalp’s grip on the hair, thus reducing hair loss. These superpowers are largely due to the antimicrobial and antioxidant ingredients that are so abundant in rosemary oil. They help to reduce the impact of conditions and irritations that lead to thinning hair and follicle weakness, like eczema or inflammation. Rosemary oil has also been useful in reducing the appearance of gray hairs and the hair loss sometimes associated with them. If you’re experiencing significant breakage or hair loss, adding rosemary oil to your hair care routine can substantially improve your hair health. 

6. It strengthens hair.

In addition to boosting your scalp health and reducing the effects of irritation and hair loss, rosemary oil can actually help to strengthen the hair itself. It’s also been shown to promote the growth of new hair as effectively as minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine. People suffering hair loss and those with alopecia have reported changes in their hair development and health after adding rosemary oil to their hair care routine. 

By using rosemary oil, you can expect stronger, healthier hair, and improved shine and softness over time.

Hair’s the Deal

By adding just a few drops of rosemary oil to your hair care routine, you could see big results. Rosemary oil is an essential oil, like lavender oil and tea tree oil, and it comes from the Mediterranean region, where it has been used to manage hair health for generations. 

With a little bit of rosemary oil, you may see a boost in circulation and blood flow and a healthier scalp. That means less flaking and irritation from dandruff and scalp itching. Rosemary oil can also be used to strengthen and even grow hair and is rich in protective antioxidants that contribute to follicle health and collagen growth. 

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